ARC’TERYX BETA AR JACKET: The only shell you will ever need.
The only reason I think it is ridiculous to spend $100,000 on a Ferrari is because I don’t have a $100,00 to spend on a Ferrari. For my last trip I knew I wanted a good Gore-Tex Jacket and was debating whether or not any jacket is worth this amount of money. I decided to scrape some extra cash together and pulled the trigger when Amazon had this coat on sale. So here is what I thought.
COST: $475 (sale $329)
INTENDED USE: Trekking, extensive travel, all around jacket to get me through anything that mother nature dishes up
COUNTRIES USED IN: Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, Mongolia, China
WORTH IT: Yes, I don’t think it gets much better
WOULD I WEAR IT AGAIN: I hope to wear this jacket for the rest of my life
One of the biggest investments that I have ever made in travel gear was the Arc’Teryx Beta AR Pro Shell Gore-tex jacket. At a whopping $475 dollars it can be hard to digest for some people, and is it worth the hype?
To be honest, I got this jacket at a pretty solid price of $329 from MooseJaw.com and therefore decided to take the plunge and see if it could live up to its reputation. I was about ready to head out on a five month trip to Mongolia, Cambodia, Nepal, and China and it was definitely going to see some action.
The thing that worries me the most about jackets is not necessarily if I trust it to be waterproof while traveling, it is more about if it can be durable and abrasion resistant. Constantly stuffing a jacket in out of your pack alone does more damage to the jacket itself than the weather. There is always that chance that it could get caught in a zipper and tear, or that it could get cut or scraped by something in your pack. And having a rain jacket with holes in it kind of defeats the purpose. I knew that I was going to be spending a lot of times in the mountains for this past trip and I knew that the jacket was going to get abused, there was no way around it. But I decided to give it a go and see how it held up. Aside from the constant five months of travel, there were three tests that stood out.
Test #1 Remote ten day trek in Tavan Bogd National Park – MONGOLIA
The first real test for this jacket came in Mongolia. I went on a remote ten day trek in Tavan Bogd National Park during the month of July which was towards the end of their summer. My pack weight for the trip started out at about sixty pounds and it would never be lighter than about 35 for over the course of the ten days. The first five days of the trek I never wore the jacket once, except for maybe as a windbreaker in the evening or morning, but never with the pack. However, as we started to climb up towards about 10,000ft the weather began to turn and for the next three days we got pounded with rain. Some times heavy downpour, other times that nasty slow drizzle, which can really make any trip unpleasant. No matter what, everything finds a way to get damp or wet. The only time this jacket got wet on the inside was from my own sweat that I couldn’t really control, especially with the my pack rubbing against my back. However, no water ever leaked through even from the outside in, even with three days of just nasty rain. What I was more worried about was possible friction tears from having a wet heavy pack scraping against the points on my shoulders. The reinforced gore-tex patches worked like a charm, and this jacket showed no signs of fatigue. The vents helped out a lot to regulate my body temp and keep me comfortable. I even carried my camera in the front pocket and it did not get “wet” once. I was pleased.
Test #2 CAMBODIA During the Rainy Season
I was in Cambodia for about a month in September and this was towards the end of their monsoon season. I kid you not when I say that I did not see the sun for about a month straight. Every morning it would just dump. And when it rains in Cambodia it pours. Anyway, I had a $475 dollar jacket for this exact reason and a little monsoon rain wasn’t going to deter me. Every morning when that rain came a pounding, I threw this jacket on for my casual walk to the market for my morning breakfast. Even in the extreme downpours it kept me dry and comfortable, even in tropical temps. The best part about it was that it dried quickly when I would hang it up in my guesthouse if the inside got a little damp from sweat, or when the outside of the jacket was soaked.
Test #3 Everest Base Camp- NEPAL
Once again I beat this jacket up pretty good on a 19 day trek in Nepal in October. At that time of the year they don’t get that much rain, however this jacket came more in handy as a windbreaker. Sometimes that wind would blow and this jacket would act as the perfect shell to shield me from the wind during the trekking day, especially at some of the higher elevations. The vents really helped in keeping my temperature regulated so I didn’t really over heat. And it withstood the pack abuse it received.
Over all I was extremely pleased with this jacket. It stuffed down to an impressive size, it was light weight, but most importantly it was durable. It withstood five months of packing and unpacking, being squished, crumpled, and squeezed and it took it like a champ. One of the best features was the cut which really made it comfortable for me. I am an athletically built guy at 5’9″ 185 pounds with big shoulders. Most jackets always seem to suffocate me at the shoulder and underarm, especially Mountain Hardwear and Mammut. There was plenty of room for layering underneath and mobility. The hood cinched awesome for those rainy days and it never rode up to bad on me. I went with a size large which was the perfect size for myself.
Other jackets I tried before deciding on the Arc’Teryx Beta Ar was the Mammut Adrenaline jacket and the Mountain Hardwear Jovian jacket. I tried both the size L and XL and they were both tight in the shoulders and arms when I layered. The winner was Arc’Teryx for me, check out all the tech specs in the Rogue Shop as well as all the other gear that we have used in our travels around the world. I look forward to getting many more years of usage out of it as well.