Gear Review: Arc’teryx Women’s Delta LT Hoody
Much like my preferences for hydration packs, backpacking packs, sleeping bags, and shoes, my preferences for outdoor clothing basically consist of “less is more.” I like simplicity. That said, I’d rather have a piece of clothing that is not so simple but incredibly functional, if forced in one direction or the other. Fortunately, Arc’teryx doesn’t often make us choose, and the women’s Delta LT Hoody provides a great example of joint simplicity and function.
Arc’teryx Women’s Delta LT Hoody At-a-Glance
Weight: 8.5 ounces
Fit: Trim, hip length
Material: Polartec® Classic 100 micro velour small grid fleece
Intended use: All-around activity
Circumstance of Review
I tested the Delta LT Hoody over the course of about 10 weeks, ranging from mid-spring to early summer in the Wasatch Mountains and foothills in Utah. Weather conditions ranged from chilly with drizzling rain, to ridiculously windy and cold, to sunny and lovely but kind-of cold due to elevation and snowpack. The hoody performed well in all conditions.
Arc’teryx Delta LT Features
- Lightweight. I know you love your Melly, but do you love it for reasons besides the fact that having one has weirdly somehow become a symbol of your outdoorsy-ness? The popular Melanzana Micro Grid Hoody is also made of microfleece, and with no zippers a size medium weighs in around 9.5 ounces. A medium Delta LT Hoody, with a full front zipper and zippers on both pockets, weighs one ounce less. Why? How? Despite some extensive googling, I still don’t know the answer to that. But it’s worth mentioning.
- Delta. The “Delta” family of the Arc’teryx naming scheme represents products with design characteristics of an air-permeable mid-layer. What does that mean? Basically, it can simultaneously remove moisture and retain warmth.
- No Slip Zip™. The main zipper has what Arc’teryx has termed “speed bumps” at the collar to prevent the zipper from sliding down, allowing the jacket to open by itself. They work. It’s great.
- ScubaHood™. Helmet-compatible? Check. The hood is probably my favorite feature of this piece—more on that below.
Fit and Performance
One of my absolute favorite things about Arc’teryx clothing is that it is very slim-fitting. I am tickled that the outdoors industry seems to be slowly moving toward more body positivity and inclusivity for people of all sizes, but as a fairly petite woman I’ve got to be honest: I reliably wear an extra-small in just about everything and for a lot of companies, XS is still too big. But not Arc’teryx! Needless to say, I was disappointed when they accidentally sent me a small. I decided to go ahead and review the small to prevent back-and-forth in the time of COVID-19, so my fit and performance review is not completely accurate. For whatever it’s worth, though, when I used to work in gear shops, many customers discovered they actually preferred a size up in Arc’teryx clothing, so don’t take my issue with this too strictly if you don’t know how Arc’teryx fits you.
That said, despite being a size too big, the hoody still has a nice, slim fit without a ton of unnecessary zippers and pockets and doodads. I especially love that the hood fits very snug around my face without feeling like the collar is going to choke me. I also very much appreciate no limitations to peripheral eyesight, no major slipping back on my head thanks to the elastic rim, and no impaired motion when turning my head. My sense is that if I’d had the appropriate size, the fit would’ve been even better, still without compromise to any of those things. In a similar vein, the underarm gussets also really nicely contribute to ease and comfort of movement.
I’m not normally a big fan of fleece for athletic performance, but I have to admit it has its perks. When I tested the Delta LT Hoody in drizzling rain, I felt noticeably cozier than I normally feel in my go-to merino wool. Every time I recognize the feeling “cozy” I can hear Alex Honnold’s voice saying “nobody achieves anything great by being happy and cozy,” but gosh darnit if I feel only slightly cozy and I’m running up a mountain is that an exception? It definitely feels really good next-to-skin. Thermal efficiency was reasonably good, and I think it would’ve been great with a proper fit.
When it wasn’t enough as a stand-alone piece, the Delta LT Hoody worked really well as a layering piece. In various conditions, I paired it with my Arc’teryx Atom Jacket, my Outdoor Research Helium Jacket , and my Patagonia Adze Jacket. Again, the slightly larger size made layer compatibility a little bunchy sometimes, but it was fine and would’ve been perfect without the slight excess of material.
Pros and Cons
The ScubaHood™, the warmth-to-weight ratio, and the capacity to perform well both as a stand-alone piece and a layering piece strike me as the best features of the Delta LT Hoody. The combination of those things makes this piece versatile in terms of chosen activities and weather conditions, and that’s pretty good bang for your buck. On top of that, Arc’teryx has taken a public stand in alliance with BIPOC and LGBTQ+ persons, with specific, clearly articulated goals for promoting diversity and inclusion. Only time will tell if those goals are met, but for now the Arc’teryx logo is one I feel good about having on my shirtsleeve.
While I enjoy how soft the fleece feels on my skin, the fact that it’s 100% polyester means the stink factor is high. It starts to smell pretty quickly, and relative to merino wool the stench is much worse. The full zipper is also a con in my opinion; I’d rather have a pullover or at least a quarter zip. Finally, in addition to social responsibility, I also care a lot about sustainability in outdoor brands, which includes limiting outsourcing to other countries. Going back to my comparison with the Melanzana Micro Grid Hoody, Melly fabric comes locally sourced from Tennessee and their garments are all constructed in Leadville, Colorado, while the Delta LT is manufactured in Indonesia. Not a total deal-breaker, but something I try to pay attention to.
Overall, I think the Delta LT Hoody is a great midlayer. In terms of backcountry travel, a full zip layer is not worth it for me and wool will always be my numero uno due to its inherently anti-microbial properties and nature-made temperature regulating capacity (thank you, sheep). In terms of day hiking, climbing, biking, or whatever else it is you love to get after: I’d feel good about getting after it in a Delta LT.
Patagonia R1 Full-Zip Hoody
Outdoor Research Trail Mix Jacket
Disclaimer: This product was donated for the purpose of review.
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