I bought this as a potential replacement for my arcteryx atom LT which served me well through the years, mostly looking for something new. Off the bat the materials are a bit heavier but the shell is much stronger and less worrying to wear and tear. The zippers are good and have enough resistance without unzipping on its own weight or slight brushing.
My main gripe is certain material choices and lack of certain features. The Stretch Alpha L5 uses a very soft loose knit mesh on the inside of the front pockets which is prone to snagging onto items like keys, and potentially holes poking through and ruining the mesh with a gaping hole. This is the case with their Makers L5 pants but at least this jacket still has the liner to prevent things from falling completely out , but nonetheless the soft mesh is a poor choice of material to use in any pocket. Mesh isn’t a bad idea but the soft loose knit mesh is far from ideal here.
Secondly the cuffs are oversized and don’t have any stretch material really worth mentioning. Normally a somewhat snug fitting cuff would be expected but the cuffs on this jacket is wide and thus the sleeve goes past the wrist. Because of the oversized cuffs and lack of elastic band around the cuffs, the jacket is prone to letting things run up the sleeve but you also can’t slide the sleeves up your forearm to without risking it falling back down. Why Beyond designed the jacket this way is indeed ‘beyond’ me.
The depth of the hood is adjustable with a toggle on the back of the hood. My issue with the arcteryx atom LT is the toggle on the direct back of the head which can get uncomfortable when you’re resting your head lying down or on a headrest, but Beyond takes this up a notch on this jacket and uses a much larger toggle.
The hem of the jacket is the same deal with the cuffs. It does not really stretch out and especially does not have any toggle adjustments, so those with extra girth around the waist should probably avoid this jacket.
I bought this jacket on sale for what is essentially a steal, however if I bought this jacket at or close to the $330 retail price then I would be very disappointed because of these design flaws for the high US Made price it goes for. Frankly the atom LT beats out this jacket in most aspects such as weight, packability, elastic material around the cuffs, adjustable hem, smaller hood toggle, and no use of mesh in pockets.
What I hope Beyond does is take these concerns and redesign this jacket with design and material improvements. Perhaps all of their L5 products since there are striking similarities in design problems across at least three products I own from that line. This is a very nice and warm jacket but all previous points considered it’s not enough to make me retire the arcteryx atom LT just yet.