Dave takes a look at the new reversible jacket to see whether here’s more to it than just a wearing a different colour scheme.
- Warm when damp
- No chest pocket
- Zip pulls could be bigger (glove friendly)
- No way to stow and hang from harness
I own a reversible insulated vest – the Crankshaft by Patagonia. I wear mostly the red side as the brown doesn’t look too good. I like the idea of a reversible jacket though, it makes it a little more versatile. The Berghaus EXTREM Reversa is an Alpine/Mountaineering jacket that uses a combination of air permeable and wind resistant fabrics to create a 2 in 1 jacket that has proved very versatile in use.
Berghaus has added a lot of new insulated jackets this season and the EXTREM range seems to have had a complete makeover. As climbers and mountaineers it is the EXTREM range we are interested in and Berghaus have been busy creating plenty of understated by very effective clothing that has been the successful collaboration between climbers and designers. The EXTREM range is definitely there with the best clothing on the market. We’ve reviewed several pieces and found them all to be well designed and good performers.
The Reversa is a lightweight insulated jacket that would work as an outer layer in cool, breezy conditions or as a mid layer in cold winter conditions. I have found it works best as a jacket for gearing up for that chilly climb or popping on when having a break from a run or light and fast mountain day. I did try to wear it when hiking uphill to approach climbs but I found myself getting way too hot in it. The air permeable nature of the Reversa did mean that it dried out quickly when gearing up for the route. Also, the jacket was great when on the tops in windy weather as well to climb in.
So how does it work? Well the Reversa has 2 sides to it. The plain coloured side is the wind resistant side (which I wore most of the time) and the dual coloured (with the check pattern) is the side for wearing when you are moving fast and for climbing in. That’s it in theory, in practice I found both sides to be too warm for uphill approaches – but then I run quite hot and whatever I’m wearing is wet by the time I’ve reached the route or summit. I rely more on my clothing’s ability to dry out quickly at the beginning of a route or when I’m on the ridge (or even sat down having a brew). I did find a difference (albeit small) between the 2 sides with the dual coloured side drying a little faster that the plain side. But hey – I just want to pull a jacket out of the pack and put it on quickly! There is a tiny label on the bottom left hand side of the jacket that helps you decide which side to use, with a flame on the plain side and a snowflake on the checked side.
The Reversa is light, the stated weight is 357g and the trusty CGR scales weighed it in at 355g for a size Medium. The Pertex Quantum Air outer kept the wind at bay and has a light DWR treatment that kept light showers off for 15mins or so before it began to leak through. I stayed warm though thanks to the excellent Hydroloft Elite Pro filling, which works as well as any Primaloft filling I’ve used. The filling is body mapped so there was plenty of the arms, shoulders and hood but it was thinner on the body and the back so it isn’t too warm when wearing a pack.
We’ve said plenty of times that synthetic fillings are ideal for the UK climate and Berghaus have developed their own Hydroloft filling for synthetic jackets. So it didn’t matter that the Reversa got damp, I was still warm and it dried out very quickly from my body heat. That’s the beauty of synthetic fillings (as well as the advantage of just throwing them in the wash without the need for down soap).
The cut of the Berghaus EXTREM Reversa is generous enough to wear with base layers and it will even go over a hard shell or lightweight fleece if you’re planning to use it as an over layer for 3 season use. It’s probably a little too thin for full on winter conditions, although it does pack quite small for those light and fast winter days. The pockets are well placed for wearing with a harness or using a pack hip belt and the YKK Vislon zips worked well. I would have like to have seen a chest pocket and the place to have this would be the checked side as there are no pickets on that side – that’s no bad thing as I have dual pockets on my Crankshaft vest and they can be annoying. But a chest pocket on that side would create an internal security pocket when wearing it on the plain side so that makes sense. Also, there is no stow for the jacket in either pocket and no loop for attaching to your harness – I’m assuming Berghaus think that you’d be wearing all the time for climbing. But there are occasions when rock climbing when I just want a warmer jacket so I felt this was a major omission.
One thing I do like is that Berghaus have decided to ditch cinch cords throughout. So no hem cinch or hood adjustments, which is fine as long as it isn’t too windy! The hood worked well enough and did fit over a climbing helmet (just and a little tight), but was nice and warm and worked well with a peaked cap. The whole jacket is finished off with reflective flashings on the chest and the EXTREM logo on the back – which isn’t reflective (it could be).
It is good to see the Berghaus EXTREM 7000 Hoody still in the Autumn range and the combination of the Reversa and the 7000 Hoody has been great on those cooler Autumn days, for summer a baselayer or even a t-shirt would be fine. The jacket is versatile enough for three season use and it’s easily as good as any of the top end synthetic jackets out there – not that’s it’s cheap mind. Yet another well designed jacket that performs and looks good. Is the reversible nature of the jacket a gimmick – well that’s hard to say, I can understand the thinking behind it – get the moisture out and wicking through asap but in practice this is very hard to achieve in any way you’d notice, especially if you sweat as much as I do!
The Berghaus EXTREM Reversa jacket comes in sizes XS to XL and 3 colour options including classic Berghaus Blue and Red!