Review: Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody

Hybrid Insulated Jacket
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody
$379, 11 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL
backcountry.com

In the evening shade of a windblown campsite at around 10,500 feet in Titcomb Basin, an alpine valley in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, I pulled this jacket on and instantly felt warmth infuse my torso and arms. Throughout that mid-September backpacking trip in the Winds, wearing this puffy jacket over just a couple light base layers kept me warm in evening and morning temperatures in the 40s Fahrenheit, while fitting like a glove. Similarly, on a five-day hike in The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park in the first week of March, the Cerium LT Hoody over two warm base layers kept me comfortable on mornings in the mid-20s. I had to keep reminding myself it weighs just a few ounces over a half-pound.

Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody.
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody.

The Cerium’s sky-high warmth-to-weight ratio—it’s one of the two or three warmest down jackets at this weight that I’ve worn—is explained by the 850-fill down stuffing in the hood, sleeves, and torso. High-quality down creates more space between feathers, increasing the heat-trapping efficiency, which translates to more warmth per ounce of jacket.

But since water is the enemy of down, flattening feathers and eliminating their ability to trap heat, Arc’teryx placed its Coreloft synthetic insulation—a lightweight, breathable, and thermally efficient siliconized polyester yarn that’s highly compressible and demonstrates excellent loft retention—in areas prone to getting wet: the shoulders, cuffs, chin guard at the top of the zipper (which gets wet with condensation from your breath), and the armpits.

The combination of insulation types delivers the benefits of down (warm, light, and compact) and synthetics (retaining heat when damp). Spitting rain showers didn’t seem to affect the jacket at all, thanks in part to a durable, water-repellent (DWR) treatment on the shell fabric. One warning: The lightweight shell fabric, while durable for its weight, is more susceptible to tears than heavier fabrics. Similarly, the light front zipper, while keeping jacket weight down, raises durability concerns; but a little care in using it can avoid problems. I’ve seen no damage to this jacket in several trips over the past few years.


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Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody.
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody.

It feels like the jacket was tailored for me, with a trim fit throughout that provides enough space for a couple of base layers. Outstanding shoulder articulation paired with enough sleeve length prevents the cuffs from sliding up your forearms when reaching. Given the jacket’s slim profile, you can easily layer a shell over it without feeling like the Michelin man.

The close-fitting, under-the-helmet hood also elevates this jacket above many insulation pieces. Popping it up mimicked the sensation of wearing the top half of a sleeping bag—if the bag had a hood that seemed designed around a sculpture of my head. Adjustable using just one drawcord in the back, with an elasticized hem, it wraps snugly around your face to trap body heat very efficiently—ensuring the hood stays put even in strong winds and helping to explain the jacket’s exceptional warmth for its weight. When zipped up, the soft chin guard comes up to lip height, nice in chilly temps.

The two zippered hand pockets warmed my chilled digits quickly and have space for three-season gloves and small items like a map and headlamp. while elasticized cuffs and an adjustable hem seal in your body heat. The jacket stuffs easily into a stuff sack attached to the zippered inside pocket—no losing this sack—and packs down to barely larger than a liter bottle.

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Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody stuffed.
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody stuffed.

You don’t necessarily see the value in an expensive puffy jacket with just a cursory look at it. The proof comes in wearing it in backcountry situations. Whether sitting around a wilderness campsite on a chilly evening or morning, pulling it on for added warmth while climbing, or using it as a middle or outer layer in your favorite snow sport, the Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody is a versatile, standout puffy jacket for users willing to pay for performance.

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See my “Review: The 10 Best Down Jackets” and all of my reviews of insulated jackets and outdoor apparel that I like at The Big Outside.

 

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NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all of my gear reviews at The Big Outside.

—Michael Lanza

 

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4 thoughts on “Review: Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody”

  1. Hi Michael.
    This is a great review and the jacket sounds fantastic. Do you have any thoughts on how the synthetic elements would impact on the longevity of the jacket, and how well it would rebound from being compressed. Is this a one or two season piece if used a lot or do you think it would stick around as long as a normal down jacket. It does look fantastic and it has reviewed well everywhere I’ve read about it.

    Reply
    • Hi Michael,

      I’m interested in this as well. Do you have any long term durability concerns with the synthetic? My concern is that you’d end up with cold patches where the synthetic insulation is and the rest of the jacket would remain warm. Seems like it would be an issue compared to an all down item. I like my down jackets to last 5 years+

      Thanks for the great reviews!

      Reply
      • Good questions, both of you. I’ve seen no noticeable deterioration of the synthetic insulation in two years of use, although admittedly, I use (and test for reviews) a variety of insulated jackets. Still, the synthetic insulation feels like a solid piece of material, not like down feathers which can potentially shift around. Plus, the jacket isn’t stuffed most of the time, it’s either hanging or on your body. Like most Arc’teryx products, I think this is very well constructed and built to last.

        Reply