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Arc'teryx Beta AR Review

A fantastic hardshell that has a great set of features and an amazing collar, but comes at a hefty price
arc'teryx beta ar hardshell jacket review
Credit: Arc'teryx
Price:  $600 List
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 11, 2023
60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 11
  • Weather Protection - 30% 8.0
  • Weight - 20% 6.0
  • Mobility and Fit - 20% 5.0
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 4.0
  • Features and Design - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Beta AR has been a mainstay of Arc'teryx's jacket line-up for 20 years now and remains popular due to its Gore-Tex Pro membrane and burly face fabric that provide exceptional durability. This jacket is known for its versatility and is designed specifically with this attribute in mind. Arc'teryx designs their Beta series of clothing for all-around mountain performance, and the AR specifically also stands for "All-round." Due to its incredible collar design, deep hood, and spacious fit, it may be the most comfortable hardshell to hang around in all day, but it doesn't quite offer the high level of technical performance we found in some other models.
REASONS TO BUY
Durable
Great weather protection
Excellent features
Awesome storm collar
REASONS TO AVOID
A bit large and bulky
Baggy fit
Expensive

Compare to Similar Products

 
arc'teryx beta ar hardshell jacket review
This Product
Arc'teryx Beta AR
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $600 List
Check Price at REI
$649 List
$649.00 at Backcountry
$625.00 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$519 List
$389.25 at Backcountry
$399 List
$399.00 at Backcountry
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Durable, great weather protection, excellent features, awesome storm collarExcellent weather protection, great fit and coverage, good ventilationUnrivaled weather protection, great fit, durable, vents wellSturdy weather protection, supple fabric, lightweight, breathableInexpensive, protective, versatile, lots of pockets
Cons A bit large and bulky, baggy fit, expensiveVery expensive, a bit heavy, style not for everyoneExpensive, light on pocketsShort on pockets, slim fitHeavy, boxy fit, vents could be longer, stiff fabric
Bottom Line A fantastic hardshell that has a great set of features and an amazing collar, but comes at a hefty priceThis super-protective and well-fitting hardshell is versatile for any winter activityOur favorite hardshell for serious adventures, this jacket is protective, durable, and relatively lightweightA lightweight shell that boasts great weather protection but without the bells and whistles of other jacketsA protective and durable hard shell jacket at a great price, but with a boxy fit
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Beta AR Norrona Trollveggen... Mammut Nordwand Adv... Norrona Falketind G... Patagonia Triolet
Weather Protection (30%)
8.0
10.0
10.0
8.0
9.0
Weight (20%)
6.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
3.0
Mobility and Fit (20%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Venting and Breathability (20%)
4.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Features and Design (10%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
8.0
Specs Arc'teryx Beta AR Norrona Trollveggen... Mammut Nordwand Adv... Norrona Falketind G... Patagonia Triolet
Pit Zips Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Measured Weight (size large) 16.5 oz 16.8 oz 16.0 oz 14.1 oz 19.8 oz
Material N40r-X Gore-Tex Pro 3L 100% recycled 40D Gore-Tex Pro with 160D reinforcements on shoulder, forearm, and hood 100% Polyamide 30D Gore-Tex Pro 30D Gore-Tex with C-Knit backer 100% recycled polyester 75D Gore-Tex
Pockets 2 hand, 1 internal 2 front, 1 internal zippereed chest, 1 zippered electronics pocket inside front chest pocket 2 front, 1 internal zippered chest 2 hand, 1 internal zippered 2 chest, 2 hand, 1 internal mesh
Helmet Compatible Hood Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hood Draw Cords 3 1 3 1 3
Adjustable Cuffs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Two-Way Front Zipper No Yes Yes No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Arc'teryx Beta AR is an all-around jacket that does an incredible job of protecting you from the elements while providing exemplary durability with its blend of 80D and 40D face fabrics paired with a Gore-Tex Pro membrane. The features on this jacket do an excellent job, and Arc'teryx describes it as their ultimate lightweight hardshell, but at 16.5 ounces, it's hardly super light or super packable.

That said, we love the weather protection it offers, especially the tall collar that is comfortable and doesn't rub the chin while sealing off the neck from the elements. The fit is quite large, to the point of being baggy, making it perhaps the best hardshell for hanging out in all the time (think work), but not as ideal for technical climbing or skiing missions as more athletically cut jackets. Due to its fit, the Beta AR is also an excellent choice for men with larger frames.

Performance Comparison


arc'teryx beta ar hardshell jacket review - this jacket has a baggier fit than our editors' choice award winner...
This jacket has a baggier fit than our Editors' Choice Award winner and can accommodate more layers. The hem is longer than previous versions but still doesn't provide as much coverage as the Summit L5 GTX Pro.
Credit: Miranda Oakley

Weather Protection


This shell is made of both 80D and 40D face fabrics backed with a lightweight Gore-Tex Pro membrane. Most of the face fabric is the lighter and more supple 40D, with the 80D reinforcing the shoulders. It includes all the stellar features found on the other Arc'teryx jackets we have tested over the years, such as a four-point adjustable storm hood and water-tight zippers. But what we really love about the Beta AR is its collar.

The collar is a separate piece of material from the hood, meaning it wraps and seals all the way around your neck, and is incredibly cozy and comfortable. It is easily the most comfortable collar in this review and leaves plenty of room underneath for warm layers or a buff to help keep your neck and face warm. The newest incarnation of the Beta AR sports a lower hemline to ensure it stays tucked into a harness better.

arc'teryx beta ar hardshell jacket review - the cavernous hood is a snug fit over a ski helmet and fits very...
The cavernous hood is a snug fit over a ski helmet and fits very well over a smaller climbing helmet.
Credit: Miranda Oakley

Weight


At 16.5 ounces for a size large, the Beta AR is a moderately heavy and relatively bulky jacket. Although this weight normally wouldn't be considered "heavy," this is a comparative review, so we are holding it to a standard set by the other jackets.

Mobility and Fit


This shell is cut to Arc'teryx's "Athletic Fit," standard, meaning that it includes plenty of room underneath for layering. To us, it felt a bit bulky and baggy in the chest. While it is designed to allow plenty of layering underneath, we feel that the cut of this jacket could hardly be called "athletic." Additionally, the heavyweight Gore-Tex Pro membrane is stiff and crinkly, making this one of the least mobile jackets available.

arc'teryx beta ar hardshell jacket review - arc'teryx added some inches to the hemline, giving us more of that...
Arc'teryx added some inches to the hemline, giving us more of that all-important butt coverage.
Credit: Miranda Oakley

That said, we like how the hood fits, even with a helmet on. It allows for movement of the head and helmet within the hood, rather than moving with it, and our visibility was never impaired. People with a larger frame will do well with the fit of this jacket because it doesn't have any of the constrictions we found on some of the more genuinely "athletic fit" models that we tested.

Venting and Breathability


Whether we were wearing this jacket while skinning uphill, or while testing it specifically in our stationary bike test, we found the combination of 40D and 80D fabrics, along with the Gore-Tex Pro membrane, to be very hot and sweaty.

arc'teryx beta ar hardshell jacket review - standard 14" pit zips provide some ventilation with the going gets...
Standard 14" pit zips provide some ventilation with the going gets tough, but this heavier model doesn't breathe as well as lighter jackets with thinner shell fabrics like the OR Optimizer.
Credit: Matt Bento

Although it did an ok job of breathing once we sufficiently raised the relative humidity to the point where direct diffusion could take place, the fact is that ventilation is virtually always a more comfortable means of staying cool than relying on breathability through the fabric. The Beta AR includes standard pit zips for this purpose, but lacks features we enjoy such as mesh-backed pockets or a two-way zipper. This jacket is undoubtedly better at protecting from bad weather than it is at breathing once you are hot.

arc'teryx beta ar hardshell jacket review - coverage wasn't too good at this point in the season, and we got...
Coverage wasn't too good at this point in the season, and we got pretty sweaty in this jacket while navigating patchy snow and collapsing sagebrush at lower elevations.
Credit: Miranda Oakley

Features


The Beta AR's feature set lends comfort, but it's a little heavier as a result. Instead of chest pockets, it has two large and high handwarmer pockets that live above a pack's hip belt line or climbing harness. It also has a small internal zip pocket. We have already described how much we love the high collar.

The Beta AR has four adjustment points on its storm hood and a harness hemlock feature that keeps it from riding up with a harness on or with arms overhead.

arc'teryx beta ar hardshell jacket review - the hem cinch cord does a fine job keeping the heat in and the snow...
The hem cinch cord does a fine job keeping the heat in and the snow out, but they're not as easy to operate with gloved hands.
Credit: Miranda Oakley

Should You Buy the Beta AR?


This jacket will set you back quite a bit of money. The materials and craftsmanship are great, but for any given activity, there is a jacket in this review that will do a better job at a lower price, throwing into question the actual value you're getting for such an expensive jacket.

arc'teryx beta ar hardshell jacket review - we loved the mobility and durability this jacket provides, but we...
We loved the mobility and durability this jacket provides, but we have to admit get gets pretty hot during fair weather ski tours, even with the pit vents open.
Credit: Miranda Oakley

What Other Hardshell Jackets Should You Consider?


The Arc'teryx Beta AR is a great winter hardshell that will protect you from the weather in any conditions. However, for a similar price and weight, you can get the Norrona Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Light, which is one of our overall favorites and is more breathable, more protective, and has a better fit and mobility. If you're looking for a great hardshell for a more affordable price, check out the Patagonia Triolet, which offers great across-the-board performance and will leave a bit of extra money in your wallet.

Andy Wellman
 
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