Having been a Paramo enthusiast for a dozen years or so, lately I have been considering changing my backpacking clothing set-up. I’ll write about my reasons for this in another post. So, when a couple of weeks ago a chap representing Berghaus was in touch asking if I would like to test some kit for them I was interested. Another good bit of news was that I could have whatever I chose for free.
I spent a few days trawling through the Berghaus website to find something that i thought would fit the bill. I was looking for a waterproof jacket that was both tough and light enough for backpacking. Recently, there has been a huge amount of PR on the new Gore-Tex Active Shell jackets, but I was concerned about it’s robustness. You have to remember that I am used to Paramo’s legendary toughness. Rucksack straps and hip-belts soon destroy flimsy waterproofs on a long backpacking trip and I have no wish to have a jacket fail mid-walk. I wanted a jacket with few bells & whistles, as bells & whistles add weight. When it’s sunny and warm I’ll be carrying the jacket in my pack. I was looking for a good wired hood and a couple of pockets that don’t foul the hip-belt.
It looks like this: You can click on each of the pictures to zoom in.
Gore-Tex 3 layer Pro Shell is supposed to be a hard wearing material so it should fit the bill. It is advertised as weighing 470 grams in the large size and mine came out at 469 grams. The main zip is a water-resistant design from YKK with two pulls for good venting, backed up with a decent rain gutter. The wired hood is adjustable at each side and also at the back to ensure a snug fit. There are drawstrings at each side of the bottom of the jacket to make it snug in breezy conditions.
You’ll see that it has two external chest pockets with water resistant zips that are big enough for Ordnance Survey maps.
The picture above shows that different material is used on the shoulders that’s going to take the wear from the rucksack straps.
The picture below shows the pit-zips, again with double zip pulls for ease of use. I like this a lot as in the past I have had jackets with pit-zips that were swines to open and close!
I like the cuffs: Velcro with that natty rubber stud design rather than the old hook design that used to destroy your merino baselayers:
Lastly there is also an internal chest pocket on the left hand side of the jacket:
Prior to Berghaus getting in touch I had been doing quite a bit of browsing around the internet for outdoor clothing in Pro Shell suitable for backpacking and it seems that this jacket is less expensive than other brands using Pro Shell.
So: first impressions? I was worried that going back to Gore-Tex would be a noisy experience (Paramo is very quiet) but in fact this is not so, which is good. It’s a slim fit, which I like as it means that stormy winds won’t whip it about. The fabric isn’t flimsy, which I like.
I haven’t been out in the rain yet as it arrived after I had set out for the Yorkshire Dales (that would have been an excellent test for it) but with the weather forecast looking stormy I am sure it won’t be long before it will get a decent work-out.