Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket
Christian Hacking, September 5, 2011
The Arc’teryx Pro Shell range includes some of the best waterproof tops on the market including the Alpha SV, recipient of the endearing Backpacker Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. The main distinctiveness of the Canada-made jackets is their well thought out, simple and brilliantly effective designs. The question is: does the newly redesigned Beta AR offer anything special to this range?
After testings the jacket in Zermatt this summer, I found the Beta AR to be outstanding in its own right as a great all round jacket. Built with Gore-Tex Pro shell technology the Beta offers waterproof yet breathable protection from the elements whilst featuring all of the trademark features of Arc’teryx design. It is hip length, light (443g) and hardy with reinforced shoulders and elbows making it a good option for climbers and hikers.
The best thing about the Beta AR is its simplicity. Unlike other pro shells it is not cluttered with a surplus of pockets, nets, zips, flaps and Velcro. Instead it has one hardy plastic zip down the middle with two large pockets either side. There is also one card sized pocket on the inside ideal for ski passes. Each pocket is protected by a discreet, tightly sown flap at the top preventing leakage, a small but important touch.
The drop hood moves independent of the jacket and is helmet compatible. If not wearing a helmet it can be adjusted to prevent it falling over the eyes although the end result does look a little peculiar. I would just add that the pockets would not be ideal in strong winds or tight situations because they are a little unaccessible.
Despite being another quality Arc’teryx jacket I feel it is differences are too subtle to properly deviate from the already comprehensive range. It attempts to fill the gap between alpine and trekking that does not really exist. If you’re looking to invest in Arc’teryx and want to go for a spec that takes you towards actually specialising in a sport, you’re best off geting the Beta SL or the Alpha SL, or else go look at more expensive options like the Alpha SV.