Arc’teryx Beta SL (2015)

Features

The Gore-Tex Paclite fabric used in the Arc’teryx Beta SL is designed to be lightweight and packable, but it doesn’t control condensation as well as 3-layer fabrics. You also get two good-sized pockets that are well-positioned and don’t have mesh linings, so they should keep water out. The hood has a stiffened peak, however it isn’t as well-stiffened as others. 4/5

Size

The men’s sizes are S-XXL and the women’s XS-XL. The fit is a bit more relaxed than others but it still allows good sleeve movement without hem or cuffs riding up. The helmet-compatible hood fits very well and moves easily with the head. The length is similar to others: in other words not quite able to protect the bum.  5/5

Comfort

As the Arc’teryx Beta SL is made of a 2-layer fabric rather than 3-layer, it feels a bit clammy and shows up any condensation that forms. But it is extremely breathable and extremely durable, and those pockets aren’t mesh so if water gets in them you will still stay dry. The looser fit and stiffer fabric is good for overall warmth. 3/5

In use

The 340g (men’s L) weight is good, the pockets are great, and the hood fit and movement are superb. But the peak isn’t stiffened with wire so you need to stash the jacket carefully to prevent this becoming misshapen. The main drawback is the 2-layer fabric, though. 4/5

Value

The price is high compared to what else is available, but it is typical for this type of design and material. 3/5

Verdict

The Arc’teryx Beta SL is a very good jacket for hillwalkers that’s better than most of a similar design, but it isn’t an outstanding option compared to the absolute best. 3.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine July 2015

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