Francesco GuerraAdventure-driven outdoor photographer, born and raised in a Southern Italy city, Francesco discovered the mountains and the outdoor life only in his 20s, making his thirst for the outdoors and adventures unquenchable.
The Arc’teryx Beta AR pants are an all-round, great quality and robust waterproof trouser that will protect you from all kinds of rough conditions in the outdoors.
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Arc’teryx Nu water repellent treatment, N80d Most Rugged 3L GORE-TEX PRO construction, Keprotec™ instep patches, micro GORE seam tape
Waterproof and windproof
Sturdy and robust build
Side zippers for breathability
High price point
Only has one pocket
Zips are not waterproof, but ‘highly water resistant’
WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR
When it comes to hardshell gear, especially trousers, what I look for is three things:
First of all, I need my pants to be sturdy. Hiking in rough terrain such as rocky mountain passes or thick forests rich in thorny vegetation where the pants can be scratched or ripped apart, requires high-quality, robust fabric that are resistant to abuse. Almost needless to say, I need my pants to be weatherproof, so that I can endure rough conditions such as high winds, rain or snow with ease. Last but not least, I need my gear to be breathable, because I’m one of those lucky (or unlucky, depending on your point of view) people that gets hot as soon as I start moving, so, even in winter, I might want to get some fresh air to flow on my skin.
Right out of the box, the Arc’teryx Beta AR pants look and feel great. Touching them, you can just feel the top notch quality of the fabric, and they feel robust as well. The finish is simple and classy, just as I like it (I’m not a fan of crazy colour pairings). The design also is very minimal and functional, with every feature in the right place.
Since the Arc’teryx Beta AR pants are advertised as all-round trousers, I put them into test in a variety of environments. I took them with me while hiking in late spring in the last snow available here on Apennine mountains, Italy, then I took them with me into one of the most humid forests we have in South Italy (photos of this review are from the forest), and, at last, I put them in the shower to test how waterproof it was actually (you may remember I already did that from my previous review of the Haglöfs LIM GTX jacket).
Starting with the snow, the pants did great. They actually kept me warm and dry throughout. They have snow cuffs that can be adjusted with a drawcord, while the previous model had a hook to anchor them in the shoelaces. I’m guessing that here the liking is quite subjective. Personally, I would have preferred the hook, because as secure as it might be, if you get caught in high, fresh snow, the drawcord is going to get loose at some point. The trousers come with instep patches that provide more protection against possible damage from boots or crampons. This feature is particularly handy to me, when climbing long and steep snow couloirs.
Getting to the forest, I tested the pants while it was drizzling. They did a great job keeping water from me, and resisted every scratch given by passing through low branches and thorny plants. At some points I needed to open the side zippers to let my legs breathe because it was getting pretty hot, but this is standard for waterproof gear.
In the end, I got the trousers in the shower to test them under a continuous flow of water. They did absolutely great. Watching water flowing down the fabric as it was repelled by the GORE-TEX coating was quite satisfying. Also the zippers did great, even if they aren’t waterproof but ‘highly water resistant’, as stated by Arc’teryx on their website.
Watching water flowing down the fabric as it was repelled by the GORE-TEX coating was quite satisfying
WHO IS THIS ITEM FOR?
The Beta AR pants are heavier than most hiking-specific GORE-TEX rain pants, around 100 to 200g heavier in fact, but far more versatile.They can be worn for extended periods of time, used year round and were designed for all-round (AR) use. Coming at a pretty high price point, they may be not for all pockets, but it goes without saying that if you are a multi-sport kind of a person, these pants are probably for you. If you are only looking for hiking rain pants, there are different options on the market that would help you save a hundred bucks.
WHAT STANDS OUT?
The Arc’teryx Beta AR pants definitely stand out for their simple and functional design. Even at first glance you can see how well they are made and how everything is in the right place.
The materials used to produce these pants are definitely high-end, since they feel sturdy and yet they allow for full mobility of the legs.
These trousers are definitely weatherproof. They deliver great, breathable protection from wind and water.
Breathable side zippers are a must to me when it comes to hardshell gear, and on the Beta AR pants they are just where they need to be. Even if the zippers are not waterproof but ‘highly water resistant’, they feel like they actually are waterproof.
VALUE FOR MONEY
As I already said before, these pants probably aren’t for everyone. They come at a relatively high price, so my advice is that if you are looking for pants to do a more niche or specific activity, look a little further.
If you are an all-round sportsperson, then these pants are just what you need to venture out in all conditions.
BASE BOTTOM LINE
Arc’teryx Beta AR pants are high-quality, waterproof, technical and durable. They come at a price that could be a deterrent for some, but the price is definitely justified by their versatility and premium quality features, which makes them sit on the podium as one of the best all-round waterproof pants out there.
the price is definitely justified by their versatility and premium quality features, which makes them sit on the podium as one of the best all-round waterproof pants out there
If I have to point out some flaws, I’d definitely say that for that price tag, they could have made the zippers waterproof as well, instead of ‘highly water resistant’, as well as the fact that they use a drawcord to adjust the gaiters instead of keeping the gaiter hook from the earlier model (but as I stated before, this is just my opinion).
In the end, if you’re looking for durable, high-quality pants that keep you warm and dry in all weather conditions in every season, look no further.