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.

 

Naming Scheme LT Arc’teryx Alpha, Beta and Theta SL : What’s the Difference? LT: LIGHT WEIGHT
Lightest materials, streamlined feature sets
Naming Scheme SL Arc’teryx Alpha, Beta and Theta SL : What’s the Difference? SL: SUPER LIGHT
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.

10968Blue Moon Arc’teryx Alpha, Beta and Theta SL : What’s the Difference?

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.

5784Heron small Arc’teryx Alpha, Beta and Theta SL : What’s the Difference?

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!

arcteryx alpha sl pullover Arc’teryx Alpha, Beta and Theta SL : What’s the Difference?

Alpha SL Pullover, $299.99

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

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.

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

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 info@altitude-sports.com, or even pass by one of our stores.

- Gab Altitude

Arc’teryx naming scheme

Arc’teryx product reviews

SL LT AR SV
Alpha x x x
Alpha pullover x
Beta x x
Theta x x x
Sidewinder x x