This is the jacket you don’t know you need until you have it. The Arc’teryx Cerium SL Hoodie packs down into a bundle that’s a little larger than a softball, and it’s a very versatile and travel-friendly piece to have in the backcountry or to bring on the road.
SL stands for superlight, and I have found this highly packable down hoody performs as both a midlayer or, in mild conditions, on its own. My most successful adventures with the jacket have been on hikes and while traveling when maximizing luggage space is a factor.
It’s likely that you’ll remove the jacket during rigorous activity, but it’s great to have once you stop moving or if the temperature suddenly drops. I took it with me skinning a lot this winter. In the early, chilly mornings up in Vail, Colorado, I would start with the jacket on while preparing my gear at the base of the mountain, then would remove it pretty quickly once we had started our ascent. But as soon as we stopped to strip our skins and to get ready to ski, I would drop my pack put on the Cerium SL Hoodie before making another move. It kept me warm in these transitions, but it wasn’t cumbersome to pack along the way.
I also packed it with me on a winter trip to Bend, Oregon. While the weather in Bend is often considered mild compared to the Colorado mountains, I found the Oregon air had a tendency to cut through me to the bone. The jacket was the warmest layer I brought, other than a ski jacket, and it was perfect for walking around town and to cozy up in the car after a day of skiing at Mt. Bachelor.
Pros: The jacket is made with 850 fill goose down, with a very light yet durable nylon shell. It’s minimalist in design, yet versatile with its high warmth to weight ratio. The insulated hood adds warmth, and is a new addition from the original Cerium SL Jacket.
Cons: While light and perfect as a middle layer, it’s a little risky to rely on the jacket as you’re only down in cold conditions. Without a lot of layers underneath, you may get cold, so this is best worn as a mid layer, or as a top layer in milder winter conditions, or rely on it as a go-to in a cool and dry scenario.
Where We Took It: Winter morning skinning up Vail Mountain, and traveling to Bend, Oregon, for a winter trip of skiing, brewery tours and restaurant hopping.