So I’ve decided to start a bit of a brand Spotlight with a series of reviews on certain items I own, mainly because I rate the kit so highly for its day to day use, but also it’s performance in tactical situations.
Arc’teryx is a brand we all know and love, not only producing clothing for thrill seekers and adventurers, but also the Military and Police community under their LEAF range (Law Enforcement – Armed Forces). Personally I was attracted to this side of things for the cross compatibility of use in both sectors, the general civilian midweek use at work and the random weekend excursions, IE the Mock Counter Terror Exercises I occasionally venture out to partake in. For this particular article I’ll go over two of the jackets I wear daily to work and so on, a bit of an overview on each, how they hold up individually and then together.
So to kick this off I’ll start with the Naga Hoody in Wolf Grey. Initially I was on the hunt for something that could easily be passed as being a pretty formal garment relative to my job which takes appearance rather seriously, but also see use as an underlayer in adverse weather conditions. The Naga ticks both boxes and also fulfils a few more points from there. A chest pocket is more than suitable for your phone, and it features a slot in which you can feed your headphones through so don’t expect to get tangled in the cables if you’re an avid music fan. I decided against getting the full zip style of the hoody so instead the half zip sees use. I really like this as if you get too hot the half zip still regulates your temperature surprisingly well.
The hood is very tight in comparison to the average pullover hoody, after all it is designed as an underlayer so this part is made with that in mind. It”s spot on when used with another hood as it’ll keep all areas in contact sufficiently warm, but as a stand-alone it does look odd, and if you do use it like this your family and friends will undoubtedly laugh at you. A lot. My only other criticism is the lack of a frontal pocket for your hands. In hindsight it’s not too bad now I’m used to it but initially it took a lot of getting used to.
The second part of this review is the Atom LT Hoody, a great midlayer suitable for wind and light rain. I’ve used this for the past 6 months and it is probably the best all weather jacket I’ve used. I made sure I got it prior to a trip to Prague back in mid October thinking it’d be relatively cold, but for the highest temperatures for that time of year it still worked just as fine as an extra covering from the wind.
You’ve got two large pockets for phones, wallets, hands and the slits for headphone cables, plus a smaller pocket on the inside of the jacket where I feed my earphones when I’m not using them. There’s plenty of adjustment around the waist with bungee cords, and the same on the back of the hood. There’s also a stretch material around the wrists so you’ll always have a decent seal when using it. It should be noted that there’s plenty of room for a plate carrier under the jacket so if you’re planning on getting a jacket that’s useful for certain aspects of covert work that this will fit the bill no issues.
Any Brits reading this will know that since Christmas we’ve been battered by ‘The Beast From The East’ weather bomb or whatever the media are calling it this week. As a side note if you’re from Nordic countries, Canada or northern Russia then bear with us, we aren’t used to anything other than rain! Using both the Naga and the Atom made the cold bearable really, the warmth from the underlayer and the exterior shell keeping the heat in and the weather out. Another good thing about the Naga is that there’s holes in the sleeves where you can put your thumbs through. Whilst I don’t use these on a regular basis, utilising them before putting gloves on prevents any cold air getting to your wrists which is actually pretty worthwhile in sub zero temperatures.
So to total it all up the two pieces are extremely worthwhile purchases for everyday use. Anyone who’s new to Arc May well be deterred by the Naga’s ~£120 price tag and the Atom’s ~£200 price tag, but you really get what you pay for. I recently used another jacket which is more than half the price and designed for heavy use, but in all honestly I felt bitterly cold. Arc’teryx really is the tip of the spear in my opinion. I got these two bits from Edgar Brothers Online, but there’s plenty of options if you’re further afield.
For the next review expect to see something a bit more suited for tactical situations that I’ve used exclusively for the past few events I’ve attended.