Is The Arc’teryx Zeta SL Jacket Waterproof? Here Are Our Test Results

We’ve all been out on a hike when the weather turns all of a sudden; the sky gets dark, and the first raindrops start to fall. But we don’t all react the same way. Without missing a beat, some people will pull out their nicely packed rain jackets from the bottom of their backs. The unlucky other people can only frown, shrug their shoulders, and walk back towards where it's dry.

But, the truth is, it's not a matter of luck. Anyone can be prepared to be out in wet weather, no matter the situation. In this review of the Arc'teryx Zeta SL Jacket, we’ll take a look at whether it’s up to the task of keeping you dry no matter the conditions by putting it through our waterproof tests!

The Basics

Arc'teryx designed the Zeta SL with the outdoors in mind, streamlining everything towards a lightweight and high-performance package. It can fold up into a minimal volume to make it easy to pack up and take on hikes and adventures.

The jacket construction is entirely Gore-Tex, which combines excellent water resistance with a slim profile and lightweight build. It has a hood and two pockets that shut with zippers that will also keep water out, closed over by RS sliders. Its main zipper goes up relatively high, protecting even your chin from the elements.

Arc'teryx’s jacket comes in both men’s and women’s sizes with a wide range of colors. There are a couple of shades of black (Black, Cobalt Moon, and Labyrinth) along with the more colorful blue, dark red, and a vibrant bright orange perfect for added visibility.

Waterproof Testing Results

Here at Waterproved, we have a three-step process for testing all the products we review to see just how well their marketing claims hold up. We tested the Zeta SL using The Mist, The Rain, and The Dunk methods. Here are the results!

The Mist

The Zeta SL passed the Mist test with flying colors. This means that you’ll have no problem staying dry in light rain and misty environments. It should definitely go in your suitcase if you’re on the way to rainy London town.

The Rain

This test was the most important for the Arc'teryx since it’s meant to be used when you’re out hiking and can’t avoid a sudden downpour. You might be stuck out in the woods with a long walk ahead of you when it starts to rain, so the fact that the Zeta SL stood up to 30 minutes underneath a heavy onslaught of water bodes well for its quality.

The Dunk

The jacket didn’t completely pass The Dunk test—but nobody here expected it to. Any jacket will let some water in when the person wearing it is completely submerged. However, surprisingly, its pockets did manage to keep the everyday items we put inside dry in all three tests.

Other Features We Like

We love the Zeta SL because you can feel comfortable wearing it even while moving around outside. It’s also pretty breathable, shocking given just how waterproof it is.

The jacket’s light construction allows for a full range of movement even though it looks sleek rather than baggy from the outside. The reason for this continual comfort goes back to the jacket’s cut, which leaves a slight bit of extra fabric around the elbows and a ‘gusset’ inset under the arms to stop the fabric from bunching up.

Arc'teryx worked hard to pack the jacket full of valuable features. In addition to the chin-guard and hood we mentioned above, the jacket also has an adjustable drawstring running along the hem. This will keep water from getting up the bottom of your jacket even in windy weather, saving you from getting wet in one of the most unpleasant areas possible.

One more little feature is the hanger loop that’s high enough quality. It doesn’t look like it’ll break anytime soon, which is always appreciated.


Although the Zeta SL is a serious product with a lot to offer, there are a couple of aspects that could be improved.

The first point of contention we have is the small size of the hood, which cannot be used over a helmet. This rules out the jacket for any mountain bikers or other extreme sports fanatics.

Because the manufacturer focuses so much on cutting down the bulk of the jacket, it doesn’t have much material to keep you warm. It’s advertised as a summer jacket, so this isn’t a criticism of its primary function. However, this does limit its use a little bit. You might hesitate to take it out as soon as the leaves start to turn or early in the spring.

Finally, we have to talk about the price. Even though it has all these features and only a few drawbacks, it is an expensive piece of clothing. At just under $300 for a specialized jacket, many people would consider spending less.

Who Should Get The Arc'teryx Zeta SL Jacket

As this review has made clear, the Arc’teryx Zeta SL’s target demographic is people who seriously love the outdoors.

If you’re thinking about buying it for that purpose, the product fits. It’s easy to carry around and will keep you dry and comfortable whenever you need it to. The Zeta SL is an excellent option for those looking for top-of-the-line hiking equipment.

However, the jacket’s fashionable look and cut make it a choice for people who just want to have it for walking around. It’s a sleek, minimalist design that won’t make you look out of place. You won’t look like you’re just on your way to the forest, even in casual environments.

Final Verdict: Is The Arc'teryx Zeta SL Jacket Waterproof?

The Arc'teryx Zena SL is just about as waterproof as any jacket can be. It passed The Rain Test with flying colors, which is the most important for this type of product. Although it comes with a hefty price tag, it’s so well-thought-out and highly functional that the expense is justified.

Getting your hands on one would mean you don’t even need to check the weather before heading out for a hike. This jacket also made our list of the best waterproof jackets of 2023!

Until next time, stay dry out there.