To assess the Arc’teryx Beta LT hardshell jacket, the Scottish climate provides the perfect conditions. During hikes, assessing a hardshell is good; what about the water- and windproofness? How are the zips positioned? Are they easily accessible, both with and without a backpack? With the Arc’teryx Beta LT Hardshell, this is all fine, as might be expected from a highly engineered product like the Beta LT. But what happens when you expose this high-performance jacket to an extra challenge, like an epic day of sport shooting – Long Range Steel Target Shooting – in the unforgiving highlands with wind and rain, lying in the hills of Rosehall, Invercassley? Want to find out? Then read on.
The Arc’teryx Beta range is designed for versatile mountain use, with LT standing for lightweight, with a streamlined set of features designed to save weight. This jacket is suitable for just about anything you can think of. Whether you’re in town, hiking, climbing, skiing or doing anything else, the Beta LT is ideal. It is perfect for multi-sport use and also excellent for a mix of urban and technical use.
The Beta LT history
The Arc’teryx Beta LT hardshell made its debut in autumn 2008. Initially marketed for mountaineering with an emphasis on speed and lightness. The jacket used the advanced three-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell system (320N Gore-Tex Pro Shell 3L), equipped with ‘pitzips’ and a helmet-compatible hood with a zip that could be stored conveniently in the collar, also known as a ‘StowHood’. Since then, the jacket has evolved considerably. The current generation Beta LT is made of N40p Gore-Tex with 3L tricot technology – bluesign approved.
The Arc’teryx Beta LT is not particularly breathable; it prioritises durability over breathability and it functions better in some situations than others.
The N40p Gore-Tex Pro Shell 3L used in the Beta LT needs a differential to work between the microclimate on the inside next to your body and the outside environment. In cold, dry environments, it can be reasonably breathable. In warm, humid environments, it is generally not very breathable.
The current generation of Beta LT has ‘pitzips’. This allows for ventilation if the membrane is not working so well, or to increase the comfort range of the jacket. Even ‘pitzips’ cannot make the jacket breathe well on a hot day, but they do make it more versatile.
Long Range Steel Target Shooting in all weathers
As can be expected from a jacket of this calibre, it fully satisfies while hiking in a windy and damp environment. But does the jacket also satisfy when the hike is combined with over 3 hours of lying still in a windy and wet environment during a Long Range Steel Target Shooting in the Scottish Highlands? A resounding yes. Of course, with a good intermediate layer. But I did not experience any moisture or wind discomfort for a moment.
In terms of features of the Beta LT, they can be counted on one hand. This is not surprising, considering it is a lightweight jacket. But the features that are there are like the Swiss army knife of outdoor clothing. From the waterproof zips to the adjustable hood, every feature seems thoughtfully designed for the outdoor enthusiast. Even the pockets seem to know you need maps, snacks and a compass.
The design of the Arc’teryx Beta LT has been well thought out. Sleek, modern and with the subtle flair you would expect from a premium outdoor brand. This jacket is not only functional, but also a fashion statement in the wilderness, where only the deer, squirrels and Scottish highlanders see you 😉
Final thoughts Arc’teryx Beta LT
This is one of the most comfortable and lightest hardshells I have had the pleasure of reviewing. Despite the limited breathability, the ‘pitzips’ compensate a lot. And yes, the price is hefty at 450 euros, but the quality fully justifies it. For those who invest in durability, performance (and style), this jacket is worth every penny. Especially if you take nature seriously.