The Best Waterproof Pants of 2016

by Brant David •

In a Nutshell

Arc’teryx Beta AR waterproof pants are the best for those who do arduous outdoor activities in wet weather.

The Details

As a runner, hiker, kayaker, and someone who lives through northern February, my outdoor activities are going to include some degree of cold wetness. So I want waterproof pants that are heavier than average. I’d also like excellent mobility, and water-wicking and interior cooling tech to prevent my pants from steaming me up like a lobster.


With all that in mind, I cannot find any waterproof pants better than the Arc’teryx Beta AR. These are exceptionally good-looking and expensive of waterproof pants (the prices I find are anywhere from US $270 to $450). However, I haven’t found anyone who says they’re not worth the cost.

Arc’teryx boasts that the Beta AR “[have a] seat, knees and lower leg [that] are reinforced with burly, abrasion resistant N80p-X GORE-TEX Pro. The careful selection and placement of each textile allows Arc’teryx to deliver a four season GORE-TEX pant that balances lightweight, packability, and protection from the wear inherent with rugged terrain.”

In my research into real-world reviews, I came to the unquestioned conclusion that Arc’teryx describes its products with accuracy and zero hyperbole. The total spec sheet for the Beta AR is quite impressive.

Top Waterproof Pants: Arc'teryx Beta AR

Every feature of the Arc’teryx Beta AR waterproof pants (also called “snow shell pants”) seems praiseworthy. Their fasteners are snug. Their side zippers are unfailingly reliable while allowing for slipping on and off over boots, and for heat venting. For all their layers they feel light while being rugged, comfy, highly resistant to rips and tears even under demanding conditions, and as close to “perfectly” water resistant as any waterproof pants get. They’ve endured — with total and complete wearer satisfaction — through skiing, backpacking, hiking, survivalism training, mountain climbing, extreme winter conditions, and heavy rains lasting days.

The worst thing I came across is that they’ve only got one pocket.

Even with their outsized price tag, I conclude that if the Arc’teryx Beta AR waterproof pants aren’t worth the money, nothing is.

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