23 November 2017
+ Lightweight, simple and effective, the Beta LT is one of the few waterproof shells out there to offer Gore-Tex Pro levels of storm protection in a jacket that tips the scales at just over 350g. The 40D face fabric is burly enough to stand up to variable British conditions in all seasons. The fully-adjustable hood design is an excellent fit with or without a climbing helmet on, and has now been improved thanks to the use of Cohaesive cord locks integrated into the fabric – a feature we first encountered on Black Diamond’s excellent Sharp End shell, but which has subsequently been adopted by a number of top brands. The hood peak is not wired but is stiffened with a rigid visor and shields the face well. The fit in the chest and the torso of the refined Beta LT seems to be ever so slightly trimmer than previous versions, though there is still room for layering. You also get two good-sized and sensibly-placed external pockets, with improved highly water-resistant zips, and a zipped internal secure pocket for valuables.
- Arc’teryx say that the 2017 Beta LT has a longer back length to extend coverage and fit under a harness or rucksack. It may well be a little longer, but the difference isn’t particularly noticeable – and we’d have preferred another inch or two extra at the front hem as well as the tail. The jacket still doesn’t have pit zips, although the Gore-Tex Pro fabric is very breathable. Its one drawback is that it rustles like a crisp packet. The Cohaesive cord locks are also embedded in the hood only – you don’t get them at the hem, which still has a standard drawcord adjustment.
VERDICT: We last reviewed the Beta LT in 2013, when it got four stars. Is the 2017 iteration an improvement? Yes – it’s been refined rather than redesigned, but the new details (a longer length, ever so slightly trimmer fit, integrated cord locks in the hood and better pocket zips) are all welcome touches. Still no pit zips though. However, there’s really little to fault. The latest version of this highly regarded all-round mountain shell is better than ever, with premium materials and construction – but a high price to match.