The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Arc'teryx Beta AR Pant Review

For certain users, the rugged construction and bullet-proof weather protection might be just what you need.
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Price:  $475 List | $356.00 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Rugged, very weather-ready, with excellent features
Cons:  Heavy, expensive, with large and bulky cuffs
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 29, 2019
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 11
  • Water Resistance - 25% 10
  • Comfort and Mobility - 18% 6
  • Breathability & Venting - 18% 9
  • Features - 5% 8
  • Packed Size - 12% 5
  • Weight - 17% 4
  • Durability - 5% 10

Our Verdict

This is a heavy product, purpose-built for extended periods out in the wettest and wild of outdoor weather. If you spend days and days, back to back, in driving rain and harsh environments, the protection and durability might be just what you need. The features are comprehensive; these pants are (over) built for almost all human-powered adventuring we can think of. For more "all-around" use, our Editors' Choice winner is lighter and less bulky. All around rain pant usage involves a lot of time not wearing the pants; for that reason, we lean towards lighter and more compact choices like the Outdoor Research Foray.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Rugged, very weather-ready, with excellent featuresLight, protective, quiet fabricMega stretchy fabric, best breathability in the review, built in belt is the bombBy far the lightest and most compact pant in our review, great mobility, elastic waist band is extremely comfortable and functionalCompact, light, affordable
Cons Heavy, expensive, with large and bulky cuffsFew features, no full side zips, no zip flyNot quite as abrasion resistant as other models, so-so weather-resistanceLess durable than most, hard to pull on over bootsThin fabric prone to tearing, limited breathability
Bottom Line For certain users, the rugged construction and bullet-proof weather protection might be just what you need.Highly protective pants that are light and compact for tucking away in your backpack.A fantastic all-around pant with rad stretchy fabric, which offers exceptional freedom of movement and the best breathability.Hard to beat for any trip where weight and packed space are at a premium - as long as there isn't too much off-trail travel, where their lower than average durability could be an issue.Budget, lightweight pants totally suitable for occasional use.
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Beta AR Pant Outdoor Research Foray Pants Stretch Ozonic Pants Outdoor Research Helium Pant Marmot PreCip Pant
Water Resistance (25%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
Comfort And Mobility (18%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
8
Breathability & Venting (18%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
7
Features (5%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
Packed Size (12%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
Weight (17%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
Durability (5%)
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
7
Specs Arc'teryx Beta AR... Outdoor Research... Stretch Ozonic Pants Outdoor Research... Marmot PreCip Pant
Measured Weight 18.3 oz / 520g 10.2 oz / 289g 10 oz / 283g 6.5 oz / 184g 8 oz / 225g
Waterproof Fabric Material Gore-Tex Gore-Tex 2.5 Layer Dry Q Active Stretch 2.5 Layer Pertex Shield+ Nano Pro
Face Fabric and Layer Construction N40r-X Gore-Tex Pro 2L 100% Polyester 50D 40D Dry Q Active Stretch 30D 100 Nylon Ripstop w/ Pertex Shield+ Waterproof Breathable Insert NanoPro100% Nylon Ripstop 2.2 oz/ yd
Pockets 1 pocket 1 pocket 1 pocket 1 pocket 3 pockets
Side Zips Length? 3/4 length side zips 3/4-Length Full Length Side Zips 1/4 Length Ankle Zips 1/4 Length
Put on Over Hiking or Mountaineering Boots Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Inseam Length, Size Medium 31 in 30 in 30, 32, 34 in 31 in 32 in
Stows Into Pocket? No Yes Yes Yes No
Waist band Style Zip fly with integrated belt Elastic + shock cord Nylon Belt + Elastic Band Elastic + Shock Cord Elastic + shock cord

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Arc'teryx Beta AR Pant is a sturdy product designed to bridge the gap between rugged ski pants and regular rain pants. Some will use these as your typical hiking and mountaineering shell pants, while others will find them totally appropriate as ski and snowboard resort pants. Spanning this broad gap leaves significant compromises in either extreme, but the end result might just work for you. They are plenty protective and breathable; the fabric, especially when brand new, is stiff and crinkly. They are heavier than we'd like for hiking and mountaineering and more confining and close-fitting than many seek for resort ski wear.

Performance Comparison


In sum, these are nothing special. The construction is immaculate, and the materials are excellent, but the niche they fill is a strange one. If you find yourself hiking for weeks in cold rain, these would be a good choice. No many enjoy hiking like that, though. Even for extended rainy exposure, lighter construction and less bulky cuffs are preferred.

The Arc'teryx name has long been synonymous with excellent weather protection. In this case  the product is heavier than most will need.
The Arc'teryx name has long been synonymous with excellent weather protection. In this case, the product is heavier than most will need.

Water Resistance


Here, these pants excel. The Gore-Tex fabric and careful construction work together to keep all the weather outside; we expect nothing else of the long-time partnership between Arc'teryx and Gore-Tex. Even in snowy and brushy walking, the integrated gaiter keeps moisture out of your boots. Few hiking rain pants have an integrated gaiter similar to this; it definitely adds some weather resistance (though careful use of an added elastic stirrup can replicate a gaiter even in regular cuffed pants) but adds a lot of bulk.

We got similar weather protection from the Foray and Minimalist. These other pants are nearly half the weight and bulk of the Beta AR.

Comfort and Mobility


We expect excellent tailoring from Arc'teryx, and as such, the Beta AR shell pants meet our expectations. What is interesting, especially as other companies move forward in this regard, is that they use relatively stiff and "loud" fabrics for their shell gear. They must have some reason, but the result is shell clothing that isn't quite as comfortable as we'd wish it to be. We want shell pants and jackets with the Arc'teryx tailoring and attention to detail but with softer fabrics. The Beta AR pants are downright loud in use, and this has been our experience with other Arc'teryx gear as well. It eventually quiets, with use, but the initial experience is scratchy. The Editors' Choice Outdoor Research Foray is much softer and quieter than both tested Arc'teryx products.

The two-part cuffs of the Beta AR are more similar to those we'd expect on ski and snowboard pants. This format is a way to make a secure seal while still maintaining a clean visual appearance. In hiking gear  this fashion-over-function approach isn't necessary.
The two-part cuffs of the Beta AR are more similar to those we'd expect on ski and snowboard pants. This format is a way to make a secure seal while still maintaining a clean visual appearance. In hiking gear, this fashion-over-function approach isn't necessary.

Breathability and Venting


When it comes to breathability, Gore-Tex fabrics are near the top of the heap. Only the DryQ membrane of the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic is more breathable than any of the Gore-Tex products. The Beta AR augments the breathability of the fabric with pretty good venting, and the 3/4 side zips vent basically as much as full zips do. Even the zip fly can be used as a vent, modesty permitting.

The 3/4 side zips of the Beta AR serve to both get the pants on over boots and to vent the upper legs when weather and precipitation allow.
The 3/4 side zips of the Beta AR serve to both get the pants on over boots and to vent the upper legs when weather and precipitation allow.

Features


The usability, protection, and comfort features of the Beta AR are plentiful and handy. The adjustable and low-profile integrated belt works with a zippered fly and central waistband snap to hold the pants up but not interfere with a climbing harness or backpack waist belt. The long side zips open to vent and to get the pants on over even the bulkiest ski boots. The lack of full-size zips is only a problem when trying to put the pants on or off over crampons, snowshoes, or skis. The double-layered cuffs seal tightly over boots of many dimensions. The cuffs are nicest for very large boots and for a tight seal while maintaining the appearance of regular hanging pant cuffs.

The inner cuff of the Beta AR is set up with hooks and tabs for elastic stirrups. The result is a strong seal  obscured by the outer cuff.
The inner cuff of the Beta AR is set up with hooks and tabs for elastic stirrups. The result is a strong seal, obscured by the outer cuff.

Packed Size


All the features and durability add up to make the Beta AR a relatively bulk package. The compact Editors' Choice Outdoor Research Foray packs to the size of a large apple while the Beta AR is closer to the size of a pineapple.

These dual-part cuffs are the most salient attribute of the Beta AR. This is what partially what makes the product so heavy and bulky.
These dual-part cuffs are the most salient attribute of the Beta AR. This is what partially what makes the product so heavy and bulky.

Weight


At well over a pound, the Beta AR is the sort of thing you choose for when you absolutely know you need all of its protection. These are not the pants you carry "just in case". When there are options that are less than half the weight, choosing the Beta AR is not a choice you make for light weight. The Top Pick Outdoor Research Helium, for instance, is only a little over one third the mass of the Beta AR. In extended poor weather, the Beta will be much more comfortable and protective, but the Helium is featherweight by comparison.

Durability


Here the Beta AR excels. That stiff, rugged fabric and Arc'teryx's proven construction techniques combine to make pants that will last for years of even the most robust and stormy use. These pants will last longer than the ultralight products like the ultra packable Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic.

Best Applications


The best application of this product is difficult to pin down, as it combines unique attributes. The Beta AR is rugged and very weather-ready. It is as stout as many ski resort pants, without some of the more important features (some sort of warmth, for instance) of those pants. For really warm and wet ski conditions, consider the Beta AR. For hiking in the rain, the Beta AR will keep you dry and will do so for a long, long time. The catch for human-powered adventures is in the weight. Also, when hung over normal hiking and climbing footwear, the cuffs of the Beta AR are bulky and swish together in normal strides.

In rowdy weather  full Gore-Tex clothing does indeed protect and breathe better than most. The Beta AR pants are no exception.
In rowdy weather, full Gore-Tex clothing does indeed protect and breathe better than most. The Beta AR pants are no exception.

Value


You don't choose these if you're on a strict budget. Of course, value is correlated with something more than just a price tag. They are more expensive than most, but they will last much longer than most as well. When you amortize over a long lifespan, the value of the Beta AR might be greater.

Conclusion


The ultra-burly and fully-featured Arc'teryx Beta AR is ready for the most rigorous of use. A pair of these in your pack are bulky and heavy, but will stand up to years of gnarly weather.


Jediah Porter