Arc’teryx Beta SL (2013)

The Arc’teryx Beta SL was redesigned in 2012 with a slimmer fit and a new Storm Hood, and the result is a jacket weighing in at 341g (size large) with good features for the hillwalker. It is built around Gore-Tex Paclite, the lightest and most packable version of Gore-Tex, and it’s also more durable than Gore-Tex Active, which offers a better option if condensation management is your priority. The Beta SL’s ‘slimmer’ fit was not overly slim on my less-than-slim body, which is good, and it was also 2-3cm longer than some of the shortest jackets that came in for our feature. It has a water-resistant front zip, which runs a little smoother than other rival zips, and inside there’s a flap to catch any leaking water, although it isn’t as wide as most others, so it may leak more easily. The two chest pockets are placed high on the body and don’t have mesh linings, so they also help to keep the user dry, while being large enough for maps and allowing good access while wearing rucksack belts. The Arc’teryx Beta SL’s hood provides a close fit thanks to the face and volume drawcords, and once adjusted it moves well with the head. The hood peak isn’t as big and isn’t stiffened as well as others, but it isn’t the worst peak out there either and is fine for general hillwalking.

Fabric Gore-Tex Paclite
Lining none
Men’s sizes S-XXL
Women’s sizes XS-XL
External pockets 2
Stowable hood no
Side/pit zips no
Weight 341g (size men’s L)
Website www.arcteryx.com

 

Verdict

The Arc’teryx Beta SL offers a good weight and feature set for many hillwalkers, but the hood isn’t quite as good as other jackets. The Paclite fabric is clammier than Gore-Tex Active, but more durable.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine July 2013