The Arc'teryx Beta LT Jacket is a simple, lightweight shell with serious mountain potential – and well worthy of consideration for the best waterproof jackets around now. It hangs out around the upper middle of Arc'teryx’ general purpose waterproof range, and has an RRP of GBP £350 / USD $399. So is it worth the investment for you? Read on for our full Arc'teryx Beta LT Jacket review.
Arc'teryx Beta LT Jacket review: design and build
The Arc'teryx Beta LT Jacket boasts a deceptively simple, minimalist design that’s entirely typical of the high-end Canadian outdoor brand. The fact there’s nothing new in the spec lineup can be entirely ignored in terms of the usefulness and popularity of this jacket, and to be fair there’s good reason for that. But to the facts - the Arc'teryx Beta LT Jacket is a simple 3L GORE-TEX waterproof (bluesign approved), the ‘LT’ standing for lightweight – weighing in at a claimed 395 grams. There’s a main zip complete with all the trimmings, two exterior hand pockets, pit zips, and a deep, helmet-compatible hood.
The build quality is – as you might expect – impeccable, with neat touches everywhere that make the difference between a perfectly good brand shell at half the price, and this premium edition. For example, the hand pockets have extra material at the bottom to create a bellows effect, not only making them more comfortable to use and carry stuff in, but also emphasising long-term wear on the pocket material, rather than the back of the face fabric.
Zip pulls are deceptively simple fabric loops, tactile and easy to grab with gloved hands, bungee pulls on the front hood adjusters are branded ‘Arc'teryx’, as are the eyelets. There’s a lot of design hours here, as you’ll notice - the rear hood bungee is designed differently to the front ones, with different pulls so it can be more easily operated blind - a cheaper build would simply use one set of bungee furniture throughout.
The hood is as deep as you’d expect from a proper mountain cut waterproof shell, with neat hidden adjusters either side, and one circular double loop of bungee around the crown. The latter runs through a ripstop sleeve in the underside of the lightly stiffened peak and out to an adjuster at the back. This initially is quite grabby to adjust (especially to lower non-helmet-wearing head volumes), and requires a bit of feeding through to get the best fit.
Arc'teryx Beta LT Jacket review: performance and comfort
Comfort is certainly right up there, the benefit of those afore-mentioned little touches. It’s satisfying to wrap yourself in this shell, knowing that it’ll do the job, and watching rain bead up and roll away in rivulets. While every new Gore-Tex shell will perform pretty well, Arc'teryx has longevity on it’s side, the seam tapes nearest the edges – and thus getting the most wear - are laminated so there’s no discernible edge to snag and start a weak spot.
The carefully-shaped velcro wrist closures adjust easily and intuitively, and the overall cut is athletic without being excessively so, allowing some flexibility for layering in colder weather or altitudes. The pit zips are presumably an effort to add breathability to this relatively solid 3L Gore-Tex shell when compared to higher-spec, better breathing Gore-Tex Pro, and in some conditions pit zips do work very well. However, we’ve always found them to be a bit of a dead end in more extreme conditions - still, they’re there if you need them.
The Arc'teryx Beta LT Jacket’s hidden firepower, though, is the weight. While c. 400grams for a shell is easily beaten by dedicated mountain marathon and racing shells (which can come in under 100g), most competitors have a Gore-Tex Paclite shell at around 400g, but not a robust 3L Gore-Tex shell like this. In short, you’re getting great durability with good breathability and packability, only being beaten by the heavier and more expensive charms of Gore-Tex Pro shells.
Arc'teryx Beta LT Jacket review: verdict
As mentioned, the Arc'teryx Beta LT Jacket is as well-designed as you’d hope, and offers good breathability with excellent durability that’ll last you many years. It’s a very lightweight jacket given the robust fabric, offering proper mountain-grade weather protection in a surprisingly packable package. Where light is right, this is definitely a winner, assuming you're happy with the premium pricing.