On test: Berghaus Light Trek jacket using the brand’s new Hydroshell fabric.
Berghaus has launched a new waterproof jacket technology called Hydroshellâ„¢, which itâ€™s claimed will keep wearers â€œdrier for longerâ€. This seems like a bit of a vague statement but I guess that most brands state fairly similar things.
At the core of this new fabric technology is a range of trail walking jackets. The menâ€™s and womenâ€™s jackets are created from a 2.5-layer Hydroshell Elite (with a hydrostatic head of 15,000mm and breathability of 20,000g/m2/24hrs).
One of the first jackets to make it to market is the Berghaus Light Trek Hydroshellâ„¢ jacket. I like that this jacket has also been developed following insights and feedback from walkers on West Highland Way, Scotlandâ€™s original and highly popular long-distance walking trail.
The Light Treks features include:
- Fixed and fully adjustable hood with wired peak
- Four pockets
- Body venting
- ARGENTIUMÂ® comfort backer fabric, which itâ€™s said reduces the build up of body odour
- Improved eco credentials, due to the use of more durable water-repellency treatments.
The menâ€™s jacket weighs 391g (size large) and the womenâ€™s weighs 345g (size 12).
A note about the environment
Berghaus has been keen to focus on sustainability when developing Hydroshell. The aim is to create fabrics that have a lower impact on the environment than their predecessors.
What Berghaus say is that two thirds of the environmental impact made by apparel occurs during the consumerâ€™s use of a product. They state: â€œHydroshell products have been engineered to substantially reduce that impact, especially when it comes to excessive water consumption, one of the most environmentally damaging outputs of the industry.â€
And: â€œThe Hydroshell products incorporate long-lasting, proven durable water-repellency treatments (C6 PFCs), so they will be reproofed less during their lifetime when compared to jackets with non PFC DWR treatments, which, on average, have to be reproofed after every two significant uses.â€
Further eco features are the ARGENTIUMÂ® comfort backers that keep odours low and nylon face fabric to offer increased durability and extend the life of the jackets.
I am not sure I agree with the claim that most jackets need to be reproofed after just two significant wears. That does seem a bit far-fetched and I have never found that to be the case when buying good quality waterproof jacket. However, I like that Berghaus are approaching their jacket designs in a way that should hopefully increase the life and water-repellency of the jackets.
Berghaus Light Trek Hydroshell jacket on test
It did rain the day that I tested the jacket during a hill walk. It wasnâ€™t heavy rain and it lasted for only about half the walk but I was still very impressed with the water repellency. The rain simply rolled off the jacket fabric and didnâ€™t absorb at all. The waterproofing looks like it will be long-lasting as Berghaus suggest although I have not had the jacket long enough to be sure.
You should be aware that this is not a Gore-Tex product, although the jacket fabric does look similar. Berghaus do make many products with Gore-Tex but this is a fabric developed by the brand itself.
The fit of the jacket is worth a mention. I have the womenâ€™s size UK10. It is the perfect slim fit that I like for fast-moving summer trail hiking. The arms are a little short for me but I do have Mr Tickle style arm length so for most women the jacket would fit well.
It is a flattering design and looks better than many other waterproof jackets that I have tried recently. Although looks arenâ€™t as important as function it does help if you feel good in a jacket because of its style.
I also like the four zipped pockets. Two pockets are for hands and two pockets at chest height would work well for carrying a mobile phone or small map. These are not big enough for a full OS map, however.
Because the jacket is a shorter design on the torso most women will not have a problem with the waist strap of a rucksack getting in the way of the hand pockets. The strap should sit below the hand pockets.
The wired hood is also a great asset for windier days and itâ€™s possible to roll it up when not in use. The system is a simple Velcro strap. I would prefer a proper zip-away hood but for a straightforward trail walking jacket the Velcro is ok.
I would also like to see a two-way front zip. I find they are very useful when walking and messing about outdoor but less and less jackets seem to be utilising these.
The underarm vents are a bonus, especially as I would imagine this jacket being used on warmer days.
The fabric did a good job of keeping the wind and rain out and also allowing sweat to evaporate. I wore the jacket on a tough uphill hike during which I am prone to sweat. I still felt dry â€“ both skin and baselayer – by the time I reached the top.
I would recommend this type of jacket for fast day hikes in summer.
There are menâ€™s and womenâ€™s versions of the Berghaus Hydroshell Trek jacket, priced at RRP Â£170, and also a jacket called Hydroshell Speed, for â€œmulti-activity usesâ€.