Arc'teryx Cerium SV Hoody (Men's and Women's) Review

Women's Cerium SV on a cold fall day at Ladies Pass, Alpine Lakes Wilderness - WA 
Intro:
Over the past couple of years Arc'teryx has come out with a lot of apparel with down in them. I've had my eyes on a several pieces, particularly their 4 season jackets. With a lackluster winter of 2014/2015 I didn't really use much winter weight gear, it wasn't until this summer and fall I've put in some mileage with my Cerium SV. Normally I only review men's apparel, but occasional my wife wants exactly what I have. The typical case of "his and hers". So for this review I'm reviewing not only the Men's Cerium SV but also writting what my wife's thoughts on her Cerium SV as well. A double combo review that caters to both sexes!

Construction/Material:
All down garments made by Arc'teryx use down composite mapping, which involves a combination of down and Coreloft (Arc'teryx's proprietary synthetic,polyester, insulation). Synthetic insulation excels over down in moisture prone areas because of it's hydrophobic properties. This is why Arc'teryx uses synthetic insulation in high moisture areas such as the: hood, collar, hemlines and cuffs. By placing the right type of insulation in it's most advantageous place,it creates an insulating garment that will keep performing at it's best in the most variable conditions.
Down Composite Mapping
Arc'teryx has 2 main down garment lines in their collection, the Ceriums and Thoriums. All Cerium garments use 850fill goose down while the Thorium garments use 750fill goose down and a burly 40D face-fabric . It's important to remember that fill power is not the same as fill weight! Fill power is measured in cubic inches per ounce (in³/oz). 750 fill down will expand 750 cubic inches per ounce while 850 fill down will expand to 850 cubic inches per ounce under specific laboratory conditions. That means the higher the fill power, the more thermally efficient the plumes are in trapping air per given weight. Fill weight is the actual weight of the fill power used.

Along the Cerium garment line, it is subdivided into 3 categories: SL, LT, and SV. All Cerium SL's use a 7D face fabric for ultimate weightsavings. The Cerium LT and Cerium SV both use a 20D face-fabric while the main differences between the two are the fill weight and the weight of the synthetic insulation. The Cerium LT jacket in men's medium uses 97grams of 850fill down with Coreloft 80 g/m² and 100 g/m²  insulation. The Cerium SV jacket in men's medium uses 185grams of 850fill down and  Coreloft 100 g/m²  and 140 g/m²  insulation.

The entire focus of the Cerium line is a garment with maximum warmth to weight ratio. The Cerium SV takes the Cerium LT and adds almost twice as much down and increases the thickness of the Coreloft used in the composite areas. For Those looking to go to cold areas or hate being cold, but want something light weight, the Cerium SV is the solution.

How it Fits:
Cold and windy autumn day at Lake Edna 
For the Males, the Cerium SV is a trim fit but provides plenty of mobility and rang of motion in the arms. No pinching of the shoulders nor tightness under the arms. I can comfortably have a mid layer and a thin softshell underneath without loosing range of motion. (Arc'teryx Fortez Hoody and Psipon SL pullover is what i had underneath). Two simple draw strings pull the jacket closer to the body to conserve extra heat when one needs it. The medium fits me at 5'10" 160lbs.

For the Females, the Cerium SV is a trim fit which creates a waist line giving a slight hourglass taper. The size small fits my wife comfortably at 5'3" 115lbs with room for a midlayer and no pinching underneath the arms. The Cerium SV is more flattering than the Thorium SV due to a larger taper around the mid-waist.

 Pumice Ridge on Mt. Baker with the Women's Cerium SV Hoody
Performance:
I've waited a long time to post this review, over a year in fact. I really wanted to use the Cerium SV and use it through a variety of conditions. I pride myself in using my gear vs. many reviewers who just take pretty photos outside and call it a review. Between school and work sometimes it's hard to get in trips to use the Cerium SV particularly because of how warm the jacket is. For summer time backpacking, the Cerium SV is overkill in terms of warmth but it's really only a few ounces heavier than an Atom LT hoody. I suppose if one was wanting only one down jacket that has 4-season warmth, then the Cerium SV would be a good option. The Cerium SV really shines is shoulder season backpacking (fall and spring) and mountaineering.

The Cerium SV provides plenty of warmth for any of the cascade volcanoes. My wife and I had tremendous success climbing Mt. Baker with the jackets. Although most of the climb we had beautiful blue bird weather, the summit push in the morning unfortunately brought a lenticular cloud on top with high winds and moisture. The DWR kept the moisture off while I had a greater piece of mind knowing that if I sweated, the synthetic insulation would still keep me warm.

The Cerium SV is probably my favorite insulated jackets for mountaineering. A huge low pressure system brought extremely cold weather to Rainier this June with nearly 0F windchills to camp Muir and below zero ambient temps on the summit. Being able to pull the Cerium SV out for rest breaks on the way to Muir was like bringing your winter down comforter but with almost zero weight. The jacket really provides a lot of heat, especially when paired under a hardshell to block the wind. The partly sunny morning below turned into a snow storm and white out before noon that day.  
Enjoying a rest break with the Cerium SV at panorama point on Mt. Rainier towards camp Muir
Summary:
The Arc'teryx Cerium SV jackets are one of the best 4 season down jackets available. The jackets are cut extremely well for both genders and are crafted with the highest materials. The Cerium SV is a backountry specific down jackets that are equally versatile in the high alpine or for frigid fall nights among the alpine lakes.  As long as you can afford the steep price, the Cerium SV sets the standard for design and craftsmanship in a 4 season down jacket.

Men's and Women's Cerium SV in a windy and moist lenticular cloud on the summit of Mt. Baker, WA.

Pros:
  • Perfectly designed hood that works with and without a helmet
  • Very high chin guard keeps warmth in
  • Composite down and synthetic insulation
  • High warmth to weight ratio (less than 16oz)
  • Cut extremely well
  • Awesome Color choices
Men's Cerium SV on top of Roman Headwall, Mt. Baker

Cons:
  • Sewn-Through and not Box/baffled construction 
  • Very Expensive
  • No two-way separating front zip
Women's Cerium SV on top of Roman Headwall, Mt. Baker

Comments

  1. Thanks for such useful informational content which is very beneficial as user point of view. Thanks for making me the part of your views.

    Emergency Supplies | Refugee Tents

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    1. I appreciate your comments. ALways nice to see at least someone found my reviews and thoughts useful.

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  2. I just wanted to add something. I have a cerium LT hoody and although it really is an extremely efficient down jacket, in the sense that while I wear it, no matter the conditions (i.e. -18 degrees this winter) I am always warm, almost too warm!

    The downside I found is that the fabric is extremely delicate. Although I see from your pics you are using it in quite rugged situation, my jacket ripped while I was putting on my backpack!! This really bummed me out and found it incredibly disappointing. I also found a review online complaining about the fragility of the fabric.
    The obvious upside to the story is that Arc Teryx have an amazing costumer care and they took my jacket in and repaired it for a small fee (30 euro compared to the cost of the jacket istelf isn't that crazy). They sent it back, didn't charge for shipping, and although the repair is not so 'pretty' at least is done by them rather than risking repairing it elsewhere.

    For some reason, they didn't consider my rip under the warranty, due to rough usage. I still disagree, but the jacket really was worth repairing. Now i'm just really careful where and when I use it.

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  3. Great review! How does it compare to the Thorium SV in terms of warm level? I'm still debating between the two. I see that you mainly use it as a standalone piece, wouldn't Thorium be better since it's thigh length?

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    Replies
    1. Thorium SV will be slightly warmer due to box baffle construction and being slightly longer. Keep in mind that the Cerium SV uses 850 vs 750 fill down (Thorium SV) so the cerium SV is still very warm. Real question is whether you plan to use it as an outerlayer or a midlayer. Thorium is more durable as an outerwear piece but heavier than the cerium SV because the face fabrics mass density (denier) is greater.

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