Recommended Price: £100
Sizes: Small to XXL
Softshell jackets are generally much more breathable than hard shell waterproofs, providing some warmth and wind resistance whilst also fending off light showers. This means you can leave your waterproof jacket in your rucksack ready to put on over the top when the rain really arrives, and wear your more comfortable soft shell for the rest of the time.
The Berghaus Ghlas jacket fulfils this function admirably. With a fleecy fabric on the inside and a smooth outer, the jacket is a little stiffer and more substantial than some softshells but with stretch fabric under the arms and in the side panels it feels great to wear on the hill. I’ve found it offers a good degree of wind resistance, but more warmth than a windproof. The design is simple, with two handwarmer pockets plus one on the chest. Cuffs are adjustable, and the cut is quite generous; there’s no restriction of movement. The jacket has a high collar which offers some protection, but no hood – which suits me as I prefer to wear a hat unless the weather is really foul (unlike Helen who is a hood addict!).
Founded in the northeast in 1966, Berghaus is one of the best known names in the UK outdoors. Unlike some of the Scandanavian brands, their range includes some reasonably priced kit alongside their top of the range Extrem label stuff. The Ghlas softshell jacket fits into the former category – with a bit of searching it is available at less than the price above. Its simple design means it looks as good as a casual jacket around town as well as on the hill, and I think it’s good value for money.