Montbell EX Light (5.7 oz.) vs. Arc’teryx Atom LT Jacket (11 oz.)
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Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Montbell EX Light (5.5 oz.) vs. Arc’teryx Atom LT Jacket (11 oz.) on 12/11/2010 16:00:38 MST Print View

First, a little about me. I live and hike/camp in SoCal and I'm a three-season person. I spent much time in the outdoors/backcountry in the 70s/80s and just got back to the sport in May 2010. I did four day hikes and two multi-day trips in the Sierras by August and was really revived. My full pack weight on the longer trip was around 35+ lbs. I have been trying to lighten up ever since. I'm a size Medium.

On to the topic. I currently own the Arc'teryx piece, but have never worn it and have read allot about the Montbell jacket. When overnighting, I take four layers: s/s synthetic shirt, l/s nylon shirt (for sun protecton/mosquito's if needed), a fleece (replaced by the Arc’teryx Atom LT), and a Marmot Aegis rain jacket. So, my question is, will the Montbell EX Light, at 5.5 oz. vs. the Arc’teryx Atom LT at 11 oz., be as warm as the Arc'teryx? I don't want to sacrifice warmth for weight. I always take a jacket, whether day hiking or camping. I'd like to lighten up, but also want to be prepared. That means keeping warm if the need arises. I'm not sure how the two jackets compare, so that's why I'm asking. If you have other better options, LMK. I do see the Montbell jackets are on sale and so this is pertinent to me now. And I could take back the Arc'teryx jacket and get the Montbell if that's a solid move. What do you all think?

Edited by WarrenGreer on 12/11/2010 16:05:58 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
exl on 12/11/2010 16:40:20 MST Print View

mb exl will be much lighter and noticeably warmer

it will however be a bit more fragile, so youll need to be more careful ... and of course dont get it wet or sweaty

as long as yr not bushwhacking/climbing in it, hiking in it, or using it in rainy environments ... the MB is the one take

otherwise i take the atom hoody

i own and use both extensively

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
cool on 12/11/2010 16:47:31 MST Print View

Eric, glad you can compare both. I mostly hike on trails and would very rarely bushwack. I'm using it more around camp or early/late when temps drop. Thanks for your real-world-use comments.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
exl on 12/11/2010 16:50:37 MST Print View

warren ... the EXL would serve you well then ... the atom isnt much warmer than a fleece, its basically a replacement for a fleece

id be happy to just above freezing with my exl, windshirt, and maybe the rain jacket on if cold in static situations

the UL will also work if you want a tad more durability with minimal weight gain

Edited by bearbreeder on 12/11/2010 16:52:35 MST.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Thanks again on 12/11/2010 17:03:54 MST Print View

Wow, much warmer and weighs half as much. That's what I'm looking for. And I bet it stuffs even smaller than the Atom LT. Cool. Thanks Eric. Anybody else?

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
+1 on 12/11/2010 17:10:22 MST Print View

Everything eric said.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
atom on 12/11/2010 17:24:03 MST Print View

the atom comes into its own when u need insulation during activity. sitting around not as much.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
OK on 12/11/2010 17:44:26 MST Print View

Where I live and hike, I don't need any insulation during activity. It's just for the early/late part of the day or for emergency on a day hike. Of course hoping to never have an emergency, just want to be prepared. I'm also thinking of going to DriDucks for my outter layer because they are so light and I rarely use my rain gear anyways. Again though, just want to be prepared in the event of rain (with a lighter load though).

Looking to go as light as possible. Is there any other Montbell product I should consider? -Please keep the comments coming.

Edited by WarrenGreer on 12/11/2010 17:45:54 MST.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Question on 12/11/2010 18:17:14 MST Print View

Eric, so the EXL vs. the UL is just about more durability? Is the UL warmer with that .2 oz of extra down?! Just trying to make the right choice.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Question on 12/11/2010 18:43:20 MST Print View

The UL Down Inner uses lower grade down (800fp) versus 900FP for the Ex-Light, so both jackets should be basically the same warmth even though the Ex-light has slightly less down by weight.

I have the Ex-light vest (3.64oz in medium!) and up until recently I owned the UL Down Inner. To me, there doesn't seem to be a big difference in durability. Both are really light fabrics that will not hold up to continued abuse/abrasion. Either will hold up well if you take proper care of it. If you don't want the pockets than the UL Down Inner has, then I would go with the Ex-light.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
ul on 12/11/2010 20:11:49 MST Print View

warren ... functionally they are roughly the same warmth

the UL has a 15D vs the exl 7D shell ... slight bit more tear and abrasion resistance IMO

put it this way ... i dont even sneeze without a windshirt on top of my EXL ... as long as you have a windshirt on top of your exl youll be fine

dan yr exl is a lot lighter than mine in med ... i got 156g .... maybe u got some super mutant duck ... lol

Edited by bearbreeder on 12/11/2010 20:28:19 MST.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
No sneezing on 12/11/2010 20:35:54 MST Print View

Didn't realize they were that fragile. I guess I could just wear my rain jacket over it then. Again, mostly just static and around camp is where I'll need the warmth. -I guess I shouldn't wear it around a camp fire without some other garment covering it then?

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
fragile on 12/11/2010 20:51:05 MST Print View

they prob arent THAT fragile ... im paranoid anyways ... but i wouldnt want to snag it on a the wrong branch

the windshirt would add to the warmth anyways

i tent to stay away from fires in any nylon clothing ...

Edited by bearbreeder on 12/11/2010 20:51:42 MST.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
ex light on 12/11/2010 20:51:33 MST Print View

I haven't found the ex light overly fragile. I agree w/ Ben I certainly wouldn't be bushwhacking in it, but I wear mine plenty sans windshirt and knock on wood- no holes/rips/tears

also Dan is talking vest w/ that weight :)

Edited by mtwarden on 12/11/2010 20:53:15 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
one more story on 12/11/2010 21:05:06 MST Print View

hmmm that makes sense

anyways one more story before i go out for the night

last year when i first got my atom lt and exl ... i went for a walk with this girl

she didnt bring any insulation ... so i lent her my exl , i had both in my pack ...

she was less than impressed... "OMG ur so cheap u wear garbage bags??? ... im not wearing that" ... my exl was black of course

so i took out my atom lt ... and she was pretty happy ... "this is soooooo warm ... arteryx makes the BESSSST (read yuppiest) stuffff"

i get the same reaction when i wear them out in town ... the MB looks like some cheap "garbage bag" ... however one glance of the dead bird logo on the atom will prompt a conversation ... "suuuch a niiice jacket" ... in fact i had girls open the doors for me at bars in north van, and their eyes were on the logo ..

so if yr young, single, and upwardely mobile .... i urge you to buy the arteryx ... you dont need the down, youll find some yuppie girl to keep you warm ...

time to get drunk !!!

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Birds not the word (apparently) on 12/11/2010 23:05:36 MST Print View

Dan/Mike, thanks for the comments. I think I'm much more comfortable making the move to the EXL.

Eric, I'm 47 and married over 21 of those years. So, the bird is of no use to me. At least for pickin' up chicks anyway. Ha! I just want the warmest, lightest, most packable, and most useful jacket out there. It sounds like it is the EXL. The "bird" is going back and the EXL is getting ordered. It just appears to be the best insulation for my needs. BPL rocks.

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Birds not the word (apparently) on 12/12/2010 00:50:26 MST Print View

The Ex Lught is ex-cellent. I have the jacket in M and the vest in L for layering and both are under spec weight and have proven plenty durable. I have even used them for around town and traveling. My wife snags them whenever she can (even though they are big on her and even after I gave her a UL down inner for her birthday). The only thing I miss is the pockets for hand warming and stashing things during everyday wear. For the trail and mountain, it's tops. The navy blue is quite stylish taboot, in my opinion.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Comments on 12/12/2010 10:54:05 MST Print View

Regarding durability, I often wear my Ex-Light/UL Down Inner around camp without anything over top but I am somewhat careful with what I'm doing. If I'm going to be wearing it for an extended period of time, or if I'm going to be sitting at a fire or walking through brush then I toss my windshirt over top. A spark from a fire will go through these jackets instantly. You won't even have a split second to brush it off. It's not meant to be an outer layer that takes abuse. If you take reasonable care then it will last a very long time.

I consider a windshirt to be my piece of gear that gets the abuse. I don't spend too much on one (ie. $30-$40) and then it takes the brunt of the abuse from bushwacking, fire sparks etc. You may want to add a medium weight (ie. 3-6oz) windshirt to your kit so you have a comfortable and fairly durable layer that while not essential, you will find yourself wearing all the time. I used to just use a rain jkt as my only shell, but now I find myself taking a windshirt too just because it gets used all the time and it's quite a bit more comfortable to wear than a rain jacket when it's not raining. Also, the lighter rain jackets out there don't stand up to sparks and bushwacking that well either. A cheap durable windshirt can improve your comfort and greatly extended the life of your expensive rain jacket and down jacket.

Regarding the vest, I consider the Ex-light vest to probably be the best summer-time insulation layer there is. 3.64oz is crazy light and yet warm enough for evening insulation on warm trips. On colder trips (ie. spring/fall) I'd probably bring a different jacket or layer another thin jacket over the vest.

I don't think the Montbell stuff looks like a 'cheap garbage bag'. I think it looks great. Not that I'm into this scene, but I'd happily wear an Ex-light to Starbucks. I love Montbell's slogan....'function is beauty'.

Edited by dandydan on 12/12/2010 11:01:08 MST.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Wahooo! on 12/12/2010 16:38:30 MST Print View

Aaron/Dan,

Thanks for your comments. It seems that I'll be plenty happy with the Dark Navy medium-sized EXL I just ordered from ProLite.

Dan/Eric, I also appreciate the comments on a wind shirt. I have one that is 25 years old and is 6 oz. with pockets (and is a tight fit! -w/sweat shirt underneath). I may give that a try, but I was looking for the total weight reduction that the EXL provides. With the windbreaker, total weight is up around 11.5 oz, which is similar to the Arc'teryx jacket I'm taking back. Do any of you have input on a lighter windshirt that I should consider? And cheaper in the $30 range? The few I've seen are $90-$100 and I'm not going there. I guess I could also wear a l/s nylon shirt over it too.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
windshirt on 12/12/2010 17:02:47 MST Print View

warren ... if you dont normally wear a windshirt you can just wear the exl under yr rain jacket while in camp for extra warmth and abrasion resistance ... just dont wear it for higher exertion activities as youll sweat it through

i actually do think my exl look like a garbage bag when i take it out of the stuff sack ... its all black and crinkly

i guess thats why i have enough dead birds in my closet to start a KFC =P