It’ll be hard to have not heard of Berghaus, one of the old-school outdoor brands, but also one that has had a resurgence over the last few years.
Keenly priced but well designed, Berghaus clothing usually does what it says on the tin – so is the Berghaus Sky Hiker Waterproof Jacket up to the usual standard?
The Berghaus Sky Hiker Waterproof Jacket is available now, at an RRP of £140.
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Berghaus Sky Hiker Waterproof Jacket review: Design
It’s immediately obvious what's going on here when you pick up the Berghaus Sky Hiker Waterproof Jacket - it’s surprisingly light (361g in a large), and a simple shell jacket built from Berghaus’s Hydroshell fabric.
This is clearly an all-rounder jacket intended for general hiking, walking and staying dry outside, so there are minimal bells and whistles, but what you do get is lightness and general competence. In that vein, the hood is two way adjustable, with a practical stiffened peak, but only just helmet-compatible - a low-profile lid just fits, but you lose the protection of the peak.
A robust YKK front zip operates smoothly, and two large hand pockets offer plenty of storage, as long as you’re not wearing a climbing harness. An internal zip chest pocket rounds out the stash opportunities, while a single adjuster manages the hem.
All seams are neatly taped for waterproofness, and although this is broadly a simple shell design, there are plenty of double-layer sections that help add robustness and stiffness, so this doesn’t feel as insubstantial as some ultralight shells.
Berghaus Sky Hiker Waterproof Jacket review: Comfort and Performance
Comfort is pretty solid, the articulated arms allow plenty of movement - far more than you’ll need for everyday hiking, while the relatively relaxed fit should not only fit most body shapes, but also allow plenty of space for layering on colder days.
The adjusters allow the hood to be tightened down to suit your choice of headgear, and the two-way (across the top of your head and the opening) operation means you can set it to fend off the worst winds relatively easily.
The Hydroshell fabric is certainly waterproof and very windproof, although not as breathable as Gore or eVent might be, which has caused many a worry over the years. However, as a general-purpose jacket, it’s perfectly decent, and you’ll not notice the difference in most situations.
Indeed, real-world breathability is always somewhat of a subjective judgement based on conditions, exertion and fitness, as well as how clean and new the fabric is.
Berghaus Sky Hiker Waterproof Jacket review: Verdict
While the overall weight is low (without being ‘ultralight’), the fabric is robust enough to offer proper weather protection, even in relatively high winds. It also doesn’t ‘wet out’ like some thinner materials, which can lead to increased windchill/general discomfort. Additionally, Hydroshell isn’t a brand new or experimental fabric, it’s been tried and tested, so there are no unpleasant surprises lurking here.
The new retro colourways offer a different option to the standard blue/black/green (or euro fluro), and there’s very little to complain about in terms of performance and comfort. As an emergency waterproof, it’s excellent, and as one to keep in the rucksack of the optimistic fair-weather hiker it's a winner too, the only real criticism being that you could accuse it of being a bit basic.