Introduction

The Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket is a Gore-tex Paclite Plus rain jacket that features a trim fit and hip length. It has articulated tailoring in the hood and arms, a full-length water-resistant zipper, two handwarmer pockets with water-resistant zippers, elastic hem and wrist cuffs, and an adjustable hood aperture.

(Note: The new Arc’teryx FL line – which includes the Arc’teryx Zeta SL Pant also featured in this review, and the slightly heavier and more durable Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket – is targeted specifically towards the lightweight backpacking community.)

Arcteryx Zeta FL Jacket review
Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket. Photo: Arc’teryx.

The most notable features I have observed during my preliminary review of the Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket and SL Pants included the comfort of its fabric during high-perspiration activities, its exceptional manufacturing quality, the elegant simplicity of its feature set, dual handwarmer pockets and a very nice hood.

At 7.2 oz (size M), the Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket is certainly in the class of jackets that are considered “ultralight” today (i.e., less than 8 oz).

The Arc’teryx Zeta SL Pants offer long ankle-to-thigh water-resistant side zippers, a zip-and-snap fly, and adjustable elastic waistband. The Arc’teryx Zeta SL Pants weigh 8.6 oz (size M).

Arcteryx Zeta SL Pant Review
Arc’teryx Zeta SL Pant. Photo: Arc’teryx.

The new (2019 model) Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket and SL Pants are available right now as part of an early release by Arc’teryx and REI but otherwise won’t hit the market until spring of 2019.

Features

Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket:

  • Waterproof-breathable fabric with taped seams and water-resistant zippers
  • Articulated hood and gusseted underarms provide unrestricted mobility
  • Hybrid elastic-straight hem and wrist cuffs for weight savings with a secure fit
  • Single point hood adjustment for simplicity
  • Stiffened hood brim, low-volume hood, not helmet-compatible, rolls and snaps if needed to keep from flapping in wind
  • Two hand-warmer pockets with waterproof zippers
  • Trim fit layers well over base layers and fleece, not suitable for layering over high-loft insulation layers
  • MSRP: $325
arcteryx zeta fl jacket zip
The full front water-resistant zipper on the Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket is light, glides smoothly, and I found it to be remarkably impervious to moisture penetration, even under high water pressures. As usual with Arc’teryx apparel, the stitching, seam taping, fit, finish, manufacturing quality, and tailoring are among the best in any apparel industry.
arcteryx zeta fl jacket pocket zip
Dual handwarmer pockets on the Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket are a refreshing feature in a market that seems enamored with saving weight by including only a teeny chest pocket on their ultralight rain jackets.
arcteryx zeta fl jacket hood
The hood on the Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket provides good coverage, has a large stiffened brim, and is large enough to layer comfortably over thick fleece headwear (including balaclavas, neck gaiters, etc.).
arcteryx zeta fl jacket hood adjuster
The Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket features a minimalist hood adjustment system – one rear adjuster provides both aperture and volume adjustment. Note the tiny male snap a few inches above the adjuster – when the hood is rolled forward (towards the front zipper), that snap mates to its female counterpart on the inside neck of the jacket to keep the hood secure in the wind.

Arc’teryx Zeta SL Pants:

  • Waterproof-breathable fabric with taped seams and water-resistant zippers
  • 3/4-length water-resistant leg zippers (thigh to ankle, separates at ankle)
  • Zippered fly with snap
  • Gusseted crotch for good high-stepping mobility
  • Internal webbing adjuster in waistband to fine-tune fit
  • Reinforced fabric on instep for added durability
  • MSRP: $245
arcteryx zeta sl pant review cuff
Ankle cuffs on the Arc’teryx Zeta SL Pant are straight – not elastic – which makes the pant rise and fall in response to high-stepping much more comfortable. The bottom few inches are reinforced for durability, as is lower eight inches of the inside leg (instep).
arcteryx zeta sl pant review cuff size ski
The cuffs of the Arc’teryx Zeta SL Pant are wide enough to cover the cuffs of most hiking shoes and boots, but not wide enough for a backcountry ski boot – even a low-profile racing model. The Arc’teryx FL and SL series of apparel is targeted squarely towards the trekking community.
arcteryx zeta sl pant review leg zips
The leg zips on the Arc’teryx Zeta SL Pant separate at the ankle and rise to the thighs, allowing easy on-off over boots and the ability to spill a lot of heat if needed.
arcteryx zeta sl pant review ankle cuff
The ankle cuffs of the Arc’teryx Zeta SL Pant secure with a snap closure, which can be left closed while the zips are unzipped for terrific ventilation.

Specifications

Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket & SL Pants:

  • Micro seam allowance (1.6 mm) and Tiny Gore seam tape keeps seam bulk to a minimum

Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket:

  • Fabric: 20d nylon laminated in a 2-layer Gore-tex (N20p Paclite Plus) construction, with two-way stretch in key areas for improved comfort/articulation
  • Center back length of Jacket: 29.75 in (76 cm)
  • Weight (size M): 7.2 oz (205 g)

Arc’teryx Zeta FL Pants:

  • Fabric: 40d nylon laminated in a 2-layer Gore-tex (N40p Paclite Plus) construction, with very subtle two-way stretch in key areas for improved comfort/articulation
  • Weight (size M): 8.6 oz (245 g)

Commentary

I’ve tested the Arc’teryx Zeta LT Jacket and SL Pants primarily in the sub-freezing winter conditions that we are currently experiencing here in Southeast Wyoming while running, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

The following video features more in-depth commentary while performing a sweat-out-and-recover field experience during a winter blizzard on the Laramie Plains.

YouTube video

Consider the Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket if…

  • You’re a fan of Arc’teryx fit and quality.
  • You have a trim body type.
  • You won’t be layering over a thick high-loft insulating layer.
  • You want basic features (adjustable hood, handwarmer pockets, full zip) in an aesthetically beautiful and simple design.

Don’t consider the Arc’teryx Zeta FL Jacket if…

  • You don’t have the disposable income to purchase it – there are cheaper alternatives if you need a waterproof-breathable rain jacket, like this one.
  • You need to layer over a thick puffy insulating layer.
  • You want features not normally found in so-called ultralight jackets, such as pit zips, internal pockets, or adjustable hem and cuffs.
  • You need a helmet-compatible hood.

Where to Buy

Product Review Disclosure

Updated September 15, 2018

  • How we acquired these products: Product(s) discussed in this review were either acquired by the author from a retailer or otherwise provided by the manufacturer at a discount/donation with no obligation to provide media coverage or a product review to the manufacturer(s).
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