Arc’teryx Zeta SL Rain Jacket

Getting ready for continuous mountain-changing weather is easy with the Arc'teryx Zeta SL rain jacket.

Being able to grab a lightweight, storm-proof, and comfortable jacket when the clouds let rip makes it easy to stay warm and dry on your adventures.

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Our Conclusion
Arc'teryx knows what its customers want. A fact that's obvious with the superbly refined Zeta SL. Combining versatility, packability and weather resistance means this rain jacket is perfect for daily use or hardcore adventures when the weather is ready to make your life a living hell.

It's not always easy to find premium features in a packable jacket. Still, Arc'teryx manages it with a superbly weatherproof and breathable version perfect for everyday use and hardcore adventures.

With a superlight, packable and performance-ready design, you can be prepared for drizzles and downpours at any time.
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Pros & Cons
Adjustable hood
Multiple color options
Top-tier weatherproof design
Excellent mobility and range of motion
Not easy to clip a harness
More ventilation options would be preferable
Key Features
Key Features

The Arc'teryx Zeta SL rain jacket is perfectly designed and constructed for lightweight hikes, climbing or backpacking trips as a superlight version.

Coming in at 10.9 ounces for a men's medium, the Zeta SL may not be the lightest but comes in lighter than other popular rain jackets. What little weight it does have also comes in handy by creating a balance between weather protection and robustness.

Combining this weight with the ease at which you can pack down this rain jacket results in excellent packability. The minimalist Arc'teryx Zeta SL rain jacket rolls down easily into its hood when the sun is shining, meaning you can then put it in an exterior pocket of your backpacking back, so the rest of your stuff doesn't get wet.

Of course, you could pack Zeta SL into one of its pockets, but there's no two-way zipper to zip it up.


This hiking jacket works so well because of the handy features that make it perfect for lightweight or extended hiking trips. Firstly, a robust storm hood provides a close fit, with a halo adjustment to secure a better fit around the head and a laminated brim to keep the rain off your face. Of course, it's not helmet-compatible, but this close fit keeps you warm and dry.

Two handwarmer pockets with RS™ water-resistant sliders sit higher on this jacket to both accommodate a hip belt and give you free access to the pockets. Velcro cuff adjustments also keep water from beading off your hands and entering the jacket, crucial in keeping your sleeves dry. You'll also get a watertight front zipper plus chin-guard and waterproof zippered pockets.

Weather Resistance

The Arc'teryx Zeta SL rain jacket provides some top-notch weather resistance that's pretty hard to beat. In addition, the latest Gore-Tex (GTX) Paclite Plus is a lightweight waterproof material in a simple 2-layer design.

This unique design works so much better than the older two-layer garments plagued with a loose mesh liner. Instead, the exterior face fabric is bonded to the waterproof membrane. This bonding combines an innermost chemical coating to protect from damage caused by the sweat and oils of your skin.

This GTX lining is not only impressive in blocking sweat through its breathability levels, but it also stands up tremendously against rain and storms. It provides top of the market weather protection with a long-lasting, durable water repellent coating (DWR).

As a result, the Zeta SL keeps you more than comfortable and dry even during extended backpacking, hiking, skiing, or climbing trips, even when the weather is nightmarish. I'll be surprised if you don't find this one of the most storm worthy jackets you've ever tried.


Few hiking jackets can beat the comfort of the Arc'teryx Zeta SL rain jacket. For example, the Paclite Plus creates superb breathability and storm ready worthiness, keeping you warm and dry but not sweaty. What's more, the internal fabric feels soft and comfortable, even when only wearing a t-shirt.

Superb mobility results in more comfortable wear, even for all-day use. The collar is relatively high to keep out wind and features a chin guard with soft microsuede that evades chasing. A similar piece of fabric sits on the back of the neck. This Arc'teryx jacket also has longer arms and well-designed sleeves that don't pull back when stretching.

The only downfall is the lack of ventilation through a lack of pit zips, instead only allowing for ventilation through the front zipper or pockets. Although this does not make the jacket as effective, it does save weight.


Making use of the impressive 40-denier ripstop (N40r) 2 layer Gore-Tex Paclite fabric is what makes the Arc'teryx Zeta SL rain jacket so user-friendly. These innovative materials keep you dry and comfortable with breathability that keeps you dry on the inside and out.

What's more, the microsuede lining on the collar and neck stops chafing. Whereas extra weather resistance also comes from the Velcro cuffs and watertight zippers. Using premium top tier materials like these makes a storm-proof jacket that is super light, packable and performance fuelled.


The premium design of Arc'teryx products warrants their high prices due to their attention to detail and quality construction. True to their standards, the Zeta SL backpacker's jacket is durable and robust, despite its lightweight design.

In addition, the 40-denier Gore-Tex fabric appears to be pretty darn stable, showing no signs of wear and tear even through extended use.
Comparison to Similar Rain Jackets
If you need something with slightly more features and protection, why not try out the Arc'teryx Beta LT. The Beta LT is a hardy and weather-resistance jacket that uses a protective 3-layer Gore-Tex construction. Extra functionality also comes from the Beta SL's extras, such as pit zips and a helmet-compatible StormHood.

Unfortunately, although these features make it a more capable backpacking piece for demanding backcountry use, you'll pay $100 more for the pleasure and suffer about 3 ounces more in weight. So, if you're more of a recreational user, stick with the Zeta SL.

For those looking for an everyday rain jacket, the Outdoor Research Microgravity is worth considering. For about $50 less, you'll get excellent storm protection with above-average breathability that doesn't lead to clamminess, an easily packable design, and a deep helmet-compatible hood.

This Outdoor Research jacket is a do-it-all kind of jacket that provides some of the best weather protection, durability, and breathability.

However, you get much better freedom of movement with the Zeta SL as the Outdoor Research Microgravity is less stretchy, with less functional handwarmer pockets.
Customers everywhere love this super lightweight, storm-proof, breathable GTX jacket.

Providing complete versatility means you can use the Arc'teryx Zeta SL rain for pretty much any activity, whether that's pottering around town, hiking, camping, or climbing. Excellent weather resistance also means that even week-long backpacking trips won't phase you.

You'll struggle to find a supreme balance of overall performance, versatility, and durability in a jacket that's light enough and compactible enough to hide at the bottom of your backpack.
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By Sarah-Jane
Last updated:
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Best offer on: Jul. 15. 2024