Arc’teryx Atom SL Hoody Review

The Arc’teryx Atom SL Hoody is a pretty sweet mid-layer garment that can serve you well on the ski slopes or during a night out in the cold. It’s extremely comfortable, but also provides you with a DWR finish for some extra waterproofness and weather resistance. It’s expensive for a mid, but comes backed by the quality materials and excellent construction that you would expect from Arc’teryx.

Quick Summary

  • Where to buy: Amazon, EVO, Backcountry
  • Best for: This is a comfortable, reliable, and versatile jacket that’s best for both men and women skiers who find themselves in different types of skiing situations, locations, and environments throughout the season.
  • Pros: Lightweight and comfortable. An excellent mid-layer that can be used as an outer layer when conditions allow. Extremely versatile in application and comes from a trusted brand. It has decent weather resistance for a mid-layer as well.
  • Cons: Expensive for a mid-layer. Sleeves can run a little short if you have long limbs.
  • Alternatives: Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody, Patagonia Nano Puff Hoodie, Flylow Calypso Jacket

Why Trust Me

I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I have skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I spent time heavily researching the Arc’teryx Atom SL Hoody, and below is my detailed review.

Detailed Review

The Atom SL is a high-quality hood that’s built to handle any sort of winter activity you might find yourself in. It’s comfortable and lightweight, two aspects that make it a great candidate for backcountry excursions. It also offers decent weather protection in terms of water and wind resistance as well. I wouldn’t use it as an outer layer when it’s snowing, but this hoody is versatile and dependable in all sorts of situations.

Warmth and Weather

This isn’t a mid-layer you should exclusively buy with warmth in mind. It’s simply too lightweight and doesn’t hold up in extremely cold environments. When paired with a good shell and base layer, the Atom SL can be highly effective and provide you with another excellent layer of insulation to keep you warm. I wouldn’t recommend it for its insulation or warmth alone.

That’s not to say it doesn’t provide any warmth at all. The jacket comes with 40 grams of synthetic insulation that will keep you warm when the weather isn’t too bad or you’re working hard in the backcountry. This insulation is pretty compact, and an impressive addition that doesn’t really bulk up the jacket at all. If you’re skiing in warmer weather, skinning on a nice day, or jogging in the winter, it offers plenty of warmth.

You wouldn’t expect too much weather resistance out of a mid-layer, as they are meant to sit underneath a shell. However, the Atom SL delivers quite a bit of decent weather protection. That makes it versatile enough to use as an outer layer when conditions are right. The shell is treated with DWR coating that’s effective and will keep smaller amounts of snow and even rain at bay.

Comfort and Fit

This hoody is very comfortable. It has a soft, free-flowing design that caters well to any skier who appreciates performance but wants superior comfort right alongside it. It also has a soft knit polyester on the inside that moves with your body without causing any friction.

The jacket has a more slim-fitting design than you first might think. Even so, despite the tighter fit it moves with you every step of the way. You aren’t going to notice this jacket when it’s on, and that’s always a great aspect when it comes to general comfort.

This hoody sits nicely over your torso and down across your waistline. I like the fact that it isn’t too short at the waist and sits below the belt line as well. That adds another degree of warmth by keeping drafts from creeping up your backside. It feels nice too. The sleeves can be a little short if you have longer arms, but other than that, the fit is pretty spot on.

Construction and Style

The Atom SL features a Tyono 20 face fabric that’s made out of 100 percent nylon. That material is stretchy and coated with DWR finish to provide both extra movement and protection from the elements. You also get an inner layer that uses a combination of polyester and elastane to add to the comfort as well. This material comes with odor-repellent properties too, which is a nice touch.

If you’re familiar with any other Arc’teryx garments, this hoody has a similar style. It’s available in a few different colors, all of which feature a plain-but-sleek look that will seamlessly blend into the rest of your skiing outfit. It’s a slimmer fit, which might not be preferred for some, but that doesn’t make it too tight. It’s a stylish mid-layer hoody that’s not too in your face.

Additional Features

The Atom SL has a few additional features that are worth mentioning. You get an adjustable hem cord that allows you to cinch things down tight and block out wind and snow. Two zippered hand pockets on the front can keep your hands warm in a pinch or store small items on the go. A StormHood is attached and adds another layer of weather protection without being too bulky or unnecessary.

You aren’t going to get a ton of additional features with a good mid layer. They are more designed to blend in. However, the extras on this hoody are effective and nice, without being unnecessary. Arc’teryx did a good job of including what you might want or need without overdoing it.

Price and Value

Arc’teryx is an expensive brand, and this hoody is on the expensive side for a mid-layer. However, I still give it a good to even great value because of how well it’s built, the comfort it provides, and its high-performance characteristics. This hoody can last for years and is a great investment that will allow you to explore all sorts of outdoor adventures.

What I Like

The Atom SL Hoody is a high-quality garment that’s a good option for any skier. I like the fact that it comes in cuts for both men and women. It gives you the option to choose what’s best for your skiing style and provides enough variation without seeming like too much. I also like the simple style. The jacket is a sleek little hoody that makes for a great winter companion.

The jacket’s lightweight nature is also impressive, mainly because it still offers solid protection from the elements. It can be hard to find a lighter model that offers reliable waterproofing, but you can expect the Atom SL to keep you dry in all but the worst storms. I still wouldn’t wear it as my only shell if serious snow is in the forecast, but for light storms it certainly holds up.

I also like the Atom SL’s comfort and versatility. It has a nice fit and soft feel that will move with you. It’s also a bit stretchy, which is great when you’re skiing really hard or being active in any other endeavor. All of the things I like about the hoody combine to make it versatile enough for all sorts of outdoor applications. It’s a great skiing mid-layer, but can also be used for just about any other outdoor activity you pursue.

What I Don’t Like

There isn’t much I dislike about the Atom SL. It’s expensive for a mid-layer, but it’s not so ridiculously over-priced that it’s unapproachable. If you find it on sale, you can get a serious deal that will give you stand-out performance season after season. However, the higher price may well keep it out of the budget of the everyday skier, especially those who are getting their own equipment for the first time.

The only other thing I consider as a downside is the somewhat shorter sleeves. They don’t really ride up too much, but you will want to pair the jacket with gloves that have decent wrist cuffs in order to avoid a gap between your hands and arms. If you’re wearing a shell, this probably isn’t too much of an issue. However, when used on it’s own the arms might slide up a bit.

The Alternatives

There are a lot of effective and versatile mid-layers out on the market. If you want to check out an alternative option to the Arc’teryx Atom SL, here are some other recommended hoodies and light jackets:

  • Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody This is a heavier hoody that’s similar to the Atom SL in a lot of ways. You still get a lot of comfort and versatility, but this comes with additional insulation for added warmth. This hoody has good ventilation too and is built to last. It’s similarly priced to the Atom SL, making it great for anyone who wants extra warmth.
  • Patagonia Nano Puff Hoodie The Nano Puff is another great mid-layer option. It’s versatile and effective in a wide range of situations and can function as both a mid or outer layer if conditions aren’t too bad. I would say this hoody is warmer overall than the Atom SL, but not quite as versatile due to its bulk.
  • Flylow Calypso Jacket If you’re looking for a more stylish model that still makes for an excellent mid-layer, the Calypso has you covered. The jacket provides decent warmth and plenty of weather protection. It also looks great and works well for when you’re headed out on the town after a long day of skiing.

FAQs

What is the difference between the women’s and men’s versions of this hoody?
Mainly just sizing. The women’s options have a few smaller sizes and the men’s goes up to larger sizes. They do have a bit of a different cut between the two, but it’s not all that drastic.

Does the Atom SL Hoody have a warranty?
Yes. This hoody comes with a limited lifetime warranty that’s backed by a reputable brand. It’s good for manufacturer’s defects and a variety of other small issues.

Can this hoody be worn as a ski jacket?
I wouldn’t recommend it as your only outer layer. The hoody is warm enough to be used on lighter days, but needs to be used with a shell on really cold ones.

Final Verdict

The Arc’Teryx Atom SL Hoody is a high-quality mid-layer that serves as an effective option for just about any skier. It’s versatile in application due to its lightweight nature and above-average warmth, and has solid weather protection for a mid.

This hoody is also extremely comfortable and can be a good addition to your outdoor wardrobe when you aren’t skiing. It’s on the expensive side, but still comes highly recommended due to its high-end performance.

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