The Arcteryx Beta AR jacket (women’s) is quite possibly the best garment of any kind that I have ever owned. It is also the most expensive garment I have ever owned. So here’s the question: can a raincoat really be worth $600+ dollars?
Short answer: yes.
Here’s what makes the Beta AR jacket so awesome:
- It is seriously, absolutely, completely waterproof. While wearing this jacket, you will not get wet….at least not the part of you that is covered by the jacket. I am currently weathering the rainy season in Ecuador and it pours rain every single day. When I say pours, I mean that I literally have to ford the rivers that were once streets on a daily basis. I put on my Arcteryx Beta AR and it’s like I’m wearing bulletproof armor; no umbrella needed. This is not a raincoat that keeps you dry for the first 10 minutes of a downpour and then the water starts to seep through to your skin. No, this jacket will keep you dry. Period.
- Hood design. Most people probably have never put much thought into the design of hoods, but, let me tell you, you will have a new appreciation for it after donning this jacket. The hood is large enough to fit over a helmet (think: biking, rock climbing, etc.), but is fully adjustable to fit snugly on whatever melon–helmeted or not. One adjustment and my hood is secured with zero slippage. The brim is firm enough to actually keep water off your face, and BEST OF ALL there is no vision impairment. NONE! I have a full range of view with my hood in place….no more turning your head to just to talk to someone hiking next to you…nope, you get to have your hood and peripheral vision too!
- Length. The jacket is long enough to cover my butt AND is fully functional while wearing a harness or backpack with hip strap.
- Pockets. Large functional pockets that are accessible even when my backpacking pack is strapped on with watertight taping. Plus an inside pocket for important stuff. I also love that I don’t have to worry about whatever is in my pockets getting wet (see bullet point #1)
- Size. This is a functional jacket made for active outdoorswomen–none of that slimcut nonsense that makes it so you can’t lift your arms up. Granted, I ordered a size up so that I would be able to layer considerably, as this is my primary jacket. So mine is a little baggier than usual due to personal preference, but it is a comfortable functional, but still good looking and flattering jacket.
- Windproof. Nothing is getting through this jacket. Nothing.
- Breathable. The material itself (some special magical form of gortex) is breathable, and it has armpit zippers! I discovered recently on a rainy run in the park that I can actually slip my arms out of the armpit vents and tie the sleeves behind the hood to turn the jacket into a vest. Definitely not an intended use, but it served me well!
Now, for me, this jacket is absolutely worth the price, but I am an outdoor professional who is often exposed to the elements from mountain tops to the Amazon Rainforest. This is also my primary jacket. I use it everyday and I have a legitimate need for some serious rain protection. So, whether or not you are willing to shell out $600ish dollars for a jacket depends on a)your personal finances and b) your lifestyle and need for such a heavy duty garment. I will say that in this case you are buying more than just brand-bragging rights, this product delivers. I also intend for it to last me many years, and, seeing as I use it every day, I do feel like I am getting my money’s worth out of it….it also makes me feel invincible, like a superhero outfit.