Choosing the right Arc'teryx can be daunting. They're simply just way too complicated for most of us. Let alone tens of different types of lines such as Alpha, Thorium, Beta etc., there are also two letter modifiers at the end of each line.
In Arc'teryx terminology, each line is devoted to different types of outdoor activities.
In our case, the Zeta line represents the hiking/trekking specific jackets, whereas the Beta line represents versatility focused jackets.
But there are also additional sub-models.
If this table is still complicated for you, see the typical buyer profiles listed below the table and check if one of them is you.
360 grams (12.7 oz)
345 grams (12.2 oz)
455 grams (16 oz)
485 grams (17.1 oz)
310 grams (10.9 oz)
205 grams (7.2 oz)
335 grams (11.8 oz)
425 grams (15 oz)
N40r GORE TEX with PACLITE® Plus
N42p GORE-TEX with Gore C-KNIT® backer
N40p-X GORE-TEX Pro 3L
N40r-X GORE-TEX Pro 3L
N80p-X GORE-TEX Pro 3L
N80p-X GORE-TEX Pro 3L
N40r GORE-TEX with PACLITE® Plus
N20p GORE TEX with PACLITE® Plus
N40p-X 3L GORE-TEX with GORE C-KNIT™ backer
N70p 3L GORE-TEX with GORE C-KNIT™ backer
#Note: All face fabrics are DWR (durable water repellent) applied.
DWR is a coating. It's basically sprayed on to the surface of these jackets as a finish. It stands for Durable Water Repellent - which means that water will be repelled under wet conditions instead of soaking into the fabric. DWR also decreases dry time.
It's a good thing these jackets are coated in DWR, but pay attention to the fact that DWR is a coating - meaning that it will wear off over time.
Which is why you might want to invest in a DWR spray such as this one for after treatment.
If you are planning to under layer these shells with relatively thick garments, then a baggier fit would be a better option for you. Otherwise, a trimmer cut is likely to feel more comfortable than a baggier one.
As you see, the latest and most improved Gore-Tex technology Pro 3L bumps the price quite a bit.
I'll now mention some typical buyer profiles because it's highly likely that you're one of these guys.
Typical buyer profiles
- "I really don't need any really specific features. I want to stay active during the quite cold winters in my town: A lot of fat biking, outdoor climbing, hiking, skiing, snowboarding etc. I'm looking for a jacket I can easily use during all these."
Now if this is you...
Then I'd recommend the Beta AR to most of you.
Beta AR Men's:
Beta AR Women's:
If, on the other hand, you either (1) want something even more durable than the Beta AR, (2) will be hiking in quite severe weather or (3) want something baggier to maximize your under layering options, then Beta SV can be an amazing choice for you.
You can check out my Beta AR vs SV post if you'd like to read more about this.
Beta SV Men's:
Beta SV Women's:
If you want something very light and more packable than the AR, and you can sacrifice some breathability (LT doesn't come with pit zips unlike the AR and SV), durability and weather resistance in return, then the Beta LT would probably be your best bet.
You can check out my Beta LT vs AR post if you'd like to read more about this.
Beta LT Men's:
Beta LT Women's:
- "I want to stay active during the quite cold winters in my town, will be doing various activities with my jacket, but at least 80% of the time during these activities I'll be hiking/trekking."
If this is you...
Then I'd recommend the Zeta AR to most of you.
Zeta AR Men's:
Zeta AR Women's:
If you can sacrifice durability, length, breathability (LT doesn't have pit zips) and weather resistance for something around 100 grams (3 ounces) lighter, then the LT is your best bet.
Zeta LT Men's:
Zeta LT Women's:
I'd recommend the Beta SL-H, Zeta SL or Zeta FL only to those who are looking for an emergency shell. Check their scores out and choose one of them according to your specific needs.
If you're not looking for an emergency shell, then Beta SL-H, Zeta SL or Zeta FL probably aren't your best choices.
I hope this review was helpful for you to understand which shell would be the best choice for your needs. Feel free to ask me any questions or provide feedback and I'll be happy to respond in the comment section below if it's within my knowledge.
Our entire list for best Arc'teryx and Patagonia Jackets:
Thanks a lot for reading. Happy trails.
References & Further reading