The UK’s winter season can be mediocre sometimes, so when the temperature drops and the white stuff covers its national parks, everyone flocks outside – including me.
Arc’teryx kindly lent me their Beta AR hardshell jacket from their Gear Library for the weekend. The scheme enables customers to test premium Arc’teryx kit before purchasing, which is ideal when you’re making investment purchases like hardshell jackets. For the piece of kit I had chosen, the Arc’teryx Beta AR hardshell jacket, I was keen to test it with a hiking weekend around the Brecon Beacons and Gower peninsula.
Arc’teryx Women’s Beta AR Fit
One aspect I particularly love about Arc’teryx clothing is the cut of their gear. As a slim hiker with broad shoulders, it can be a struggle to find a hardshell jacket that offers a good range of movement around the upper body without excess baggy fabric around the torso. The Beta AR offers enough room to fit insulated layers underneath, but the fit still provides an athletic cut with a wide range of movement.
Arc’teryx Women’s Beta AR Weight
At only 8.5 ounces, the Beta AR is a great lightweight jacket. It can also be compacted down small in your bag – perfect for long treks when rucksack space is a precious commodity.
Arc’teryx Women’s Beta AR Waterproofing
With Gore-tex Pro waterproof membrane along the arms, and regular Gore-tex membrane on the torso of the jacket, the Beta AR still offers strong waterproof protection while also skimming a few grams off the jacket;s weight. Not only that, but it also has waterproof zips. After taking it out in torrential rain and high wind conditions in the Brecon Beacons for a day of hiking, I was still dry and toasty underneath.
Arc’teryx Women’s Beta AR Features
While the Arc’teryx Beta AR hardshell jacket is considered more of the ‘stripped back’ jacket in their range, the essential features it does contain also makes it versatile. I particularly liked the large front pockets, which were the perfect size for storing a map and compass, not to mention snacks. These also sat quite high on the jacket, which meant I could still access the pockets without removing my rucksack. Others have found the pockets still useable even when wearing a climbing harness, which again showcases the Beta AR’s versatility.
The hood is well designed, with a brim and adjustable toggles around the face that successfully keeps the water off. The hood is also roomy, with enough space to wear a hat and insulated jacket hood without feeling too tight.
Another useful feature was the Beta AR’s high collar. Gutsy gales along coastal paths were no match for the hardshell jacket, which prevented wind chill while maintaining breathability.
One feature which was surprisingly useful was the long back of the Beta AR. While I initially worried it would bunch up around the waist strap of my rucksack, instead it kept my bum dry (always a perk when hiking) and prevented chilly drafts from cutting through my layers.
The Arc’teryx Beta AR hardshell jacket might be simpler than some of the brand’s other hardshells, but this is equally one of its strengths. Quality fabrics and technology have been used where it matters most, and attention has been paid towards features that can be adapted for multiple uses. As a result, the women’s Arc’Teryx Beta AR hardshell jacket is an ideal option for year-round mountain use. Lightweight, durable and highly waterproof, it will become a wardrobe essential in any hiker’s kit bag. At £480 it is a bit steep, but if you are looking for an ‘all-rounder’ coat that will last, then you can buy the Beta AR at the Arc’teryx website.