Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket Quick Guide
Category: Hardshell Waterproof Outdoor Jacket
Weight: Men's: 16 oz / Women's: 13 ounces
Fabric: N40r-X & N80r-X GORE-TEX Pro 3L
What We Like: Excellent features (i.e., storm collar); Extremely durable; Great all-around jacket for use in many environments.
What We Don't Like: Pricey; Can be baggy; Bulky/hard to pack down.
Best Suited For: Any outdoor activity.
Alternatives: Arc'Teryx Beta LT or Outdoor Research Interstellar Ascentshell Jacket
Final Verdict: Arc’teryx speaks true to the idea that the Beta AR is a versatile, multi-sport, and great all-around jacket.
Arc’teryx has no shortage of top-notch hardshell jackets.
To learn more about the different types of jackets, check out our definitive buying guide - How to Choose the Best Hiking Jacket.
We chose the Arc'Teryx Beta AR Jacket because of its all-around performance and durability. Made with premium Gore-Tex materials, the Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket has been a front runner since its release in 2000.
In the Arc’teryx Jacket line, AR stands for “all-around” performance. Their term Beta means “versatile.” So, the Beta AR Jacket is for high performance during various outdoor activities. What they mean by this is that the Beta AR Jacket is ready to protect you during almost any outdoor activity.
It is comfortable and has excellent weather protection, and it comes with some great features and is exceptionally durable.
We will break down all the aspects that make this jacket stand out, as well as some of the things that we didn’t like.
Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket Performance
Weight & Packability
In the world of hardshell jackets, the Beta AR would be somewhere in the middle when it comes to weight. It isn’t necessarily heavy, but it isn’t light either.
A men’s medium runs at 16 oz, and a men’s large is about 16.5 oz.
Since you’ll be wearing the jacket most of the time, the weight isn’t very noticeable. It may be a burden if you are using it intermittently on a backpacking trek and need to pack it down. It does roll up and cinched into the hood.
The features of the jacket and weatherproofing make the weight very functional. You can't remove any linings or the hood, so you will not be able to cut down weight with this jacket.
Warmth & Breathability
As a waterproof jacket, one would assume it would be too hot to wear during outdoor sports. The Beta AR does have breathability features to counter this.
To allow for more breathability, the jacket has underarm zips to get rid of heat in a hurry. You can also choose to unzip the main zipper if needed. These are the only two main features that provide ventilation.
There are other features they omitted that would give them better ventilation. For instance, they could have included mesh-lined pockets or dual front zippers.
The 3-layer Gore-Tex does raise the humidity as you wear the jacket during activities. The ventilation is relatively good, but how hot you get will depend on the activity and climate.
Your ability to layer appropriately determines the warmth aspect in a hard shell. As you can wear Beta AR during winter activities, the hood, collar, and cuffs were designed to keep you cozy.
Beta AR is a protective layer from bad weather. It will keep you warm and dry, but that does make it a bit harder to get good breathability at all times.
The Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket is an ideal outer layer for shoulder seasons (Spring and Autumn). It also acts as a winter jacket. With the Gore-Tex protection, rest assure the jacket is windproof, waterproof, and breathable.
Arc’teryx designed the Beta AR to have the Gore-Tex Pro membrane with 3-layer protection. Although the jacket does feel bulky, they were able to cut down on weight.
They used a 40-denier Gore-Tex Pro for most of the jacket. They reinforced protection on high exposure areas like the hood, shoulders, and arms. In those places, they used 80-denier Gore-Tex Pro fabric.
The fabric alone does a great job, but the jacket also has a DWR coating and full-taped seams to keep any moisture out. DWR stands for durable water repellent.
Another common area susceptible to moisture is the zipper. Arc’teryx uses its WaterTight external zipper design to add water-resistance.
One of the standout features of this jacket is the storm collar design. This jacket offers the benefit of a full-coverage hood. You also have a separate neck collar to protect you in windy and wet conditions.
Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket Features
The versatility of the Beta AR Jacket gives you plenty of storage options. Arc’teryx wanted to give this jacket to have a multi-sport application. So, they designed the main pockets for versatile functionality.
There are two high volume hand pockets. Arc’teryx positioned them for accessibility when you're wearing a pack or harness. There is also an internal chest pocket with a laminate zip.
While the two larger pockets use Watertight Zippers, Arc’teryx notes that they are only water-resistant. So, they will keep some moisture out, but they are not 100% waterproof. Do not store items in these pockets that easily damaged due to moisture.
The large hand pockets are large enough to keep you warm. While also leaving room for larger items that you need access (i.e., maps). Smaller electronic items fit nicely in the internal chest pocket. This keeps them better protected from the elements as well.
A significant feature of this jacket design is the DropHood.
Arc’teryx created the hood to fit over a helmet and made it an excellent choice for skiers and climbers. You can tighten and loosen the hood using the adjustment tabs on the back of the hood or the front sides.
There are many jackets with hoods that cover over helmets. Yet, the Beta AR gives you plenty of mobility without sacrificing protection.
There is still some extra space in the hood if you aren’t wearing a helmet. Thus, the Beta AR cuts down on the exposure with the addition of the collar.
This jacket is excellent for sports, like skiing, mountaineering, or climbing. However, with the extra space in the hood design, it may not suit everyone's needs as it doesn't hug around your head.
There is also a laminated brim on the hood to keep falling snow and rain out of your face. The brim is effective whether you’re wearing a helmet.
Durability & Construction
You can rest assured that although you’ll be spending a pretty penny on this jacket, it will have a long life.
The fabric and design of the Beta AR jacket provide a durable outdoor companion. They used robust fabric and reinforcement in high exposure areas so you can feel safe using it daily.
Don't forget the addition of the 80-denier Gore-Tex fabric on the arms, hood, and shoulders. These well placed reinforced materials prevent the usual wear and tear.
We know you will be wearing this jacket for years to come. It is worth mentioning that you may need to reapply the DWR coating. No matter the quality of the jacket, if they use DWR, the water-resistance will fade with time.
Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket Value For Money?
Looking at the Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket objectively as a hard shell, it is a great design. Beta AR's durability and weather protection blows other competitors out of the water.
The most significant disadvantage of this jacket is the price. But, keep in mind that it will last for a long time. So the cost to value is worth it.
Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket Sizing & Fit
We recommend that you go off of the Arc’teryx size charts when choosing your Beta AR Jacket. They offer both “regular” and “trim” fittings of their jackets. These options accommodate varying body shapes.
The Beta AR Jacket is baggy compared to some of their other designs. The extra room is perfect for layering. So if you plan to use it as a hardshell in the winter, you will have room for base layers.
The waistline of the Beta AR does seem short. This is only an issue if you plan to use it for skiing.
Most other hardshell jackets give a bit more length on the waist. The good news is that the Beta AR still offers coverage of your waist when you raise your arms.
Arc’teryx also has a Beta AR Pant. If you’re looking for a durable, waterproof pant, this is a versatile option. It will run to be almost as expensive as the jacket and employs many of the same design features.
Arc’teryx has the Beta AR Jacket in both male and female sizes. All the features will be the same for both genders. The only difference will be the cut of the jacket and the way the jacket fits across the shoulders, chest, and waist.
If you are looking for a comparable ultra-light jacket, Arc’teryx has many other amazing designs to consider.
For example, check out the Arc'Teryx Beta LT (lightweight) hardshell jacket. It shares a very similar design but uses slightly different design features to make the jacket less bulky.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find another company whose quality and innovative designs match Arc’teryx. But if this jacket is out of your price range, there are more affordable hardshell jacket options.
If you’re looking for a high-quality hardshell on a slightly lower budget, check out the Outdoor Research Interstellar Ascentshell Jacket.
Learn more about the different types of jackets, check out our definitive buying guide - How to Choose the Best Hiking Jacket or check out all our hiking jacket in-depth reviews.
Looking at the Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket objectively as a hard shell, it is a great design.
There are going to be pros and cons to any jacket on the market. The most significant disadvantage this jacket has is the price. It is quite expensive, but you must keep in mind that it is intended to last you a long time.
In terms of durability, versatility, and weather protection, the Beta AR blows many other comparable jackets out of the water. You can expect to stay warm and dry in almost any weather conditions and during most outdoor activities.
Arc’teryx speaks true to the idea that the Beta AR is meant to be a versatile, multi-sport, and great all-around jacket.
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