It was Arcteryx’s own made Coreloft that arose my interest. I was eager to find out how it compared to the well-known primaloft which has served the outdoor industry as a compliant partner through the years and placed an order for the men’s LT Hoody. It was the jacket I thought best suited for our outdoor needs. The package came some 24 hours later, with thanks to my favourite outdoor store Bergfreunde.de
The first impressions
I held the jacket for the first time in my hands, it was extremely lightweight and durable with just 375 g, yet soft. The jacket is thoroughly padded with the Coreloft insulation, except the sides where the underarms are. This is also the place where you usually perspire most. Polartec® Power Stretch® with Hardface® side panels attached allows excessive hot air to escape and improves breathability during active use. The seams are flat locked, the anatomic hoody fits well over the head, without any laces to adjust. Articulated elbows provide a good fit. The stretch knit cuffs at the wrists ensures heat retention and they are so thin you won’t feel them there. Extremely pleasant while climbing. 2 zip front pockets and 1 inner zip pocket are available to secure the important things. The zippers go right up till the chin, however, there are no little chin pockets to keep the zippers in place.
The first outing with the LT Hoody
it wasn’t anywhere near home when this jacket was first worn. Actually, the first trial took place some 1600km away in a land with an abundance of sun, but temperatures cold enough to freeze during the nights. In some areas, when the Tramuntana strikes, you will have to bear with strong and sometimes chilly gusts of wind. And mind you, climbing on conditions like these can change your mind climbing at all. The other softshell windstopper was left at home, safe and sound. It was 15 degrees and the sun shone, but climbing in this sector meant absolute exposure to strong winds. With this jacket there was just no stopping us. Every feature the jacket had was „used“. The hoody came in handy when winds blew. It was very comfortable to have a hoody instead of using a beanie as it blocked the wind completely out in the neck area making it impossible for the gusts to permeate. The pockets warmed up frozen little fingers while belaying the partner, and the Coreloft kept the torso warm while having a very light jacket that is easy to put on and off again before and after each climb. It was easy to leave the jacket on even while climbing as the elastic cuffs of the arms were so thin and didn’t get in the way. However, the material was too vulnerable for sharp protruding rocks. And so, the Atom LT Hoody became a true partner on windy sunny days.
Not all days were sunny. Just like in life. You’ll have to bear with a few rain drops that seeps through the days. Some longer, some shorter. Because of its DWR impregnation the jacket was a better choice to wear than the water-resistant down jacket we had with us. Coreloft continues insulating even when wet, and it was a joy to see how nicely the water pearls off the jacket during a bust of rainfall. Even after the first wash, the impregnation didn’t wear off.
Some technical features of the Atom LT Hoody jacket
- Polartec® Power Stretch® with Hardface® Technology 88% polyester, 12% spandex, 230 g/m². A four-way stretch fabric that allows for excellent athletic movement and good breathability to maintain comfort. Some products feature Hardface® Technology for a higher level of abrasion resistance.
- Luminara™ Stretch nylon ripstop fabric with wind and water-resistant, air permeable PU coating and DWR finish. A super lightweight and breathable stretch fabric with great water repellency and wind resistance.
- 60 g/m² Coreloft™ insulation
Features I liked:
- very light weight, easy to pack
- robust, yet thin
- nice fitting, also for the night out in the city
- breathable during activity with the stretch polartec fleece panels on the sides
- protects from wind and is water-resistant due to its DWR impregnation
Features that could be better:
- Zippers opens too easily. No zipper locking. After using the jacket a number of times, the zipper opens too easily. I would usually expect a better, heavier quality of the YKK zippers for the price of this jacket
- Expensive. It’s pricier than other primaloft jackets.
- Not for colder days while you’re standing around doing absolutely nothing. An extra fleece layer below should be used if you are a person who freezes easily. For those who loves wearing just a tee below, you will definitely want an extra long sleeve layer inside, unless it’s any 22°c above in the shade. You might like to consider the winter edition of this jacket which definitely has more insulation filling.
- no adjusting laces for the hoody. While the anatomic hoody fits well over the head and helmet, gusts of wind causes the hoody to fall back often making it a pain when you have to do this all the time. Even though this was a feature that would’ve been left out due to weight, this would be pretty useful to have
- No chin protectors for the zippers when you zip up the hoody. Not very comfortable as it scratches. I would also expect an extra piece of fleece in this area to make the jacket really cosy when you zip up.
CORELOFT or Primaloft?
Coreloft is a combination of big and smaller polyester fibre that provides resilience and thermal efficiency, the jacket has 60g Coreloft fill. The Primaloft in the Optimus Jacket has 100g Primaloft One fill, has ultra-fine microfiber forming tiny pockets that trap body heat. Both jackets are similar in composition, are wind and have water repellant properties. Comparing to my North Face Optimus Red Point Jacket, the Primaloft One jacket gave me more confidence as a stand alone in colder conditions. It insulates better while inactive. During activity, the Coreloft jacket won in breathability. So these jackets are both great jackets designed for specific needs. If you are dealing with icy cold conditions, you might want to use an extra layer of insulation e.g. down or fleece garments to keep you cosy warm. Using this jacket as a stand alone while belaying in icy conditions could be the wrong idea but performs well for backcountry skiing, hiking or any sport activity on the move. The Atom LT Hoody is the perfect substitution for a fleece jacket and makes a good mid layer insulation for the outdoors and for the city.