I love outdoor jackets. I have an Arc’teryx Shell which I wear over winter layers when I’m skiing. I did have an Arc’teryx all-rounder which I gave to my daughter and probably won’t see again unless I’m out walking with her. I also have a £30 jacket from Mountain Warehouse which I still wear and which ‘does the job’. So, the question I was asking myself was whether I really needed a £400 lightweight jacket? When would I actually want to wear it?
Well, the answer is simple: keep it in your backpack for when you get hit by a summer shower, while out walking. And you know how it gets in spring and autumn when you feel you need something more than a base layer t-shirt, but don’t want a heavier jacket because it’s not THAT cold? That’s when you reach for the Beta LT, which, at 350g, is very light.
So, I found it stayed unworn on a couple of hot summer hikes in British Columbia, but really came into its own on a very damp, drizzly late summer’s day Nordic Walking in the New Forest, keeping me fully dry on the inside – no damp patches from leaks or running up sleeves.
On the technical side, the Beta LT is supremely lightweight and quiet – there’s none of that fabric-y swishing you get with some jackets. The bluesign® approved GORE-TEX undoubtedly keeps the wind and rain out while maximizing breathability. The hood is helmet compatible which makes it great for cycle rides, too, though if you’re not wearing a helmet it can be a bit of a faff to adjust the hood so it doesn’t flop over your eyes. I also liked the longer length, the pit zips, of course, for rapid ventilation and there’s no denying the quality that’s gone into this: taped seams, longer cuffs – what’s not to like.
Well, I would’ve liked an inside pocket – the two zippered front pockets are fine and secure, but an inside pocket where you can keep, say, a phone would be useful. Otherwise, you have to shove more stuff in your backpack or in trousers pockets if you have them. Just a little thing, Arc’teryx, but pretty please.
In conclusion, the Beta LT is a high-quality, minimalist jacket with a maximalist price. It’s at its best when it rains but it’s not too cold. Perfect for spring, autumn and a British Summer, then… Will persevere, as the days shorten, with an extra layer or two. But maybe the moral of the story is to hang on to your Beta AR jacket, too.