Arc'Teryx Proton and Atom Jackets - How are they different?

Arc'Teryx Overview

Arc’teryx are a premium Canadian based outdoors manufacture who where founded in 1989. They are built on the principle of obsessive, precise design and production. They have unique in-house manufacturing and they have worked closely with companies such as Gore-Tex, YKK, Coreloft and many more to push the boundaries of outdoor innovation.

One of the main draws to Arc’teryx for me was the superior fit they offer which is maintained through bigger fitting outer layers to slimmer fitting base layers, this fit style has broader shoulders with three dimensional shaped arms and a slimmer waist line.

They also feature stormhoods on the majority of their waterproof jackets, this allows you to bring the hood close around your head so you can move comfortably when on the hill. Due to their attention to detail and range of premium materials that they use you end up with a high quality, well fitting and high-performance product which will have a long-life expectancy when looked after correctly.

Arc’teryx have a unique labelling system for their products, as well as having waterproofs and insulation, they have product collections like:

Essentials, these are classic Arc’ Teryx products which they believe to be must have. Within these collections you have families like:

Zeta or the Beta, lightweight hiking and trekking waterproofs.

They also have a durability to weight ratio, this is the two letters you get after the products name, for example:

AR: All Round, designed for high weather protection and emphasising versatility for multiple activities.

LT: Lightweight, built with highly durable top performance materials but designed with a streamlined minimalist set of features to provide very lightweight products.

This means there is a huge range to choose from and you should be able to find the right product for what you need.

I would highly recommend an Arc’teryx product to any outdoor enthusiast who spends a large amount of their free time on the hill as you will not be disappointed with how well these products perform in all environments and how comfortable you will be in them.


The Proton product range is a series of Air permeable Synthetic insulated Jackets, Hooded Jackets and Vests. As they are Synthetically insulated using Coreloft™ they can be soaked through and still keep you warm unlike a Down insulated jacket. They are designed to function as warm mid layers in cold wet conditions or outer layers in cold dry conditions. The outer fabric is very tough and therefore can cope with being used while wearing a rucksack.  The jacket also has a versatile hood which is able to be warn over a climbing helmet but can still be cinched down small to keep your head warm if you do not have one on. While they have a water-resistant outer, they are fully air permeable, this means that air is able to pass through the garment. Because of this excess heat is able to escape and high winds are able to cool you. This item comes in two different weights with the AR model being warmer and having an extra chest pocket. Speaking of pockets this product range features two large hand pockets which are great for warmth as well as one or two chest pockets, these are laminated onto the jackets outer fabric and is a great place to keep a compass or snack in. As the Proton is in Arc’teryx Ascent range it has a slimmer climber fit unlike most other insulated jackets, it is also shorter so that it can be used with a climbing harness if needed. I have found that while this works well with climbing gear it also works well with walking kit as you can still get to the hand pockets while using a rucksack waist strap.


I own a Proton AR Hoody and it is hands down the best piece of technical clothing that I own, I am able to start walking on a cold day with just a base layer and this jacket on. As I walk along a ridgeline I am producing enough heat to stop the wind from cooling me down and to keep my body at a comfortable temperature. When I get down into the valley my excess heat escapes and when I stop for lunch, I put my shell on top and trap all heat from escaping. Because of this I do not need to stop to take layers on and off as I walk which makes this a really versatile piece, I cannot recommend this jacket enough for people taking part in high output activities in the colder months of the year. It also has a superb fit and looks great which always helps!

The Atom product range is a series of Synthetic insulated Jackets, Hooded Jackets and Vests. They are Synthetic insulated using Coreloft™, because of this they can be soaked through and still keep you warm unlike a Down insulated jacket. They are designed to function as warm mid layers in cold wet conditions or outer layers in cold dry conditions. While they are not designed to function as outer shells in wet conditions, they have a water-resistant coating applied to the item as well as a good level of wind resistance. Its outer fabric is strong windproof and water resistant allowing this jacket to be warn as an outer jacket while using a rucksack. The Atom range has always been popular due to its warmth, premium fit and smart/minimalist look. The warmer two models come with warm fleece lined hand pockets, these are big enough to also put paperwork and snacks in. These two and pockets have material covering the zips, this gives the jacket a more minimalist looks as if you did not know the pockets where there it would be hard to notice them, this extra material adds water resistance to the pocket when closed. The range also has a smaller internal pocket, which is a great place to keep a phone, as it is easy to hand but also kept warm. This range comes in three different weights with the AR model being the warmest and having the highest weather resistance. The second heaviest is the LT model, this replaces the side panels with smooth faced, air permeable, fleece which allows heat to escape. The SL model is the lightest with a small amount of insulation in but is very packable and makes for a great fleece substitute.


I personally own an item from all three weights as they are really versatile insulated garments which have a premium fit and a good level of weather resistance and use them on every trip I go on. I use the LT hoody the most as it is very warm but also has the fleece panels allowing excess to escape. As the range is in the Arc’teryx essential range it features their regular fit allowing you to wear other mid layers under it to increase warmth, but also is a little longer on the body. I would highly recommend this range to anyone who is interested in a warm versatile jacket which can be used in all weather conditions comfortably.

James from our Taunton store is a keen walker, skier and runner and gets out as much as he can. He has completed the Ten Tors Event multiple times, as well as the National Three Peaks Challenge and the Gold level in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. He is always interested in finding new lightweight and functional gear and has used a range of Arc'Teryx products during these different activities.

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