Weighing in at 345g but boasting a full Gore-Tex Pro membrane it's pushing boundaries with a balance of minimilism and simplicity and professional level features. A longer body length works well for everything from sitting on a soaked bench to wearing under a harness and an innovative hood adjuster works well with or without helmet. It comes as close to one jacket for all seasons as anything we've seen.
What the manufacturers say:
Designed with disciplined simplicity, the versatile Beta LT delivers GORE-TEX® Pro protection and lightweight durability across a range of activities. The helmet-compatible StormHood™ provides full coverage without impeding sight lines, and adjusts with glove-friendly custom Cohaesive™ cordlocks. The trim fit puts the GORE-TEX® close to the body, maximizing breathability. The longer back length extends coverage and fits comfortably under a harness.
Redesigned to include RS™ zipper sliders on the hand pockets, Cohaesive™ cordlocks in the StormHood™, and an improved fit with a longer body length.
- Waterproof and Breathable N40p-X 3L Gore-Tex® Pro
- DWR finish (Durable Water Repellent)
- Articulated Elbows and Gusseted Underarms
- Adjustable, Helmet Compatible StormHood™ with Laminated Brim
- Chin Guard with Brushed Microsuede
- #3 WaterTight™ Vislon Front Zip
- DryCuff™ Laminated Adjustable Cuffs
- Improved Longer Drop Back Hem with Drawcord
- Internal chest pocket with zip
- Two hand pockets with WaterTight™ zippers
- Weight Approx 345g
Arcteryx Beta LT Jacket on test:
Whatever your thoughts on Arcteryx, whether the fit suits you or whether it's worth the premium price tag, there's no dispute that they produce truly distinctive products, and the Beta LT is no exception. If you're in your local outdoor shop thumbing through the rails of jackets it may not jump out at you from a sea of hard shells, but take it off the rail and you'll know instantly you're holding something a bit different.
The first thing you notice about the Beta LT is the weight, or lack of. It's frighteningly light for a year round jacket and you're instantly faced with a dilemma; it's so light you want it but how can it possibly be durable. Well that's why it's got a price tag of £400. Arcteryx have combined a 3 layer Gore-Tex Pro membrane with a high tenacity nylon N40p face fabric to produce a jacket that's abrasion resistant and waterproof but without excess weight.
The minimalist style of the Beta LT helps keep the weight down but under the surface the jacket still has some impressive features. The Cohaesive Hood Adjuster takes the legendary Arcteryx hood to a new level with simple adjustment even wearing winter gloves. There's no chest pocket, but you do get an internal pocket, and no pit zips but you do get a longer than average length. Additional weight has been saved with the Watertight zips which Arcteryx say are "highly water resistant, but not water proof" and you don't get a storm flap on the outside, just on the inside..
In use the sizing was a bit of a surprise, being somewhat more generous than their usual medium. Whether by design or not this actually works well in making the Beta LT a true all year round jacket allowing room for a decent midlayer without impacting on movement. In fact one of the delights of the jacket is the freedom of movement with plenty of play in the arms. The additional length, particularly at the back, is very welcome in UK conditions and a surprise in such a minimilist and weight sensitive jacket.
With the additional length the two hand warmer pockets sit nicely above a harness and boast openings big enough to slide a map in with ease. The question mark over the description of the zips hasn't really been answered yet in that short of turning a hose pipe on directly we've yet to find the dividing line between "highly water resistant" and "waterproof". You don't get as much space in the inside "BLT" pocket but there's enough for an iPhone 6S.
You get the ubiquitous single-handed hem adjustment and velcro cuff closures, though it's a pleasant surprise to see that the weight saving hasn't resulted in a minimilist strip of velcro on the cuff. Paticularly when wearing gloves the additional width of velcro makes a real difference as does the available volume adjustment. With the Beta LT cuffs there's roon to fit winter gloves inside before fastening.
The hood is Arcteryx at its best. It's big enough to take a helmet, with room to spare, when you need it to but pulled in tight it shuts out the weather completely. The rear volume adjuster is simple and smooth while the Cohaesive adjusters, which use a button on each side of the inside of the hood, make tightening and loosening the hood possible without discarding your gloves.
The peak is stiffened but it's not rigid and will deform in a strong wind but it's more than adequate in most conditions and the hood grips the head well at the front when properly adjusted. Even in a wind strong enough to start deforming the peak there was never any threat of the hood itself moving.
In terms of breathability it's a Gore-Tex Pro membrane and performs like a Gore-Tex Pro jacket. It's pretty much recognised as one of, if not the best, balances of waterproofing, breathability and durability and is the choice of professionals. With a lack of pit zips breathability was a concern but in use didn't prove to be an issue with judicious use of the hood, cuff and hem adjusters.
With a list price of £400 and a street price around £320 it's a lot of money for a lightweight alpine jacket, and there are compromises made to achieve the weight. But, and it's a very big but, those compromises have added as much as they've taken away. The Beta LT is a functional alpine jacket for the fast and light but with its long fit, durability, and superb hood it's a real all year round performer in the UK. The build quality of Arcteryx inspires confidence and of course you've got that distinctive logo that attracts a premium price tag so a decision comes down to that triangle of lightweight, durable and cheap; if your balance is more towards lightweight and durable you'll find it hard to find anything as versatile at the price.