Comparing brands and jackets from different brands has become a staple in our articles, but today we thought it would be best to change things up a little.
As you have seen from the title, today’s piece is a jacket comparison, but the catch is that they are both by the same brand, Arc’teryx.
We picked two from the same brand because Arc’teryx is a brand that makes some of the best jackets available. It continues to impress us time and time again with its quality and the flawless performance of its products.
If it’s technical jackets you are looking for, look no further.
The designs chosen for this comparison are the Thorium and the Cerium jackets, and there is quite a bit to discuss, so let’s get started.
- 1. Arc’teryx: The Brand
- 2. The Arc’teryx Thorium AR Jacket
- 3. The Arc’teryx Cerium LT Jacket
- 4. Comparison: Thorium AR vs. Cerium LT
- 5. Conclusion: Which One is Best?
1. Arc’teryx: The Brand
It’s always useful to learn more about the brand that makes a certain product as it speaks volumes about their business practices and the product you are buying.
This reference to evolution showcases the brand’s philosophy when it comes to their products, which is that of adaptation and change, by manufacturing innovative designs that withstand the harshest conditions and perform like few others.
The product range of today features numerous designs that are not solely limited to jackets, but also outdoor gear and other essentials, such as backpacks. As a matter of fact, Arc’teryx started out as a manufacturer of climbing gear.
Two of its most popular products at the time were the Vapor harness and Bora backpack, which were made with the same thermolamination technology.
Its partnership with Gore-Tex fabrics is what really kicked off their success in the clothing market. Gore-Tex is one of the best-performing fabrics available and when paired with Arc’teryx’s design philosophy, it is no surprise that the resulting products were impeccable.
Arc’teryx is not popular solely because of its quality, but also due to their ethical means of production.
If you would like to learn a bit more as to why this is such a beloved brand, despite being so expensive, we have discussed that very same topic in this article here.
2. The Arc’teryx Thorium AR Jacket
Design Features and Style
Thorium is both a standalone and a mid layer jacket, which is insulated with natural down and designed to be practical and lightweight.
It layers beautifully under a heavier coat, if necessary, but on its own it is already considerably warm and suitable for a variety of activities.
Thorium AR is a hoodless jacket, which comes with a tall, stand-up collar that is padded to provide warmth to the neck, which makes for well-rounded protection and insulation. Due to its design, the collar also closes off the jacket from the top, by preventing the cold from getting through, as it fits snugly on the neck.
There is a hooded version, too, which comes in options for both men and women. Both the hooded and hoodless designs are similar in their fit and cut.
Men’s Version – check it out on:
Women’s Version – check it out on:
Its sleeve cuffs are elasticized, which provides a universal fit and also prevents the sleeves from moving up too much as you move. Elasticized cuffs are quite practical because you won’t have to deal with Velcro tabs and having to adjust them.
Thorium is a hip-length jacket and has a drop-tail hem. This design feature is necessary for providing better coverage when moving around and especially when sitting. It bears mentioning that the drop-tail hem is quite a common design found in many Arc’teryx jackets.
There are two side pockets on this design, which serve as hand warmer pockets and are spacious enough for storing small belongings.
An internal pocket is also included and it serves as a stuff sack, too, because Thorium is a packable jacket, great for taking with you when traveling or when hiking.
It features a full-length central zipper, which is made with No Slip Zip™. What’s different about this type of zipper is the presence of a small “speed bump” near the collar that prevents it from opening by itself, which happens far too often with zippered clothing.
On the collar there is also a chin guard that prevents the neck and chin from getting chafed.
Design-wise, it has a smooth appearance and it is also quilted. The quilting pattern is horizontal, in a rectangular shape and helps to keep the down insulation evenly distributed and in place.
You might also like: 11 Arc’teryx Jackets for your Favorite Winter Sport
Materials and Other Details
Thorium is made of Arato™ 30 Nylon fabric on the shell, which is also treated with DWR finish in order to help it withstand water. That is essential because, being a down jacket, Thorium runs the risk of losing its loft entirely and becoming practically useless in providing insulation when wet.
However, that is not much a concern not just because of the fabric, but also because this jacket is insulated with a hybrid blend of 750 fill European grey goose down and Coreloft™ synthetic insulation.
Using their very own Down Composite Mapping technology, Arc’teryx has strategically distributed the synthetic insulation in key areas of the jacket, such as the cuffs, collar and arms, which are more prone to moisture.
The main insulation, which is Down, is placed on the body and sleeve where the bulk of the warmth is necessary.
Thorium weighs around 435 grams (15.3 oz) and comes in five sizes, from Small to XX Large.
3. The Arc’teryx Cerium LT Jacket
Design Features and Style
Cerium LT is also a down jacket, which comes in both hooded and hoodless options for men and women.
Its shell is smooth and shiny and the quilting is a mix of horizontal, rectangular quilting for the body and sleeves, while the shoulders and collar are different from the rest of the body.
The collar is also padded in order to provide warmth, while also helping it be more comfortable and also blocks out cold drafts from entering inside the jacket from the top. This is a medium, stand-up collar, which also comes with chin guard to prevent getting chafed from the main zipper.
Men’s Version – check it out on:
Women’s Version – check it out on:
The cut is hip-length and its hem is in a drop-tail design that provides better coverage to the back when sitting and bending down.
The sleeve cuffs are elasticized, which, as we said before, helps the sleeves stay put and the jacket fits much easier.
On the outside, there are two zip pockets, with zippers that contrast the main color of the jacket. These are hand-warmer pockets that also provide good space for storing small belongings such as a smartphone or wallet.
Inside there is a zippered pocket where the stuff sack is stored, that can be used to pack the jacket into for easy travel.
This is a very lightweight jacket, that provides exceptional warmth and really comfortably.
The construction is articulated, meaning that the jacket moves with the body, making this a great jacket for outdoor activities.
Cerium is a packable design due to the high compressibility of its insulation, which makes it perfect for traveling with.
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Materials and Other Details
Cerium is made of Arato™ 10 nylon for the shell, which is a highly durable fabric that provides a basic level of weather resistance and it is also smooth. The shell has also been treated with DWR coating that repels moisture and helps keep the jacket dry.
The insulation is a blend of Down and Coreloft™ synthetic insulation that, just like Thorium, it is strategically placed according to the trademarked Arc’teryx Down Composite Mapping. The Coreloft insulation is placed in areas that are prone to moisture, such as the collar, cuffs and under the arms.
The down insulation, which is the main insulation, is Premium 850 fill power European white goose down.
The central zipper is of high quality and operates smoothly, while also being protected against moisture from the concealing coverage.
This is a very lightweight design, weighing only 280 grams (9.9 oz) and it also comes in five sizes, from Small up to XX Large.
4. Comparison: Thorium AR vs. Cerium LT
Both Thorium and Cerium are made of 100% Nylon Arato fabric and are treated with DWR finish. The coating helps them repel water by causing it to bead on top of the fabric’s surface and roll off, rather than pooling on and risking it soaking through and wetting the jacket.
They both perform similarly in this regard and are both mildly weather-resistant. However, these are not jackets made for wet weather, so keep that in mind. The hooded versions fare much better in this regard, therefore opt for one of them.
Wind-protection is also similarly matched. They provide adequate protection, overall, but are best used as most other down jackets, to keep you warm and cozy.
Here is where these two jackets differ from each other.
Thorium is insulated with 750 fill power European goose down, whereas Cerium is insulated with 850 fill power European goose down. Despite Cerium having a higher fill power, which typically is an indication of better insulation, in this case Thorium is the warmest design.
The reason why Thorium is the warmest of the two is due to its weight. While both of them are made of similar fabrics and overall materials, the weight is quite different. Thorium weighs around 435 grams, whereas Cerium weighs 280 grams.
That weight difference is due to the insulation, therefore, having a lot more down than Cerium, Thorium provides much better insulation and is the warmer of the two.
Their average temperature ratings are -12°C for Thorium and approximately -8°C for Cerium LT.
But, keep in mind that it exists another design called “Cerium SV” which is a different design, and it is the warmest, with a temperature rating of approximately -20°C.
Style and Fit
In this regard there isn’t much to discuss because these jackets are quite similar to each other in style.
Both are quilted and have smooth shells, come with elasticized cuffs, are hip-length and have a drop-tail.
However, the quilting on Cerium is a bit more appealing, in our opinion and the shiny shell gives it a very sleek appearance.
As for the way they fit and wear, Cerium is a streamlined design, whereas Thorium fits larger.
They are both very comfortable jackets to wear, but depending on whether you prefer a lighter option or a heavier one, Cerium is lighter, whereas Thorium is heavier.
Arc’teryx is a pricey brand and that is evident in this case as well. Both of these jackets will cost you upwards of $200, but out of the two, Cerium is the most expensive one.
Cerium LT retails for around $300 give and take, depending on where you are looking to buy it from. Thorium, on the other hand, is approximately $250, but there will be variations with different retailers.
Build Quality and Durability
Despite being made from the same brand and from almost identical materials, there are still a couple of differences between these jackets in regards to durability.
First and foremost, their quality is similar and both are very well-made, with impeccable stitching and overall build quality.
However, Thorium’s face fabric is made of Arato 30 Nylon fabric, which is tougher and more durable than the Arato 10 nylon of the Cerium shell fabric.
5. Conclusion: Which One is Best?
Cerium LT and Thorium AR are similar in that they are both insulated with hybrid insulation and are also made out of similar materials for their shells and lining.
Which of the two is the best choice for you would depend on what you are looking for in a jacket.
Is it warmth? They are very closely matched in this regard, with Thorium being slightly warmer. Thorium is also cheaper in price, which makes it all the more appealing.
However, Cerium LT is quite lightweight and that might be more suitable for those who prefer traveling light and don’t favor bulky jackets.
Thorium is also more durable than Cerium LT, but at the same time it tends to fit slightly larger, which can work well if you are looking to layer underneath.
As you can see, it all comes down to the qualities you want in your jacket that will determine which of these two designs will be the better choice.