Arcteryx Beta ARHaving made the cut in 2000 and still being a favorite today the Arcteryx Beta AR is one of the most versatile hardshell jackets around. It can do everything, providing weather protection and breathability for any mountain activity. View Latest Deal
Arcteryx as a company was founded on the basis that “there is always a better way”. Now a company with an ethos such as this is something you don’t see every day. Based in the Canadian wilderness Arcteryx is obsessed with precise design and thrives to continuously evolve and create products in the right way. Their mission is “Timeless quality, intuitive design and simplicity result in unrivaled performance at the point of extreme need”.
Their products are usually near or at the top of every top ten reviews in regards to outdoor clothing, and with a company mission like the above, it’s easy to see why. In this article, we are going to focus on one of their hardshell jackets, the Beta AR. This jacket has been around the block and it remains one of the best around since its release in 2000. The quality materials and lightweight design combined with all the features one needs have made it a true front runner.
Below we’ll take a look at all the details of the Arcteryx Beta AR, getting into the nitty-gritty around features, fit, durability, weather protection, and more. Keep reading to find it out if this is the hardshell jacket you’ve been looking for.
When it comes to materials and durability, Arcteryx does not cut any corners. They use some of the best materials in the world for their gear and then pull them all together seamlessly towards the function of each of their products. So, how have they done with the Beta AR?
The Beta AR is made up of a combination of 40 and 80-denier GORE-TEX Pro 3L and just your normal GORE-TEX. GORE-TEX is one of the most rugged, durable materials that remains breathable while being able to keep you dry. GORE-TEX Pro 3L comes with a guarantee to keep you dry, blowing your average GORE-TEX out of the water, and its use as the main shell fabric in the Beta AR can only be a good thing.
This jacket will keep you dry no matter the weather and it comes with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating to add some further weather protection.
The Beta AR comes with WaterTight external zippers and laminated pit zippers that are robust and exceptionally durable. They slide up and down with ease no matter the temperature and come with corded zipper-pulls for use with gloves.
The reason for the use of both 40 and 80-denier is a balance between weight and durability. Arcteryx has used 80D on parts of the jacket that will experience the most wear, like the arms and shoulders where your backpack would sit. This allows it to resist any abrasion from your mountain activities and effectively last a long time.
The 40D ripstop fabric is still pretty durable on its own and the reduction in D-count is there to bring the overall weight down.
A backpacking life on the trail involves having light gear and avoiding any extra weight as much as possible. This is even the case when it comes to your socks, and therefore definitely your hardshell jacket. Let’s take a look at how the Beta AR does in regards to weight and packability.
The Beta AR weighs just 1lb (or 16 oz.) and when compared to other cold mountain hardshells it’s about average, being beaten by other Acrteryx jackets funnily enough. They’re only around 4-5 oz. lighter which isn’t a big difference unless you’re a true gram counter.
The Beta AR rolls up nicely into its own hood and can be tied down to around a liter and a half in size, so it’s not going to take up much valuable space in your backpack. It’s well worth the backpack space too considering how helpful it will be.
The Arcteryx Beta AR is designed to be a winter jacket that is also good for use in shoulder seasons too. In terms of handling weather, it’s about as good as it gets. The use of Gore-Tex Pro gives you a triple layer of protection and when combined with the DWR (durable water-repellent coating) makes it windproof, rainproof, snowproof, weatherproof.
No matter what adverse conditions you end up in, whether it’s heavy snow or freezing torrential rain, the Beta AR will keep you dry and stop the wind from getting inside your mid-layers.
The zippers on the Beta AR are WaterTight and do a great job of keeping any water from getting inside the shell. The zippers, however, are not fully waterproof and are just water-resistant.
The hood on the Beta AR gives you full coverage and you can tie it down to hug your face and protect you further. There is also a separate collar inside that keeps your neck snug and warm.
Breathability and comfort are keys to a good hardshell jacket, as without these qualities they become pretty redundant. Being active on a mountainside involves some strenuous work and overheating or feeling restricted and uncomfortable are simply not an option. Let’s take a look at how the Arcteryx Beta AR stacks up.
The Beta AR is excellent at keeping you cool for a fully waterproof jacket. This again comes back to the use of Gore-Tex Pro as the primary material. It does an excellent job of keeping water from getting in while letting heat out. You could happily ski on a cold day with the Beta AR with all your mid-layers and not overheat.
The pit zips on the Beta AR are also very useful for dumping any excess heat very quickly. So if you do start to become uncomfortably warm, getting back to your ideal temperature won’t take very long, and you won’t have to remove your jacket.
The Beta AR is a regular fit jacket but as a winter hardshell it is designed to incorporate base and mid-layers, so you may find it to be a little baggy when just wearing a base layer.
When fully layered up, the jacket is excellent at giving you freedom of movement. It doesn’t bunch up around your armpits where jackets usually would. The articulated elbows and gusseted underarms also allow you to move your arms around freely without the jacket riding up.
The hem sits around the waist but it could ideally be a little longer to give some added protection when you’re skiing.
The Arcteryx Beta AR is an expensive jacket and retails for around $450. Now that is a lot of money for a jacket but, when you consider what this jacket can do, the price starts to make some sense.
The Beta AR uses the best materials and incredible construction. It will protect you from pretty much any weather conditions you might end up facing on the mountainside and you’ll end up being happy you spent that bit extra for it. But, if it was $100 it would be a lot more appealing.
With a score of 94, the Beta AR has done exceptionally against our rating system. It only lost marks due to the high price and that it would be better with a longer hem. We were probably being a little harsh with the hem, but it is true.
So is the Beta AR worth it in the end? In our eyes, yes, if you’re a particular type of adventurer. If you spend a lot of your time on a mountain in winter, you need a jacket like the Beta AR. It will give you the confidence to go and do the things you love, knowing that no matter what rolls in, your Beta AR jacket has got you covered.
For that everyday peace of mind, that opens up a world of adventure, we believe the Arcteryx Beta AR is worth owning. It’s an amazing jacket!