Outdoor Recreation

Gear I Hold Dear: My Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket

Written by teobrito.com

The author wears the Arcteryx Beta LT jacket along with ski mountaineering gear.

We all have a few items in our gear closet that we hang onto far longer than gear shops recommend. There’s that sleeping bag pocked with holes but so cozy and layered with memories that we can’t bear to recycle it. Or the battered camp mug that no longer preserves one iota of heat from your morning coffee, but still feels right in your hand. For me, though, there’s one item I’ve held onto for at least eight years that shows no sign of conceding a single compromise in performance. That’s my Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket. 

I purchased my Beta LT during my first winter in the Tetons when I needed a lightweight, packable shell for backcountry skiing. The cherry red color made me smile, and I figured the slim fit would work double duty as a rain jacket when the snow stopped falling.

My progression as a backcountry skier is woven into the fabric of this bright red jacket. When I got it, I was enthusiastic, albeit fairly green when it came to the sport. This jacket saw me through the tumultuous cycle of cutting my teeth in a mountain town—hungry for knowledge, seeking new partners. I had just followed my now-husband to Jackson, Wyoming, to start a life together. And as I entered this time of transition, my jacket was a constant. 

The cheerful red shell kept me dry on the deepest powder days, joined me for each new peak I climbed with my skis and waited calmly in my pack on summer hikes, where unexpected thunderstorms always posed a threat. My Beta LT joined me on a five-year progression of avalanche courses and ski trips to Mexico, Canada, Austria and Italy. And it came along for the ride while I built a new network of touring partners who would quickly become lifelong friends. 

It’s burly, but it rolls up and tucks away neatly in my pack. I’ve roughed it up scrambling up rock chimneys, shivered with fear at the top of steep descents, and put it through the wringer mountain biking through mud in the Pacific Northwest. I even spent two weeks brushing powdered sugar off the shell while my husband and I sampled our way through all the bakeries in Chamonix when high winds shut down any chance of skiing. When I look at this jacket, I remember the joy of discovering that it’s possible to make a life in the mountains. 

A lot has changed since I first fell in love with this jacket. And the Arc’teryx Beta Lightweight has changed with time, too. Its newest iteration no longer comes in that cherry red color, but the five other colorways make up for that. The newer version also has a GORE-TEX® ePE waterproof membrane that offers a reduced carbon footprint. 

Arc’teryx Beta Lightweight Jacket (Women’s in Velocity color; and Men’s in Canvas/Euphoria, $500)

At the end of each ski season, I hang my winter gear in the back of the closet, tucking it away until the fall. My Beta LT, however, never gets more than a few weeks off. It’s not exactly feature-packed; the Beta LT is a simple jacket with hand pockets, pit zips and a helmet-compatible hood. But there’s beauty in simplicity, and that is exactly what keeps this jacket at the front of my closet throughout the seasons. There’s a constant rotation of peppermint patties, chocolate coins and Hi-Chews in the right-hand pocket. No matter the activity or season, I like to store a sweet bite or two in there for when I’m tapped out with exhaustion (or fear). 

This jacket was an investment, and for me, it’s been a good one. There are less expensive shells out there, for sure, but this one has been worth its weight in gold. 

And it’s almost poetic that as I write this, I’ve just lent it to a friend who’s getting into backcountry skiing. It seems fitting: This jacket has seen me through so many phases of my life without so much as a scratch, and every year it’s ready to be tossed in the wash to start that cycle all over again.

The post Gear I Hold Dear: My Arc’teryx Beta LT Jacket appeared first on Uncommon Path – An REI Co-op Publication.

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