The Atom LT is a well-made jacket that utilizes a hybrid design to mix ventilation with durability. It doesn’t excel in either category, but it still has plenty of traits for light and rough environments.
- Where to buy: EVO, Amazon, REI
- Best for: Moderate and mild conditions. Skiers who need flexibility will appreciate it too.
- Pros: This jacket is well-ventilated thanks to special side vents. It’s also quite flexible to the point where it works for skiing, hiking, and bouldering. The hood and wrist cuffs are tight, there are many color options, and it has great fleece-lined pockets for extra storage.
- Cons: The Atom comes in at a higher price point than a lot of the competition. It also doesn’t have the best water resistance and could be more durable.
- Alternatives: RAB Xenon, Marmot Tullus, Refuge Hoody
Why Trust Me
I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent a lot of time researching this jacket, talking to people who used it, and analyzing the way it held up on the slopes.
The Atom LT is a well-respected clothing item from a well-respected brand. The stylish jacket, which comes in many different colors, manages to balance warmth and breathability perfectly. It’s definitely not for more casual skiers due to the cost, but the Coreloft insulation provides a lot of extra warmth, and there are many useful features. Those then combine with the flexibility to create a good mid-layer or outer layer based on your conditions.
Weight and Feel
The Atom LT is a modestly sized jacket. It comes in at 14.6 ounces, which is about average, but it doesn’t pack down as well as similar models. Though it can compress, I would have liked it to wrap up into one of its pockets. Without that feature, it can be a bit annoying to try and pack if you need to shed layers.
Luckily, that doesn’t matter as much due to the Atom LT’s feel. It’s a comfortable item that sheds enough weight that you won’t have to take it off during tough treks. The interior is quite soft too. That works with a pleasant fit and ventilation to ensure you’re never too uncomfortable.
Good Weight, Mixed Protection
Coming in right after comfort is durability. The Atom LT is not a light jacket, but it’s certainly not heavy. Even so, I found that it has plenty of warmth thanks to Arc’teryx’s special Coreloft insulation. That feature adds a lot to the general feel and ensures your torso never gets too frozen.
However, though I greatly enjoy the Atom’s interior warmth, I can’t say the same about its water resistance. This jacket serves much better as a mid-layer than an outer one. That’s mainly because it’s breathable much more than it is waterproof. The DWR treatment will help in mild conditions, but if things get heavy the jacket will absorb moisture quite quickly. It’s great under a shell, but I wouldn’t want to wear it standalone during a storm.
The reason the Atom doesn’t hold up to the elements is the same reason it’s so good for skiers who run hot. It has truly impressive breathability. The jacket comes equipped with a special Tyono fabric that manages to let in air without being too weak or flimsy. It’s flexible, fits well, and allows for excellent ventilation. I would highly recommend this jacket on light or mild weather. It’s perfect for calm environments as well.
If there’s one area I always find Arc’teryx to succeed in, it’s putting extra features on their clothing items. That’s definitely the case with the Atom, which comes with many extra characteristics that work together to enhance the overall design.
First, it has streamlined elastic cuffs. Each one fits tight against your skin to keep you protected from the cold. That adds to the overall comfort and is yet another way it focuses on keeping you dry. That is then backed up with the adjustable hood with a single cord lock. The zipper is easy to operate and locks everything up nicely.
I am also a big fan of the two hand pockets. Each one comes with a soft microfleece, which makes things warm, and they have a lot of room, so you never have to worry about trying to fit your gloved hands inside. The chest pocket is large, if not a bit low, and the hem can be cinched with the special cord lock.
Price and Value
The Atom LT costs a bit more than some skiers may be willing to pay, but its price point is not unheard of in ski hoody models. There are many excellent features, and the breathable shell allows the Atom to work as a stand alone jacket as well as part of a full clothing ensemble. That’s why, despite the high price, I think you’re getting quite a lot. The value is there if you’re willing to pay for a few extra premium traits.
What I Like
This jacket is on the lighter side and quite flexible, two traits that I’m always partial to. Comfort is extremely important to me when choosing a ski jacket, and being able to wear something that doesn’t weigh you down is a nice bonus. You also get a decent amount of durability through the hybrid design.
Something else worthy of special mention is the style. Arc’teryx makes attractive jackets, and the Atom matches that style. The soft matte finish works with the athletic cut to give you something you can wear both on and off the slopes. There are eight different colors, which means you can perfectly sync this up with your other gear if you so wish.
What I Dislike
If there’s one aspect I don’t like about the Atom LT it’s the water resistance. The DWR coating doesn’t hold up as well I would have hoped, which means you’re going to experience some leakage over time. This isn’t the jacket I would ride out into a blizzard.
An issue with that lack of water resistance is the jacket does cost quite a bit, especially when compared to budget options. As mentioned, I don’t have an issue with the model from a value standpoint. I just would have wanted a bit better construction for the extra money.
As interesting as the Atom LT is, it doesn’t come cheap. If you’re searching for something a bit easier on the wallet, or a jacket that has a similar feel but alternate design, these work well:
- RAB Xenon – An affordable jacket with a lightweight construction, the Xenon is an item for skiers that don’t want to be weighed down. It does a good job of repelling water and offers decent weather resistance despite its flexible shell. It’s also sleek and does a great job of keeping the wind off your body.
- Marmot Tullus – The Tullus is a jacket that sits in the same price range as the Atom but offers something a bit different. I like this option because of the puffer design that offers protection whether you’re walking, skiing, or hiking uphill. It’s warm and comes with zippered pockets. There are also a few colors to back up the unique style.
- Refuge Hoody – This option from Outdoor Research is a great jacket that’s on the cheaper side of the spectrum. It is definitely bulky, and the weight may be a problem for backcountry explorers. However, it’s also incredibly warm and extremely comfortable. It has a slick look, and the insulation will keep you cozy at all times.
Can this jacket be worn when not skiing?
Yes, the Atom LT comes in a wide range of colors that make it a great option for wearing around town.
Is this waterproof?
Though the Atom comes with DWR coating, it’s much better suited for calm weather and won’t hold up in rougher conditions.
What is this jacket’s weight?
This model weighs in at 14.6 ounces.
Does this jacket have a lot of pocket space?
Yes, there are three pockets and they all have plenty of room for both your hands or other items.
There’s no doubt that the Atom LT is a reliable jacket. The hybrid construction, which seeks to strike a balance between durability and ventilation, does a solid job. However, it definitely needs more in the waterproof department than the DWR coating offers. The stretch panels let out heat effectively, and the overall material does a good job of keeping wind and cold off your skin.
You’re going to lose some general durability with this model, but it still gets the job done. That’s especially true if you use it as a mid-layer. There’s a ton of versatility with this model, and that’s perhaps the best reason to get it. It offers solid value, especially if you need something for easier rides or warmer weather.
Joseph Scalise is an avid writer, editor, and snow sports enthusiast who loves to spend his time outdoors. He began his love of writing early on in life and continued to pursue it as he grew older. While his time behind the computer doesn’t get him into the wild unknown as much as he would like, he never misses a chance to head up (or down) a mountain, across a river, or through a lush forest. When he’s not planning new trips, you can always find him typing away on his next project.