The Arc’teryx Gamma LT is a soft shell that is trim fitting around the torso but broad across the shoulders, serving the athletic fit. Although close fitting, the double weave fabric offers abundant mechanical stretch, following movement without restriction, which is aided by gusseted underarms and ample torso length. The Gamma LT offers little warmth on its own but functions well as a durable shell over an appropriate base or insulating layer.
Breathability The Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody’s mostly single layer construction and double weave fabric proved highly air permeable, providing excellent breathability for all but the most intense endeavors.
Durability The “Wee Burly” double weave fabric, comprised of an outer nylon layer woven to an inner polyester layer, showed no visible condition change throughout the testing period.
This included merciless sliding across rocky surfaces and countless encounters with nasty vegetation. Even close inspection could not uncover any signs of abrasions or punctures.
Weatherproofing The Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody warded off snow without problems but anything other than a light shower allowed water to breach the “Nu” water repellent treatment and lack of seam taping. Once wet, drying time was extremely quick. Wind blocking ability was fair and aided by the snug elastic paneled wrist opening and the ability to cinch the bottom hem and hood. This garment is strictly a shell and provided little warmth on its own; combining it with a layering system allows its strengths to shine.
Fit/Comfort The Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody fits trim and athletically built adventurers best. It is trim around the torso and has ample width for broad shoulders. The arms are trim, as are the wrist opening. This wrist openings lack Velcro adjustments; the snug openings have a generous elastic gusset allowing a little girth adjustment with no bulk. This jacket has a high degree of stretch and gusseted underarms, allowing for unhindered movement during intense activity while maintaining a body contouring fit. It can only accommodate light to midweight layers underneath without compromising the loft. The polyester interior surface has a light texture, providing the sensation of warmth on bare skin. While not being soft handed, the texture didn’t feel uncomfortably rough. The helmet compatible “Stormhood” has generous dimensions and is easily adjusted via two front cord locks and one rear, providing excellent coverage and adjustability.
Compressibility This hoody’s mostly single layer construction, lack of superfluous features and being the lightest in this test allowed it to have superior packability. Cramming the Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody into the most compact of spaces is no problem and the durable fabric is tolerant of whatever surrounds it in the pack.
Features The Arc’teryx Gamma LT Hoody’s feature list speaks of the minimalist design approach. A pair of zipped mesh lines handwarmer pockets reside above harness position, and one vertically oriented zippered pocket lines the inside left torso. All these pockets are on the small side, the hand warmer pockets barely accommodating moderately sized gloved hands. The interior pocket just fits an iPhone 6. The top of the main zip features a “No Slip Zip;” bumps on the first few teeth prevent accidental opening. The main zip also has a minimal storm flap and small chin guard.
Seiji Ishii works as a trainer to professional supercross/motocross riders, adventure riding test editor at Dirt Rider Magazine and an AMGA certified rock climbing guide/instructor for White Star Mountain Guides/Austin Rock Gym. He lives in Wimberley, TX with wife Shay, 3 year old daughter Sequoia, 3 dogs and a cat. His personal time is spent rock climbing, any form of dirt biking, cycling, and training for the next mountaineering adventure.