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Waterproof, lightweight, breathable, durable - essential qualities for an all round shell jacket and the Arc'teryx women's Beta AR Gore-tex Pro has them all.

Price
£480
Value
8
Quality
9
Performance
9
Looks
8
Comfort
9
Overall Score
9
+
Easy fit, comfort, durability, lightweight, packable
The noise! Although hardwearing, the fabric is quite noisy.
arcteryx.com

The Beta AR is one of several waterproof and breathable shell jackets produced by Arc’teryx. This model is made of GORE-TEX Pro with N40p-X face fabric in the main body and reinforced GORE-TEX Pro areas over the shoulders. It has watertight Vislon front zipper and watertight pit zippers for extra ventilation. The helmet-compatible Drop Hood with adjuster cords is a new revision. There are two hand pockets and one internal laminated pocket with zip. 

This jacket can stay in your boot room or hallway ready to use all year round. The regular fit and slightly longer-than-hip length allows for easy layering, while the corded adjusters are simple to use even with one hand, and all the zips have a tab for easy grab/use. The brushed microsuede facing on the chin guard was very comfortable when the funnel neck was fully zipped up. 

The hand pockets are bomber jacket style so sit halfway up on front rather than down by the hips, but this meant they were easy to get at when wearing a backpack. The internal pocket is perfect  for keeping your mobile phone in. The jacket was tested on a forest hike in wet and windy weather and worn layered with a merino crew neck and the Arc’teryx Cerium down hoody, so I felt very dry, warm, comfortable and protected. The GORE-TEX Pro fabric was resistant to snagging on low branches and brambles and the hood kept the rain off my face and glasses. The jacket allowed for good ease of movement when using walking poles. 

It’s a shame the Beta AR does not have a sleeve pocket as otherwise this could easily work for fairweather skiing (no snow skirt, though). The fabric is also quite noisy and the swishing as you move your arms, especially when using walking poles, can get a bit annoying at times and might easily scare off birds/wildlife if you were trying to move in silently for a close-up photo. Although very packable, the fabric does stay creased for some time. 

It’s quite an expensive jacket, but very good value as it should last a lifetime if you follow the Arc’teryx care instructions.