Arc’teryx Beta AR 2011

The Arc’teryx Beta AR weighs in at an impressive 494g (men’s L) so it is one of the lightest jackets in our test. That weight advantage comes from the relatively short and stripped-down design, as you just get two external pockets, pits zips and a main zip.
The fabric is quite a thin version of Gore-Tex Pro Shell, so there is added reinforcement on the sleeves and shoulders to make it more durable. The two chest pockets are well-positioned and large, and are very useful. The ‘WaterTight’ zips aren’t actually completely watertight; a point Arc’teryx do make on their website. The pockets are not mesh-lined, so even if the zips leak you should remain dry inside, but I would prefer a stormflap over the zip for a truly watertight jacket. The hood does not get a wire stiffener on the front edge of the peak, although there is some stiffening nearer the head and this works okay, although isn’t as good as a proper wired peak. The hood fit and movement are good, though. There are men’s and women’s versions.
It’s a good, stylish jacket, but it’s not as good as some others we looked at.

Price £340
Weight 494g (men’s L)
Fabric 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell
Lining none
Sizes men’s XS-XXL; women’s XS-XL
External pockets 2
Wired hood no
Side vents yes

Features 3
Design 3
Comfort 4
Performance 3
Value 3
Overall 3

The Arc’teryx Beta AR is a good lightweight option, but for this price there are jackets that offer more or better features for battling through really wet mountain weather.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine November 2011