The Zeta LT is constructed primarily from a new fabric – N40p-X 3L GORE-TEX® fabric with GORE® C-KNIT™ backer technology. This material is lightweight, compressible, and delivers long-wearing waterproof, windproof, highly breathable performance with a backer technology that makes the fabric exceptionally supple, quiet, soft and comfortable – this jacket doesn’t “crinkle” the way many rain coats do. The circular knit of the durable laminate has a soft, smooth texture that is comfortable on the skin and breathable. The Arc’teryx Trim fit of the Zeta LT keeps the shell close to the body to improve the fabric breathability, but leaves room for light layers. At 295 grams (10.5 ounces), the Zeta LT is built simply with features that focus on protection without adding extraneous weight and bulk. The low profile Arc’teryx StormHood™ provides complete coverage and cinches securely with a single adjuster for a fit that moves with the head and provides exceptional peripheral vision. The hip length with drop back hem extends protection and rides comfortably under a hipbelt. An internal laminated pocket stows and protects a smartphone or wallet, and two hand pockets with WaterTight™ zippers are accessible while wearing a pack or harness.
The first thing I noticed about the Zeta LT when I pulled it from the box Arc’teryx sent over was how lightweight, flexible and smooth it was. There isn’t a lot to this jacket – the hood fits my large head well and still provides good peripheral views, the hip length is great for a little extra coverage and the hip pockets are more like waist pockets which is great for being able to access whatever you’ve stashed in them while wearing a backpack hip belt. I tested this jacket for a whole very wet season last summer and fall and was very impressed by the durability of the fabric, and how water resistant this jacket stayed after several dozen wears. Every rain jacket I have owened prior has lost its water resistancy at the seams even after countless Nikwax washings, but so far so good with the Zeta LT. I do wish this jacket had pit zips – though it is pretty breathable, I felt like I could have used a little more ventilation after a very vertical hike last fall. The interior pocket is great for keeping valuable s dry – a good place for a phone, cash, cards etc… I am 5′ 9″ and 155lbs and wear a size M and it fits well even with a few base and mid-layers underneath.
At over $300 the Zeta LT is definitely one of the more expensive jackets I’ve ever tested (though we have a couple of sub-$300 links below), let alone recommended, but if you are fed up with needing to replace your rain jacket ever few years, it’s worth spending a few extra bucks on a jacket that will last and grow old well.
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Gretchen Powers is a Maine based freelance filmmaker and photographer. She specializes is branded content creation and outdoorsy weddings. When she’s not wielding a camera she loves xcskiing, hiking, knitting, drinking tea and exploring with her pup Ella. www.gpowersfilm.com