The Arcteryx Atom LT Vest provides core warmth and can be worn either as a mid or outer layer depending on the conditions and activity. When used as a outerlayer and the weather takes a turn for the worst then a shell jacket over the top will be a perfect, albeit a very warm combination.
The LT Vest uses Coreloft insulation, a lightweight synthetic insulation that is very compressible and light but expands very quickly when unpacked. Coreloft is made up of thicker fibres than other leading insulation brands, which means it will not penetrate the outer fabric.
The outer fabric is a lightweight Ripstop Nylon that has a DWR treatment on the face, providing good water repellency and wind resistance. The side panels are Polartec Power Stretch with a Hardface technology, improving durability and weather resistance of the fabric. It is these Power Stretch panels that provide this vest with exceptional levels of breathability and mobility, but if it gets really cold or you slow down or stop it will be these areas where you will feel the cold first.
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Excellent gillet, very warm, wind proof, lightweight, packable, and a very good price!
My first insulated vest and I could not be more pleased. Easy to wear (very light and fabulous fit) and excellent at keeping the chill at bay whilst not getting too hot and sweaty. Not too short like many vests appear to be either. Build quality is excellent; I can see this being used for many years to come. Also great service from Facewest - good price for product (although it is not exactly cheap, you do get what you pay for) and quick dispatch.
I have used this both as a mid layer and as a single insulation piece over a t-shirt. It has been highly useful in both roles. The one thing I would say is that its strength is also potentially its weakness: if you are thinking of buying it, you should be aware that it is not the warmest insulated vest out there - it is not really designed to be (the stretchy side panels are evidence of that). What it is, however, is a lightweight, low bulk, comfortable layer that provides a useful boost to warmth and is perfect to wear whilst active - or slip on when stopped.
When you first get this vest out of the bag, you may worry how warm it's going to be. I certainly did. It's a very impressive bit of kit though, and really keeps the warmth in. I've been wearing it as a mid-layer, and it's fit and light weight make it extremely comfortable under my waterproof or soft shell.
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