I’ve increasingly come to appreciate the advantages of Coreloft insulation. It’s thin, lightweight, fairly breathable, and highly insulating. It also continues to provide warmth even when wet. The Atom LT is also warmer and more water resistant than any of the fleece jackets I’ve recently used—a Cloudveil 100 weight fleece, Patagonia R2 jacket, and a Norrona trollveggen warm2 jacket.
Though warm, this jacket is not windproof, however, and you can feel wind cutting through the jacket in colder temperatures. Arc’teryx claims this jacket is wind-resistant, but I find it to be more comfortable to layer underneath a shell if the wind is stiffer than a light breeze.
The inside of the jacket (save the breathable side stretch panels) is lined with a comfortable, silky taffeta lining. And the Azulene color has a hot-pink interior, a contrast I quite like. Arc’teryx provides a nice range of color options, though not all feature contrasting interiors.
The inner seams on this jacket are very well constructed with tiny stitches and the quality in craftsmanship is immaculate.
The Atom LT is equipped with two outer side pockets with zipper closures. The pockets are somewhat small and cannot accommodate much more than a phone or a little snack. The insides of the pockets are lined with both taffeta and a microfleece lining.
Additionally, there is one more pocket located on the inside of the jacket near the left side of the main zipper. This one is a good deal larger in size and completely lined with taffeta.
The Atom LT has an insulated hood, which I like for the versatility it lends in harsher weather conditions. But Arc’teryx also makes an Atom LT without a hood, if you expect to wear the Atom LT under a shell. While I like the hood, I do find it somewhat bothersome to tuck it out of the way when wearing a ski shell so that it doesn’t impede the function of the outer shell’s hood. That being said, since the hood is rather small, this is easy to do, and because the material is so packable, it’s not a huge issue.
I can actually fit this hood over my ski helmet, but I should probably admit that I wear a children’s size medium helmet, so I don’t expect average-sized ladies to find that a viable function of this jacket. The hood also fits easily over my bike helmet, though it’s also from a youth product line, so this may warrant further testing by users with smaller brain buckets.
All that said, the hood in itself is somewhat petite and fits snugly around the head. Because the collar reaches so high, it lends what I like to call the “SCUBA Steve” look, and only a small portion of your face remains visible. A stretchy elastic lining also makes for a cozy fit.
Between skiing and casual use, I’ve already logged more than 60 days in this jacket, and have had absolutely zero issues with durability. I’ve been easily able to remove surface stains of both dirt and road salt with a gentle hand washing. I have friends who’ve used this jacket for years, and they too report that the jacket provides excellent durability.
The Atom LT is highly packable because the Coreloft insulation is so compressible; I can condense the jacket to a size slightly bigger than a softball. This makes the jacket an excellent space saver when backcountry touring or traveling. You can also stuff the jacket into its own sleeve, a practical alternative to a stuff pocket or separate stuff sack.
For the price, I think the Atom LT is well worth the investment. With its combination of warmth and breathability, it’s now my thermal layer of choice when skiing.
Its versatility and practical features also ensure it can be used in a wide variety of activities, from skiing, climbing, and running, to traveling and grooving around town. As I mentioned, I have friends who have used this jacket for years, and I plan to do so, too.