Given the cost of high-quality outdoor apparel, I need my preferred wear to be three-season-friendly, versatile, and durable. I was immediately drawn to the Arc’teryx Zeta AR Jacket and pant, both due to Arc’teryx’s high standards and the many uses of the Zeta line. And don’t worry guys…these exact items come in a men’s version. See it all in one place here.
Zeta AR Jacket: Certainly, it’s possible to highly specialize when it comes to technical outdoor jackets. And sometimes, it’s necessary. For instance, you may need something very packable for stashing in a carry-on, or something extremely warm for arctic temperatures.
- Gore-Tex fabric with 3L tricot backer has good next-to-skin feel.
- Low profile StowHood for a clean look and feel when the hood isn’t needed.
- Two hand pockets with Water Tight zippers.
- Laminated drop back hem with hem drawcord.
- Laminated internal pocket.
But at least 75% of the time, I want one outdoor jacket that can perform multiple functions. The Zeta AR fits the bill as your all-purpose, all season shell. It’s lightweight and streamlined, and yes, it can be packed fairly easily.
Made of N40p Goretex fabric, it’s breathable yet completely waterproof. It has a hood large enough to fit over a ski helmet, but can be adjusted to fit snugly over a cap, beanie, or a bare head when needed.
I took the Zeta on its first spin on a snowshoe trek in Southern Oregon, in spring-like conditions where I worked up a sweat. It was motion-friendly, with enough stretch to keep me happy as I climbed hills.
When I shed it in the afternoon, I was able to pack it in my day pack without much fuss (though I wish it packed into its own pocket like some jackets). I also took the Zeta downhill skiing, where it worked excellently as an outer layer, and plan to bring it on a late spring kayak trip, when waterproofing will be paramount.
The Zeta hood stows away when not in use, the hand warmer pockets are fully sealed with watertight zippers, and I really like the amount of coverage provided: I can fully cover my neck and most of my face with the generous top collar and the length falls below waist level to cover part of my lap when sitting on a chairlift or in a kayak.
Pick up the Zeta AR jacket for $399 (see why it needs to be versatile?) at Arc’teryx in four colors: black, kiwi, riptide (rich blue), and roseberry in sizes XS-XL. It’s offered for a few bucks less on Amazon, though in limited colors, as well as Moosejaw and Backcountry.
Zeta AR Pant: I love this waterproof pant. It accompanied me on that snowshoe trek, and was the lightest, most comfortable snow pant I’ve tried. It’s loose-fitting, allows maximum movement, and is just as breathable as the jacket, Goretex and all.
The Zeta pant has a reinforced instep, lower leg, and hem, perfect for activities like nordic skiing and snowshoeing. The lower leg doesn’t open wide enough to accommodate my downhill ski boot, or I’d wear these on the downhill slopes as well.
There’s a 3/4 watertight leg zipper on each side for easy changing of shoes and boots, and lace hooks to seal the snow (or mud and rain) out of your boots.
They’re described as trim-fitting, but I found them loose-fitting enough that I’ll bring them along for summer river rafting, and pull them on over shorts or my swimsuit in case of showers or chilly spray.
They’re not so loose to be unflattering, but I would not describe them as snug. They’ll also be in my bag during a late spring trip to the (always wet) Oregon coast while I camp.