Arc’teryx Zeta SL Review: Complete Package [2022 Guide]

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Review: We took a look at the key features, customer experiences, pros & cons and comparison with similar products. Then, we brought them together to help you for a clear decision! The following chart gives the summary review for Zeta SL and its most popular contenters in the market place. Hope this would help!

Comparing Rain Jacket #Arc’teryx Zeta SLPatagonia Torrentshell 3L
Overall Score86/10075/100
Our Selection ForBest Rain JacketBest Price vs Performance
Price TagCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon
Comfort93/10090/100
Breathability78/10055/100
Water Resistance96/10085/100
Durability77/10070/100
PocketsTwo elevated pack-friendly hand pocketsTwo Hand Pockets
Weight11.1 ounces13.9 ounces
Expert ReviewCompare Zeta SL vs LTPatagonia Torrentshell 3L Review
Credits for Specs: Arc’teryx and Patagonia

Related Article: Compare Patagonia vs Arc’teryx Companies

Long Story Short: Our Review Arc’teryx Zeta SL Review

Hello Guys, this is Steve Martel! I have owned a number of lightweight and packable emergency shells over the years, but I have never been as pleased with any of them as I am with the Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket. They all pack down next to nothing and provide protection from precipitation, but only the Zeta SL features a textured interior that significantly reduces the jacket-on-skin clammy feeling that I dislike.

The jacket breathes very well without pit zips (No pit zips though so beware) thanks to the Gore-Tex Paclite and while the fabric is a little stiff, the cut of the jacket allows for full mobility (including the head when the hood is up). Its mobility is surprisingly good.

In below, we have listed the performance review of Arc’teryx Zeta SL and provided the Pros & Cons. Our performance assessment is based on water resistance, comfort & mobility, breathability, weight, packability and durability. We also compared the Arc’teryx Zeta SL with the popular rain jackets in this review.

Overall Performance Score
86%

Pros    

  • Versatile    ✔
  • Ease of Movement, Great Range of motion            ✔
  • Good Storm Protection           ✔
  • No Pit Zips but Breathability is fine           ✔

Cons   

  • No Pit Zips      ✗
  • A bit rigid       ✗
  • Highly compact but its stuff into pocket is small          ✗

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Pocket locations accommodate a hip-belt easily and the tail of the jacket is long enough so that it does not ride up when wearing a backpack.

Got it in medium and it still fits a Cerium LT underneath pretty well, although usually, I rock a Atom LT underneath instead. Great jacket to get if you can’t afford one of the more heavyweight shells Arcteryx makes but still want a good shell to have in emergencies.

This jacket worked to keep me warm during long hikes in rainy conditions, but I was totally soaked through by the end of each day. Some of that was sweat, some had to do with periods of hiking through heavy rain for a few hours here and there, and overall I’m very happy with the product.

Long story short the Arc’teryx Zeta SL Review: The performance of Arc’teryx Zeta SL rain jacket excels across the board. It is the best of the rain jackets for men. It is pricey, but deserves the credit for its top notch overall performance and worth every penny.

Related Article: Top pick Rain Jackets for Men

Now, let’s compare Zeta SL with Similar Rain Jackets the products:

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket vs Zeta LT Review? Waterproof Rating:

The Zeta SL uses Gore-tex Paclite Plus, and the Zeta LT uses Gore-tex C-Knit. They have effectively the same waterproof rating as both use Gore-tex (over 20,000mm of water pressure). The only difference is that the Zeta LT has a slightly thicker nylon material which would make it perhaps 0.05 – 1% more waterproof. Both would stand up to multiple days of rain just fine, though the Zeta LT will be more comfortable to wear in these conditions. It is also more durable in the long run, and better suited to regular backpacking use in the Pacific North West. The Zeta SL is better as a packable layer to have with you just in case it rains.

Arc’teryx Zeta SL vs Beta SL Review? Key differences

Different products in Beta line have different fits ranging from trim to regular. Zeta SL is a trim fit garment. Depending on what Beta jacket you tried on you will either find the Zeta to be trimmer than or equal to the product width-wise. Additionally, the Zeta line tends to fit a bit longer.

The details of the Zeta SL vs Beta SL comparison are as follows; hope it will give you a foresight:

Beta SL Rain Jacket Performance Review

Overall Performance Score
79%

Not Available on Amazon

The Zeta SL uses the new Paclite plus which is little more durable and breathable than the older version. The Zeta SL has a non-Helmet compatible storm hood compared to the compatible hood of the Beta SL jacket.The Centre back of the Zeta SL jacket is 80.3 cm and 76.5 cm for the Beta SL jacket.

Zeta SL uses N40r GORE-TEX fabric with PACLITE® Plus and it should not be considered as replacement of the Beta SL jacket.

Outside circumference measurements for both the Zeta SL and Beta SL in Medium Size:

Zeta SL

  • Chest – 118.6 cm
  • Waist – 108 cm
  • Sleeve length (from the back of the neck to cuffs) – 84.4 cm

Beta SL Hybrid

  • Chest – 120 cm
  • Waist – 108.2 cm
  • Sleeve length (from the back of the neck to cuffs) – 86 cm.

These measurements are subject to sewing tolerances of course, and you may have a larger tolerance than another product.

Bottom line for the Zeta SL vs Beta SL comparison: The Beta SL line of Arc’teryx is no longer in production. However, you may find remaining one in online stores in a decent price. Unless it is cheaper than the Zeta SL, we highly recommend the Zeta SL. It is a way better product than the Beta SL. Based on the manufacturer’s categorization the Beta Series (Beta SL) are for mountain Multi-Use, on the other hand the Zeta Series (Zeta SL) are for hiking and trekking. To sum up, when we evaluated both of them side by side, in overall, we found Zeta SL is a better option and suitable for across the board.

Zeta SL vs Torrentshell 3L Review

We compared Zeta SL vs Torrentshell 3L. Briefly, the winner is the Zeta SL. The details of the Zeta SL vs Torrentshell 3L comparison are as follows, hope it will give you an idea:

Zeta SL Rain Jacket Performance Review

Overall Performance Score
86%

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Torrentshell 3L Rain Jacket

Overall Performance Score
75%

See it on REI

Bottom line for the Zeta SL vs Torrentshell 3L – comparison: Based on the performance analysis and the features, yes, the Arc’teryx Zeta SL is way better than the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L. Nevertheless, it does not mean the Torrentshell 3L is worthless. Indeed, it is the best budged rain jacket that performs very well above the average. To read more on this topic, you can check out our Arc’teryx Zeta SL vs Patagonia Torrentshell 3L comparison post.

Arc’teryx Zeta SL vs Alpha FL Review

We compared Zeta SL vs Alpha FL. Briefly, the winner is the Zeta SL, if you are looking for a rain jacket instead of a hardshell.

The details of the Zeta SL vs Alpha FL comparison are as follows, hope it will give you a foresight:

Zeta SL Rain Jacket Performance Review

Overall Performance Score
86%

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Alpha FL Jacket Performance Review

Overall Performance Score
80%

No Longer Available

TO BEGIN WITH, the performance scoring below has been done for the purpose of use like hiking, backpacking and summertime mountaineering, where the environmental factors are not too harsh. Basically, we just assessed how Arc’teryx Zeta SL and Alpha FL perform as a rain jacket, but not as a hardshell.

Apart from these, we have listed the technical details of the Zeta SL vs Alpha FL review:

Zeta SL Rain Jacket Features

  • Waterproof Fabric is 2-layer GORE-TEX PACLITE Plus waterproof breathable laminate
  • Layer construction is 40-denier ripstop (N40r) GORE-TEX PACLITE Plus
  • Number of Pockets: 2 hand pockets
  • Its lower pockets are hipbelt friendly
  • It has NO Pit Zips
  • Its hood is NOT Compatible with Helmet
  • It CanNOT Stow into pocket

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Alpha FL Jacket Features

  • Waterproof Fabric is Gore-Tex
  • Layer construction is with N40p-X face fabric
  • Number of Pockets: 1 external chest, 1 internal chest
  • Number of Hood Draw Cords: 3
  • It has No Pit Zips
  • Its hood is Compatible with Helmet
  • It has adjustable cuffs but no two way front zipper

No Longer Available

Bottom line for the Zeta SL vs Alpha FL comparison: The key difference between Alpha FL and Zeta SL is the purpose of use. Arc’teryx Alpha FL is a hardshell jacket. The hardshell jackets are usually 3 layers, whereas, rain jackets are 2-2.5 layers. Also, the hardshell jackets are more durable and feature-rich, yet they cost about $800-$300, are heavier and less packable. For a newbie, hiking, summertime mountaineering and backpacking, a rain shell like a Zeta SL works well and more affordable. However, the hardshells are more suitable for the activities that the durability plays a key role. For instance, the activities like skiing and snowboarding that the Alpha FL is more suitable.

Arc’teryx Zeta SL vs Gamma LT Review

We compared Zeta SL vs Gamma LT. Briefly, the winner is the Zeta SL.

The details of the Zeta SL vs Gamma LT comparison are as follows; hope it will give you a foresight:

Zeta SL Rain Jacket Performance Review

Overall Performance Score
86%

See it on Amazon

Gamma LT Jacket Performance Review

Overall Performance Score
74%

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TO BEGIN WITH, the performance scoring below has been done for the purpose of use like hiking, backpacking and summertime mountaineering. Basically, we just assessed how Arc’teryx Zeta SL and Gamma LT perform as a rain jacket, but not as a shoftshell.

Apart from these, we have listed the technical details of the Zeta SL vs Gamma LT review:

Zeta SL Rain Jacket Features

  • Waterproof Fabric is 2-layer GORE-TEX PACLITE Plus waterproof breathable laminate
  • Layer construction is 40-denier ripstop (N40r) GORE-TEX PACLITE Plus
  • Number of Pockets: 2 hand pockets
  • Its lower pockets are hipbelt friendly
  • It has NO Pit Zips
  • Its hood is NOT Compatible with Helmet
  • It CanNOT Stow into pocket

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Gamma LT Jacket Features

  • None Gore-Tex
  • Layer construction is Wee Burly (56% nylon, 34% polyester, 10% elastane)
  • Number of Pockets: 2 handwarmer, 1 internal
  • It is not insulated or lined
  • It has adjustable & stretch cuffs.
  • Its hood is Compatible with Helmet

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Bottom line for the Zeta SL vs Gamma LT comparison: The key differences between Zeta SL and Gamma LT are the purpose of use. The Zeta SL is an all-around rain jacket, whereas the Gamma LT is a shoftshell jacket. We expect a shoftshell jacket to be light compared to rain jackets. However, the Zeta SL is lighter than Gamma LT. The shoftshell jackets are not waterproof, and Gamma LT is not an exception. On the other hand we loved the water resistance of Zeta SL. What we liked the most on Arc’teryx Gamma LT then? It is a perfect shoftshell, and it performs the best among them. It is compatible with helmet, and its stormhood is adjustable. All in all, we recommend Zeta LT as a rain jacket; it is the best across the board.

Marmot Minimalist vs Zeta SL Review

We compared Marmot Minimalist vs Zeta SL. Briefly, the winner is the Arc’teryx Zeta SL.

The details of the Marmot Minimalist vs Zeta SL comparison are as follows; hope it will give you a foresight:

Zeta SL Rain Jacket Performance Review

Overall Performance Score
86%

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Minimalist Performance Review

Overall Performance Score
77%

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Apart from these, we have listed the technical details of the Marmot Minimalist vs Zeta SL review:

Zeta SL Rain Jacket Features

  • Waterproof Fabric is 2-layer GORE-TEX PACLITE Plus waterproof breathable laminate
  • Layer construction is 40-denier ripstop (N40r) GORE-TEX PACLITE Plus
  • Number of Pockets: 2 hand pockets
  • Its lower pockets are hipbelt friendly
  • It has NO Pit Zips
  • Its hood is NOT Compatible with Helmet
  • It CanNOT Stow into pocket

See it

Minimalist Rain Jacket Features

  • Waterproof Fabric is GORE-TEX Paclite
  • Layer construction is 100% Recycled Polyester
  • Number of Pockets: 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest
  • Its lower pockets are NOT hipbelt friendly
  • It has Pit Zips
  • Its hood is Compatible with Helmet
  • It CanNOT Stow into pocket

See it

Bottom line for the Marmot Minimalist vs Zeta SL comparison: The Marmot Minimalist is a heavy jacket, although it is stated as “Minimalist”. It weighs 450 gr or 16 oz (Medium Size), one the heaviest rain jacket in our list. Therefore, it is very durable but less packable compared to its contenders in our test list. Its outer fabric is made of GORE-TEX Paclite, extremely breathable and waterproof. We liked its zippered chest pocket and pit zips. Finally, its mobility is not perfect. On the other hand, the Zeta SL is more packable, comfortable and weighs less. Both of them use the Gore-Tex water. The Zeta SL’s waterproof material is Gore’s Paclite Plus, whereas, Marmot Minimalist’s is Paclite. We found Zeta SL slightly more waterproof and breathable. To sum up, the Zeta SL is the optimum rain jacket in the market, and we highly recommend it.

Arc’teryx Zeta SL vs Zeta AR

How the performance of Zeta SL compared to Zeta AR with a backpack? Does the shoulder straps and waistbelt of a backpack will damage the jacket?

Backpack waistbelt Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket Review by our editor and customers. Key features, experiences, pros &cons and comparison with similar products.

The Zeta SL Jacket is designed specifically as an emergency shell for hiking.  It is super lightweight and thin so that it can pack light and take up minimal weight and space.We would recommend wearing something more durable and abrasion-resistant like the Beta AR or the Zeta AR for longer treks with a heavier load.

Arc’teryx Zeta FL vs Zeta SL Key Differences 

We compared Arc’teryx Zeta FL vs Zet SL and would like to share the key differences between them. Based on our Arc’teryx Zeta SL Review study: Zeta SL uses a heavier face fabric, Velcro cuffs, a larger seam tape and a longer cut than the FL version, which adds up to a 3.7 oz or 105 g weight difference. The Zeta FL is one of our lightest Gore-Tex shells. We would recommend it only for emergency use and if packability is your priority.

Zeta SL or Norvan jacket

For emergency shell purposes and warmer weather, the Zeta SL would be a great option. Another great option we didn’t mention is the Beta SL Hybrid, as it will have underarm ventilation for activities such as running. The Norvan jacket, if you can still get your hands on it, is also a great option.

Some Customer Insights for Arc’teryx Zeta SL Review

  • My trial run with the Zeta SL was on Scotland’s West Highland Way, where each day on the trail carried with it the promise of rain (or midges when it was dry)- the very conditions that this jacket was designed to address. It performed quite well, keeping me dry during extended wet and windy spells, and the hood provided me with ample coverage and kept the rain at bay with its well designed brim. The jacket dries quickly and packed away when not needed. Since that trip I have used the Zeta SL on backpacking trips in Idaho and Oregon and its performance continues to impress.
  • Purchased this in black last year and has served me really well in the PNW. Kept my torso bone try in steady Seattle mist rain and Portland downpours. Also has served me well as a simple, lightweight shell to keep warm while hiking. I just found the seams on the inside of the jacket ripping in three places though. One on the drawcord on the waist and two on either side of the inside of the neck. Really disappointed by this and I really expected more from such an expensive jacket. The Gore-Tex is truly waterproof.
  • I work in the film and television industry, so I was looking for a jacket that would be comfortable and keep me dry should it rain. Sometimes I have to be outside for about 14 hours, and if it’s rains it could ruin my ability to work. With this jacket, I’m able to work in comfort and a bit style. I don’t even the rain. In fact all I do is hear it falling on my jacket, and because it’s made of Gortex the water just slips off. Also, the fact that it packs away makes it even better for me as I have to carry a lot of stuff with me. I strongly recommend this jacket. It’s best I have ever used.

Technical Details From Arc’teryx Zeta SL Review

Materials

  • N40r GORE-TEX fabric with PACLITE® Plus product technology

Care

Technical Features

Construction

  • Taped seams for added weatherproofness
  • Laminated high-strength hanger loop
  • 2L GORE-TEX with NEW PACLITE® Plus product technology is packable and has improved next-to-skin feel

Design & Fit

  • Trim fit for enhanced breathability

Patterning

  • Articulated patterning for unrestricted mobility
  • Gusseted underarms for mobility and comfort

Hood Configuration

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket Hood Review by our editor and customers. Key features, experiences, pros &cons and comparison with similar products.
  • Laminated brim
  • StormHood™ with halo adjuster
  • Non-helmet compatible

Collar Configuration

  • Chin guard with brushed microsuede facing for added comfort
  • Tall collar

Zippers & Fly Configuration

Cuff & Sleeves Configuration

  • Die-cut Velcro® cuff adjusters reduce bulk, and won’t catch or tear off

Hem Configuration

  • Adjustable hem drawcord
  • Drop back hem

Pocket Configuration of Arc’teryx Zeta SL

  • Two hand pockets with WaterTight™ zippers and RS™ zipper sliders
  • Note: Our WaterTight™ zippers are highly water resistant, but not waterproof. We do not recommend keeping items in your pockets that may be damaged by moisture

Logos & Label Configuration

Fabric Treatment

  • DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish repels moisture

Sizes of Arc’teryx Zeta SL:

 XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL

Weight:

 310 g / 10.9 oz:

ARC’TERYX ZETA SL JACKET SIZING-YOUR BODY MEASUREMENTS IN INCHES: Check the Below Table For Your Size Before Order

SizeSleeveChestWaistHip
XXS313428331/2
XS323630351/2
S333832371/2
M344034391/2
L354337421/2
XL364640451/2
XXL375044491/2

Arc’teryx Zeta – Apparel Naming Scheme

Arc’teryx SL vs LT vs AR

Here is the brief summary of Arc’teryx SL vs LT vs AR abbrevations and the corresponding product modifications:

Abbreviations of Arc’teryx Products SL vs LT vs ARAntonymModification on the Arc’teryx Products
SLSUPERLIGHTSuperlight materials and design, emphasizing light weight and packability over durablity.
LTLIGHTWEIGHTHigh performance, minimalist design that is durable for its weight.
ARALL ROUNDHigh performance weather protection and materials, emphasizing versatility for multiple activities.

ZETA

Lightweight hiking and trekking designs with an emphasis on comfort and efficiency.

SUPERLIGHT

Packability Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket Review by our editor and customers. Key features, experiences, pros &cons and comparison with similar products.

Superlight materials and design, emphasizing light weight and packability over durablity.

HIKING AND TREKKING

For technical hiking, trekking, durable and protective designs for remote and varied conditions.

GORE-TEX

Waterproof, windproof and breathable textiles that offer fully protective environmental shelter.

Conclusion for Arc’teryx Zeta SL Review

Its 100% gore-tex water proof and resists wind like mad! Absolutely you cannot go wrong with this jacket. There is room for a thermal layer or two and this is excellent considering for a plan to use in winter as a shell as well. I recommend this to anyone looking for amazing quality in the mid-range prices of arc’teryx. Thank you everyone at the company HQ for the incredible product you have produced!

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket: Q&A

What is the waterproof and breathability ratings for Zeta SL Jacket Superlight?

Waterproof rating for the Gore-Tex Paclite + is 28 000 mm.

We currently don’t provide the breathability rating as this measure isn’t standardized in the industry and the results can be influenced by many factors (the fit, outside temperature and humidity and much more).

What is the best way to fold for packing?

There is no right or best way to fold.  Some people fold and some people (including myself) roll the jacket into its own hood.

I was able to try out the Zeta FL at the store the other day. Will the Zeta SL have the exact same sizing/fitting compared to the FL?

The Zeta FL will be a little trimmer than the Zeta SL. The fit is similar but not exactly the same. We do offer a great return policy so it’s always possible to return the item free of charge if needs be.

Layering with Cerium LT       Could I layer this on top of Cerium LT for a cold day? If not, do you have a recommendation for a trim, lightweight shell that will? I’m small and need something that doesn’t drown me and make it hard to move about, can be used on its own on a warm wet day but with the Cerium LT on a cold, wet one.

All our shells should have enough space to be worn with a mid-layer. However, the Zeta SL has a trim fit so depending on how the jacket fit you, you might want to either size up or to go with a lighter mid-layer such as the Cerium SL jacket.

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket layering with Atom AR/LT – Can Zeta SL layer on top of Atom AR/LT ?

You should be able to comfortably layer a Zeta SL Jacket over top of either an Atom LT or Atom AR. Although an Atom LT will layer a bit more comfortably.

For backcountry skiing? Is it good for backcountry skiing, or just some snowy days?

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket is a very lightweight shell that we would recommend during the summer months or as an emergency shell in various conditions. If you like the overall fit of the Zeta line and are looking for a versatile winter shell, we could recommend the Zeta AR or the Sabre LT for high output activities in colder condition.

Does the Zeta SL have pit zips?

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket doesn’t have pit-zips.

Does this jacket have DWR?

The Zeta SL does have DWR treatment. All of Arc’teryx Gore-Tex jackets have a DWR finish.

Sleeve lengths of Zeta SL?

The sleeve lengths for the Zeta SL Jacket is as follows:

  • medium:  94.4 cm
  • large:  96.9 cm
  • extra-large:  99.5 cm

What are the size measurement differences between Zeta SL and Theta AR?

The Theta AR has a looser fit overall.Here are the approximate measurements of the garments itself:

Theta AR size XL:

  • Waist: 131.5 cm
  • Chest:139.0 cm
  • Centre Back: 86.0 cm
  • Sleeve length: 98.4 cm

Zeta SL size XL:

  • Waist: 125.0 cm
  • Chest:135.5 cm
  • Centre Back: 82.9 cm
  • Sleeve length: 99.5 cm