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ISO non-"quilted" insulated jacket

Discussion in 'EDC Clothing' started by kirbysdl, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. kirbysdl
    • In Omnia Paratus

    kirbysdl Loaded Pockets

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    I've got a down-filled 3-in-1 for really cold times, but I'm looking for a lightweight to midweight insulated jacket for travel to cooler climes as well as use around town on cold-but-not-horrible days. It should be light and packable for travel, and mildly rain- and wind-resistant for versatility.

    The problem with (ok, my problem with) most jackets in this class is that they look like quilts, with rows of sewn pockets of insulation. For example, the well-regarded Patagonia Nano-puff (I'm hosting my own pictures and give permission for hotlinking):

    [​IMG]

    That's the style nowadays, and it makes a lot of practical sense for stabilizing the insulation, but I just don't dig it. Then I found the Atom LT and AR from Arcteryx:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There's the sleek look I'm going for. Do these models have any competitors that maintain the non-quilted look? Any thoughts as to LT vs AR for current owners (e.g. do you ever wish the LT was warmer or the AR were less warm)? I like the zippered pockets and ostensibly more durable face fabric of the AR but wonder if it might be overkill in warmth.

    I'll be visiting an Arcteryx store in Seattle next week so I hope to be able to try these on to compare them, but I always appreciate the insights and suggestions from forumites here.

    TIA!
     
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  2. Barchack

    Barchack Loaded Pockets

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    I have a Patagonia 3A jacket that it love. It's not as sleek as the Dirty Bird jackets that you posted, but it layers well and I love the cut of it. It works across a wide range of temperatures as well. I highly recommend it.
     
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  3. kirbysdl
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    kirbysdl Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the tip! Some places seem to think it's only for mil and LEO but there's a Patagonia store really close to the Arcteryx store so we can see if they have it and try out both back-to-back. I also found the Patagonia Nano-Air that's half quilted... I might fall in love once I try it on.
     
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  4. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    Just out of curiosity, how do they achieve the non-quilted look? Do they add a second layer of fabric over a quilted jacket?

    I have been considering a packable jacket like this, but I'm not a fan of the quilted look, either. I've gotten some ideas from this thread.

    How well does it pack down for travel?
     
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  5. phatch

    phatch Loaded Pockets

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    It's a lofted knit coupled with a few other interesting things. Google polartech alpha. That's what the A3 is insulated with.
     
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  6. Barchack

    Barchack Loaded Pockets

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    jag-engr
    It compresses down well. I've stuffed mine into an orange-sized stuff sack.
     
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  7. Chingyul

    Chingyul Loaded Pockets

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    I love my Atom LT. I also have the SV, which they don't make anymore.
    I find the LT works great alone down to about 5 to 10 C.
    I like it as a midlayer as the sides vent decently.

    The SV is pretty bulky as it's cut more generously, but I like to throw it over everything when I stop (lunch break and such) while doing something active.

    I think the "smooth" look is restricted to synthetic insulation. It can keep it's shape based on how it's cut. Down is too loose and would settle without the baffles.
     
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  8. Il Duce

    Il Duce Loaded Pockets

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    I have the SV and love it


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. kirbysdl
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    kirbysdl Loaded Pockets

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    Well, in Seattle now. Patagonia doesn't have the 3A in its retail store but I tried the Nano Air. It fits well, has a great zipper garage so it doesn't scuff your neck, and an adjustable hem. Negatives include some of that quilted look on the sides and body, though the curved line of stitching on the arms looks kind of neat. The cuffs aren't as nice as the Arcteryx Atom cuffs, and the hood has no adjustments.

    The Atom LT jacket is great except that it has no hemline adjustment. (The Atom LT hoody has a hem adjustment.) It has a main zipper garage though it might not be as fully-covering as Patagonia's. The cuffs are great, the look is sleek, the fit is tighter than Patagonia's (medium fits best on the Nano Air, but is a bit tight on the Atoms). For reference, I'm 6', 150, with long arms and torso, and the arms of the mediums were all long enough, though the medium Atom felt a bit small overall and the large Atom had the best torso coverage.

    The Atom SV was replaced by the Atom AR (source: Arcteryx Q&A boards) and is nearly the same. It is cut just a bit larger than the LT, and is "puffier" because of the thicker insulation. It has a hem adjustment in both the jacket and hoody versions.

    Note that the Patagonia has externally-accessible chest pockets while the Atoms have internal chest pockets. You have to choose between protection and accessibility.

    The Arcteryx store guy said that the DWR on the Atoms is best used against long-term sprinkles and drizzles like you see in Seattle. Short-term, heavy monsoon rains like we get in New Mexico might beat its way through the coating. I imagine the same should be true of the Patagonia coating.

    Tl;dr: all these options are great depending on you preferences. I still prefer the look of the Arcteryx, I just wish they had included a hem adjustment in the Atom LT jacket.
     
  10. jcr

    jcr Loaded Pockets

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    i have a keela belay jacket that im very happy with. it uses something called primaloft for the filling and is very warm and lightweight. reasonably priced too.
     
  11. jcr

    jcr Loaded Pockets

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    the snugpak sleeka is another well regarded jacket.
     
  12. kirbysdl
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    kirbysdl Loaded Pockets

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    We went to the REI "mothership" in Seattle towards the end of our stay, and got a better side-by-side comparison of the Nano Air and the Atom LT. The Nano Air has a softer feel in its outer shell fabric, and the double main zipper garages keep the collar comfy even when the zipper isn't totally done up (every other brand has at most a single zipper garage meaning the other side of the zipper's end could scratch when the zipper isn't totally done up). Still kind of like the look of the Arc'teryx. Will probably get the Atom LT hoody to get the hemline adjustment. Could always have an alterations outfit remove the hood if I end up hating it. Debating Poseidon Blue, Carbon Copy (black with red hood lining/trim) or all black.

    EDIT: [snipped]

    EDIT2: removed the above because I don't want to break the deal spotting rule. But if you're interested in the Atom LT, look around the popular retailers because there's a pretty incredible deal right now, roughly 40% off list.
     
    Last edited by kirbysdl, Nov 16, 2015
  13. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

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    All of the Primaloft based jackets require some amount of stitching to keep the insulation flat and in place. On the Arcteryx Atom series, that stitching is on the inside, with the outside shell remaining unperforated for better weather resistance and a streamlined look.

    On the Patagonia Nano Puff, the stitching is on the outside, partly for the iconic look and partly to increase breathability.

    A handful of other brands put the stitching on the inside, such as Black Diamond and Rab.

    Black Diamond has an Access Hybrid Hoody and Jacket that have a hem adjustment and are similar to the Arcteryx Atom LT. I have both and I actually prefer the Access Hybrid slightly due to having hood and hem adjustments. However, the Atom is lighter and has a cooler looking face fabric.
     
  14. kirbysdl
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    kirbysdl Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the BD recommendation! I was hoping you'd pop in to this thread, as I know you're quite the jacket fanatic and would have good recommendations. Checking BD's site, there's an Access and an Access LT. The latter is more comparable in weight to the Atom LT, and despite having lighter insulation, I think I've heard Primaloft can appear warmer than comparable weights of Coreloft*?

    I'm a little confused about you preferring the Access because it has hood and hem adjustments. The Atom LT has them as well (in the hoody version). Perhaps those features were a more recent addition to the Atom LT and weren't there when you got yours?

    EDIT: The Rab Xenon X is an example of a Rab jacket that carrot mentioned. It has a much shinier look which may be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences. It's also supposedly among the more windproof and waterproof options in this class, whereas the Arcteryx and BD options intentionally build in very breathable side panels for ventilation.

    * Citation: outdoorgearlab's insulated jacket buying guide
     
  15. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

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    The Rab Xenon was very shiny. The Xenon X is significantly less shiny. For pure warmth, the Xenon X is great, but warmer is the Arcteryx Nuclei, which puts 80g/m2 of Coreloft in the torso. Less warm, and more breathable is the Rab Strata, which is pretty darn comfortable to wear in a wide temperature range. The Strata is a better comparison to the Atom LT than the Xenon X is due to this additional breathability. Rab products are super nice quality, easily on par with Arcteryx, although their designs are a little less polished, and a little weirdly technical for town use.

    To me, the BD Access Hybrid is a jacket that feels like it was made to compete directly with Arcteryx's venerable Atom LT, but with a few differences in core philosophy. The Atom LT is as stripped down a jacket can get - it's simple, lightweight, and streamlined. The Access Hybrid adds enough changes that, while it fits the same needs (and sports) just as well, feels like a completely different jacket, optimized for more casual comfort and daily use.

    The Access Hybrid is more similar in warmth to the Atom LT but it has a slightly longer and wider cut. The pockets are also deeper, and sewn to form a sort of internal drop-in pocket as well. The Atom LT is slimmer and shorter in the same sizing. For my purposes for very cold done-in-a-day activities as well as casual town use I enjoy the looser cut and longer hem of the Access Hybrid. I also like the three-point hood adjustment system on the Access Hybrid, which feels super cozy with or without a hat. The fabric and construction of the Access Hybrid is a bit heavier and seems to dry slower when fully wet out compared to the Atom LT - the Arcteryx design minimizes extra fabric so it is lighter and has less trimmings.

    I don't remember if there are hem adjustments are in the version of Atom LT that I have in storage. There is definitely no hood adjustment. The other difference, which I forgot, is that the cuffs are similar elastic in the BD Access, but slightly looser, and the torso sides and arms have a softshell section for breathability, whereas the Atom LT has only the hard-face fleece section in the pits and torso sides.

    The Access Hybrid LT is a lot lesser in warmth, and I consider it closer to a springweight jacket. I consider 60g/m2 of Primaloft One/Gold and 60g/m2 of Coreloft to be nearly indistinguishable in warmth. Primaloft may have a small edge, but only barely.
     
  16. dragonbeat

    dragonbeat Loaded Pockets

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    I have my Atom AR on right now it's Minnesota and its hovering around freezing and I'm toasty and warm. As mentioned above the Black Diamond Access LT is another nice jacket. I'm thinking of buying the new Outdoor Research uberlayer very similar look to the Patagonia nano air as well. I'm certainly a jacket geek too. :)


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  17. kikaida

    kikaida Loaded Pockets

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    The North Face has a very similar jacket for men and women called the Thermoball. I didn't dig it either. I saw a guy wearing one and it just looked......well, to me, not very manly, no offense meant toward those who wear this. I'm sure its warm and all, but it's just not me. Either horizontal quilting or vertical quilting is fine, but the checkboard quilting just doesn't look right, especially if you see this in person and see someone wearing it...at least in my opinion. No, I'll just stick with my leather jackets.
     
  18. kirbysdl
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    kirbysdl Loaded Pockets

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    Thermoball's difficult, because they have little balls of synthetic insulation that're meant to better approximate how down behaves (when dry). You'd expect this kind of insulation to be especially prone to shifting, and therefore greatly benefit from extra quilting to keep things in place.

    I don't have any problems with leather and other dense materials around town, but as I mentioned I'm hoping this will be using during travel as well, so I want something that can pack down small and light.

    Anyway, my Atom LT came in today. It's much lighter, and affords more freedom of movement, than my older jacket. Today's rather warm here (mid-50s) so it's not a big test of its insulating properties. The Poseidon is a nice, somewhat muted blue. The hood is light enough to not pull back and choke you when you have it off, and will probably work well with a Buff and large-bill cap to provide all-around protection against glare, light snow, winds, etc. I haven't really experimented with the hood adjustment much to see what would work best for me. The hemline adjustment is simple and should suffice.

    I'm 6', 150, and choose the Large. As expected, it's a bit big around the torso but I wouldn't like the shorter torso and sleeve lengths on the medium so this is still the best bet for me.

    I'll keep on posting my thoughts over time if anyone cares. :p
     
  19. dragonbeat

    dragonbeat Loaded Pockets

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    Thermoballs are crap plus where the baffles are sewn wind will go right through. North face has an amazing marketing team, I get people coming in to my store wanting to buy a north face jacket just because it's north face even when there are far better options. Now one north face jacket I would buy is the summit series l6, it's a sweet jacket.


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  20. kirbysdl
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    kirbysdl Loaded Pockets

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    I'm all for great marketing, and I'm glad that they have some good products. I just think it's a shame that a company like that feels the need to dilute their brand with less competitive offerings, if indeed they release such products. I haven't really looked at their stuff so I'm not judging them either way.

    I dig the drop pocket features of the Arcteryx Nuclei AR and the BD Access. Right now I don't have a really good way to stash my gloves when indoors. I can stuff them in the side pockets of the Atom only if I fold them in half, but their bulky construction means I'd have a 5" bulge in my side pocket (please, no jokes! :eek: ). I'll likely end up clipping them to my purse, but I'll have to find a way to do that reasonably.