In late 1990s early 2000 their jackets were the pinnacle of quality all made in BC Canada with innovative functional styling. Then I and others began to notice the quality start to change as production branched outside of Canada and the company changed hands several times.
I am pleased to say I've noticed a marked change in quality of Arc'teryx products especially with this season's jackets. In fact their Beta SL jacket is one of my favorite pieces of outerwear, I carry it with me just about everywhere.
I've had the chance to try the Beta SL extensively over the last two months taking it out the field shooting photos, bird watching, hiking in Colombia, and for normal day to day use around town here in Rhode Island.
The Beta SL is a simple no frills shell that weighs only 11oz. Its styling is straightforward and the cut of the jacket is slightly generous allowing just enough room for layering if necessary. In the Andes Mountains in northern Colombia last month I wore the Beta SL over a Patagonia nano puff pullover and the combination was ideal for the conditions.
This is a photo of me in the Andes near Tunja Colombia with the Beta SL
The Beta SL has all the basic features you need for a waterproof breathable shell with adjustments at the waist, head, and cuffs. The jacket uses seam tape in concert with its small sized zippers to cut down on weight while accommodating a full front zip and dual front zip pockets.
The jacket is 100% nylon which has become recognized as an increasingly sustainable material choice and uses Gore-Tex Paclite membrane material.
I've been carrying the Beta SL in my work bag with me everyday since I got it. It adds minimal weight and allows me to have a waterproof shell for any spring/summer rain that might pop up unexpectedly.
The price of the Beta SL is $250 which is on the high end of its class. Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia and REI all have jackets in the 11-13 oz range for less money. I tried all of those jackets and hands down preferred the Arc'teryx. The difference in materials, and fit where the single biggest deciding factors for me. I'd rather have a quality jacket that will last for years than a jacket where the fit or materials aren't ideal and may only last a season or two.
One way to pick up the Beta SL for less is to look for sales or coupons like if your an REI member watch for sales where you can pick up the BETA SL for around $200.
For use in the spring, summer and fall the Beta SL is going to travel pretty much everywhere with me and is the perfect compliment to my heavier weight Sasta shell.
I've seen versions of the BETA SL made in China and Canada. I currently have a Canadian made version in the color deep dusk.
If you are looking for a shell where weight is a key factor in your buying decision I'd suggest taking a look at the Beta SL.