Arc'teryx Cerium LT Vest Review

Arc'teryx Cerium LT vest in the Enchantments - WA 
Intro:
Usually I buy a piece of gear because either it's best in its class or uses a new material, but the Cerium LT vest was simply an impulse buy. Some of my favorite pieces of gear have come from impulse buys so often times they work out better than expected and this time it certainly did.

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 of 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 LT vest in men's medium uses 50 grams of 850 fill down and Coreloft 100 g/m² insulation.

The Cerium LT vest has no hem drawcord but is replaced by a lightweight but efficient elasticized hem. The arm sleeves on the vest are also elasticized to minimize heat loss but still offer range of motion.  The entire focus of the Cerium line is a garment with high warmth to weight ratio and the Cerium LT vest lives up to its name.

The MSRP for the Cerium LT vest is 250$ which is the same price as the Patagonia ultralight down vest which is comparable in weight. The Arc'teryx Cerium LT uses 20D fabric on the outside compared to Patagonia's 15D. The Cerium LT vest uses 850fill power down compared to the 800fill power used in Patagonia vest. Patagonia doesn't list the actual fill weight of down used in their ultralight vest. If one is paying full price for either vest, I would choose the Arc'teryx Cerium LT over the Patagonia UL vest.

How it Fits:
The Cerium LT vest is definitely a trim fitting vest but the elastic hem and arm holes allow for a lot of layering options. I can wear the vest comfortably with just a flannel or heavy base-layer; the photo below is of me using a Marmot Thermohoody (Marmot equivalent to a Patagonia R1 Hoody). I can also use the vest over an Atom LT mid-layer or heavy weight softshell. Either configuration, the Cerium LT vest fits perfectly in medium which is the size I normally wear.

Arc'teryx Cerium LT vest in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness - WA 
Performance:
I've taken the Cerium LT vest on almost all my backpacking trips this summer in Washington state. I normally bring a heavy to mid-weight baselayer to sleep in on my overnight trips so the Cerium vest layers nicely over it. This is especially true at dusk and dawn or when I need some additional warmth in my sleeping bag. Using this combination provided plenty of warmth when the temperatures hovered in the mid 40's and 50's.

The Cerium LT vest really shined during a 3 day backpacking trip in Glacier Peak Wilderness. I covered 28 miles and 5000 elevation gain and camped at fairly high lake (at least for Washingtion) at 7000 feet and the warmth to weight ratio that the vest provided kept my backpack light and my body warm.

The Cerium LT vest also works exceptionally well as a casual around-the-town type piece. Spring and Autumn days the vest pairs layers nicely with a flannel. Layering the Cerium LT vest with an Atom LT hoody made my winter morning commutes to the university more pleasant.

I can't really explain how well the Cerium LT vest layers with other jackets. Combing the Cerium LT vest with either a Patagonia Nano-air Hoody or Arc'teryx Atom LT Hoody and you have a bomber modular insulation layering kit for mountaineering.

Summary: From the office to the mountains, the Arc'teryx Cerium LT vest is an exceptional layering piece. If you're looking for a utility piece or simply an outstanding  insulated vest in your gear closet, the Cerium LT vest is one of the best from winter to summer.

Ceriem LT vest in the Glacier Peak Wilderness  - WA
Pros:
  • Best fitting vest I've ever owned
  • Very warm for the weight
  • From office to outdoor practicality and aesthetics
  • Compacts into a small included stuff sack 
  • Easy layering 
Cons:
  • Expensive when not on sale

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