Rain Jacket
Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket

$299, 11 oz. (men’s medium)

Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL

backcountry.com

Sometimes, mountain weather refuses to cooperate with your plans. On an August trip backpacking in the Wind River Range with my son, we saw patches of blue sky only on our first afternoon—followed by a couple of days of rain, culminating with us hiking out nine miles in a wind-driven tempest and temps in the 40s Fahrenheit. On days like that, I’m happy to have a shell that will reliably keep me dry and comfortable like the Zeta SL.

The relatively minimalist design of the Zeta SL focuses on the needs of backpackers and dayhikers, keeping the weight at 11 ounces (for the men’s medium), while still providing functional features like a storm-worthy hood and two hand pockets with water-resistant zippersand keeping the price competitive with the very best three-season rain shells for hiking. The jacket does not stuff into a pocket but is relatively compact, squishing down to the size of a softball to occupy little space inside a pack (where you hope it spends most of its time).


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Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket.
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” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Arcteryx-Zeta-SL-Jacket-vert.jpg?fit=209%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Arcteryx-Zeta-SL-Jacket-vert.jpg?fit=713%2C1024&ssl=1″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Arcteryx-Zeta-SL-Jacket-vert.jpg?resize=551%2C791&ssl=1″ alt=”Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket.” class=”wp-image-48102″ width=”551″ height=”791″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Arcteryx-Zeta-SL-Jacket-vert.jpg?resize=713%2C1024&ssl=1 713w, https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Arcteryx-Zeta-SL-Jacket-vert.jpg?resize=209%2C300&ssl=1 209w, https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Arcteryx-Zeta-SL-Jacket-vert.jpg?resize=768%2C1102&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Arcteryx-Zeta-SL-Jacket-vert.jpg?resize=150%2C215&ssl=1 150w, https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Arcteryx-Zeta-SL-Jacket-vert.jpg?w=836&ssl=1 836w” sizes=”(max-width: 551px) 100vw, 551px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket.

The Gore-Tex Paclite Plus membrane kept me dry through hours of hiking through wind-driven rain and delivers good if not exceptional breathability that prevents overheating in moderate temperatures. The fabric’s durability compares with the best three-season rain shells; and while it’s a little crinkly, it feels less stiff than some waterproof-breathable jackets. Overall, the Zeta SL displays the exceptional construction and design of Arc’teryx apparel.

The adjustable hood, while not helmet-compatible—this isn’t a shell for climbers—sports a laminated brim that extends over your face and the jacket’s waterproof front zipper comes up over the chin, very effectively shielding your face from rain. The adjustable cuffs and hem seal out wind and precipitation.

Typical of Arc’teryx apparel, the fit is close but
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