Outbound Collective logo

The Best Jacket I've Ever Owned

The Arc'teryx Atom LT is the perfect jacket. A go-to layer for every adventure.

By: Kyle Frost + Save to a List

Sometime around 5 or 6 years ago, I upgraded from a cheap REI synthetic insulated jacket (serviceable, but not amazing) to the Arcteryx Atom LT. Since then, I can't think of a single piece of gear that has gotten more use than my Atom. It breathes incredibly well, it's super comfortable, and I've been just at home in it on breezy summer days as in the middle of winter. The hood fits nicely over a climbing helmet, and the gusseted underarms mean I've never lacked mobility. Perhaps my favorite thing about the Atom LT is the slim, athletic cut; it doesn't add the bulk that many insulated jackets do. 

Now, I own A LOT of insulated jackets of various fillweights/cuts/styles. Probably more than I should. But year-round, I grab the Atom more than any other, whether to wear around town, as a mid-layer, or as a 'just in case' lightweight jacket while romping around the Rockies in the summer. It's the most versatile thing I own.

Sure, it's a $250 jacket. But as far as outdoor gear goes, it has been one of the best investments I've made. Not only has it held up to an incredible amount of abuse, but it has gotten far more use than most of my other gear. 

Here's a few of the varied conditions it's been subject to over the years: 

Winter camping trips in Yosemite.

Backpacking trips on the always unpredictable Lost Coast.

Hiking a 14er on the trip to Colorado that made me decide to move here.

The Atom LT was the only insulated jacket I brought for spending a month hiking and backpacking in New Zealand. 

Summer alpine climbing in the Wind River Range, Wyoming. It's light enough to not overheat while climbing, but warm enough to block those alpine breezes.

Summer hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park with the madre.

Don't believe me? Check out the bazillion positive reviews on Backcountry. This is one purchase you'll never regret.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


A Full Guide to Running

The Outbound Collective

Car Camping Tips for Beginners

Adriana Garcia

Review: Sierra Designs Women’s Tepona Wind Jacket

Bethany Stivers

The Chaco Z/1 Classic Sandal needs to be in your go-to beach gear list.

Shea Donavan

Review: Darn Tough Hiking Socks

Ben Dawson