We love a Softshell, they serve so many purposes – ski touring, hiking, climbing, running, pub. With summer finally here, a thunderstorm or change in temperature is never far away (especially here in Europe). With versatility and packability being the names of the game when it comes to a Softshell, we’ve been testing the brand new Atom SL Hoody in varied conditions around Chamonix, Mont Blanc, to see how it performed.
Comfort & Fit
The Tyono™ 20 lightweight shell is incredibly soft and supple both outside and in making the Atom SL very comfortable against bare skin. With a ‘trim’ fit, the SL has a more athletic cut which is handy when using the jacket underneath other layers or with climbing equipment, with a slightly lowered rear hem and ergonomic elastic cuffs, the overall comfort and fit of the jacket is very good.
Build Quality & Durability
The detail on the hardware and stitching is excellent, as you inspect the jacket you can see all these subtle differences in material weight and the way in which the fabric has been used, clearly a lot of thought has gone into the design of the SL. From the elastic underarms, to the insulated panels, the design and build quality is excellent throughout.
However, the downside to the incredible lightness and breathability is the durability, although the jacket has a ripstop pattern, I wouldn’t suggest dragging it over sharp rocks or through Spanish anything. So far the jacket has stood up well to the abuse we have put it through (including the office hound) but it’s worth noting the fabric does feel more on the delicate side.
The flip side to slightly reduced durability is excellent breathability, the Atom SL breathes much more freely then other Softshells we have tested, during intense aerobic activity the Tyono™ allows sweat to pass through the shell with little resistance meaning the jacket can be used for things like ski touring, hiking and running (on cold days!).
Water & Wind Resistance
With 40g/m² Coreloft™ insulation strategically placed around the core of the jacket, the Atom SL provides a good warmth to weight/bulk ratio. It’s just that bit warmer then a normal windbreaker or lined Softshell which is really nice touch and makes the jacket a bit more dynamic for Alpine or cold weather use. With a DWR treatment, the outer will repel a shower with ease but don’t expect it to hold out through prolonged rain, you can’t have your cake and eat it, whatever that means.
Looking back through the review, and our testing, we’ve had a lot of good things to say about the Atom SL. It’s slowly become our go-to Softshell and can be crumpled right down into a tiny 290g ball meaning there isn’t much reason not to take it with you. All this versatility and quality does come at a price, and it’s literally £170 (or a relatively cheaper €190 in the EU store) which is on the upper end of Softshell pricing. For that, you do get a premium product, and despite it’s lightweight build it looks to stand a good test of time, an investment that we think is worth it.