Arc’teryx has long been known for distributing extremely high-quality outdoor gear and apparel. Whether you’re attacking an extreme alpine endeavor, a backcountry ski, or snowboard tour a long-distance run, or an extended backpacking trip, Arc’teryx has the gear to keep you going mile after mile. Arc’teryx takes great pride in the materials that they source to build a lot of their jackets. A lot of the innovations and features that have become a standard among competing brands were started in the Arc’teryx design studio.
Beta SL Jacket
Beta SL Jacket is a simple but burly Gore-Tex shell designed for the hiker or trekker who wants super lightweight reliable storm protection. The face fabric of this jacket is a smooth, light but durable 40D nylon. The fabric does have a mini ripstop construction, which gives it added tear strength without negatively affecting the weight. There’s a ton of extra technology and design that goes into Arc’teryx jackets but the real-world testing is what impresses me the most.
These Beta series of jackets were designed to be high-performance pieces in diverse activities and conditions. So it’s not necessarily meant for any one specific purpose. The SL naming refers to the superlight category that it’s built under. This means the emphasis for this piece was put toward lightweight and packability. The jacket will live in your pack essentially unnoticed until a storm blows in and you need to throw on your protective shell layer.
With that lightweight and packable mentality, Arc’teryx has paired this jacket down to its bare essentials. You’ll notice very few seams on the jacket and tiny Gore seam tape. The trim fit of the jacket reduces weight because there’s less fabric and it offers improved breathability. The articulation in the back and arms gives you the freedom of movement you’ll need while trekking without adding unnecessary bulk. The hood is a low profile storm hood and it will provide complete coverage. There’s plenty of room for a mid-layer but the jacket doesn’t feel so big and oversized. The articulation and attention to fit detail are pretty obvious. The hood also fits nicely and stays fairly flat when it’s not in use, which I like.
This is truly a minimalist hard shell. All of the attention to detail brings you a premium jacket. Perfect protection for those unexpected storms, this is a lightweight, simple, and packable jacket.
Beta SL Hybrid Jacket
Beta SL Hybrid Jacket includes functionality, packability, and all the quality that Arc’teryx is known for. A combination of durable and packable fabrics is what makes this a unique hybrid design. This is a jacket that will find a home in your backpack on every trip without weighing you down. Let’s take a look at its features.
The beta SL hybrid was created to keep your pack light while giving you reliable storm protection. The fit is slim for a shell jacket but you’ll find room underneath for a mid-layer. Gussets under the arms extra rooms where you need it mean that even if you’re wearing a pack or a climbing harness you have no problem moving around. The body of the Beta SL Hybrid uses Gore-Tex PacLite construction. This is a 2-layer system that is highly flexible and moves with you. It’s been designed to pack down very small, which makes it a great choice for backpacking.
It’s easy to notice the advantage of PacLite, it feels similar to the polyester fabric but with the durability, you expect from a shell layer. High-wear areas such as the shoulders have been reinforced with a more durable outer fabric and Gore’s C-Knit backer. These areas like the shoulders and under the arms use a hard-wearing 3-layer system. C-Knit is a lighter colored fabric that is rugged and very breathable. A look at the inside of the Beta SL Hybrid will show how Arc’teryx has reinforced stress points with C-Knit while using PacLite everywhere else.
The micro seams on this jacket had been taped using a lamination method. They’ve been sealed to the jacket similar to how welding works. This means the tape won’t peel or wear away exposing the seams. The highly water-resistant main zipper travels the length of the jacket. When fully zipped, there’s extra room for your chin without sacrificing coverage. Under your arms, you’ll find pit zips. These are great for venting excess heat when you’re moving. Pit zips are important for me because they vent the heat necessary when hiking.
The hood is fully adjustable to work with or without a helmet. The drawcords in front will adjust for the size of your head and if you’re wearing a helmet. I like the front visor that keeps rain and wind out of your eyes. A drawcord around the waist will seal out whether. Two WaterTight hand pockets seal out rain without any extra bulk. They are a perfectly safe place for a map or keys.
The Bata series of jackets has performed very well for me over time. Last year I hiked the Appalachian Trail and brought along my Arc’teryx jacket. I love the quality of construction and I found so many uses for it. I’ll never go on a trip without it. Try it and I think you’ll feel the same.
Beta SL Vs. Beta SL Hybrid: Comparison Table
|FEATURE||BETA SL||BETA SL HYBRID|
|Fabric||40D nylon ripstop Gore-Tex PacLite||2-layer Gore-Tex PacLite and 3-layer Gore-Tex with C-Knit in shoulder areas|
|Weight||11.1 oz.||12.3 oz.|
|Pockets||2||2 hand pockets with WaterTight zippers|
|Fit||Trim Fit||Trim Fit|
|Back Length||Hip, 29-inch||Hip, 30-inch|
|Best use||Hiking, backpacking||Multisport|
Which one is right for you?
The Beta SL and the Beta SL Hybrid are both lightweight rain jackets that can be used as emergency shells during heavy rain. The major difference between both is durability and weight. In my opinion, the hybrid version is slightly more durable due to a stronger 3-layer fabric in high-tear areas such as shoulders while the non-hybrid version is made of PacLite entirely. If you want to go ultralight and weight is your major concern, go for the lightweight Beta SL. On the other hand, if you want a more durable shell that can last a little longer, the hybrid version may be a good option for you.