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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Arc'Teryx Atom SV parka?

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"

Technical Features

•Moisture-resistant outer face fabric
•Compressible and packable
•Wind resistant

•DWR finish (Durable Water Repellent) helps bead water from fabric surface
•Tricot-lined underarms to enhance breathability

•Articulated elbows
•Gusseted underarms

Hood Configuration
•Insulated hood

Pocket Configuration
•Internal chest pocket
•Two hand pockets

Zippers & Fly Configuration
•Full front zip with wind flap

Cuff & Sleeves Configuration
•Stretch-woven cuffs

Hem 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 ;-).


Max said...

Hey Dane,

What are your thoughts on the DAS parka? Pretty bombproof, but beefy IMO. Is the Atom SV or Dually an equivalent or better option? How small do they pack down in comparison?



Dane said...

Hi Max, Having used both I've never been a big fan of the DAS...old or new. Lots of reasons but mostly sizing and pattern cut.

DAS is now about the same warmth as the SV but won't pack as small.

Retail to retail the SV is $50 cheaper (rare for Arc'Teryx) and about twice the value of the DAS imo. DAS is likely the most over hyped climbing jacket currently available. You see a lot of them because they make a lot of them and they sell cheap in the off season. Having a large cadre of sponsored and exceptional climbers in them come catalog time never hurts either.

More here on my thoughts on the DAS.

Dane said...

Sorry hit the wrong button before adding this. Bomb proof? All these jackets are pretty bomb proof being sythetics.

Warmth wise it would be the SV, the DAS and the Duelly being the warmest. For fit and being able to easily climb in them used as a layering piece the Arcteyx stuff is light years ahead imo.

Julian said...

What fluke of economics allowed the Atom line to completely buck Arc'teryx's usual price point?

And on a more serious note, Dane how would you describe the sizing of this jacket, and in particular, the best way to size if using it as a belay jacket (one or more layers anticipated underneath)? For reference, I've only been able to try on the Atom LT but there a large is somewhat form-fitting while an XL allows for extra room.

Dane said...

Cost? It does make you wonder doesn't it ;-) The majority of the Duelly features and 1/2 the price.

I use a tight Large in the Atom Lt for climbing (single layer under it) and a XL in the SV as a belay jacket to go over the LT and a Nano puff if required. The XL SV is a bit bigger and made to take layers under it. The pattern on the on the LT isn't (tighter fit) is my thought on it.

I have both Large and XL LTs and seldom use the XL LT. The SV on the other hand is a perfect layering piece in the XL. But it is not as huge as the Duelly in a XL and a bit bigger than the form fitting LT patterns.

Max said...

Thanks for this review. I was looking for a new jacket and Arc'teryx is my first choice when it comes to outdoor-equipment. The prices maybe are high for some people, but I think that Arc'teryx products are worth this price.

The Atom SV Parka seems like a really good choice in my case, I guess I'll give it a try. Thanks again :)

Travis said...

You were definitely right on about this piece. I have been using my Atom Lt for about a year now and it has been awesome for climbing, but too clod for belay duty. The Atom SV is the best belay jacket that I think I have ever used. Combined with the Atom LT I stay nice and toasty and it allows me to leave my old Cloudveil Enclosure jacket at home. A 12oz weight difference, big deal on a steep route. Thanks for the recommendation.

Dane said...

Travis, glad you like it. For the poor guys still thinking the Duelly is the sheet. Aton lt and SV are an amazingly good combo and much more versital.

The SV was a missing link for Arcteryx.

arcteryx jackets said...

Great article! Thank you for sharing this. Keep it up!

Walker said...

Dane, thank you for your excellent, detailed real-use reviews. I'm looking to combine two puffy jackets for a more versatile system than 1 heavy belay jacket, and I often use my jackets for backpacking as well. Would you still recommend the current Atom SV over other jackets in its class and is this upcoming season's model changed in any way? Would you recommend the Atom LT or the Rab Xenon for layering under it if primarily for backpacking/hiking use? Finally would you recommend a down insulation jacket instead of the Atom LT or Xenon for wearing under the Atom SV, so that moisture could be pushed out of the down and into and out of the Atom SV? Sincerely appreciate your thoughts.

Dane said...

SV is still a very good jacket.

I never layer down under a synthetic in clothing. They just get wet there IMO. I have used a synthetic bag over a down bag many times. Works great in that situation but it is a totally differnt requirement and use.

Take a look here for what I like and use:

Walker said...

Thank you for the quick reply Dane. That's what I thought. A climber I know had recommend down inside, synthetic outside, for sleeping bags + jackets. However, for sleep system, it makes sense to use a down inner bag and synthetic outer. With a jacket, higher exertion levels could quickly wet and compress down.

Walker said...

Do you still recommend the Atom SV as the best light belay jacket in its weight class/category? Are there any other jackets now as good?

Dane said...

Look here for the newest versions..

Tim Brose said...

I sold my DAS and picked up a RAB Generator Alpine last winter. Now I have an Atom SV. Great jacket(s).
I don't plan on going back to the DAS.