Arc’teryx Atom SL Softshell
In cool conditions, ditch separate insulation and windshell pieces in favor of this light and warm softshell.
Brand: Arc'Teryx Gear Reviews
Model: Atom SL Softshell Jacket
The Atom SL marries lightweight synthetic insulation at the core with air-permeable fleece side panels. The result: It breathed great when we hiked hard with a pack. And we didn’t have to switch layers in variable conditions. “On a sunny, windy hike up Colorado’s 13,301-foot James Peak, I never overheated,” one tester says. “Then it kept me warm all the way back down.”
Its sweet spot is wind protection in the 30s to the 60s (depending on how hard you’re working). In rain, the DWR treatment buys you about 20 minutes of waterproofing.
The low-profile hood adjusts precisely via the single drawcord on the back, and a bendable brim kept sun and light precip off of our faces. Testers were split about the cuffs, which feature a slightly longer cut on the back of the hand and stretchy, wedge-shaped panels to keep them in place: One appreciated how they covered her wrists when reaching and bending, but another found them too loose. “They dropped over my palms when I was dealing with packs and ropes,” he grumbled.
It’s cut close, but the stretchiness makes it comfy as a sweatshirt.
Smushes down to grapefruit size—impressive considering it can replace two different layers in your pack.