Atomic Ridgeline 3L Jacket and 2L Pants Review:
The Atomic Ridgeline 3L jacket and 2L pants are part of Atomic’s first foray into the outerwear market. Atomic’s new outerwear line features three levels: Cliffline, Ridgeline, and Treeline. Ridgeline is in the middle for both price and quality. However, the Cliffline employs some very unique approaches to layering, so the Ridgeline series is actually the top level that uses a traditional shell approach.
The Atomic Ridgeline jacket and pants are as light, breathable and comfortable as a thin mountaineering soft shell; but are also waterproof, windproof, warm and durable like a heavier resort skiing hard shell. This outerwear combination can handle long hikes, varying temperatures, and heavy wind and precipitation, all in the same day. It is perfect for the skier who hikes, rides lifts and skis hard every day, in every condition.
40 days between Nevados de Chillan, Las Leñas, and Cordon del Plata.
Trip reports available 17,000-Feet in the Cordon del Plata and Pow Skiing Nevados de Chillan and Las Lenas.
ATOMIC RIDGELINE JACKET & PANT DETAILS:
– Atomic Ridgeline 3L Jacket
- Pertex Equilibrium, Pertex Shield+ 3L Stretch
- 20k Waterproof / Breathability
- Strategic Zip Vents at Chest
- Fully Taped Seams
- Snowskirt with Jacket-to-Pant Interface and Stretch Panel
Pick up the Atomic Ridgeline Jacket at evo.com: Atomic Ridgeline 3L Jacket
– Atomic Ridgeline 2L Pants
- Pertex Equilibrium, Pertex Shield+ 2L Stretch, Thermaflect Lining, Brushed Tricot Lining
- 20k Waterproof / Breathability
- Removeable Suspenders
- Fully Taped Seams
- Jacket-to-Pant Interface Loops
Pick up a pair of the Atomic Ridgeline Pants at evo.com: Atomic Ridgeline 2L Pants
Pertex Equilibrium and Pertex Shield+
The Ridgeline 3L Jacket and 2L Pants make use of Pertex Shield+ and Pertex Equilibrium to create garments that are lightweight, stretchy and extremely breathable, yet still waterproof and windproof. This was my first experience with these fabrics, and I can attest that they are legit. The fabric feels lighter, and more comfortable and breathable than a typical winter hard shell, but it still blocks weather just as well. In my opinion, Pertex is right alongside Polartec Neoshell as the most breathable fabric I’ve used, and it seems to be warmer and more windproof.
Waterproofing and Windproofing:
I used the Ridgeline jacket and pants in a few days of rain and snow, as well as a few days of wet, deep powder. They kept me 100% dry. I am interested to see how they hold up in many continuous days of snow this winter; but so far, so good!
The powder skirt attaches to the pants with a system of loops and snaps. For me, this is an essential part of waterproofing. Snow can’t get in on big storm days or on big crashes!
As you may be aware, it tends to be rather windy in the Andes. These two pieces saw quite a bit of wind, and held up well. Considering how light and breathable the fabric is, I was expecting it to let some wind through, like Neoshell or other air permeable fabrics. It did not – it was just as windproof as a traditional hard shell.
I hiked with these jacket and pants in a wide variety of conditions, including some very warm days. The fabric is extremely breathable. Again, it is right alongside Neoshell as the most breathable hard shell fabric I’ve used.
The Ridgeline jacket innovates with some interesting venting. Rather than traditional pit vents; the vents run down the front of the jacket from the shoulder down below the ribcage. I was initially skeptical, but quickly noticed two key advantages to this system. First, when you are moving forward or there is some breeze, air is easily forced into the vents, quickly cooling you off. Second, with a properly sized backpack, these vents fit neatly between your shoulder straps, chest straps and waist belt, so you can easily zip them without having to cross over any straps.
The Ridgeline pants have more typical venting, with outer thigh zips. They are adequate, although I would not be opposed to lengthening them and adding inner thigh vents as well. The pants are insulated with a very thin layer of nylon. Because the fabric is so light and breathable, the insulation is hardly noticeable. However, I would still prefer to see no insulation at all.
The Ridgeline jacket and pants have a trim, athletic fit. From personal experience, they are less baggy than Trew and Flylow outerwear, slightly more baggy than Stoic, and similar to Mammut or newer Dynafit outerwear. However, they “ski” a bit baggier. Because the fabric is so light, soft and stretchy, they are extremely comfortable, and do not restrict movement whatsoever.
Atomic claims: “Our ski pants and jackets are carefully cut and shaped to match people’s skiing positions. They give extra room and stretch in the important areas skiers need, like over the knees and around the elbows and shoulders.” I think this is accurate. Whether hiking or skiing, I never felt the jacket or pants impeded my movements in any way.
Thus far, I’ve put 40 ski days on this outerwear. I’ve been relatively hard on it, with lots of scraping against rocks, walking in dirt, crampon use, and general mountain wear and tear.
Initially, I was pretty concerned about durability, because the fabric is so light and thin. However, thus far I’ve been extremely impressed. Apart from a few superficial scratches from crampons on the pant legs and a few dirt smudges, this outerwear looks brand new. I rarely have clothes that come back from South America looking this good, so this stuff is in the upper echelon of durability so far.
However, I won’t be completely sold on durability until I see what the jacket and pants look like after 100 days of use, then 200 days of use. So far, so good!
Overall, I think the Ridgeline 3L Jacket and 2L Pants are excellent pieces. But, they do have a few drawbacks.
The jacket has separate zippers for the left chest pocket and lower hand pocket, but they are one big pocket inside. This seems stupid and unnecessary to me. I prefer two large chest pockets.
The jacket has inner sleeves that go over your hands. Take it or leave it – cut them out if you don’t like them.
The cinches on the hood have a strange system where you have to pull them up to lock them out. It is neither intuitive nor effective.
The pants have a light layer of nylon insulation. Occasionally it makes them a little warm and sweaty. This should be removed or at least minimized.
The inner snow gaiters on the legs are too baggy. They don’t always prevent snow from getting in, and sometimes sag below the pant cuff.
The Ridgeline 3L jacket and 2L pants are designed for people who hike, ride lifts and ski hard every day in every condition. The Pertex Shield+ fabric feels and breathes like a light hiking jacket but blocks weather like a heavy hard shell. The outerwear is well made and very durable thus far. While some features could be improved upon, this is a great product overall. At $400 for the jacket and $300 for the pants, they are priced below upper echelon outerwear of similar quality.