For my birthday this year I was lucky enough to get a brand spankin’ new Arc’teryx Zeta LT Hybrid jacket. My old rain coat just wasn’t cutting it anymore, especially on backpacking trips. Even when treated, its waterproof qualities were fading, and it didn’t breathe well at all. I’d end up clammy on the inside and wet on the outside. Not cool.
This NEW jacket though… wow. I’m pretty taken with it. Sure, that sounds corny considering it’s a rain coat, but if you’re into lots of outdoor sports like hiking and mountain biking, you know how important a good rain jacket can be.
The Zeta LT uses two types of Gore-Tex® for extra protection and breathability. Weighing in at 12.3 ounces, this nylon jacket has plenty of vents for extra breathability, two hip pockets, and a hood that conveniently zips into the stand-alone collar of the jacket. The hood is big and could probably be worn over a helmet when biking, but it also has side and back one-handed cinch cords to make it fit better when you’re just out hiking in the rain. The wrists are adjustable, so you can tighten those to keep out rain and snow as well.
The jacket got its fair share of use on our latest backpacking trip. It rained every day for a bit and so I backpacked with this jacket on for long periods of time. The breathability was amazing. I didn’t feel clammy or damp when wearing it; I also didn’t start to overheat. I could hear rain hitting the top of the hood at one point and it sounded like it was hitting a tent fly. That’s how strong this jacket seemed to me. I felt like I could stand in a meadow in the middle of a torrential downpour and this jacket would keep me dry and warm.
Some evenings the wind blew and temps dropped just enough to chill me even through my puffy coat. When that happened I simply added my rain jacket as an extra layer. It kept the wind out and helped me stay warm. Even with two shirts and a puffy coat underneath, this medium-sized jacket was still comfortable and roomy.
The Arc’teryx jacket didn’t flinch at getting stuffed deep inside a backpack pocket with rain pants, a fuel bottle, and who knows what else. I took it out and threw it on, then stuffed it back in places, hung it on trees, etc. This jacket is unstoppable.
If you’re looking for a lightweight but powerful rain jacket for backpacking or even long day hikes, try this one!