Arc’teryx Alpha, Beta and Theta SL : What’s the Difference?

In order to understand the differences between the Arc’teryx Alpha, Beta and Theta waterproof-breathable shells, let’s examine them by category (see all Arc’teryx existing categories).

Let’s start with the SL (Super Light) type, generally built with  Gore-Tex Paclite; much lighter and compressible than the Gore-Tex Pro Shell, these shells are, on the other hand, more fragile and less resistant to abrasion.


Lightest materials, streamlined feature sets
Predominantly made with lightweight Paclite® textiles, also may be the lightest weight garment in a series


The Beta SL is the lightest, shortest and most accessible Arc’teryx PacLite. Weighing 314 g, this $300 Gore-Tex is definitely a good grab-and-go option. Without pits zips and presenting a trim fitting Drop Hood™, the Beta SL presents minimalist features and is extremely well packable. This jacket is ideal for people wanting to combine light outdoor activity and city use.


Beta SL $299.99

Throw in a couple extra features, and you’ve got the Alpha SL. Weighing 340 g, the Alpha can be considered as the Beta’s closest competitor. Fork over $50 more and you’ll have access to a more technical Gore-Tex PacLite intended for adventure-seeking adepts. With an athletic hip length cut, this jacket is ideal for activities with a harness necessitating clearance and freedom of movement.  Unlike his little brother (the Beta), the Alpha SL is equipped with pit zips and a Speed Hood® ideal for wearing with a helmet.


Alpha SL $349.99

If you prefer the K-Way look, you can always consider the Alpha SL Pullover that is slipped on over your head. The advantages of such a design for mountaineers is a better storm protection, with the wind and rain having less chance to enter the jacket through the shorter zipper seams. On the other hand, if lightness is a determining factor, but you would prefer a more resistant jacket, the Alpha LT at 365 g is an excellent alternative. This shell is the lightest of Arc’teryx’s Gore-Tex Pro Shell 3 layer construction jackets, offering you not only a lightweight piece, but also a very durable jacket. It’s not without a reason that this model won the Outside Magazine Gear of the Year Award and the Urban Climber Magazine’s Staff Pick!

Alpha SL Pullover, $299.99

Alpha LT, $549.99

Heavier and more pricey ($400), the Theta SL is the last word in super light Arc’teryx Gore-Tex jackets. Like his fellow companions, the Theta has an athletic cut, but it is the longest of the series. Its length combined with a trim-fitting stow hood makes it an ideal partner for facing the storm. Just like the Alpha, the Theta SL is equipped with pit zips, however a bit shorter in order to keep the weight at a minimum. Another notable feature is the sturdier fabric on the shoulders and arms, made with a tougher GORE-TEX® Pro Shell textile for an ideal usage with a backpack. This being the case, it definitely improves the durability of your hardshell and justifies the price difference with the other SLs.

Theta SL, $399.99

That is it for the light category! I hope this helped in clearing up all the differences between all the Arc’teryx SL models. If you still feel like a fish out of water, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-729-0322, write us at, or even pass by one of our stores.

– Gab Altitude

Arc’teryx naming scheme

Arc’teryx product reviews

Alpha x x x
Alpha pullover x
Beta x x
Theta x x x
Sidewinder x x