Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Review - Berghaus Full Zip Hoody

This is the first time I've been approached to review kit and I was pleased to find out that it was going to be something made by Berghaus.  I had a choice of fleece, hoody or rucksack and as I have quite a few of the latter two already, I opted for the hoody.

My first thought when I picked up the package was, "Blimey, this is heavy".  And it is.  I'd requested a large size and it weighs in at 760gms, so it's not about to get taken on any lightweight backpacking trips.


Berghaus Full Zip Hoody

It's 100% cotton, which accounts for the weight and is beautifully made, as you might expect from a company such as Berghaus.  The inner surface is brushed and has a soft, warm feel.   The stitching is excellent and there are no lose threads.  I really like the look of it.  It's a great colour and the styling is good, with ribbed, elasticated side panels, decent length sleeves and good sized pockets that you can bury your hands into.  A feature of pockets, that I have also on a cycling top, is an inner pocket formed from the 'pouch' of the outer pocket.  I don't know if this is intentional but its just the right size to take a walking or mtb guide book, or older style climbing guides.


The useful 'inner' pocket which conveniently takes a guide book

The draw tape for the hood is nice and chunky and would be easy to grip with gloves on.  The zip comprises looped metal teeth and works like a zip should.  Too often, jackets are spoilt by a cheap plastic zip with small niggardly teeth that are a pain to do up with cold hands.  Not this one.  Well done Berghaus! I also liked that it was a full zip rather than a pullover style, which makes it more versatile for controlling temperature.


The metal zip, beautiful stitching and slightly retro label

Another styling feature I like is the slightly retro feel to the labelling on both the large inner and smaller outer labels.  The Berghaus red, white and blue colour theme is carried though on the tape which runs round the neck, a smaller tape on the bottom corner, which seems to have no discernible use but looks nice, the zip puller and the hanging loop, although the latter is a very thin cord and looks like it may break or pull out if used too frequently.


Inner label, chunky hood draw tape and insubstantial looking hanging loop

So far, so good.  What's it like to wear?  Well here, for me, a bit of disappointment set in.  The first thing I noticed was that it was quite a tight fit.  I would have not normally expect to need a larger size.  I'm not especially big:  5' 10" and 39" round the chest.  Apart from the base layer, I usually wear outer layers that are a looser fit, so as to trap some air.  I tend to run hot when I'm moving and chill off quickly when I stop.  This was a large size but whilst there was plenty of length in the body and sleeves, it felt tight round the chest and on the arms.  The next thing I noticed was that I felt cold in it, even indoors.  Perhaps this is the wrong time of year to be wearing cotton. I can see myself wearing it on a warm summer evening, with a light breeze blowing in off the sea or sitting at the top of a crag but it doesn't feel right for outdoors in November. 

I think the cold feeling is in part due to the cotton fabric (I've grown used to micro-fleeces)  but also due to the tightness.  I considered that maybe on what I guess to be the targeted demographic of hoody wearers, i.e. teenagers and twenty somethings, it would fit less snugly.  My son Joe was back from uni in Liverpool at the weekend and I handed it over to him to try out. He's around 5' 8" and thinner than me and it fitted him well round the body although the sleeves were perhaps a bit long. The pictures are of him modelling it, not me, by the way.


Hood down

Hood up

Unzipped and showing the deep pockets

His comments about it were:

"Like the hood, covers my head but doesn't obscure the vision.  Warmer than I'd expect from that kind of hoody and feels really well made.  Cuffs very long but they can be rolled up and they're good for wearing with gloves."

So there you have it.  A nice looking and well made garment, as you would expect from Berghaus.  Good for indoors and summer use, though Joe found it warm enough outside in November. The sizing seems a bit questionable to me but it's probably aimed at a younger audience.  Not really practical for lightweight backpacking due to its weight and would be slow to dry if it got wet.  I can see it getting a lot of use down at the climbing wall - but that would be the one in Liverpool!

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