As we start to look towards the chillier months in Scotland, FionaOutdoors reviews the new Berghaus Furnace III Jacket. Perhaps I am getting old but it seems that down jackets are not as they used to be! When I first bought a down jacket it was big and bulky. I didnâ€™t mind because that is how down jackets were made and they offered amazing warmth in the UKâ€™s cold outdoors. These jackets were not good in the wet though, which meant you needed to wear them when it was dry only or find a larger waterproof jacket to put over the top. The look created was Michelin Man styley. But in recent years, down jackets have become much lighter and slimmer-fitting â€“ and some now even boast water resistant features. The look is Michelin Man on a Diet and the range of uses for these jackets is, as a consequence, ever greater. In addition, many jackets now boast a synthetic version of down, which is almost as heat-keeping efficient but far less prone to uselessness when wet.
Game-changing HydroDown technology
But Berghaus look to be the leaders in a game-changing down jacket innovation this year. Their latest down products include Hydrodown. This is a hydrophobic down, or down that has been treated with DWR before being put inside the jacket. Itâ€™s claimed that Hydrodown is a â€œhighly water resistant down that continues to keep the â€¨wearer warm in wet conditions, in sharp contrast to standard downâ€. The range includes a onsie-style down suit for extreme conditions, sleeping bags and the new Berghaus Furnace III jacket in male and female fit.
On test: Berghaus Ladies Furnace III down jacket
First the technical stuff: The jacket boasts 90/10 700 fill goose Hydrodown and employs two-zone bodymapping. It also has an outer fabric that is made of Pertex Microlight, which is very wind resistant (less than 5 cfm) and with a DWR treatment. Just holding the jacket feels amazing. It is so, so light. Pop it on and you canâ€™t imagine that this lightweight down jacket will keep you any warmer than a baselayer. But it does. I have tested this jacket on chilly evenings and nights when the summer hasnâ€™t been all that it could be. There have been times when it was breezy and times when it was rainy. While I was sceptical about how warm Iâ€™d be, I can report that the jacket did an amazing job. I am not sure if it is as thoroughly warm as one of my bulkier down jackets but as an outer layer on cooler days and as a mid-layer on cold days, I reckon most women would be very happy indeed with the performance. Even when the air was wet and the jacket was damp it still kept me warm. And donâ€™t just take my word for it. Berghaus gave top climberÂ Mick Fowler a Furnace jacket to try. He didnâ€™t know that it was made with a special down but his reports afterwards were extremely positive. The jacket has two areas of warmth. The torso area has increased down fill for better core warmth, while the arms have a lighter down fill so they do not feel bulky and constraining. This works well because a warm core keeps the rest of the body warm and I like feeling that my arms are free to move. What I also like about the down jacket is that is can be stuffed into a small space in a walking rucksack or even a large jacket pocket so itâ€™s great for taking with you when out and about in Scotlandâ€™s outdoors.
Good-looking down jacket
The Berghaus down jacket also looks surprisingly good. If you are keen not to add massive bulk to your body with a puffy down jacket this is the ideal item. The 700 down fill is neatly divided into thin seamed areas running horizontally across the jacket. The shape of the jacket is also feminine, which means you do not feel as though you are wearing a box-shaped item. I would feel equally happy wearing this jacket on the hills, while camping or to the pub. Berghaus have included some nice features in this new Furnace III down jacket but still keeping a minimalist style. * Two zipped hand pockets for extra warmth when temperatures drop * Adjustable hem drawcord and stretch cuffs. The only criticism is that there is not a hood. I like a hood on my jackets. The Berghaus Furnace III jacket will be in shops shortly. Shop MensÂ Shop Womens