Beautifully designed and constructed hiking-specific waterproof jacket made with the new Gore-Tex C-KNIT fabric technology that mixes breathability and protection. Not cheap, but a really nice bit of kit.
New for winter 2015/16, the Zeta LT – £320.00 / 335g – is Arc’teryx’s take on a lightweight, hiking-specific waterproof shell jacket and, as you’d expect from the Canadian brand, it’s beautifully-cut, designed and manufactured, does the job really well and looks fantastic with it.
Compared to the brand’s classic mountaineering shells like the Apha and Beta series, the Zeta is cut slightly longer and has a closer-fitting, non-helmet StormHood that’s designed to work with a bare head or beanie with a trimmer fit.
New Gore-Tex Technology
It also gets a new for autumn 2015 Gore-Tex fabric constructed with something called C-KNIT backer technology. You won’t go far wrong if you think of it as being a halfway house between light, tough and crisp-packety Gore-Tex Pro and standard three-layer Gore-Tex.
A new, lighter internal backer fabric makes for a lighter fabric with better breathability than standard Gore-Tex, but it also has a softer, quieter feel to it that makes for a really pleasant jacket to use and wear.
What the Zeta does have in common with its mountaineering cousins is a brilliant, trim fit with plenty of shoulder room, but a slim-fitting torso plus superb build quality and components. There’s lots of trademark Arc’teryx lamination going on, super-neat narrow seam tape, loads of subtle articulation and state-of-the-art WaterTight zippers including a main YKK VISLON item. All pulls are glove friendly too.
One slight oddness is that the pack-friendly hand-pockets open from the bottom upwards, which is the opposite to the norm. You soon get used to it though and the pocket bags are deep enough to stop things falling out by accident. There’s no external chest pocket, but there is one on the inside. Your call.
The hood is generally good. Sits neatly on a bare head, has soft bits to coddle your neck and chin and moves seamlessly with your noggin. The laminated, stiffened peak is well shaped and gives decent protection up to about 8 our of 10 levels of weather gnar, after which a wired – or at least stiffer – peak would be an upgrade. Most of the time it’s fine though.
The same’s probably true of the jacket overall. The lightness – a genuine 330 grammes for a medium – and soft feel fabric mean it doesn’t quite have that bombproof winter-ready vibe some jackets give, but so far we’ve found it up to anything we’ve encountered. We’ll update if and when winter arrives for real.
Finally, whether it matter to you or not, the Zeta LT looks fantastic and is just a really nice thing to own – a bit like a smart sports car or a nice watch, it has definite X-Factor going on.
If you’re after a waterproof walking jacket with added wow factor, the Zeta LT might just fit the bill. It’s decently light, beautifully made – you may not notice all the tiny details, but they add up to an overall aura of quality – and has a lovely, athletic, but not overly snug fit.
It’s not just pretty though, that soft C-KNIT Gore-Tex works really well with decent, breathability and comfort and the hood is good in all but the worst conditions. In an ideal world, we’d maybe add a stiffer peak, but in all but the very worst conditions, the Zeta does the job beautifully.
Cut, design, lovely feeling fabric, breathability, light weight super neat construction, sex appeal.
No wiring on peak, quirky upwards-opening hand-pockets.
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