First Look Review

Arc'teryx Beta LT Jacket Review

Price:  $525 List | $393.71 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, durable, very well constructed, easy pull zippers, great hood, handwarmer pockets
Cons:  Gore-Tex Pro Membrane is crinkly and loud; $100 more expensive than the Arc'teryx Alpha FL.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx


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Our Analysis

Review by:
Andy Wellman

Last Updated:
Monday
March 7, 2016

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The Arc'teryx Beta LT is a high performance lightweight hardshell similar to the Arc'teryx Alpha FL. In Arc'teryx's words, the Beta series is designed for all-around mountain use, and the LT means lightweight, with a streamlined set of features designed to save weight. It is made of 40D Gore-Tex Pro with no extra pit zips for ventilation, has a great storm hood, and excellent and easy to manipulate zippers. The major differences between the Arc'teryx Beta LT and the Alpha FL is that the waistline and sleeves are slightly shorter on the LT, and it features double handwarmer pockets and one internal storage pocket, as compared to the Alpha FL's single chest pocket. The LT also costs $100 more, and seeing as they are very similar jackets, unless you really, really need handwarmer pockets, we are not sure why one would pick this jacket over the Alpha FL.

The Beta LT is meant for all-around use  which is why it has handwarmer instead of chest pockets.
The Beta LT is meant for all-around use, which is why it has handwarmer instead of chest pockets.

Weather Protection


The Arc'teryx Beta LT offers the same great weather protection as other Arc'teryx jackets we've used. The Gore-Tex Pro membrane is the most waterproof technology that we tried, and the storm hood offers great head and face protection with or without a helmet. The waistline is slightly shorter than the Alpha FL, and we have to admit that at least one time while out backcountry skiing we had trouble with it riding up too high while wearing a pack.

The Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating doing its job. Water beading up like this keeps the jacket as breathable as possible.
The Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating doing its job. Water beading up like this keeps the jacket as breathable as possible.

Weight


The Arc'teryx Beta LT weighs in at 12.7 ounces for a size large. This is remarkably light for the high quality Gore-Tex Pro membrane, but is still heavier than other lightweight jackets. It does not come with a stuff sack like the Alpha FL.

Interior stash pocket and ripstop nylon.
Interior stash pocket and ripstop nylon.

Mobility & Fit


Like the Alpha FL, the Arc'teryx Beta LT is cut to a trim fit, meaning there is room for a few layers underneath, but not something bulky like a puffy coat. Arc'teryx's superior design makes for a very mobile jacket, but it is not as comfortable or mobile as the Patagonia M10 or the Westcomb Shift LT.

Pairing this hardshell with a harness and helmet on. Notice the high and easily accessible handwarmer pockets.
Pairing this hardshell with a harness and helmet on. Notice the high and easily accessible handwarmer pockets.

Breathability


The new Gore-Tex Pro membrane is more breathable than older versions of the same stuff, although in our opinion not as breathable as the air permeable waterproof/breathable membranes like Polartec NeoShell. In order to save weight, it skips out on the pit zips and thus relies solely on the front zipper for venting.

Durability


Unlike the Alpha FL, we did not have the opportunity to test this jacket for years on expeditions to the far reaches of the world. However, with the same face fabric and membrane, and virtually the same construction, we are confident that the Beta LT is as durable as lightweight hardshell jackets come.

Features


Like the Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket, we love the feature set on the Arc'teryx Beta LT. The main difference between the Beta and Alpha series is that this jacket features double handwarmer pockets instead of chest pockets. The Beta LT's pockets are large and sit high enough to rest above the waist belt on a pack or harness. However, this jacket does not have the Harness Hemlock feature like the Alpha FL, and the waistline is slightly higher, meaning it is not as suitable for climbing pursuits as the Alpha FL.

The high handwarmer pockets are slightly high for comfort  but that's a necessity to avoid having them rest under a hipbelt or harness. The zippers are water tight.
The high handwarmer pockets are slightly high for comfort, but that's a necessity to avoid having them rest under a hipbelt or harness. The zippers are water tight.

Versatility


Overall, this jacket is less versatile than the other Arc'teryx jackets, but still offers solid performance in the mountains. That said, it has more around-town applications than its even more technical competitors.

The sleeves and waist are cut a bit shorter than we think is optimal.
The sleeves and waist are cut a bit shorter than we think is optimal.

Best Applications


This jacket is designed as a lightweight all-around jacket. We guess that means that it would be best for backpacking, alpine climbing, and backcountry skiing. However, due to its particular feature set, we cannot envision a use where this jacket would be more desirable than the Alpha FL.

Value


For $100 more than the Arc'teryx Alpha FL and with significantly less versatility, we recommend that you opt for our Editors' Choice winner instead.

The Storm Hood on the Beta LT is fantastic at keeping water out of the face.
The Storm Hood on the Beta LT is fantastic at keeping water out of the face.

Conclusion


We highly doubt you could be disappointed by buying the Arc'teryx Beta LT, and indeed we think this is a well-constructed jacket made of top-notch materials. But, when the Alpha FL - a better jacket with more suitable alpine features - exists for $100 less, we can't envision why anyone would choose the Beta LT instead.

Wearing the Beta LT in the rain  wishing there was snow coming down instead.
Wearing the Beta LT in the rain, wishing there was snow coming down instead.
Andy Wellman

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Most recent review: October 25, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (5.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Oct 25, 2016 - 09:23am
Aginor · Backpacker · Columbus, Ohio
This jacket quite literally saved my life. Our backpacking group hiked into Cranberry Wilderness in West Virginia during a thunderstorm and woke up to an unexpected inch of snow and 0 degree temperatures. Even with just a light fleece on as my only insulation layer, my upper body was never once cold on the entire trip. I was shocked at how well such a light, thin shell could cut the biting wind to absolutely nothing and neither rain nor snow leaked inside.

I had bought this jacket on sale at REI with the intention of trying it out and returning it after a weekend of backpacking, but instead Arc'teryx has made a lifelong customer. I was skeptical that it could bring anything more to the table than my North Face or Patagonia shells for a hundred dollars more, but it most certainly does. The Beta has some extreme durability, body heat retention, impermiability to the elements, and quality of material and design - all of which pulled through for me when I was unprepared for mother nature's worst.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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