Arc'teryx Out of its Comfort Zone

Colorado Trip in My Atom LT and Zeta SL

Mihai Head shot
Written By: Mihai Untea 
Floor Associate at Appalachian Outfitters

 

Going into this past fall and current season was quite a challenge for me gear-wise. Towards the end of August, my only warm North Face down jacket just happened to get a huge hole in it (bye, bye feathers) and most of my other cold-weather gear was simply too worn out. I was (and still am) a huge bargain hunter when it comes to buying performance clothes. So, it was no surprise that I would get soaked in even the lightest rainstorm or start to get cold in any temp below 45F.  Enough was enough, something had to change. So, I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy me some top-of-the-line weather gear, and boy oh boy am I glad I did.  I heard a lot about the brand Arc’teryx from my coworkers and customers at Appalachian Outfitters who gave it raving reviews, and after a night of research, a few hundred dollars, and a glass or two of wine I decided on two jackets from Arc’teryx. I picked up the lightweight and warm Atom LT hoody and their durable Zeta SL waterproof rain jacket, and I have not looked back since.

For starters, the Atom LT Hoody jacket was supposed to be a casual jacket that I would wear on some colder fall days and would stow away once the more serious cold winter temps rolled in.  The Atom offers a light, but versatile synthetic insulation, which is great since even if it ends up getting wet, it will still retain its warmth unlike other lightweight down coats. I couldn’t have underestimated this jacket any more than I did, because even now as I write this, I am still using my Atom LT as one of my main winter jackets for commutes or short hikes in the snow and I am kept fairly warm.  What I love most about this jacket, aside from its’ slim and fashionable fit, is the fact that it provides me with enough warmth to hike in 30F temps without being cold. However, it’s not so insulated as other down jackets are to where I end up sweating puddles after even the lightest exertion on the trail.  On rainy or windier days, my Atom LT fits perfectly underneath my Zeta SL rain jacket for maximum protection.  Like seriously, I feel like I could be in the middle of a typhoon and still stay warm and dry when wearing these two! 

My Zeta SL has got to be one of the most durable and high-performance jackets that I have ever owned.  Its GORE-TEX lining and lightweight/flexible fabric make it a rain/wind shell that not only performs superbly, but also looks good.  What better way to put these to the test than to bring them with me on my ski trip out in Breckenridge, Colorado.    While snowboarding, I used my Atom LT as a mid-layer and my Zeta as the outer shell and I was pleasantly surprised that I was kept dry and warm during the whole time being in 30F temps at 12,000ft zipping down the mountain!  All in all, I would absolutely recommend either of these jackets to anyone looking for high-performance gear that will last, but that also fits and looks good on the wearer. I’ve been avid customer of Arc’Teryx ever since this purchase, owning a few of their base layer shirts and even looking into buying a second Atom LT since they are officially my new favorite cold-weather mid-layer.