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

Arc'teryx Beta SL - Women's Review

Its durable and sleek design just wasn't quite enough to gain this jacket access into the award winning circle.
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Price:  $300 List | $148.93 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Highly water resistant, comfortable
Cons:  Expensive, no pit zips
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Katherine Elliott ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 17, 2018
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Water Resistance - 30% 8
  • Breathability - 15% 7
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Packed Size - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Beta SL scored reasonably high marks in every testing metric but just didn't measure up to its other competitors, leaving it shy of the award winners circle. With such an expensive price tag in a very close category, we were a little let down by the lack of features the Beta SL offered. Read on to see if the minimal features of the Beta SL make it the right rain jacket for you.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

If durability and a slim, sleek design, combined with marginal breathability while in a downpour sound like a winning combination of features to you, the Arc'teryx Beta SL might be the perfect match.

Performance Comparison



Water Resistance


Coming fully equipped with the latest Gore-Tex Paclite technology and a DWR finish, the Beta SL earned high marks in the water resistance metric, keeping us dry in a multitude of precipitation scenarios. One of the major downfalls we observed through testing was although the front zipper is taped and fully waterproof, the zippers on the pockets are only touted as water resistant. They did tend to leak while experiencing a downpour, putting your valuables at risk of becoming saturated.

This jacket comes fully equipped with the latest Gore-Tex Paclite technology
This jacket comes fully equipped with the latest Gore-Tex Paclite technology

Breathability


Arc'teryx uses regular 40D Gore-Tex, and not Gore-Tex Active as with a few other rain jackets we tested. While it's among the most durable in the lineup, the sturdy structure of the fabric also made it score on the lower end on the breathability scale when compared to the other rain jackets in our fleet. The hearty nature of the durable 40D Gore-Tex fabric, combined with the lack of pit zips, left us unable to make it an award winner in the category of rain jackets.

Without pit zips  we were underwhelmed by its lack of ability to vent.
Without pit zips, we were underwhelmed by its lack of ability to vent.

Comfort


The Beta SL comes fully equipped with gusseted underarms and angled adjustable sleeves, giving it a slender look and comfortable feel. On that note, if you have an athletically built frame, one thing that kept the general comfort factor down was the tightness in the chest and arms, which could potentially be fixed by ordering up. Arc'teryx is well known for the sleek look and design of their clothing, but if you have a discernable amount of muscle on your biceps or are broad-shouldered, we would strongly recommend sizing up, especially if you want to layer. We did like the asymmetrical design of the jacket, with its longer back panel, giving plenty of coverage from the elements.


Weight


Weighing in at 9.4 ounces, the Beta SL was in the middle ground when it came to weight. The SL in its name stands for super light, and if this was the hardshell category, we would completely agree to the relatively lightweight design and functionality of the Beta SL; however, in the rain jacket category, it lagged a bit, keeping it out of our award circle.


Durability


The Beta SL incorporates a robust, 40D nylon ripstop GORE-TEX Paclite fabric, which makes it one tough cookie. We are incredibly pleased with the overall durability of this jacket, making it well-equipped for any adventure where durability is a must.

Packed Size


Although not a very heavy jacket the Beta SL doesn't incorporate a stuff sack pocket or a way to fully compress the jacket down to make it a little more packable. That said it is the smallest of the three that doesn't include a stowaway pocket and you can easily roll it into its own hood to try and save some space while being stowed away.

This is the smallest of the three jackets tested without a built-in stow pocket.
This is the smallest of the three jackets tested without a built-in stow pocket.

Best Applications


If you are an avid hiker who is not on a budget, this jacket would be a good fit. With its durable Gore-Tex Paclite fabric, it's highly water resistant is even the heaviest of downpours, though we did experience wet zippers. The Beta SL does not have pit zips and touts a general lack of packability.

Value


The Beta SL boasts a very high price tag, ringing up at $30, tying with the Outdoor Research Interstellar for the most expensive rain jacket. Though it has a sleek, minimal design that was comfortable and highly water resistant, we felt this made for a better multi-use hardshell than a rain jacket.

Conclusion


If you are looking for a rain jacket with a sleek, stylish and fitted look that will also keep you dry through the toughest of storms, look no further. As long as you are not a budget, that is.


Katherine Elliott