Berghaus and running attire you ask? Didn’t realise they did running gear! Not only do they do it, but they profess to be very good at it as well. So does this jacket live up to its title as ‘The world’s lightest waterproof jacket’?
I was fortunate enough to be chosen to attend one of the Berghaus Trail Running Weekends, having been shortlisted to 100 hopefuls to join the Berghaus Trail Team 2014 (fingers crossed for that selection), but the weekend was a real eye opener in terms of Berghaus, a brand that I had previously associated more with hiking and mountaineering rather than running. The Berghaus team presented a number of items to us and of course had a few samples on hand for us to play with (we runners love to play) and I was particular interested in the Berghaus VapourLight Hyper Smock, with the Large weighing in at 110g, what is not too like.
As the jackets are in the men’s range only at this stage (hopefully something Berghaus will rectify with either a unisex or ladies option) I opted for the small size, which is the smallest they do, in the colour fire, as that was a bit more girly for me! They say on the website that a small is for a 36-38 inch chest and 33 inch arm length, which suits me (I’m 5″11, UK size 10), obviously if you are a smaller built lady you might struggle with it being too large.
The jacket is small, it packs down into the stuff sack and fits in the palm of my hand. Weighing just 99g in the stuff sack, 95g without, it is the lightest jacket I have ever felt. With tapered seams it will pass any mandatory kit check, and for the racers amongst us that is great news, with it fitting neatly in any bag, as lets face it, most of the time we won’t bother to put the jacket on!
Living in Edinburgh I was able to test the jacket out quite quickly on a fine spring morning, full of drizzle turning into rain. I was out for just shy of 2 hours with a couple of friends so there was quite a few stops along the way taking photos as well so it was also interesting to see if it would keep me warm too. I can honestly say the jacket is waterproof through those conditions, I will update the review once I have been lucky enough to go through a full downpour of torrential rain, but through a moderately wet and windy couple of hours the jacket did the job. It also kept me warm when the winds picked up on the summit of Arthur’s Seat, so quite handy as a windproof as well. I tried it out again the following day which was quite sunny but rather windy and it worked well as a windbreaker too.
There is a handy little pocket on the arm which is great for your keys, and the hood gives you some extra protection and it pulls in quite tightly so won’t fly back off in the wind. The chest zip goes down quite deep which is handy if you get a bit too warm to provide some extra ventilation, though it didn’t feel too warm or suffocating on my run out which was in about 10 degrees (a typical day in the UK), I kept the zip up! I am quite a heavy sweater (sorry for the visual thought) and found I was still remarkably dry underneath. The sleeve cuffs are elasticated so it fits fairly snugly around the wrist, keeping the wind out.
At £120 RRP it is not the cheapest jacket on the market, but it certainly is the lightest and seems to be living up to its expectations. I’m pleased I’ve invested in it, so much so there are 2 in our household, as hubby had to have one as well (in the blue, we are not going to be the Berghaus twins!). I’d definitely give it the thumbs up for the runners out there that like to take something out with them just in case, or need it for the mandatory kit checks.