Kit review: Berghaus Women’s Paclite 2 jacket
I can remember my first walking jacket. It was dark green, in a size: Men’s One Size Sort of Fits All, had a flappy hood, over-long arms and kind of draped around my body. I think waterproof was a loose term and these days the manufacturers would be unlikely to get away with such labelling since the jacket always leaked at the shoulders and around the zips. I loved the number of pockets on the jacket: five in total and one that was big enough to take a folded OS map but I hated the fact that anything stowed in the pockets was likely to be ruined by rain or sweat from inside. Oh, those were the days when outdoors folk just got on with being wet and cold and were tougher for it!
Well, that was the theory. In reality women walkers weren’t really that well catered for and the idea of a jacket made to fit the feminine physique in colours that were attractive and with lots of wonderful extras, such as velcroed sleeves, breathable fabrics, toggled waistbands and stiffened hoods were simply the things of dreams.
Thankfully, things have changed in the last couple of decades. In the 21st century, the outdoors girl now has a host of fantastic kit and equipment to choose from and in designs and sizes made to suit their figures. I’d even go so far as to suggest that some of the clothing is actually flattering, rather than offering the “sack of potatoes” look of the 1970s.
Indeed, these days a trip to an outdoors clothing store or a look around the many on-line outdoors stores reveals more choice than I could ever have imagined. It’s often difficult to choose the right product because there are so many fab items.
Just recently I decided to replace a rather worn out walking jacket. The last one, a Berghaus jacket, had been a good buy and had seen me across many miles of mountain walking and Munro bagging but it was looking a bit sad around the shoulders and waist where my rucksack had been rubbing.
I’ve always liked Berghaus and in particular their lightweight Paclite Shell range. I needed it to be guaranteed waterproof and breathable so Gore-tex is a must. The hood needed to have a peak that could hold its own and keep the rain off my face, and in particular my glasses. And I wanted a couple of pockets that would keep my hands warm when out in windy conditions. And I like a zip-both-ways zip.
I know this is going to sound kind of girlie… but I also wanted a jacket that looked a bit pretty. I’m fed up of blues, blacks and reds. Ideally I wanted lilac or pink. Brilliantly, the latest range of Women’s Berghaus Paclite Shell waterproofs come in a fantastic pinkish/purple. The colour is called Byzantium, which I find out via Google is a deep purple.
I sported my new Berghaus Women’s Paclite 2 jacket during my weekend trip to Angus and during a walk with a pal in the rain and it does everything it said it would. Friends have commented on how lovely the colour is. Several have also asked where I bought a jacket that is outdoorsy yet offers a flattering fit. Yes, a flattering looking waterproof jacket that fits nicely in all the right feminine figure places. Janey of walking and cycling holiday company Glentrek even asked how I could look so glamorous on the hills! That made me laugh. The jacket really is a gorgeous colour though.
In terms of practicalities the jacket also kept me dry even in very heavy rain and during snow and when I sweated my way up a few steep inclines. The sleeves (I bought a size 12) reach nicely over my hands (ideal since I have long arms) and the body length was perfect. I like the no-fuss styling. The jacket has two zipped and waterproof pockets, an adjustable elasticated and toggled hem for a neat fit and a roll-away hood which I like because if it’s not raining I prefer to wear a hat and keep the hood folded away. The other feature that is really welcome is the fleecy detail on the collar. I often find that waterproof jackets are a bit rough on the neck and face but the additional lightweight fleece offers a softer feel.
The jacket cost £105 from on-line store Simply Hike. This is one of the cheapest offers I could find for this product and it was delivered really quickly. No doubt, you’ll be seeing the jacket featured in a lot more photographs of my outdoors activities over the coming months.