Lightweight waterproof jacket for year-round use
For this autumn Arc’teryx has launched a new version of the Beta LT waterproof jacket. It’s made from three-layer Gore-Tex Pro and Arc’teryx describes it as ‘a fast and light adventure shell that balances durability and weight, without compromise on performance’. The Large size I’ve been testing weighs 371 grams.
The last few months have seen plenty of wet weather so the Beta LT has had frequent use. So far it has proved waterproof and as breathable as most top end jackets. I’ve only had condensation inside in really wet conditions with heavy rain and damp mist and there’s never been much of it. The fabric is fairly stiff and a bit crackly. This is good in cold windy weather as it means the jacket isn’t pressed against you, squeezing out warm air. I think the Beta LT is fine for year round use, making it one of the lightest waterproofs adequate for winter conditions. The fabric also feels quite tough and should last better than the thin fabrics found on some lightweight jackets.
The design is fairly minimalist and functional. The hood is helmet compatible and has a wide stiff laminated peak that gives good protection in storms. I usually prefer a wired peak that can be shaped to deal with side winds but this one has performed fine. There’s a rear drawcord so pulling in the hood around the head is easy. Compared with some helmet size hoods there isn’t too much spare bunched up fabric when you do this. Side visibility is pretty good when the hood is cinched down. The front and rear cordlocks can be operated when wearing gloves.
There are two roomy external pockets that will hold maps. They sit above a hipbelt and are angled for use as handwarmers. There’s also a stretch inner pocket that’s useful for a GPS or phone.
The front and external pocket zips are YKK WaterTight ones. There’s a flap inside the front toothed one in case any rain gets through. I haven’t had any leakage yet. The pockets are made of Gore-Tex so even if the zips leak no rain will enter the jacket itself. Arc’teryx do warn that the pocket zips aren’t fully waterproof and that items that may be damaged by moisture shouldn’t be stored in the pockets.
The seams are sealed with narrow 8mm tape, which should help with condensation control. There’s a hem drawcord, Velcro adjustable cuffs and a brushed microsuede chin guard.
The Beta L has a ‘trim, slim fit’ which Arc’teryx says ‘puts the Gore-Tex close to the body, maximising breathability’. This is fine if you don’t need to wear many layers under it such as when running for example. However for cold weather walking I think any waterproof needs to be large enough to fit over a fleece top or similar. That’s why I went for the Large size, fits comfortably over a midweight fleece. It is a bit baggy worn just over a base layer but I’d rather have the room for more layers than a tight-fitting jacket even if that does reduce the breathability a little.
The jacket is hip length with an extended back that just covers my backside but isn’t long enough to sit on. The sleeves are quite long, which is good as it means they can be pulled over my hands for warmth if necessary. Gussets under the arms ensure that the sleeves don’t ride up when you stretch.
Overall this is a nice lightweight waterproof jacket that performs well and has practical features. It is expensive though.