The sailboat heels hard to starboard, the wind gusting to gale force and prompting a further reduction in sail area. Despite the robust cockpit enclosure, several adjustments require clipping into the lifelines and maneuvering the foredeck. I move slowly toward the mast, the rain sheeting off my jacket, the hood guarding my face against the stinging torrent.
We were crossing the Pacific Ocean on an expedition-class sailboat named Kailani, and I was grateful (despite the conditions) to be a member of the crew. For the trip, I brought a comprehensive layering system, which included an extreme storm outerwear kit and a set for milder conditions. Of course, even mild weather in the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea is still rowdy, so I selected the Beyond Clothing Arx shell jacket and pants, along with a full complement of Beyond base- and mid-layers. They are all designed to work together, and few places stress clothing like the ocean.
Both the Arx 2.0 jacket and pants utilize Beyond’s proprietary three-layer shell construction called Lutra, combined with an abrasion-resistant and quick-shedding Cordura nylon face. A DWR finish is also applied, further improving the rain-shedding ability. The jacket construction favors durability and waterproofness over breathability, which is perfect for environments where constant downpours are expected. All seams are taped, and the zippers are waterproofed as well. The 40D Cordura face is designed explicitly for overlanding or sailing conditions, where regular abrasion, snags, and rough surfaces are expected.
Wearing the jacket is easy, as the unit slips over base layers without resistance and allows total freedom of movement. The jacket and pants stretch well to permit climbing vehicle ladders, boat companionways, and scrambling over uneven terrain and surfaces. The sleeves secure tightly with a Velcro closure, which includes a longer pull tab for adjustments even when gloved. The hood features a cinch cord, which pulls the opening tighter around the face and reduces the likelihood of the wind stripping the hood off the head. The two main pockets are deep and roomy, permitting a fully gloved hand or even a camera. There is a single chest pocket for a phone.
There are multiple ways to vent the jacket and pants, which aids in managing perspiration and overheating. The coat can be vented via the main front zipper or adjustable underarm vents. It is also possible to open a vent at the hips, pulling the zipper upward toward the ribcage. On the pants, the entire length of the leg has a vent, which can be opened from the hip all the way down to the ankle. As conditions get colder, both the hood and the hem can be cinched tight.
The pants are also feature-rich, with ankle zippers to accommodate large boots while donning or doffing and an integrated and adjustable belt. As a point of critique, the belt needs less stretch to keep the pants in place. I ended up using an additional belt (there are loops to accommodate this) to keep the pants up while doing strenuous activities. The inside of the ankle cuff is reinforced with another layer of Cordura to manage boot and terrain contact.
While the Beyond system started the Pacific crossing as my mild-to-moderate weather outer layers, it ended up being my go-to for nearly every weather event of the trip. The improved maneuverability and comfort were ideal for the conditions we encountered, even when we crossed into the Bering Sea along the Aleutian Islands. The Arx 2.0 jacket and pants are my go-tos for all overland and sailing trips.
$298 – $248 | Jacket – Pants