The Beta SL has been upgraded and now we've got the Arc'teryx Beta AR (see Mens and Womens) as a superlight, super compact rain jacket. Its main purpose is to be an emergency rain jacket that you can tuck away into your bag, where it will remain unnoticed, until it's needed. Its lightweight, waterproof design allows it to do just that.
This rain jacket is a good choice for anyone who wants some light protection on their journeys. While its design put more focus on being as light as possible, its durability is still decent so it's a suitable rain jacket choice for any outdoor activity.
The Arc'teryx Beta AR is the best lightweight rain jacket in its class and, while it may be on the more expensive side, you can throw it into your bag for emergencies for many years.
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Arc’teryx Beta SL Rain Jacket
The Arc'teryx Beta AR implements Gore-Tex Paclite fabric in order to be as light and compressible as possible.
The Beta AR is a rain jacket that covers all the standard bases and key features that make a rain jacket useful. It is the perfect option for people looking for something light and small to take away on their travels in case of rain or cold, windy weather.
Designed specifically to be an emergency rain jacket, that you can keep tucked away and out of sight until needed, the Beta SL has used less durable material. However, it has still implemented ripstop technology to help compensate for this, without adding any extra weight.
Unless you're looking for a rain jacket to wear during hardcore activities, such as skiing or rock climbing, the Beta SL is definitely on option worth considering.
Despite the Beta SL's streamlined focus on being as light as possible, the overall design and performance is very impressive, making it one of the top rain jackets to choose from. Its Gore-Tex Paclite material provides excellent waterproofing and breathability.
It also features articulated arms to ensure a good range of motion, and making it suitable for more rigorous activities. It fits wells and can easily be worn over a couple of light layers or even just a simple T-shirt.
Some of its other design features include an adjustable hood with a stiff brim to protect your face from rain, and Velcro cuffs around the wrists ensure that no water can get inside. It also has fairly good breathability, but it doesn't have pit zips or any other ventilation features.
This is because it was designed for emergency use, instead of 'high energy' activities, where you would need a way to get rid of extra body heat. Overall, the Beta AR is a high performing rain jacket and functions exactly the way it was designed.
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Finding the correct rain jacket for hiking and adventures at altitude for your needs and budget can be a tricky task and sifting through the troves of reviews can be time consuming and confusing. To make things easier, check out our expert review here.
The Beta AR, with its Gore-Tex Paclite fabric, offers excellent waterproofing and will keep you completely dry in rainy weather. Its adjustable hood, hem and sleeves, combined with neatly taped seams, ensures that no water can get through to the inside of the jacket. The stiff brim of the hood will keep the rain off your face as you travel through the outdoors.
Its zippers are also waterproof and function smoothly. A small storm flap on the interior of the zipper helps to keep your clothes completely dry if a droplet or two manages to get inside. The DWR finish also holds up very well so this jacket can provide years of waterproof use.
Durability and Fabric
The Beta AR is made from Gore-Tex Paclite fabric and is actually more durable than it gives itself credit for. It is made with thin seam tape, which tends to last better than the thicker kinds, and is also lighter.
The build of the jacket doesn't feature shoulder seams, which is an area that tends to show signs of wear and tear first. Special ripstop fabric has also been incorporated to minimise any damage that does happen to occur.
While the Beta AR didn't focus its design on durability, the jacket still holds up very well. The build of the jacket shows that a lot of thought has gone into improving the durability while keeping the jacket as light as possible. If taken care of, this rain jacket will provide you with more than your money's worth.
The Gore-Tex Paclite fabric is the most breathable fabric in the Gore-Tex line. So, while the Beta AR lacks pit zips or mesh pockets, its breathability is still very good. Unless you're partaking in very rigorous, high exertion activities, the Beta AR will suit you fine and keep you feeling comfortable.
Comfort and Weight
The Beta AR is a very comfortable rain jacket. It's fabric is soft and quiet and doesn't make you feel like you're wearing a plastic bag, like some cheap rain jackets do. It has a trim, athletic fit so that it's not baggy and won't snag on anything as you explore the outdoors. However, it still allows for some layering underneath so you can be warm and protected in cold weather.
It features micro-fleece lining at the top of the zipper and at the back of the neck, so it doesn't irritate your skin in the areas it touches. Its super lightweight build makes it easy to wear and carry. Its arms run slightly long in order to fit body types of all sizes and to keep as much of you dry as possible.
These arms can be adjusted so that you can still use your hands easily. They are also articulated so your range of motion isn't restricted in the slightest.
At only 455g (16 oz), the Beta AR is very light and easy to tuck away into your bag when not needed. This adds to its purpose of being suitable for emergency use as you can take it anywhere with you and not worry about adding much weight to your bag.