Arc'teryx's Beta Series is made up of a range of all-round hardshell jackets and pants designed for diverse adventures and conditions including backcountry skiing, mountaineering, climbing, hiking and almost everything in between.
Weighing in at a feathery 300g, the Beta SL Hybrid Jacket is the lightest and most affordable product in the range - a super light (SL) packable waterproof and windproof GORE-TEX jacket ideal for a variety of fast and light mountain adventures.
The new version of the Beta SL Hybrid features two different GORE-TEX technologies which have been combined to make the whole jacket lighter without sacrificing durability in high-use areas. The Beta SL Hybrid is constructed using a 2L N40r GORE-TEX fabric with Paclite Plus technology that feels really nice next to the skin and GORE C-KNIT backer technology has been integrated to ensure durability.
As you'd expect from Arc'teryx, the revamped Beta SL Hybrid Jacket is a seriously quality bit of kit. As soon as you pull it on, it just feels right and everything works. Pit zips and adjustable cuffs are easy to operate when wearing gloves and the two hand pockets are pack and harness-compatible so you can still get to your phone or snacks when you're hiking, climbing, rappelling or travelling on a glacier. The dropped adjustable hem is great for keeping things cosy at the rear.
The highlight for us is the helmet-compatible hood with laminated brim and high collar that keeps things cosy and protected in a hoolie. Being able to cinch the hood in tightly at both the rear and around the face means you're covered for both helmet and non-helmet related activities. We also really like the reinforced material used on the rear upper section of the jacket which keeps the hood and collar from collapsing onto your shoulders when not in use.
In terms of fit, the Beta SL is designed to be slim to maximise breathability in use. I am a UK Size 10 and the Small was just about big enough to wear with a thin midlayer. If I was to wear this jacket in winter conditions when I'd likely be wearing additional thicker base and mid-layers I would opt to size up to a Medium.
The only downside is that the WaterTight zips on the hand pockets aren't fully waterproof which is worth bearing in mind before heading out into a torrential downpour with your phone in your jacket pocket.
At £330, the Beta SL Hybrid is a premium jacket with a premium pricetag. It's a super technical jacket that weighs nothing and can easily be shoved in your pack for emergency bad weather protection. If you're looking for an out and out rain jacket there are better options, but the Beta SL Hybrid is an ideal choice for all-round fast and light mountain athletes looking to bag summits at speed this summer.