The gear it is crazy these days. Crazy light. Crazy warm. Crazy beautiful. Arc'Teryx specializes in covetous clothing, and the Cerium SL Hoody is all of the above: a jacket that you forget you're wearing in the best possible sense. This is a first look review after just a few weeks with the product; we'll update as it wears in the coming months.
The Cerium SL, where SL stands for super light, is a 7.6 ounce (!!!) 850 fill down jacket, with a nylon shell and a helmet compatible hood. Features include two zipped handwarmer pockets, dual hem adjustment cords, and… well, that's about it. What you're paying for here is a ridiculously light and warm layer that disappears into a pack, so it's always there when you need it.
Jackets are a core piece of gear. Unlike some gear your jacket becomes a daily driver, sometimes the only piece of gear other than footwear that you grab as you head out the door every morning. As such, the best jackets foster an instant sense of connection, and the Cerium SL does just that. It fits perfectly, form-fitting without being tight or constricting movement. Go ahead, windmill your arms, you'll get no hitch in your giddy-up here. The Cerium SL also passes the critical Gearflogger Chin Test: when fully zipped up, the collar comfortably covers the chin whether the hood is up or down. A seemingly minor feature, but glaringly annoying when absent and your chinny-chin-chin is starting to become uncomfortably numb.
If there's a nit with the the Cerium SL, it's that it is so light you will underestimate how warm you will get wearing it. We've done a lot of snow shoveling the past week, and every time we started with the Cerium SL on in just-below-freezing temps, and within five minutes had to take it off as we started overheating. This isn't a flaw, just an psychological variable to remember. You just don't think it could possibly be as warm as it is, and the solution is to just treat it like a midweight jacket, great for low-exertion activities in cool to cold weather: belaying, camp duty and a midlayer while working in extreme cold. Overall a great problem to have, and we look forward to letting you know how it stands the test of time.