Winter is arriving. I’m beginning to remember my layering problem. What should I bring on my next adventure? What’s the weather like? Will it be cold? Warm? Wet? If you are as indecisive as me, with the attitude of “better safe than sorry (cold),” you probably over-pack a bit as well. However, I am happy to say that I have found a layer helps me with my bulky baggage issues.
Let me introduce you to the Arc’teryx Atom SL Hoody — hands down the best layer I’ve ever owned. Since I have gotten my hands on the Atom SL, I have barely taken it off. It’s gone touring, skiing, climbing, hiking, you name it. I’ve also worn this jacket to work, to the bar and I even brought it on my tourist trip to London.
A lot of you might be more familiar with the Arc’teryx Atom LT, which is a warmer variation of the SL. The Atom SL has less insulation, and a lighter face fabric than the LT. The Atom SL is advertised as a late spring, summer or early fall piece that can help you manage temps and comfort. It is a good layer to wear all year around; there are quite a few reasons why.
The jacket is light, thin and packs small (think grapefruit). However, it still offers excellent protection from cold air, chilly winds or shade later in the day. The vest area is padded with puffy material, which helps keep your core warm. This uses Arc’teryx’s Coreloft synthetic insulation, specifically created to be super lightweight and highly compressible — retaining its warmth in humid and moist conditions, but also drying quickly when wet.
The Atom sleeves don’t have puffy insulation, which cuts down on weight and bulk. The underside of the sleeves is made with a fleece-like material that provides breathability.
The jacket is water resistant enough to be protective in light rain, and even with heavier rain the synthetic composition still does a pretty good job at keeping you comfortable. This is achieved using the Tyono 20 shell material with DWR.
It doesn’t stop here. Another feature I appreciate is the slightly longer sleeve on the top of the hand that keeps the wrist area covered. My hands tend to quickly get cold, and with a longer sleeve it is nice to be able to tuck them away whether I’m ski touring or walking in the chilly rain of London. The sleeves help keep my hands comfortable, which helps me feel warmer.
The high side pockets design is a sweet touch as well. They make it possible to actually use the pockets while wearing a pack or harness.
I found that the men’s small size fits me best, as I have a longer torso and wider shoulders than the average female. I love the colors for both men and women, so I don’t feel upset about not fitting into the female sizing.
Arc’teryx, I just have one request — can we, pretty please, get a chest pocket? With that my “jacket” life would be complete.
WildSnow Girl, Julia Dubinina, is a weekend warrior chasing snow in winter and sun in summer. A lover of long tours and steep skin tracks, she explores the Pacific Northwest and beyond. When she is not out adventuring, she is working away at her corporate desk job for a software company to make her next adventure happen.