Let me first start by saying yes. I believe it is worth it, although other reputable brands, nearly all of them, have a solid entry at this level that is less expensive. But, do a little digging, and you will find subtle differences. Something else might have a feature, such as an exterior chest pocket, that you like more; while having equatable insulation and breathability. Secondly, I scored mine on past season clearance at REI for nearly half off, so it isn't hard to find a bargain. THIRD! Check out their used gear site, these jackets are on there all the time for $100-$120. Good deal for you and good deal for the earth. https://rocksolid.arcteryx.com
Hey John, this Jacket is definitely worth the price. In terms of quality and feel, it definitely ranks up there in terms of comfort, mobility, and (light) weight. I believe Black Diamond had something similar, but the price was pretty comparable. Most reputable brands have about the same price point for this type of jacket so the best advice I can give you is to get one on sale, as Andrew has stated above. I got mine at last year's REI labor day sale and couldn't be happier. Black Friday/Christmas sales are right around the corner...
There are a ton of great options out there at a lower price point. It would help to know what your personal preferences are and how you intend to utilize the jacket.
Just to preface, I run extremely warm and primarily hike in Las Vegas. During winter, we typically hike in weather 20s-30s sometimes with 50+ mph winds. Hikes in the mountains range from 7k-11.9k elevation. I’m usually in a t-shirt and shorts while everyone is in pants, long sleeve, jacket, scarf, etc. I wanted something to throw on at the summit or during stops after working up a sweat. I also wanted something that leaned towards breathable side of the spectrum, but not so far that I had to baby it. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can move up or down the Arc’teryx scale (SL, LT, AR, SV, etc.) for each jacket. I rarely used the Atom LT Hoody as an insulating layer (it is fantastic for that). With running so warm, it ended up being the only jacket I needed to have on. I also carry an Arc’teryx shell, but usually only wear one or the other. It also looks great and something you could wear around town. Like others have mentioned, I also got mine on sale. You can definitely get one a killer price if you keep an eye out.
It’s tough to give recommendations without knowing what you’re looking in a jacket and how you plan to use it. If you don’t mind a minimalist design, take a look at the Enlightened Equipment Torrid APEX. It’s $80-ish cheaper at MSRP.
I still regularly use my shell, but have switched over to down jackets (Ghost Whisperer and Summit L4) so my Atom doesn’t see as much use now. Anyhow, give some info and I’d be happy to share what I know!
The other responses sum up what I would say as well. My husband and I both have this jacket because of the exceptional quality. The price is comparable to other brands, but what set Arc’teryx apart to us was the fit. We both have longer torsos and arms, which has been a battle with other brands. Like the others, we purchased our jackets at a discounted price - we happen to have an outlet store nearby, which has been a blessing and a curse!
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