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Gear Review: Berghaus Womens Fast Hike Waterproof Jacket

RRP: £150
Weight: 200g (UK size 10)
Mens version available

I received this lightweight waterproof jacket just at the start of the longest rain-free period that the Scottish Highlands has experienced in my lifetime. So it sat in my rucksack walk after walk with only minimal use as a windproof layer, proving its worth in terms of being very lightweight and packable – it packs down into one of the mesh pockets and could be easily clipped to a belt for very minimal walks or runs. Scottish weather has now resumed more normal service and I’ve had the chance to test the jacket on a few Munro routes in sharp showers and also persistent drizzle on a couple of very humid days, as well as through several Alpine thunderstorms. In summary the jacket performs well and is well worth considering for summer days if pack weight is an issue.

As you would expect for this very low weight, the jacket has minimal features but those it has are mainly well designed. The fit is fairly slim and short with the sizing designed to wear over a single baselayer rather than anything bulkier. There is good movement in the arms and two hand warmed pockets at the front which can be used for venting as they are mesh lined – they can just about be accessed with a rucksack hipbelt on. The front zip has an adequate storm flap and a popper at the top so it can be secured there with the zip undone in hot conditions. The hood is a decent size with an essential stiffened peak. A single cord adjusts the volume and peak and I found this fiddly to get right and it would also be nice to be able to roll away and secure the hood when not in use. The cuffs are semi-elasticated, whilst the arm length was adequate for me some may find the sleeves a little short if you prefer to tuck your hands up the sleeve in wet conditions. There is a drawcord to tighten the hem.

Made from 2.5 layer Hydroshell Elite fabric this has a ripstop nylon outer and a PU membrane and whilst not as durable as 3 layer fabrics it does appear to be robust and has shown no sign of wear from rucksack straps and has coped with being pushed through bushes without snagging. The fabric also includes atn Argentium coating which is supposed to make it more resistant to smells. It sheds water well and feels reasonably comfortable next to the skin when its raining. We’ve had some really muggy conditions recently and the fabric has proved to be more breathable than I was expecting and in warm and wet conditions you really appreciate the lightweight fabric.

Based on its performance to date, I’d have confidence packing this on summer days when I’m hoping not to need a waterproof but knowing it will adequately cope with prolonged rain as well as sharp showers.

Made in Thailand the women’s version comes in three colours and UK sizes 8 to 18, the men’s version comes in four colours and sizes XS to XXL.

Pros: weight, very waterproof, packability
Cons: slightly awkward hood adjustment

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