Product Review: Arc’teryx Atom LT

By: Levi Opsatnic

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Whether it’s a vest or jacket, there’s never a wrong time for one of Arc’teryx’s Atom pieces.

It appears as though the fall crispness is here to stay, and the winter weather will be right around the corner. It’s the time of year that you dig through your drawers looking for the perfect piece to get you through the day. Unfortunately, it often seems like every day calls for a slightly different piece. Fortunately, though, Arc’teryx has the one piece that can help you get from the fall set-in to the spring break; they call it the Atom LT.

The Atom LT comes in a variety of cuts to suit your preferences and needs. These include a vest, a hoodless version, and the oh-so-popular hooded variety.  For me, and most people I know, it’s all about the hood. With a somewhat athletic cut and articulated elbows, this piece fits like your favorite hoodie, yet it provides so much more protection and comfort. Not only that, but it provides an amazing amount of breathable warmth in a midlayer jacket that is so light you’ll barely notice it under your shell. Now that you know the fit, let’s talk about some of the features.

Arc’teryx uses Coreloft insulation for this piece because it just works. It is a highly packable synthetic insulation. This means that you get warmth when you need it, but without taking up too much space in your pack. I’ve found that Coreloft is also great at helping to regulate your heat. By no means is it down, but it does a great job at keeping you warm without overheating. To aid with this temperature regulation, they added Polartec® Power Stretch® with Hardface® Technology in the underarms and side panels. This equates to a happy body and a better experience over a range of conditions.

The outer of this piece is a quality Tyono™ 20 denier fabric. For a highly durable fabric, it still has a nice hand and feels good to the touch. Not only that, but it also provides a great level of wind resistance. Add to that a DWR treatment that can help shed some inclement weather, and you get a midlayer that you’ll also love wearing as an outerlayer when the conditions allow.

To sum it up, I love the Atom LT. This is the piece that I put on in fall and wear until it’s warm again. I’ve through-hiked Pennsylvania’s Midstate Trail with this piece and was satisfied with the fact that it was there when I needed it and stowed away so compactly that I barely knew it was there when I didn’t need it. I also used it as my nightly pillow. When the snow and cold set in, I use the Atom LT to cross-country ski, snowboard, and alpine ski. On those sunny but cold days, I stuff a shell away and wear just the Atom, and if the weather gets bad, I throw a shell over it and it fits so well that you don’t really know you’re wearing multiple layers. Not only do I use this piece for my adventures, but I also wear it to work, bars, cafes, libraries, and anywhere else that my life may take me. To say that I’m satisfied with this piece may be an understatement. It has surpassed my expectations and will surely continue to do so.

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