The Ramche jacket, made with innovative water resistant down
The lighter weight Ilam, also made with HydroDown
The Vapour Claw - made for adventure racers, but Chris can think of some other uses...
The Bioflex Light backpack - allows the body to move naturally
By Chris Townsend
A few days ago I went over to Glenmore Lodge on a very wet day to meet some of the Berghaus team and have a look at their latest gear plus some possibilities for the future. Thanks to Julie, Euan and Chris for driving so far in such weather. At least looking through the windows at the torrential rain hammering down didn’t make us wish we were out in the hills hidden somewhere in the clouds.
Having designers talk through products and explain the thinking behind them is always useful. I was impressed with the thought that has gone into the new products and the testing that has been done. This is not gear rushed out for a trade show or built to a price point. The Berghaus MtnHaus team (http://www.mtnhaus.com/) in particular has come up with some excellent-looking products, some of which I’ll be testing over the next few months. Firstly, here’s a quick rundown of what’s new.
I’ve been impressed with the Mount Asgard Hybrid water-resistant down/Primaloft jacket, which I took on last May’s very wet and stormy TGO Challenge. The down, called HydroDown by Berghaus, really does resist moisture well. I wasn’t sure about the mix of down and synthetic though as the synthetic areas definitely weren’t as warm as the down ones so I’m pleased then to see two new 100% HydroDown jackets. Both of them use bodymapping and I was shown some impressive pictures showing just where heat is lost from the body. The heavier, warmer garment, the Ramche, has different baffle systems for the core, the shoulders and upper arms, and under the arms, with the first trapping the most heat, the last trapping the least. The Ramche has a hood and an 850 fill power goose down fill and should keep you warm in the worst winter weather. A Large size weighs 448 grams. The shell of the Ramche is ultralight Pertex Quantum GL. Lighter weight and not quite so warm is the Ilam, which has the same quality fill and shell fabric as the Ramche, but only two baffle systems. A men’s large weighs 320 grams, a women’s size 12 257 grams.
Both these are technical garments. In the future Berghaus will be introducing lower spec, simpler designed HydroDown garments, including vests and simple jackets. The performance of HydroDown is such that all these garments should be suitable for our wet weather. The other obvious use of HydroDown is for sleeping bags and Berghaus will be bringing out a super warm expedition bag filled with it. Unfortunately at present there are no plans to introduce it into more general use sleeping bags.
“This is for adventure racing”, I was told on being shown the new Vapour Claw shoe. “I wear shoes like this for hillwalking and backpacking” I replied. And I would certainly wear these. The Vapour Claw is lightweight at 612 grams for a men’s size 8, has good cushioning (no concessions to barefoot running here), and a grippy-looking sole.
Having made Gore-Tex lined footwear for many years Berghaus is now introducing boots with its own waterproof/breathable AQ lining under the name Expeditor. AQ isn’t as breathable as Gore-Tex but it’s also not as expensive.
Bioflex Lite Packs
Last year Berghaus launched a revised version of the Bioflex back system, which allows the body to move naturally without being restricted by the pack. The original Bioflex was very heavy. The new version was lighter but still weighty compared to alternative systems. Now Berghaus has introduced a lighter one again. This comes in three sizes for men and three sizes for women. Capacities are 65, 50 and 35 litres and weights 1.66, 1.6 and 1.4kg. The packs also have a new compression system that looks like a frame stuck on the sides of the pack. The idea of this is to compress the pack evenly rather than in a series of bulges.
The Vapour Storm Jacket
Finally, but definitely not least, there’s the award-winning venting Vapour Storm jacket, made from Gore-Tex Active Shell, which we covered in our review of the OutDoor Show at Friedrichshafen. I’ve been trying this out and my initial impressions will appear in the First Look section in the December issue. Unsurprisingly the venting system may well appear in other garments in the future.