Is the arc’teryx beta ar really worth the price?

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.

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.

Inspired by

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?

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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.

The hood

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.

The GORE-TEX

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.

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The fit

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

All-Mountain Trail Running Shoe: Norvan VT 2 Review

Arc’teryx recently launched the ultimate trail running/ scrambling shoe. The Norvan VT 2 shoes are thought to be the best trail shoes on the market. I brought them to multiple ranges in the Canadian Rockies to field test them and see what all the hype is about.

Rocky Mountain Approved

I had the opportunity to put Arc’teryx’ new Norvan VT 2 trail shoe to the test in a couple of different Canadian playgrounds. I first tried the Norvan VT 2 shoes during a 3-day helicopter assisted trail running trip in the Purcell Range of British Columbia. I then wore them on the rugged terrain of the Opal Range in Alberta a week later.

Initial thoughts: The Norvan VT 2 can definitely take a beating while allowing you to feel agile and supported.

When I first learned that the shoe is designed for both trail running and scrambling, I almost didn’t believe it. Holding the shoes for the first time, they felt too light to be durable enough for a solid Rocky Mountain scramble. Weighing in at 10.1 oz per shoe, these trail runners are super lightweight, however, I was pleasantly surprised by how robust they are.

Purcell Range, BC

During our heli-trail running excursion, I was seriously gliding in the Norvan VT 2 shoes. I was transitioning from the new Salomon Speed Cross 5’s and my feet instantly felt at ease when I first started running. There was something that felt so right about the shoes, perhaps it was the grip or how breathable they are. It was important for me to be able to keep up with my trail running group (I’m generally a slow poke) so I could photograph them as well. We were there to do a job that required being on our feet all day, so I found that the shoes provided outstanding comfort. I was able to continue running for hours on end.

I could not stop raving about the shoes throughout the trip. I felt like a lightning bolt as I ran the narrow ridges of the Purcell Range. I loved how agile I could be while I was both running and filming.

I continuously thought to myself that these were the best shoes I had ever worn.

Opal Range, AB

A 6 hour jaunt up and down Gap Mountain in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park helped me truly determine my stance on the shoe.

Our ascent was an incredibly steep 713 m elevation gain with sheer exposure and gullies to be mindful of. There were a few sections that required conscious footing in order to pass safely. I was always confident in my foot placement and appreciated just how grippy the VT 2’s were against the loose scree.

When we were up, the narrow ridgeline made for a super fun traverse to the summit and I again felt sturdy as I glided across the rocks. When I was ridge running on Gap, there was never a moment where my feet couldn’t keep up with the ground beneath me. This is something I have found to be common in other runners that have made me feel completely defeated by the terrain.

Though the shoe is thoughtfully designed with scramblers in mind, there are a few issues that I discovered during this second adventure. For scrambling specifically, the shale and loose rock do pose a problem with such a low ankle cut. I found that there were numerous times I was taking the shoe off and dumping out handfuls of sharp pebbles. Gators could be a fix, but I also found that my ankles were getting completely bruised and badly cut up this time around by the sharp rocks. On both the ascent and descent, we had to bushwhack some of the way and in these instances my exposed ankles did not stand a chance against fallen trees and shrubs.

I have decided that the Norvan VT 2 shoes are a ‘time and a place’ kind of shoe. If you are looking for a higher ankle cut with the same capabilities, I highly recommend checking out the Aerios FL Mid GTX instead. The Aerios has similarities to the Norvan VT 2 shoes but instead is built with a collar above the ankle to seal out debris. Additionally, I felt great using the Norvan VT 2 shoes for ridge running and well mapped out trails. On the contrary, I would be wary using them for tougher alpine running objectives.

Why I Love the Norvan VT 2 Shoe

  • You can’t feel sharp rocks/roots/ or other ground objects below you thanks to the mid-forefoot TPU film which provides underfoot protection
  • The shoe has an 8 mm heel drop
  • The shoe is breathable and keeps your feet cool
  • It’s grippy as hell

Concerns

  • Low ankle cut
  • Abrasion resistance could improve

To put a bow on it: for general trail running, the Norvan VT 2 Shoe is hands down the best trail shoe I’ve ever worn. For scrambling, I personally will go with a shoe that has that higher cut next time.

I’m stoked to continue using the Norvan VT 2 shoe for some smaller mountain objectives coming up in August!

Happy trails!

Step Up Your Outdoor Photography With This Item

I don’t have nearly enough hands to count how many times I’ve missed an unreal shot while I’m out hiking because my camera has been tucked away in my pack during an epic scramble. Additionally, there’s been so many occasions where I’ve held up the group I’m with because I NEEDED to capture that awesome viewpoint but first had to rummage through my bag and unravel the layers that were protecting my camera.

Maybe this way of taking photos on your outings is the only camera setup you know so you might not even realize how much of a time consumer it truly is. I can assure you that whether your thing is hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, or even just sightseeing, this one little item will instantly up your photo game and restore a piece of your sanity while you’re out on your adventure.

My friends, the Capture Clip by Peak Design is the answer to your photography prayers. There are no straps or buckles involved with the clip (thank goodness). The clip is the simplest gadget to use and seriously clips on to any backpack strap. You can easily interchange the clip to fit any bag you might use while you’re out exploring and have your camera ready to snap some shots within milliseconds.

 

The Capture Clip has only a two parts to it: The clip itself and a tiny plate to screw into your camera- that’s it, that’s all!  For any of you who might be worried about your camera detaching from the clip, fear not! It’s accident proof. Your camera is completely secured,  it will lock into the clip which makes it physically impossible for your camera to release itself.

DSC04415

The best part about Capture is definitely being able to have instant access to your camera. This luxury instantly makes for better photographs because you’ll actually be able to shoot without having to pause your activity to get out your camera. Trust me, you’ll be able to capture dozens of authentic photographs by not having to re-create the moment with your subject because you weren’t ready.

I like to use the Capture Clip with my Sony a6300 for any sort of activity that requires light travel. It’s the perfect setup for long distance trekking and trail running.  The clip can hold up to 200 pounds and fits and works with any kind of camera so definitely do not shy away from using for any sort of serious shoot. 

To keep my setup even more simple, I’ve ditched my neck strap and have switched to Peak Design’s Clutch hand strap to really be able to grab and shoot.

I hope this little gadget will help you all with your photo game as much as it’s helped me!

Peak Design Capture Clip:

https://www.peakdesign.com/product/clips/capture/

Peak Design Clutch hand strap:

https://www.peakdesign.com/clutch