The Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody became an instant classic when it was introduced 5 or so years back. I guess that’s unsurprising given the continued popularity of lightweight down jackets these days. I’m a long-time owner of a Patagonia Down Sweater and I’ve grown to love its versatility and instant warmth, so I was looking forward to trying the Cerium LT Hoody. After wearing it a lot this last winter and spring I’m happy to say it doesn’t disappoint!
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody | The Basics
Weight → 305g (medium)
Fabrics → Arato 10 – 100% nylon
Fill → 850 fill power goose down // 80gm Coreloft // 100gm Coreloft
Centre Back Length → 72cm
RRP → £320
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody | Materials & Construction
Arato 10 is a 10 denier 100% nylon fabric. It’s a little heavier than some lightweight nylons out there, but still basically super light. So far it’s proved to be more than durable enough and I don’t feel too uneasy about stuffing the jacket in and out of a pack. Anything hot or sharp is gonna do some damage though so best to be careful when ‘relaxing’ after a day’s shred or around a camp fire.
A couple of other things to note about the Arato 10 fabric. Firstly, it’s proved to be completely down proof and I’ve experienced no down leakage at all. However, a fabric that is down proof by construction (especially one so lightweight as this) will tend not to be so air permeable. This makes it very wind resistant but not massively breathable. That’s not going to be a concern for most situations but wearing the jacket as a midlayer when active, even when it’s very cold, can lead to things getting pretty sweaty. It’s too warm for me to wear in really active situations anyway but it’s just something to consider for anyone thinking the Cerium might be a good piece to wear for cold weather touring or hiking. Yes it’s comfortable, flexible and light in those situations, but there are better options out there specific to being really active in cold temps. For less intense activities like skiing and snowboarding there are no condensation issues.
The Cerium LT Hoody is filled with 850 fill power goose down. 850 is close to as a high a fill power as you can reliably source in the kind of volume a brand like Arc’teryx will require. The ultralight shell and lining provides next to no resistance so the down lofts really well providing immediate warmth. Arc’teryx source their down through Allied Feather and Down – a major supplier of down to the outdoor industry. The down Arc’teryx use comes from small farms in Eastern Europe and the supply chain is third-party validated. More info here on Arc’teryx down ethics.
One thing that sets the Cerium apart from similar products is the use of Coreloft in certain areas. Coreloft is a synthetic insulation that is better at dealing with moisture than down. The Cerium LT Hoody features panels of Coreloft in areas that might be affected by moisture, namely the shoulders, cuffs and on the front of the collar. The underarm panels are also Coreloft insulated to reduce bulk in an area that doesn’t require so much insulation. It’s a nice design concept from a performance point of view. Aesthetically it works well too. The zones of Coreloft add a little more structure to the garment and are just as soft and compressible as the rest of the hoody.
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody | Fit
The Cerium fits snug, for sure. It’s not crazy trim but anyone looking for a relaxed fit might want to consider going a size up from their usual. Arc’teryx describe the Cerium as a midlayer and the trim fit does indeed mean it can be used under a shell. For me, there’s also just enough room to wear it as an outerlayer too, so long as I don’t have anything too bulky underneath.
Unsurprisingly, it’s like wearing a radiator when using the Cerium under a shell. Placing so much 850 fill power down close to the skin, then under a windproof layer, pretty much guarantees a warm set up. It’s a great option for skiing and snowboarding in really cold conditions or for static use around camp.
The Cerium fits really well across my fairly broad shoulders. It’s pretty trim in the torso and has a nice length, especially at the rear. The arms are articulated and plenty long enough. It’s pretty obvious Arc’teryx have tried to make the fit as efficient as possible in a bid to maximise the warmth / weight ratio. There’s no extraneous fabric anywhere.
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody | Features
The Cerium LT Hoody has a pretty minimal feature set, although it’s a little more loaded than the first generation version was. The hood is ace. It’s generously stuffed with down, nicely baffled and has a single rear drawcord. The drawcord runs horizontally across the back of the head and also vertically down the front. It’s the same hood design as the Atom LT Hoody has and provides a snug fit that doesn’t blow down in the wind. There’s room for a beanie underneath and it even fits under a helmet as it compresses well. On a couple of really cold days in Norway last winter it was nice to ride with the hood under my helmet.
There’s a zipped internal pocket and two handwarmer pockets. The handwarmer pockets sit behind the insulation and are actually pretty deep so there’s plenty of room for storage and warming hands.
There’s a hem drawcord to seal out drafts although I don’t need to use it as the jacket fits so well anyway. The front zip is a reversed YKK #3. It’s smooth and reliable and isn’t like one of the free sliding designs that Arc’teryx use on many of their garments.
Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody | Verdict
The Cerium LT Hoody is a beautifully designed, beautifully made insulation layer that has found its way into my pack on so many days recently. Due to the combination of featherweight fabrics, high fill power down and efficient fit the warmth to weight ratio is incredible. This is the paramount concern in a lightweight down jacket and the Cerium definitively excels in this regard.
So, what’s it good for? Well, I have carried the Cerium as an extra layer when splitboarding. It’s so light and packs down so small that as a general warm layer for the backcountry it works well. However, I tend to prefer something that is a more natural over layering piece for that job. The Cerium is a little trim to layer over a shell and synthetic insulation usually works better in that situation anyway.
The Cerium is ideal when carried as a dedicated warm layer to wear in camp on an overnighter. In Spring, Summer and Autumn it’s usually the only warm layer I’ll need. For static use in winter it can also be used with other warm layers. It fits perfectly beneath my ‘regular’ down jacket and creates a mega warm and versatile system for cold conditions. As already mentioned, it’s also great for use as a midlayer when snowboarding on cold days too.
It’s also worth saying the Cerium LT Hoody looks great and is a super nice jacket to wear on a daily basis through the colder months. It does have a high price tag and is considerably more expensive than many similar looking down jackets out there. However, in this case, paying a little more does buy you one of the very best lightweight down jackets on the market.
- Amazing warmth to weight ratio
- Packs very small
- Minimal yet focused design & features
- High-end materials & construction
- Great for day-to-day as well as mountain use
The Not So Good
- Less breathable than some fleece / synthetics for midlayer use
Disclaimer – I aim to be open and honest when writing gear reviews. On this occasion, Arc’teryx gave me a Cerium LT Hoody to review. My views and opinions are independent whether I’m reviewing an item that has been loaned or given to me, or a product I purchased myself.