Winter has really kicked in over the past couple of weeks in the UK, the cold and dry conditions call for a down jacket which can push out some serious warmth and insulation. The Cerium SV is designed for these cold, harsh conditions - although other manufacturers have pushed for treated down, Arcteryx have remained true to the conditions down became popular in and created a jacket designed for cold, dry weather.
Arcteryx are really pushing this jacket towards the high end of the market, coming in with an RRP of £400, it's a technical jacket with no bells or whistles, it's designed purely for keeping you warm when mother nature is doing her best to freeze you. Let's start off with the jacket's features before we look at how it performs when the temperature drops.
- Cerium - Streamlined, lightweight goosedown filled jackets made of a composite construction to provide warmth where it is needed most. Highest warmth-to-weight ratio.
- SV - Severe weather, employs the most durable materials for prolonged use and provides the most weather protection in the harshest conditions.
- RRP - £400
- Moisture-resistant, DWR treated outer fabric
- Great warmth-to-weight ratio
- Compressible and packable
- Wind resistant
- Down Composite Mapping
- Adjustable, insulated hood with single pull adjuster
- Full front zip with with chin guard
- Elastic cuffs
- Adjustable hem drawcord
- 1 internal, zipped pocket and 2 external hand-warmer zipped pockets.
- Includes stuff-sack
Let's breakdown the long list of features provided by Arcteryx and try to get to the heart of this jacket. It's designed to be the ultimate mix of warmth and packability, while being lightweight, durable and water resistant, it's also designed to be comfortable and easily adjusted for everyone's unique fit. The fabric they've used is Airetica, a 100% nylon fabric which is tightly constructed, high tenacity ripstop nylon with a smooth finish, which is then treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating.
The insulation is mainly 850 goose down, but there's also 100 and 140 Coreloft synthetic insulation. The Down Composite Mapping explains the mix of insulation types - areas which are prone to moisture use synthetic insulation over down as it performs better when wet. Goose down is still the best warmth-to-weight ratio insulator used in technical jackets and this is why it's the primary insulation.
All the drawcords are easily adjustable to bring the jacket in close and stop the wind from getting in, the hood has the most technical drawcord construction which really helps the hood come close in around your face. Although they don't seem like a major part of the jacket they can easily bring down the temperature within and make a jacket redundant. It's great to see Arcteryx making an effort with every aspect of the Cerium SV to really provide an excellent experience in the cold.
This jacket demanded some serious cold and the timing couldn't have been more perfect, an unusual patch of seriously cold and snowy weather hit Devon while the Cerium SV was on test meaning I got to wander around with a big grin on my face analysing a toasty down jacket. The lowest wind chill temperature I experienced while wearing the Cerium SV was around -4°C.
Putting the Cerium SV jacket on is like wrapping a duvet around you, the warmth is immediate and the fit of the jacket means the down is tight around your body in all locations, perfect when the winds start blowing. I was shocked at how quickly the jacket began to warm me up, instantly radiating warmth back into my body. After some activity in a down jacket the feathers will normally begin to move or pickup moisture and coldspots will begin to form, thanks to the DCM this didn't happen, the jacket becomes warm and stays warm over the duration of wear.
The basics of the jacket are all done well. Multiple pockets help keep everything organised on the move while the stuff-sack keeps pack management easy. Elastic cuffs and the hemcord provide protection against wind by moving with you at all this times - this keeps the jacket right next to a baselayer or your skin and stops any wind from getting in. This is also the time to compliment the cut and fit of the jacket, it really is perfectly done - it's slightly longer in the back just to cover the top of my bum, while the sleeves are the perfect length. Arcteryx have really thought about how perfect this jacket needs to be for the pricetag and all these design features are helping make this jacket a real standout piece.
One of the things I love about this jacket is the hood construction and thought behind the drawcord, the way it tightens is different to other jackets and brings the hood completely around your face. Great thinking from Arcteryx, there's no way the wind can catch the hood and it's noticeable - warmth around my head was far superior than my Rab Summit down jacket which uses a classic drawcord system around the top of the skull.
As time goes on I have noticed that the jacket does like to shed feathers, I think this is due to the tightness of the baffles. All down jackets lose feathers as time goes on but it does seem like an above average amount. I've spoken to other owners of the Cerium SV and they've noticed the same thing - perhaps something Arcteryx needs to take a look at before the fall product range is launched?
In summary, the Cerium SV has become my go to jacket for cold, crisp and dry days where staying warm is a priority. It's well made, well thought out and can definitely provide warmth when it's needed. My only slight grievance with the jacket is the price point, £400 is a lot of money for a jacket but if you're heading off to a place where only the best will do then I highly recommend the Cerium SV.
Thanks for checking out my review of the Cerium SV Hoody by Arcteryx, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them for providing the jacket to test. If you'd like anymore information about the jacket then please click this link to go to the Arcteryx website.