I’ve been running mostly in my lululemon insulated jackets for years, but as those have worn out, I decided to branch out. The Atom hoody is one of Arc’teryx’s most popular, do-everything styles, and everyone I know seems to have one. Like a true social creature, I had to give it a try too. I bought it to use for winter running, hiking, and backpacking.
Atom Hoody Sizing and Fit
I’m wearing a size XS. I’m typically an XXS or XS in jackets and tops, depending on the brand and availability. I could probably fit either size in the Atom, but for this type of jacket, I decided to go with looser. The fit through the body is relaxed, but the arms are especially roomy. I have pretty narrow shoulders, so those with average or broader shoulders may fill out the arms a bit better.
I can’t lie to you friends, it’s not the most flattering jacket I own–it’s got some light Michelin Man vibes going. If I’d sized down, it probably would be more tailored through the body, though the poofy sleeves would probably be about the same. But, I’m willing to compromise on the fit being less than flattering for its other functional wins.
I primarily wear this jacket as my outermost layer, but it’s billed as a mid-layer. For use as a mid-layer, I’d personally prefer the version without the hood for less bulk.
The sleeves have a tight-fitting cuff with minimal stretch. This is great for locking in warmth, but can be a pain when I need to access my Garmin watch. On runs, I typically pull the cuff back behind my Garmin before I start so I can view my watch without hassling with sleeves in the middle of the run. There are no thumbholes on the cuffs.
The sides have a non-insulated panel to help with breathability. The neck and hood are both well-insulated to help lock in heat in those key areas. There’s also a toggle at the back of the head to cinch down the fit around the head–it’s un-cinched in the photo below with the hood raised.
There are two outside zip pockets plus one inner zip pocket at the left chest. The inside of the jacket is lined with a terry-like material that isn’t quite fleecy but isn’t fully slick. There’s also a drawstring at the bottom hem to cinch down in case of severe conditions.
Warmth and Functionality
For the warmth it offers, this jacket is impressively lightweight. I was backpacking in the Grand Canyon last month, where weight savings are crucial but temperature swings through the trip were more than 50 degrees (F). These conditions can be difficult to pack for, but this was the only jacket I needed. It was perfect for both nights at camp and those cold early morning starts. The jacket held up well even in tough desert conditions–it didn’t show any signs of wear from my backpack or plant branches from the trip.
As another example of how this jacket performs in the wild, I wore this jacket on a long day hike in the Eastern Sierras. I hiked through light to medium rain for about 3 hours. Although I packed a rain shell, I never needed to put it on. The water-resistant finish worked beautifully for me, with the rain beading nicely off the jacket well, as you can see in the photo. I climbed to elevations well over 10,000 feet where the temps dropped to the 40s or lower. Even without the sun to warm me, the insulation kept me plenty warm.
For me, this jacket shines in temperature ranges from the 20s to the 40s (F). The insulation is fully synthetic, making this a solid option for those who prefer to avoid down materials.
Overall, this jacket has some imperfections, but the performance is hard to beat. Its strong suits are its impressive warmth-to-weight ratio and durability. Where it falls a little bit short is the less-than-flattering fit, at least for my body type.
You can find the best selection in the Atom on Arc’teryx’s website, where it’s priced at $260. It’s also available without the hood for $240. It’s not the cheapest jacket on the market, but is comparably priced versus other high-performance insulated styles. Arc’teryx almost always has great colors available, too.
If you’re looking to save money, check out Arc’teryx’s ReGear platform, where they sell authentic preowned gear for significant savings. As of this writing, there are a couple Atoms available for $124. You may have to be patient to find your size, so check back often.