Arcteryx Beta AR womens Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Gore-Tex Pro used is one of the most rugged materials on the market: it’s stormproof, abrasion-resistant and intensely breathable. The material here is reinforced at the shoulders and forearms to make it even more durable. As well as a helmet-compatible, stiffened hood, the Arc’teryx Beta AR also has a separate collar with a micro-suede chinguard. Two outer pockets take an OS map (just) and the interior one swallows a smartphone. 5/5

Fit

The Arc’teryx Beta AR is available in XS-XL for women and XS-XXL for men. The cut is very good, with articulated elbows and gusseted underarms for a full range of movement, without the cuffs or hem riding up. It’s roomy enough to house warm layers but still neatly fitted, with enough length for a little bum protection too. The hood fits very snugly and moves almost perfectly with the head. 5/5

Comfort

There are softer materials available, but not many more durable, so this is a choice – it’s slightly stiff but tough, breathable and unbelievably light. When you’re being blasted by wind and ice, though, you want to feel snugly protected and you do in this, the very good cut elevating comfort levels. And if you get too hot, you can always undo the pit zips. 5/5 

In use

The Arc’teryx Beta AR offers high levels of protection, yet it’s still light and very comfy – which is impressive. The pockets zip close downwards, which is unusual but helps prevent water ingress; and getting an OS map in the smaller opening is a little awkward. There are only minor issues here, which may not be problematic for you: the hood peak is unwired and the drawcord at the back can whip around. But that’s really it. 5/5

Value

You’re paying for premium fabric and design and wow, are you paying for it! Comfort yourself with the fact that it should really last. RRP £430. 3/5

Verdict

The Arc’teryx Beta AR is a top-end winter jacket, which is also light enough for year-round use – but at a very high price. 4.6/5

Arcteryx Zeta AR Jacket Review 2016

Features

The Arc’teryx Zeta AR uses 3-layer Gore-Tex and the C-Knit backer increases its softness and lightness, but this is less durable and feels hotter and clammier than Gore-Tex Pro. There are pit zips for temperature control, though. The weight of 442g is very appealing. You also get two large chest pockets. The hood only has rear adjustment though and the peak is not as stiff as others. 4/5

Fit

The men’s sizes are S-XXL and the women’s XS-XL. The jacket is about 8cm longer than some of the shorter designs so it easily covered my behind. The sleeves are also more profiled than others with a closer fit, yet the hem and cuffs didn’t ride up at all when I raised my arms during scrambles. The hood fits like a close-fitting beanie and moves effortlessly with the head. Hard to better. 5/5

Comfort

The low weight of 442g (size men’s L) and the use of soft 3-layer Gore-Tex with C-Knit backer mean the Arc’teryx Zeta AR is far lighter and more flexible and has a greater level of comfort when worn. Pit zips aid ventilation too. In foul weather the longer body length aids comfort but the peak does not provide much protection, as it is small. The soft fabric does not resist buckling in the wind as well as stiffer, heavier fabrics. 4/5

In use

In fine weather this is a great choice as it is so comfy, but in rough weather that batters the body it is less appealing as it does buckle under the wind. The two huge chest pockets are useful but having a dedicated pocket for maps or a GPS would be handy for some users. A hood with a bigger, more protective peak would also be a bonus in really bad weather. 4/5

Value

The price is high considering the features you get here, so while it is nice to wear in fine weather the price is less appealing. RRP: £360. 3/5

Verdict

The Arc’teryx Zeta AR’s fabric’s weight and softness are great, but in the worst weather other jackets have benefits. 4.0/5