Arc’teryx Beta LT Rain Jacket
A durable and rugged hardshell that will protect you in any conditions, from windstorms to pouring rain.
Protection in Any Weather | The Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket is a lighter and cheaper version of their extremely popular Beta AR jacket. It features the same 3-layer Gore-Tex construction that is fully waterproof and excellent in variable conditions, yet weighs two ounces less. Furthermore, the tricot backer on the inside of the shell delivers breathability, and the ability to sweat on the inside without feeling the jacket stick to your skin. All of the seams and zippers are fully sealed against water, and the droptail hem keeps a heavy backpack from lifting your jacket up. These features all work together to completely shelter you from inclement weather. Though it’s undoubtedly an expensive jacket, its durability ensures you won’t need to buy another for years to come.
Overview | Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket
I’ll be honest, I have said (more than once) that Arc’teryx is over-hyped. Why stomach an insane price tag when you can get a very similar jacket for way cheaper? Well, testing this jacket during Utah spring has started to convert me into a budding Arc’teryx fan. Its protection in a variety of conditions, from snowstorms to strong winds, makes it my jacket of choice whenever I see the clouds start to roll in.
Lighter Than the Beta AR
The “LT” on this version of their Beta jacket stands for “lightweight.” This version is almost 4 ounces less than their Beta AR (all-around) hardshell, and is also $200 cheaper. These weight and cost savings come from the decision to use 40-denier fabric in high wear areas as opposed to the 80D used in the Beta AR. The 80D on their Beta AR is used in high wear areas like the shoulders, back, forearms, and top of the hood. However, it made these areas incredibly stiff and less packable. Though the 40D fabric in theory decreases the durability of the Beta LT, it is still an extremely well constructed hardshell.
I’ve been testing the Arc’teryx Beta LT jacket in Salt Lake City’s “spring,” which is actually winter with a couple of 70 degree days here and there, and more rain than snow. So far, I’ve taken it running and hiking through windy rainstorms and snow showers, and backcountry skiing as my outer wind layer on warmer days. It’s performed exceptionally well in every condition, and though it’s heavier than my ultralight 2-layer jacket I find myself choosing this one because it keeps me 100% dry. I will note that I haven’t yet tested it above 45 degrees, so while I’ve found it to be very breathable with extreme activity I have yet to experience any true heat.
How it Compares
Be sure to check out our: Best Lightweight Rain Jackets For 2021 for a complete overview of the best rain jackets on the market including the competition for the Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket.
Key Specs | Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket
Be sure to check out our: Best Lightweight Rain Jackets For 2021 for a complete overview of the best rain jackets on the market including the competition for the Arc’teryx Beta LT jacket.
DESIGN: Hooded, lightweight rain jacket, fully featured with durable 3 layer fabric and Gore-Tex waterproofing
WEIGHT: 12.3 oz (tested women’s medium)
TECH: N40d 3L GORE-TEX fabric with tricot backer technology
FEATURES: Arc’teryx products are made for high performance, breathability, and protection in alpine conditions. Their BETA hardshell series have been a favorite for backpackers, climbers, and alpinists for years; and this new model delivers the same quality with a simpler design. The jacket features pit zips for ventilation, and articulated sleeves for a full range of motion. Their WaterTight zippers prevent any moisture from sneaking in, and the hood is helmet compatible and adjustable, allowing you to see and stay protected from rain and snow. Adjustable cuffs, dual hem adjusters, and a droptail hem all make it so the jacket can be fully sealed, protecting you from wind, rain, and snow.
BEST FOR: Anyone who is looking for a highly breathable, durable, and fully waterproof jacket and not scared off by the price tag. This stands up to serious storms, whether you’re fighting sleet, snow, rain, or wind. The fabric is also durable enough to withstand bushwacking, scrambling, and being worn under a heavy pack day after day.
The adjustable StormHood is excellent, and fully blocks rain or snow without compromising your vision. It’s big enough to fit a helmet underneath.
What We Like
- Rugged and Durable. You don’t have to baby this jacket. The three-layer construction is highly durable, and will not tear easily. This makes it more versatile, because it can be taken on long backpacking trips, climbing trips, winter expeditions, and anywhere else you might need a shell against weather protection. I actually end up wearing this jacket more often than I had predicted, because it works so well to protect against wind and very cold temperatures (even when it’s not raining or snowing).
- Highly Breathable. So far, I haven’t felt stuffy in this jacket. The combination of pit zips, adjustable cuffs, and lightweight allow it to breathe better than many jackets at a similar weight. Also, the fit is not too close to the skin. I will however note that I have not yet tested it above 45 degrees. For summer storms, I will likely opt for something lighter.
- Fully Waterproof Gore-Tex Fabric. I’ve taken this out during some gnarly storms with a nice mix of rain, snow, and sleet and stayed completely dry the entire time. Also, the DWR finish helps the jacket dry extremely quickly which makes it great for day after day use on rainy backpacking trips.
- “Just Right” Fit. This jacket is roomy enough to fit an insulating layer underneath, yet not so large that it’s uncomfortable and breezy when just wearing a thin layer. The fit adds versatility to the jacket, so you can wear it during warm weather rain storms without overheating yet also take it as an outer shell on winter trips.
- Adjustable and Helmet-Compatible Hood. The fully adjustable hood actually works to frame your face and fit under a ball cap, helmet, or beanie. The drawcord in the back allows you to tighten it enough to keep rain out of your eyes, without blocking your vision.
- Large Pit-Zips. Ventilation is very important in a rain jacket, where you need to stay dry yet comfortable while moving. These pit zips allow you dump excess heat during a sweaty hike, bike ride, run, or wherever you need your jacket. I also like using pit zips when I’m wearing this jacket as a shell to protect from the wind.
- Sustainability. This jacket is made partly with bluesign® approved sustainable materials.
- One-year Warranty. When you buy this jacket at REI, you have the peace of mind that you can return it if it doesn’t work out. For a $399 jacket, that’s important.
What Could Be Better
- Price. There’s no way around it, $399 is a large chunk of change. Especially for a jacket that is not in the ultralight category it can be hard to swallow that price tag. However, we think it’s priced as such because of its durability.
- Long Sleeves. For some reason, Arc’teryx women’s jackets have insanely long sleeves. It works for me being 5’10 and a size medium, but for a lot of women this is a source of frustration.
- Heavy. While I haven’t regretted the weight once (yet), it is a little much for a summer backpacking trip where you may encounter a storm or two. Arc’teryx does also make a 9.5 ounce 2-layer Zeta SL jacket, which is also cheaper.
For 12.3 ounces, the Arc’teryx Beta LT jacket performs exceptionally well as a fully weatherproof hardshell jacket. Though this is on the heavier side for a 3-layer Gore-Tex jacket, the durability, protection, and features like pit zips that you get are worth it for when you truly need a rain jacket that delivers. However, the price tag and weight are both drawbacks if your priorities are weight and budget. For summer hiking and backpacking trips where you may need a “just in case” layer, this is not the best pick. However, for full protection against any conditions with room to layer underneath, this is an excellent jacket that we expect to last for years to come.