I had the opportunity (was paid) to stand around in the cold yesterday and into last night. I just happened to have numerous layering pieces and jackets in my truck, and since I wasn't in charge of anything, I figured it was a good chance to do a little experimenting with outerwear and see which pieces worked the best when standing stationary. The temperature was in the mid 40's when I started, (around 6:00 pm) and falling steady with a light wind. For a base layer I wore an Icebreaker Merino long sleeve shirt and over that I wore a mid-weight polyester blend top. I wore just those two layers for about an hour, until I started shivering just a little. I grabbed an old Polartec fleece jacket that was Army issue from around 2004. It was a heavy weight jacket, but very simple in design with no technical features to speak of. After 30 minutes of wearing it, I had warmed up a little bit, but was still shivering just a little and by now the temperature was in the mid-high 30's. The traditional fleece jacket had almost no impact on the wind, which cut right through the fabric. Next I grabbed my Arc Teryx Atom SV hoody. This is an insulated jacket that Arc Teryx describes as "a super-warm mid layer on frigid days or as an outer layer while hanging out in camp". The latter would describe my current conditions. The outer fabric of the Atom SV is Gossamera (a light and breathable stretch nylon fabric that is both water and wind resistant) while the insulation is Coreloft (a polyester fibre that is thermally efficient, very compressible and has excellent loft retention even when wet). I put the jacket on and zipped it all the way up. Almost instantly I stopped shivering and within minutes I actually felt my temperature start to equal out and I felt warmer, which is very difficult to achieve once you have become chilled in the outdoors. The Atom SV blocked the wind effectively and the Coreloft insulation is amazingly warm and light.
Easy to grade this test, the Arc Teryx Atom SV crushes the traditional fleece jacket.
Check out Arc Teryx's website for more info and customer reviews:
Check it out, and get out and have fun.
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