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Gear Test – Berghaus Men’s Furnace Down Jacket

March 13, 2013

Berghaus Men’s Furnace Down JacketHowgill Fells Knott 015

This has been an interesting winter to try out outdoor gear. In the space of a few weeks, we have had freezing cold temperatures -often up to minus 12 – snow, rain, sun, and even a heatwave. A real mixed bag of fortunes. In such conditions you soon find out what works and what doesn’t. Moreover, you find out what is practical across a range of conditions and terrains.

In the first of a series of gear tests I shall be looking at the Berghaus Men’s Furnace Down Jacket.

Over the years’ Berghaus has built up an excellent reputation for providing quality gear at prices that don’t break the bank.  This jacket is a superb example of that ethos.

The Men’s Furnace Down Jacket is part of the Berghaus Extrem range, designed to be worn either as a mid-layer in wet conditions or on its own in drier weather.

The down is a 90/10 grey goose mix with a Fill power of 700 and a Pertex® outer which should – on its own – fend off lighter showers of rain and snow, though, as with all down garments, you need to keep it away from heavier precipitation. The outer gives terrific wind resistance, without having the uncomfortable bulky feel of some down jackets. This one is smart enough and smooth enough to wear on cold days in towns as well as out on the hill.

There are two zipped outer pockets to the front and an internal mesh pocket that can be used as a stuff sac to store the jacket. Believe me, it packs extremely small, and so light, at average 434g,  that you would never notice it in your rucksack.Howgill Fells Knott 036

There are stretch bound cuffs, an elasticated hem drawcord to keep the heat inside when you need it most, and sleeve articulation offering excellent freedom of movement for the arms. The pockets have tagged zips to help the fingers on those freezing days on the hill.

Ideal for: Cold weather climbing, skiing and mountaineering, fellwalking and longer expeditions in hill districts where weight and space is at a premium. Worth packing on summer trips for those colder evenings.

Views: This is a jacket that – literally – punches well above its weight. Gosh, it’s warm!  At first it looks and feels so light and thin you can’t believe it could possibly live up to its reputation. But it does! Forget those weightier and bulkier mid-layers. This is the lighter, neater jacket to pack.  Ideal for British hill conditions and – I suspect – most other mountain districts. Certainly hot enough for me. The lovely small size and weight makes it so easy to pack away in the rucksack when you warm up. I wore it in the northern fells with just a very light T-shirt underneath. That was enough. Thoroughly recommended. A five star wonder!

Price: Between £140 and £165.


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