Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hooded Down Jacket
Size: Women’s Medium
Type: Down Insulator
Fit: Trim Fit, Hip Length
Weight: 255 grams/ 9 ounces
- 850-fill European goose down + synthetic Coreloft
- Insulated Hood with adjustable drawcords
- DWR Treatment
- Stuff sack
- 5’2”, 120 lbs
- Chest measurement: 33”
- Waist: 26”
- Hips: 33”
- Torso: 19”
- Arms: 23”
Days Tested: Skied ~ 30 / Worn ~ 80
Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley, Alta Ski Area; Hiking in UT and NM
When shopping for mid layers, you’ll be faced with a choice between jackets with down or synthetic insulation. Arc’teryx makes two different jackets with each, catering to different activities in different temperature ranges and conditions. I’ve been testing the Cerium LT Hoody, part of Arc’teryx’s Down Series of down insulated pieces, but I also own the Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody, which is lighter than the Cerium LT Hoody and uses a synthetic insulation. Lexi Dowdall has already written a very good review of the Arc’teryx Atom LT, but I’ll be talking about it quite a bit in this review also, as the Atom LT’s strengths and weaknesses help to outline those of the Cerium LT, and vice versa.
Fit & Sizing
My Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody is a size Small, and I can only wear a base layer under it because it fits pretty snug. A size Medium would probably allow for some added comfort and room for layering.
I opted for a Medium in the Cerium LT Hoody, and am very glad I didn’t size down. I can easily fit other layers under it, including the Atom LT Hoody and Icebreaker Carve.
The Cerium LT Hoody’s fit is form fitting but not tight. The cut narrows at the waist and gets wider at the hips, with the material at the back sitting slightly lower down my back. Being 5’2” and 120 pounds, the width of the Cerium LT Hoody in the torso and arms is appropriate for my size and is not restricting anywhere. The sleeves are long enough that with my hands by my side the jacket’s cuffs reach the tips of my thumbs. And while the sleeves can extend further, quite a ways down my hand, the cuffs hold them in place at my wrist and also prevent them from riding up my arm.
With the Cerium zipped all the way up, the collar sits right below my chin. With the Atom LT Hoody fully zipped, the thin material of the collar allows it to flop down. And If I zip the Icebreaker Carve midlayer all the way up, the material is too rigid and fits tighter on my neck, causing it to feel restricting. The collar of the Cerium LT Hoody strikes a nice balance of structure/rigidity and pliability, and does a good job at keeping my neck warm while remaining comfortable.
The Cerium LT Hoody has an adjustable hood that frames my face nicely when up, fits well with hats, and does not restrict my range of motion or peripheral view. The one thing I have noticed about the hood is that you have to unzip the collar a little in order to put the hood on and take it off. (It’s possible to do it with the collar zipped all the way up, but is a little bit of a squeeze for the ol’ noggin.)
When I first got the Cerium LT Hoody I was worried that it would be too warm under my insulated Dakine Kaitlin jacket. But I have found that if the temperature is about 15° F, or there are high winds, the Cerium Hoody and Kaitlin jacket are a great combination. On a couple of days in temps below 10° F with 60 mph winds I wore the ultimate cold weather combo—the Kaitlin jacket, Atom LT Hoody and the Cerium LT Hoody—and never got too warm or too cold side-stepping to Alta’s Thirds and during moderately strenuous skiing.
If I wear the Kaitlin and Cerium in temperatures over 25° F, I start getting hot by the end of each run. In those situations I prefer to wear the Atom LT Hoody, which isn’t as warm as the Cerium LT, and the Kaitlin. (I imagine that wearing the Cerium LT under a non-insulated hard shell would work in that case as well, though I didn’t have the opportunity to do so.) For much warmer spring skiing (40° F or higher), I wear either the Kaitlin or the Cerium LT alone.
The Cerium LT Hoody is slightly breathable, but not as much as the Atom LT, which has stretchy Polartec Power Stretch side panels running down the side of the jacket from the underarms. But while the Cerium LT is definitely warmer than the Atom LT, I’ve found that hiking and boot packing inbounds in the Cerium is fine if I unzip the pit zips and the main zipper of my outer layer. Longer tours, however, are still much more comfortable in the Atom than the Cerium.
The Atom LT Hoody is synthetic, and I have always been impressed both by how little water penetrates the material and how quickly it dries. The Cerium LT Hoody uses a combination of synthetic Coreloft and 850-fill European goose down and doesn’t stay quite as dry as the Atom LT, nor does it dry as fast.
When I’m skiing with the Cerium LT below my Dakine Kaitlin jacket, the hem often gets damp, though the moisture never passes through to my base layer. A few times I have gotten caught in the rain with the Cerium Hoody and some of the water beads up on the surface, but the rest looks like it gets absorbed. I haven’t been caught in a downpour in the Cerium LT yet, but it’s safe to say that relying on the down jacket as an outer layer only makes sense in dry conditions.