As Winter 2016 was starting to settle in, I decided that it was finally time to seek out a replacement for my well-aged winter coat. I knew that we would be embarking upon a lot of hiking, snowshoeing and Nordic skiing adventures in the future, so functionality and versatility were top priorities.
Fit: I am 5’11” and weigh about 250lbs, and have always had problems finding a jacket that fit properly in the shoulders. The last thing one would want when embarking upon outdoor adventures is to not be able to move around comfortably due to an improperly fitting jacket. After careful research, I decided upon the Arc’teryx Beta LT.
Arc’teryx refers to the Beta LT design as “articulated patterning for unrestricted mobility,” which is partly achieved by the addition of gusseted underarms for added maneuverability. And, the sleeves are long enough so that they do not ride up the forearms when reaching forward or pulling one’s self over an obstacle. The jacket is tapered from front to back. The StormHood is also helmet compatible and does not impede one’s sight lines. As with any purchase, it is important to buy for functionality and performance – not a name.
Durability: The Beta LT is constructed with GORE – TEX Pro, a 3-layer fabric designed to be waterproof, windproof and breathable. And, I can certainly attest to the strength of the material. While on a snowshoeing adventure along the Colorado River in Grand Lake, not once, but twice, I ran smack-dab into several branches that I figured were certain to leave a huge hole in the shoulder of the jacket. However, upon returning back to our vehicle, I looked over the jacket for damage and was surprised to find that none was present, not even a scratch. A few weeks later while breaking trail snowshoeing around Monarch Lake, Aspen pulled me through a thicket of willows and further up the trail. We ended up having to dodge a herd of elk as we rushed through snow covered pine trees to move off of the trail. Again, no damage to the jacket.
Designed to be lightweight, the Beta LT is easily compressed to fit into tight spaces. In addition to the GORE -TEX Pro fabric, the seams are taped and is finished with a Durable Water Repellent for added weatherproofing. Later, as summer was upon us, my jacket spent the entire summer at the bottom of my pack and was pulled out only during an occasional rain shower. Yes, in the middle of summer, when a rain shower did occur during a hike, the jacket was very warm; however, it kept me dry!
Seasonality: The jacket is a hard shell jacket and very versatile. During a recent attempt at a 14’er where the air temperature was maybe 10 degrees at best, with wind-chills certainly below zero, I was perfectly comfortable out and back. I had dressed in 3 layers; a thermal base layer, an Under Armor Cold Gear 1/4 Zip and a Mountain Hardwear MicroChill 1/4 Zip. That was the harshest environment I have tested the jacket in thus far. Typically we keep our treks above 10 degrees because our Golden Retriever, as Aspen, is almost always with us. During the spring and fall, I wear the Under Armor Cold Gear 1/4 Zip which is typically more than adequate for comfort.
In short, I highly recommend this jacket to any who may be on the lookout for a durable, versatile shell. While it maybe on the expensive side, this jacket will last several years with proper care.
Overall: Steal of a Deal
Price paid: $275.04
Place purchased: REI Online Garage
Link to Arc’Teryx website: Arc’Teryx
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