The long layoff of writing has given me ample time to try out the Delta LT Zip I received from Arc’Teryx in a myriad of conditions. Obviously, in the warmer months, it will be used as a standalone piece of clothing when temperatures dip below “comfortable” at night. However, this sweater should be an integral piece of your base layering system come late fall, winter, and early spring.
The concept of “layering” has been hammered in my psyche for as long as I can remember. It comes from starting my outdoor endeavors since the time I could walk. A lot has changed since then. I no longer use various layers of heavy cotton. I prefer very few, lightweight layers of synthetic materials that achieve the same outcome.
This is where the Delta LT comes in…
October in the Midwest is quite fascinating. You can wake up to temperatures in the 20’s and be enjoying 60 degrees by 3:00pm. It makes clothing decisions complicated, especially if you’re already hauling a full rack of climbing gear.
Luckily, the weekend we went to Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin was quite mild. It was in the upper 30’s by mid-morning and 60’s by the afternoon. My body is always running hot (interpret that as you will) so I decided to leave the campsite with nothing but a t-shirt and the Delta LT (and stuff covering the bottom, sicko). By the time I got to the top of our climbs (this was mostly a top-roping affair), I was already sweating. I stripped off the sweater to dry out while setting anchors, and by the time I rapp’d down to the base of the climbs, I was chilled. I put the sweater back on, and BOOM! Instant warmth. Polartec® really knows what they’re doing.
Fast forward to some colder temps, and it’s still great as a standalone sweater. We were hiking around 10,000ft. in 30-degree weather and this was all I needed. I had a shell with me in case we hit some exposure, but due to my supreme flat-lander conditioning, I was starting to get sore and tired and decided to turn around. 10,000 ft. above sea level is a lot higher than 300 ft. above sea level, ok?!
And finally, this past weekend we were back at it again. This time, we were hiking in 0-degrees around 9,000 ft. I opted for the cereal killer look.
It’s temps like this where you really need to have your layering system down. Sweating should be avoided as much as humanly possible; this we all know. But when it’s this cold, you also need to be warm. Again, because I’m so hot, I decided to dress light, but carry an extra layer just in case. I chose to wear this stuff on my person:
Synthetic underpants (love that word)
Uninsulated, moisture wicking skin layer
Full-length ventable (did I just make that word up?), semi-insulated Mountain Hardware softshell pants
Mid-level insulating socks
Keen Summit County boots
Moisture wicking, Nike Cold Gear turtle neck skin layer
Nike Dri Fit t-shirt
Arc’Teryx Delta LT Zip
Deerskin insulated middens
(Arc’Teryx Atom SV Hoodie in my pack just in case)
Although it was 0-degrees, I was supremely comfortably warm. If we hit a long stretch of sun, I started venting everything. If we ducked back into the shade, just zip it up again. By the end of the hike, I think it warmed up to the mid-single digits. It was hot! So I unzipped my shell and let the Delta LT cover all the insulating work. I did not sweat a single drop, nor was I ever near being cold.
Not only will I have this sweater with me anytime the temperatures fall below “comfortable”, but it looks extremely fashionable, and the athletic cut fits me perfectly. Honestly, I don’t know why you don’t all have one already.