The Best Rain Jackets: Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Gear Hacker

Table Of Contents

  • Weather Resistance 80% 80%
  • Breathability 70% 70%
  • Packability 80% 80%
  • Features 80% 80%

Price: $299

Waterproofing: 2L Gore-Tex with Paclite Plus

Weight: 10.9oz/310g

What We Like: Effective Minimalist Design

What We Don’t: Price

With a price tag of $299 and the use of Gore-Tex’s Paclite Plus, the Arc’teryx Zeta SL is an impressive jacket. The Gore-Tex Paclite Plus is one of Gore-Tex’s best lightweight membranes to keep the jacket packable and performing. The jacket was designed for hiking and trekking, so there’s no helmet compatibility, but the 40-denier face fabric keeps the jacket durable and ready for any adventure.

We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!

Compare to Similar Products

See Our The Best Rain Jackets of 2021

The Best Rain Jackets: Arc'teryx Beta SL Hybrid - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Rei.com

  • Weather Resistance 90% 90%
  • Breathability 80% 80%
  • Packability 80% 80%
  • Features 90% 90%

Pros

Great Features, Lightweight

Cons

Price

Waterproofing: 2L Gore-Tex with Paclite Plus & 3-layer Gore-Tex with C-Knit

Weight: 12.7oz/360g

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Patagonia Torrentshell 3L - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Weather Resistance 90% 90%
  • Breathability 80% 80%
  • Packability 70% 70%
  • Features 70% 70%

Pros

High Performance For Low Cost

Cons

Less Movement Than Other Jackets

Waterproofing: 3L H2No Performance Standard

Weight: 14oz/397g

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Black Diamond StormLine Stretch - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Weather Resistance 80% 80%
  • Breathability 80% 80%
  • Packability 90% 90%
  • Features 70% 70%

Pros

Mobility and Value

Cons

Not As Breathable As A 3L Jacket

Waterproofing: BD.dry 2.5-layer

Weight: 9.9oz/282g

The Best Rain Jackets: Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Weather Resistance 80% 80%
  • Breathability 70% 70%
  • Packability 80% 80%
  • Features 80% 80%

Pros

Effective Minimalist Design

Cons

Price

Waterproofing: 2L Gore-Tex with Paclite Plus

Weight: 10.9oz/310g

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: The North Face Dryzzle FUTURELIGHT - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Weather Resistance 60% 60%
  • Breathability 80% 80%
  • Packability 80% 80%
  • Features 80% 80%

Pros

Good Styling

Cons

Futurelight Is Not Quite There Yet

Waterproofing: FUTURELIGHT 3L

Weight: 11.99oz/340g

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Patagonia Rainshadow - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Weather Resistance 90% 90%
  • Breathability 90% 90%
  • Packability 80% 80%
  • Features 80% 80%

Pros

Stretch Fabric

Cons

Hood Too Small For A Helmet

Waterproofing: 3L H2No Performance Standard

Weight: 14oz/397g

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Outdoor Research Interstellar Ascentshell - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Weather Resistance 80% 80%
  • Breathability 90% 90%
  • Packability 90% 90%
  • Features 80% 80%

Pros

Lightweight, Breathable, Moves Very Well

Cons

Durability Is A Concern

Waterproofing: 3L AscentShell Technology

Weight: 11.8oz/335g

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Outdoor Research Foray - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Backcountry.com

  • Weather Resistance 90% 90%
  • Breathability 80% 80%
  • Packability 60% 60%
  • Features 80% 80%

Pros

TorsoFlo Venting, Helmet Compatibility

Cons

Weight and Packing Size

Waterproofing: 2L Gore-Tex Paclite

Weight: 16.3oz/463g

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Columbia Outdry Ex Reign - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Weather Resistance 90% 90%
  • Breathability 70% 70%
  • Packability 50% 50%
  • Features 70% 70%

Pros

Waterproofing

Cons

Not the best Looking Jacket

Waterproofing: OutDry EXTREME

Weight: 14oz/398g

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Eddie Bauer Cloud Cap Stretch - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Weather Resistance 80% 80%
  • Breathability 70% 70%
  • Packability 80% 80%
  • Features 70% 70%

Pros

Lightweight and Packable

Cons

2.5L Durability Is A Concern

Waterproofing: 2.5L WeatherEdge

Weight: 9.6oz/272g

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: REI XeroDry GTX - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Rei.com

  • Weather Resistance 60% 60%
  • Breathability 60% 60%
  • Packability 90% 90%
  • Features 70% 70%

Pros

Budget Friendly Gore-Tex and Lightweight

Cons

Waterproofing is Not The Best, Gets Hot

Waterproofing: 2L Gore-Tex Paclite

Weight: 12.5oz/355g

Best Rain Jackets of 2021: Mountain Hardwear Exposure2 Gore-tex Paclite Stretch - Gear Hacker

Buy Now at Amazon.com

  • Weather Resistance 80% 80%
  • Breathability 70% 70%
  • Packability 70% 70%
  • Features 70% 70%

Pros

Stretch Fabric

Cons

No Pit Zips

Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Paclite 2.5 layer

Weight: 12.5oz/355g

Arc’teryx designed the Zeta SL to be used for lightweight trekking. The jacket is packable and comfortable, thanks to 2L Gore-Tex with Paclite Plus. It’s able to handle rainstorms with ease while remaining comfortable and moderately durable.

To quickly go into the Arc’teryx naming scheme, Zeta is the designation for garments made for hiking and trekking with “an emphasis on comfort and efficiency.” The SL means that the jacket utilizes a lightweight “minimalist design that is durable for its weight.”

The Best Rain Jackets: Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Gear Hacker

Weather-Proofing

Using a 2-layer Gore-Tex with Paclite Plus construction, the Arc’teryx Zeta SL offers protection against the elements extremely well for its lightweight design. There is a DWR (durable water repellent) coating that is long-lasting and offers the water-shedding that you want to keep the rain on the outside of your jacket. The jacket is also quite quiet—a great feature when you may spend an entire day wearing it with the hood up. The Arc’teryx Zeta LT (the SL’s 3-layer, slightly more expensive sibling) boasts C-Knit backing and is slightly more comfortable on the skin, but the SL does a fine job in the comfort department.

The thin material and lightweight design have also helped the Zeta SL to dry out quickly after a squall so that it can remain effective for the next downpour. Compared to other jackets with thicker layers, this is a great feature if you need to get moving again quickly on a multi-day trip.

The Best Rain Jackets: Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Gear Hacker

Weight and Durability

At 10.9oz (310g) for the men’s medium, the Arc’teryx Zeta SL does its name justice by remaining “Super Light.” Compared to the Arc’teryx Zeta LT, the SL jacket is an ounce lighter. For those looking to shave ounces and dollars, the SL is the better option. The sacrifice is the less durable 2-layer SL versus the burlier 3-layer LT with the C-Knit backing.

The 40-denier shell material can handle itself quite well while working through rocky terrain or tight forest trails. The jacket can stuff into its own pocket, but there are no zippers to seal it once it’s stuffed away. The SL designation may make it seem slightly less durable than other jackets, but it will cope with more than most of the other 2L jackets on our list.

The Best Rain Jackets: Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Gear Hacker

Features

The Zeta SL has been designed for lightweight hiking, so while the hood is not helmet-compatible, it does provide a closer fit for your noggin. The StormHood has a halo adjustment to dial in the fit around your head and has a laminated brim to keep the rain off your face. The hand pockets are higher on the coat to accommodate a hipbelt and allow access to the pockets. There are no pit zips, so ventilation is only possible with the front zipper or pockets. Overall, it’s not as effective, but it saves weight.

The WaterTight front zipper has a chin guard with a microsuede to protect from any uncomfortable rubbing. The collar is also quite high, which is a desirable feature that helps to hide most of your face in a blowing wind. The hand pockets also feature WaterTight zippers, but on the website, they are distinguished as “highly water-resistant, but not waterproof.” The cuffs can adjust with velcro and are cut to reduce any catching or tearing.

The Best Rain Jackets: Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

If you are a thru-hiker with a deep pocket, look no further, because the Arc’teryx Zeta SL is an excellent lightweight hiking or trekking jacket. However, without the helmet-compatible hood, it doesn’t quite make the cut as an alpine jacket. That job is easily accomplished by the Beta SL and several of Arc’teryx’s other high-performance alpine jackets. At $300, it certainly is not an inexpensive coat, and its lightweight construction may raise concerns about durability. However, the 40-denier material is rugged and when treated properly, and the Zeta SL will have a long and successful life, keeping its wearer dry when the weather turns nasty.

The Best Rain Jackets: Arc'teryx Zeta SL - Gear Hacker

Compare Prices From Retailers Below

You help support Gear Hacker by purchasing from our retail partners.

We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!