CAUTION: Cerium line is designed for casual uses (very little to no output) out in mostly dry weather.
If this doesn't suit you, STOP READING HERE and visit my guide to Arc'teryx Jackets instead!
Here's the bottom line:
Selected are all hooded options.
Cerium is Arc'teryx's down jacket line. Meaning that the main insulator they use is down.
Down jackets are like race cars.
They're a bit more difficult to take care of compared to synthetic jackets.
Their upsides, on the other hand, are that they're lighter, more packable and longer lasting (almost zero loss of insulation capability after many years).
Find below the lowest temperatures you can wear each jacket without feeling uncomfortably cold.
These are only approximate values assuming:
- you only have a shirt under and no shell over,
- during daily use (strolls, power walks etc at most - no high output activities),
- with light wind,
- and when it's dry out.
°F / °C
Arc'teryx LEAF Cold WX Parka SVX (Men's)
Arc'teryx Ceres SV (Men's)
Arc'teryx Dually Belay Parka (Men's)
Arc'teryx Thorsen Parka (Men's)
Arc'teryx Centrale (Women's)
Arc'teryx Piedmont (Men's)
Arc'teryx Therme Parka (Men's)
Arc'teryx Camosun Parka (Men's)
Arc'teryx Radsten Parka (Men's)
Arc'teryx Macai (Men's)
Arc'teryx Andessa (Women's)
Arc'teryx Patera Parka (Women's)
Arc'teryx Alpha IS (Men's)
Arc'teryx Radsten Insulated (Men's)
Arc'teryx Kappa (Men's)
Arc'teryx Sensa Parka (Women's)
Arc'teryx Magnus Coat (Men's)
If you think you run warmer or colder than the average person, then shift these temperature ranges accordingly.
See the performance ratings of these jackets too: https://outdoorcrunch.com/arcteryx-wiki/
Now the question is:
How do the Cerium SL vs LT vs SV compare?
The two letter modifiers in the end indicate the different degrees of warmth and weight combination.
As you see, the warmest Cerium jacket is the SV model (severe weather), while the Cerium SL (superlight) is the lightest and the Cerium LT (lightweight) is in the middle.
You can find a more detailed guide about these modifiers in Arc'teryx's Naming Scheme Page here - for all "SL", "LT" and "SV" as well as "Cerium".
- SV is available with the hood only (since it maximizes warmth).
- LT offers both options: With and without hoody.
- SL offers both options: With and without hoody.
Cerium jackets are insulated both with down and synthetic materials. Let's start with down insulation and see how they line up.
All 3 Cerium models in this post are equipped with a whooping 850 fill power European grey goose down.
If you're unaware, this value represents the amount of volume the down fully expands to at rest. The higher the FP (fill power) number, the more air will be trapped and heated inside the down, and ultimately the higher the warmth will end up being.
FP value goes up to 900 - 1000, and even the most "luxurious" parkas of Arcteryx like Thorsen, Therme, and Camosun use 750 FP down. Less than those of the Cerium's.
However, as you can guess, the amount of down is equally important. It is possible to ensure equal warmth with a lower FP down - it's just that you're going to have to use more of it and hence the jacket will be significantly heavier.
This is why the Thorsen, for example, is warmer than Cerium SV, but it's also considerably heavier (1.1 kg vs 400 g - 2.5 lbs vs 0.9 lbs).
It's the same with these jackets:
- SV: Equipped with (162 grams) 5.7 ounces of 850 FP down
- LT: Equipped with (102 grams) 3.5 ounces of 850 FP down
- SL: Equipped with (58 grams) 1.9 ounces of 850 FP down
This is why SV is the heaviest and warmest, and SL is the least warm and lightest.
In addition to down insulation, the areas of these jackets which experience a lot of movement (such as the armpits) are also equipped with synthetic insulation (this is actually the case for all Arc'teryx down jackets):
- SV: 140 g/m² and 80 g/m² Coreloft insulation.
- LT: 100 g/m² and 80 g/m² Coreloft insulation.
- SL: 100 g/m² and 40 g/m² Coreloft insulation.
As a result, insulation loss around these areas (which typically occurs due to down migration) are minimized.
Generally speaking, with only a long sleeved shirt under and without a shell on top, for an average person, during daily use (strolls, power walks, etc) and with enough wind to cause an umbrella to twist in your hand...
The approximate lowest temperatures where an average person can wear these jackets without feeling cold can be listed as:
- SV: -20 deg C (-5 deg F) - ≈400 grams (≈15 oz).
- LT: -8 deg C (17 deg F) - ≈300 grams (≈11 oz).
- SL: +5 deg C (40 deg F) - ≈200 grams (≈7 oz).
If you think you run hotter or colder than the average person, mentally shift these temperatures accordingly.
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SV is a little baggier than SL and LT.
With the baggier cut, more air trapped between your body and the jacket. As a result, more air is heated - which works as a great extra insulation. Many other insulated gear (such as sleeping bags) leverage the same principle.
There are cases where a baggier cut actually comes counter productive since it allows too much air to circulate and hence air can't get heated properly. Some even let the cold air in. But in our case it's done correctly and the baggier cut of Cerium SV perfectly adds to its warmth.
Baggier cut also lets you layer under and still stay equally comfortable when wearing the jacket - which is something to consider.
Both SL and LT come with the identical trim fit. One of their biggest pro is that they fit fantastic and provides exceptional comfort.
This can be another important thing to consider. Outer fabrics are quite fragile.
SV and LT are DWR coated, whereas SL isn't.
DWR is a coating.
It's basically sprayed on to the surface of these jackets as a finish. It stands for Durable Water Repellent - which means that water will be repelled under wet conditions instead of soaking into the fabric.
DWR also decreases dry time.
It's a good thing these jackets are coated in DWR, but pay attention to the fact that DWR is a coating - meaning that it will wear off over time.
Which is why you might want to invest in a DWR spray such as this one for after treatment.
As you see, there's a strong correlation between FP x FW and temperature ratings, but not more than, say, 80%. I explained why this happens here in this post of mine.
Still, down insulated jackets (at least say heavily down insulated jackets with little synthetic insulation besides - like Cerium) are usually more prone to losing their performances out in wet weather, compared to synthetic jackets.
This is the main downside to consider with all these jackets - even with SV.
You can say all these jackets are moisture resistant - but not water resistant.
If this is a deal-breaker for you, and hence you'd rather a truly wind & waterproof fabric instead, the reasonable substitutes for each model can be listed as follows:
- Cerium SV - Ceres SV [Read my review]
- Cerium LT - Thorium AR [Read my review]
- Cerium SL - Proton FL or Atom SL [Read my review]
Checking out this post where we listed Arcteryx's and Patagonia's top synthetic insulated jackets can be helpful as well.
Another option would be to get a hard shell on top. Cerium is a mid-layer line, after all.
Arc'teryx staff also stated the hard shell option and low water resistance performance of Cerium here:
Mid to strong winds may (will) push through the nylon and down layers of all three Cerium models but lighter strength winds are usually blocked.
Cerium LT uses a thicker, heavier and more durable nylon both on the face fabric & lining compared to SL (Arato 10 vs Arato 7).
SV, on the other hand, is equipped with Arato 10 on the face fabric and 7 on the lining.
Still, none of these jackets are really durable as they aren't abrasion resistant. They're meant to wear under a shell in most physically active or foul weather conditions.
That does NOT mean that they can't be worn as a standalone piece, they certainly can, however, you're going to have to treat equally kind to LT, SV and SL.
They're all fragile. Most complained side of these jackets. Let's hope seeing at least a 30 or 40 fabric in future updates.
If you WILL be treating your jacket fairly kind or get a shell over it, though; you probably won't regret a fragile construction since it won't cause a negative impact.
If you'll be wearing your Cerium below, say, -8 deg C (17 deg F) a fair amount of days, then I'd recommend the Cerium SV.
If winters aren't really THAT cold in your town (say, above -8 deg C (17 deg F) most days), then I'd recommend Cerium LT because of its fantastic fit as well as less risk of overheating.
If you're planning to wear the jacket mainly in fall and spring (above +5 deg C (40 deg F)) during various outdoor activities such as climbing and hiking, then I'd recommend the Cerium SL.