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.
Arc'teryx Beta SL - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Highly water resistant, comfortable
Cons: Expensive, no pit zips
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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