Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody

I've owned a lot of softshells over the past few years and have found out that most versatile softshells are the ones without any laminates like Gore-Windstopper. The whole reason behind the softshell is to provide wind and water resistance with an emphasis in breathability. I find that softshells containing a laminate seem to be mediocre at almost all tasks and seldom very good at anything; hybrid pieces like the Marmot ROM jacket are an improvement, but not the solution. Laminates significantly decrease the breath-ability of a jacket but do offer significant wind and water resistance but the new waterproof breathable membranes on the market (Active shell, Neoshell, etc...) offer much better results. So why bother? I've been so impressed with double weave softshell pants that I've been wearing for a few years that I started to wonder why not a burly double weave softshell jacket? Enter the Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody.

How it Fits:
I'm 5'10" and roughly 165lbs with 33" waist and the Gamma LT Hoody is sized to accommodate a midlayer comfortably like a Atom LT hoody or a mid-weight down sweater. The Gamma LT Hoody fits very ergonomic with just a baselayer due to the adjustable hem drawcord and the mildly stretchy cuffs. The arm articulation and room in the shoulders gives the Gamma LT Hoody an amazing range of motion that runs circles around Marmot's boxy outerwear cuts. The Gamma LT Hoody is certainly not an around town type piece due to the immense hood that fits a climbing helmet even with a GoPro3 attached to it. 

The Gamma LT Hoody offers two deep waist level pockets to store anything from a headlamp to midweight gloves. Inside the jacket, on the left breast, there is a small zippered pocket to store something the size of a wallet or smarphone. The jacket also sports a super sleek front Vislon zipper which is one of the smoothest zippers in the history of jackets construction. The "deep dish" hood offers one main draw cord in the back to keep the hood snug on the helmet while adjustable hood drawcords cinch around the face.

Ultimately, the Gamma LT Hoody doesn't offer anything particularly fancy in way of features but the softshell material is down to a science. Arc'teryx's double weave is comprised of: 46% nylon, 46% polyester, 8% elastane, 275 g/m². What the end user gets is a jacket that is abrasion resistant from the nylon, water resistance and breathability from the polyester,stretch from the elastane, and a fabric density that compliments these. Because the Gamma LT hoody has no insulation it makes for a fantastic layering piece while moving fast and producing a lot of heat.
Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody underneath a Marmot Isotherm Hoody 

The Gamma LT Hoody was made for the alpine environment and no better way to test the jacket out than a climb on Mt. Adams. Nothing fancy on route choice, my buddy Kyle and I chose, the typical south spur but a good slog nonetheless. On summit day we left Lunch counter (9000ft)  at around 4:30AM and with just a lightweight long-sleeve baselayer under my Gamma LT Hoody we took off to the summit. Temperatures was low-mid 40's with 20mph gusts and the Gamma LT Hoody blocked the wind like a hardhsell but kept me bone dry as I was working hard on the ascent. Through-out the entire time from High camp to the summit of Adams back to high camp, the Gamma LT Hoody was always on and I never had to unzip it more than an inch.
Brilliant Climb or Brilliant Jacket? Maybe Both?

The last time I climbed Mt.Adams I had similar weather but more cloudy and I was using an older Gore-Tex Pro shell jacket and was constantly either to hot or to cold. I'm really amazed how comfortable my body temperature was regulated throughout the entire climb.

The Arc'teryx Gamma LT Hoody is one of the most versatile softshells on the market by perfecting what is required for a softshell. The Gamma LT Hoody was meant for the alpine and has all the features you need and nothing you don't. "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The Gamma LT Hoody will be my main layering piece on any volcano climbs in the PNW during the summer.

  • Fantastic fit with options for layering underneath
  • Highly wind resistant but breathes incredibly
  • Great water-resistance and dries quickly
  • Hood accommodates over sized helmets
  • Velcro-less cuff makes layering easy
  • A little pricey


  1. Thanks, nice review. Did you buy size M?

  2. I did buy a medium. Perfect for layering but also not to big with just a baselayer.


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