The Arc'Teryx Beta Jacket Outlet sale Is a Lightweight, Layerable Wonder

I am no mountaineer. When it comes to slate-gray, imposing entities, I'm more likely to be staring at a skyscraper than a summit. But by virtue of living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan—oh, and commuting via the subway—I find myself outside in unpleasant weather with some regularity. And I do escape my urban environs from time to time, shuffling off for a weekend to somewhere that's free of car horns and light pollution. All of which is to say: While I'm not the guy to test something from outdoor outfitter Arc'Teryx under the most extreme conditions, I'm pretty well suited to putting a Gore-Tex shell through its paces in a real-life trial that—let's be honest—is likely more applicable to most of our lives than hunkering down in a windswept tent strapped to some perilous peak.

Which is why I decided to do just that, wearing the brand's Beta jacket for excursions on days both sunny and rain-soaked, pleasantly brisk and bitterly cold. I learned that despite its minimalist construction, it's able to handle just about everything you and Mother Nature can throw at it on a day-to-day basis. And it is definitely worth considering adding to your wardrobe if you haven't yet.

arcteryx beta jacket
JOE LINGEMAN

It's the perfect layering piece

I run hot. As much as I love heavy waxed cottons and near-bulletproof melton wools, on most days I'm better off wearing multiple layers that I can add and remove as needed. The Beta jacket is made for this. It's cut from lightweight Gore-Tex fabric with a Gore-Tex C-Knit backer that renders it soft to the touch—and kind to bare forearms—on the interior. So, whether you're wearing a light sweater underneath or just a T-shirt, you're going to be comfortable. And it's breathable. Even if you transition from a frigid drizzle to an overheated train car, you're not going to instantly melt into a puddle. True, this version of the Beta doesn't come with the armpit zips that more expensive versions do, which means those particularly prone to overheating might be happier with an upgraded version like the Beta AR. Unless you're going for intense exertion, though, you'll likely be just fine. And if you do get hot, you can take the jacket off and pack it away in your bag. That lightweight fabric means it compresses down to a compact, easily stashable package.

SHOP $400, arcteryx.com

arcteryx beta jacket
JOE LINGEMAN

It nails the necessary details

A shell like the Beta doesn't need much, but what it does need should be executed perfectly. The handwarmer pockets, for instance, should be big enough to keep your mitts warm and also hold a few essentials so you can be absolutely certain they're safe from the rain when it's pouring down. Check. There should be an interior pocket for your phone, because we're all hopelessly addicted and it's not like you're ever going to leave the thing at home. Check again. (Though it's worth noting that, while it fits my iPhone 14 Pro just fine, some customers have complained that Max models are too big. Good thing those handwarmer pockets are so roomy.) And the hood should be streamlined while still being large enough to keep your noggin dry during a deluge. Check a third time. In fact, I'd say that for most folks, the smaller hood on the Beta, which isn't designed to accommodate a helmet for climbing or skiing or what have you, is a huge bonus. Oh, and it should have water-repellent zippers, because sometimes it's just that nasty out. Check number four.

SHOP $400, arcteryx.com

arcteryx beta jacket
JOE LINGEMAN

It does what it should

Speaking of it being nasty out: The Beta may look great on sunny days thanks to its streamlined shape and minimalist styling, but it really shines in bad weather. When the sleet is going sideways and you're still nice and dry, you know the thing is doing its job. That's thanks to all the tech that goes into it: the aforementioned Gore-Tex fabric and water-resistant zippers, plus elements like a stand-up collar to keep the outside on the outside as well as an articulated fit for ease of movement.

That last element brings me to one caveat. If you read the less-generous reviews of the Beta on Arc'Teryx's website, you'll find a few core complaints. The first is the lack of pit zips, which we've already addressed. The others are the fit (some say it's too big, others say it's too small) and the length of the sleeves. On the fit front, I found it slim but not overly so. I'm not sure what the customers who say it's too boxy are comparing it to, but after zipping up the Beta and the Beta AR in rapid succession, I can confirm that the Beta is just a touch more snug. As for those long arms? They may seem like overkill, but I'd say it's better to be covered from shoulder to wrist than to get your arms soaked when you're really reaching for something—whether that something is a boulder or a beer.

All told, the Beta does what it should (keeping you warm and dry) and then some (also keeping you looking great). What's not to love about that?