Chris Townsend tests the Arc’teryx Beta AR on the hill, and discovers a durable, low-weight waterproof jacket – albeit at a high price. 

Gore-Tex Pro is the most durable version of Gore-Tex. Arc’teryx says that their Arc’teryx Beta AR jacket is even more durable as they have developed a new version of the fabric with Gore called Gore-Tex Pro with Most Rugged Technology. The fabric is slightly stiffer than others tested and does crinkle a little. It’s still comfortable to wear though and very breathable.

The Arc’teryx Beta AR is unusual for a technical waterproof jacket in having a high internal collar separate from the hood. This gives good protection to the neck when the hood is down. However, when the hood is up the collar prevents a close fit round the face as it stands between the hood and your head. The hood also doesn’t move as well with the head as closer fitting ones. I think this design is more for skiing than hillwalking or mountaineering. There is a RECCO reflector embedded in the collar for location by searchers in the event of an accident. The hood is a helmet compatible one but can easily be closed down using two rear drawcords.

The Arc’teryx Beta AR has two large pockets that will hold maps and a small stretch inner pocket that’s good for a phone. There are underarm zips that run reasonably freely.

The weight is quite low for a tough jacket. The price, though, is very high.