I HAVE ONE item of Arc’teryx outdoor apparel in my cupboard: a very well used Theta AR jacket I bought 10 years ago. The Canadian company is renowned for its high-end technical outdoor clothing – and the high prices of its kit reflect that, which is one of the reasons I still just own the Theta AR.
When I bought the Theta AR, I thought the then-asking price was crazy but, in the decade since (and besides renewing the DWR treatment a couple of times), that initial outlay has been paid back in spades with an outer shell that has performed perfectly whether I have been ice climbing, mountaineering, hiking or camping. Its quality (high stitch count, robust fabrics), breadth of capability in its technical design, and bulletproof construction (I couldn’t count the number of times I have scraped up against trees, rocks, ice, etc.) leave me with little doubt there are many years of reliable service still to come, more than paying back my initial investment.
The Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody can be folded and packed into a small bag. (Photo credit: Courtesy Arc'teryx.
So when this Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody arrived at the AG Outdoor office I was intrigued to see if the brand’s product still offered that level of high performance. The Cerium LT Hoody is a slimmish shape (to maximise warmth retention) and is lightweight, hence the LT moniker (it weighs 275g), but it’s packed with technical innovation. The fill is a combination of synthetic insulation (Coreloft) and 850-fill goose-down to provide warmth. The reason for using the Coreloft is simple: this synthetic insulation will still retain warmth when wet and its positioned in areas of the jacket – underarms, shoulders, cuffs – that are more likely to get damp/wet in snowy or inclement conditions. Yep, it is clever stuff. The goosedown fill is used for the sleeves and the jacket middle that covers your torso for optimum warmth retention.
The jacket is extremely comfortable to wear and, impressively, allows plenty of freedom of movement thanks to what Arc’teryx dubs a “three-part sleeve” – basically a sleeve featuring plenty of articulation so it doesn’t ride up on your torso when you are reaching above your head, for example. The outer shell features a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment over the ripstop nylon outer fabric while retaining breathability. I found it fine for light showers (it’s not meant to be a fully waterproof outer shell) in terms of not getting damp, and even under high exertion levels it never felt too clammy/sweaty.
The chin-guard and hood ensure maximum toastiness. (Photo credit: Courtesy Arc'teryx)
The hood is easy to adjust while the pockets are (for this writer’s large hands) plenty deep enough to keep your hands warm. All the jacket’s zips are easy to operate and once you’ve zipped up the front to the chin-guard and put the hood on, it is very, very warm. So far the Cerium LT Hoody has been used mainly for cold and windy winter days but, at the time of writing, it is about to be put to use in a slightly foreign environment compared to its British Columbia, Canada origins. An upcoming seven-day Northern Territory desert camping expedition will provide the opportunity to test its warmth retaining capabilities in early morning sub-zero outback temperatures, and there will be plenty of abrasive sand around to test its durability. I am, however, pretty sure it will be up to the task: the tight stitching and excellent finish on this jacket gives me loads of confidence, so look forward to a long-term update on the Cerium LT hoody in a future issue.
RRP $530 www.arcteryx.com
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