Staff Review: Arc'teryx Proton LT Hoody
Follow Jess as she takes the new Arc'teryx Hoody for a spin around the South-West countryside and beyond.
"It's a windy jacket, designed to stop you from overheating when walking" was, in short, how the Proton LT was described to me. In more technical terms, Arc'teryx describe it to be breathable, lightweight and designed for high output activities, so as someone who doesn't like being cold, I was at first rather sceptical as to how this jacket could work for me.
I'm no hardcore mountaineer so my review is a bit softer compared to my colleagues.
On first impressions, I love how soft and quiet this jacket is. This soft fabric makes it such a comfortable piece that you almost forget you are wearing it- being a mid-layer piece, this is rather important. It features these low profile, stretch-knit cuffs that fit perfectly on the wrists and a high collar that contours perfectly with your neck, allowing you to snuggle into the jacket when the winds blowing.
The magic of this jacket is in the fabric, so let’s start on the outside. The Fortius™ Air 20 is made up of 84% nylon that provides unrivalled hardwearing durability and 16% elastane to give a bit of stretch, helping this jacket to move with you. In the heart of this jacket is Coreloft Compact 80, 100% polyester insulation designed to provide just enough warmth and to regulate a comfortable microclimate. Unlike down, this synthetic insulation still performs when wet, so if you get caught in an unexpected shower this jacket will still perform. Just like the body, the helmet-compatible hood features Coreloft Compact 60 insulation and features a nifty single adjuster providing the perfect fit.
Last, but not least is the Dope Permeair™ 20 liner. As the name suggests, this 'dope' liner not only allows excess heat to escape but manages moisture so you constantly feel comfortable.
What else does this jacket feature? Well, there is the hem cord adjustments, nothing new but it helps sit the hem of this hip-length jacket in place. The stretch fabric chest pocket and two insulated hand pocket feature hidden zips and minimal but forgiving zip pullers and I can't forget about the No Slip Zip™. The main zip is so free running that Arc'teryx has engineered minuscule 'speed bumps' in the top quarter of the zip to prevent it from self-opening. Cool or what?
So, where does this jacket sit as a layering piece? Think of it as a hybrid fleece or a step up from a softshell. It offers more warmth than a fleece while still offering the same breathability. It's a layer you can wear at the start of your activity and not need to remove halfway though because you've got too hot. But don't forget to take a wind shell or something to help block out the wind if you were stopping for lunch so you don't get too cold.
So, I surprisingly fell in love with this jacket pretty much straight away. I started wearing it on its own and under my hardshell (we are in England after all) and I love how comfortably it sits. The trim fit and softness of the fabric means there is no bulk and the hoods sit perfectly inside each other.
Its first mini-test was on a Scout Camp - no mountain tales to tell but it was in October after all. Being part of my County's Media Team I spend most of the weekend either running around or standing still trying to capture the atmosphere, fun and action of the weekend. I wore it on its own and under a hardshell and I was pleased to discover I never was cold or too hot - It was a concern of mine. The breathable fabric meant I could keep the jacket on, fully zipped up and allow the jacket to regulate my temperature instead. This also saved me having to carry the jacket around with me for when I got cold again. The soft, zipped pockets kept my hands warm and provided plenty of storage for items such as phone, keys and spare camera items. The close-fitting, elastic-bound hood sat over a beanie perfectly and kept my head nice and warm when it was 9 pm, raining and a little miserable.
So how does this jacket perform in everyday life? It takes airports in its stride. Packs down small enough that you can squeeze it into your cabin bag and is a saving grace when stood on the runway while queuing to get on the plane. The stretch chest pocket fits a passport perfectly and I also discovered it repels snow - bonus!
What about a 4-mile, evening dog walk on the Quantock Hills, Somerset? Well, it laughs in the face of those hills. I started off wearing it as a standalone piece over a tech tee and with its soft fabric, this jacket is surprisingly comfortable next to the skin. Dare I say it, it’s more comfortable than a fleece! The quiet outer fabric also made wearing a rucksack more comfortable, not only because there is no rustle but because the jackets insulation provides a bit of padding compared to a fleece.
This is Jess who is found in our head office, listing and maintaining all of the fantastic products on our website. Jess spends most of her free time outdoors on the family farm, exploring the Quantock hills and volunteering with the Scouts.