The outdoor industry grosses 887 billion dollars annually. It’s one of the fastest and largest growing business sectors in the world. The price tag on consumer items like rain jackets are at an all time high. I want to chat about why that is and determine if a $750+ rain jacket is really worth it for you. Or if it’s just a clever rouse to take your money.
First of all, if you simply want a badass jacket to wear around the city because you like the look and feel of it, that’s cool! This article is to help you navigate the features and benefits of the Beta AR and whether or not it’s really worth the price. After all, you could can travel or experience a lot of cool things with $750 dollars.
I recently had a good friend join me on a backpacking trip through a remote region of the Canadian Rockies. He had just about everything he needed for the trip with the exception of a rain jacket. I lent him mine as I had an extra. a few hours into the first day of the trip he explained to me that he never new the difference a quality rain jacket could make.
By the end of the trip, my friend vowed to invest in his own Arc’teryx Beta AR rain jacket. You see, with most trips or adventures, there is a cost associated to the thing you want to do. Why spend money on some costs like travel, and accommodations, but then cheap out on equipment that will keep you safe, dry, warm, and enjoying your adventure to the fullest?
Beta AR Features
The “AR” stands for all around. And the series – Beta – belongs to Arc’eryx’ “all purpose” family. The alpha series is fine tuned specifically for alpine settings for example.
Not many people know this; Arc’teryx spends nearly 80% of their manufacturing time on the hood. The hood can make a break the jacket and getting it right takes a lot of time. The hood features a brim. Features an adjustable draw strings that are easy to use with gloves. It also features helmet compatibility.
The collar is probably my favourite feature that sets this jacket apart from the others in the Arc’teryx lineup. It sits comfortable against your chin when the zipper is done all the way up. I often wear the jacket with the zipper done up, but keep the hood down.
Gore-tex is pretty transparent about their love affair with Arc’teryx. The company usually launches all their new products with Arc’teryx first. Because GORE-TEX is so great at what they do, and Arc’teryx is best at what they do as well, it’s a good partnership.
The Beta AR features a 3l GORE-TEX membrane. That means there’s an extra layer of protection on the inside of the jacket and not just the outside. This is important if you’re wearing a waterproof rain jacket for extended use. Especially in rough environments like the mountains.
The GORE-TEX “PRO” is not just more durable, it’s also noticeable more breathable. This is a great feature to have if you’re laying. It’s also great for summer objectives where you might need rain protection but it isn’t very cold outside.
The newest revision of the Beta AR includes GORE-TEX’ brand new Most Rugged Technology. This new technology makes the jacket – you guessed it – the Most Rugged.
The way a jacket fits is most critical part in determining whether or not I’m going to love a jacket or not. That’s probably a pretty universal sentiment. You have to consider that you might be spending a lot of time in the rain jacket. I’ve been on a handful of trips where I hardly took the jacket of more than once or twice over the span of a week.
Make sure that when you try on this jacket, you’re trying it on with all your layers on underneath. Test out how it feels with your fleece, your insulation piece, and just a t-shirt. Make sure it’s going to work for you in every setting and circumstance. This is the Beta AR after all. Not the Beta “sometimes”.
The Cost Per Use Theory
Ultimately, if you’re exploring the mountains, or traveling to cold and wet environments where “shelter” means putting on a rain jacket… Then you absolutely need a rain jacket. Now you can buy a $200 rain jacket. You’ll save the steep up front cost. However, you will end up replacing it again and again if you use it frequently.
If you treat your Beta AR right, you can easily get 5-15 years of performance out of it. You’ll end up spending less money per use of the jacket than if you were to cheap out and get the bargain deal.
There’s tons of ways to save money and cut costs when it comes to your outdoor lifestyle. However, protection from the elements and having quality equipment you can rely on is worth the extra dollars.
I look at my rain jacket as an expensive safety item, not a fashion piece or “nice to have” item. Most weeks I’m in the mountains more than the city, and I never leave without packing my Beta AR.