After writing down my "best" list for 2010/2011 I realised a few days later that I hadn't written about the majority of items on that list. So among other things I am playing catch up on that list. I figure if it is good enough to be on that list and I actually use it, it is worth the effort of a blog. This jacket is well worth some additional exposure. It was my main go to belay parka in Chamonix this winter. And I had several well thought out choices I could and did use in addition to the Atom SV. But the most often used jacket for the cold weather we climbed in during Feb and early March the Atom SV was my outer insulation. Twice on cold bivy's I did use the SV as a mid layer under a Brooks Range Cirro. The Cirro I'll write more about later.
Below: Happy to be tucked away in the in the Midi loo under a few layers. SAG Merion wool hoody, Patagonia R1 Hoody, Atom LT, Patagonia Nano Puff pull ove, Atom SV, Merino wool hat and a Brooks Range Cirro over it all. Just enough in this case to keep me happy. But it was "just enough".
Here is the official spiel:
"Significantly warmer and more protective than a fleece jacket, this insulated hoody is breathable enough to be used as a super warm mid-layer on frigid days and protective enough to be an outer layer while belaying or hanging out at camp. An extra thick dose of synthetic Coreloft™ insulates but packs small, and a light tricot underarm panel enhances breathability. Warm insulated Coreloft™ jacket with an insulated hood; Ideal for use as a super-warm mid-layer in cold conditions, or as a stand-alone piece in warmer conditions"
•Moisture-resistant outer face fabric
•Compressible and packable
•DWR finish (Durable Water Repellent) helps bead water from fabric surface
•Tricot-lined underarms to enhance breathability
•Internal chest pocket
•Two hand pockets
Zippers & Fly Configuration
•Full front zip with wind flap
Cuff & Sleeves Configuration
•Drop back hem
•Adjustable hem drawcord
For me it helps to place the Atom SV in the Arc'Teryx range of insulated pieces. The SV is a real jacket compared to the sweater weight and more breathable Atom LT Hoody. But the SV is a lighter weight and more likely used lwt belay jacket version of the Arc'Teryx Duelly. The Duelly is a full blow belay/bivy jacket more suitable for Spring in Alaska imo but now with the SV it is also a little dated. Dated because the SV has many of the Duelly's best design features and a better designed hood for helmet use. But the SV is clearly not as warm as a Duelly.
Happy to be out climbing, up high, mid winter, long after dark?...."Not!"
I used the Atom Lt on a regular basis as a mid layer under the Atom SV. Between the LT and the SV I pretty much had the insulation value of a Duelly with a much more versatile clothing system. But no question there are times I would rather have a Duelly....just hate carrying one. The SV on the other hand is easy for weight and volume in a small pack. No question the best mid weight synthetic insulated climbing jacket I have used to date. Sizing and pattern is perfect for me. It is also the perfect layering pattern to use over a Atom LT or various other layers you might chose. I did get too warm on occasion climbing technical ground while wearing the SV...but I never felt like the jacket was limiting my movement. High praise from me even if I do look like the Great Pumpkin in mine ;-).