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Kit review: Berghaus Calisto Women’s Waterproof Jacket

Written by Fiona July 18 2011

So far, this summer (if we can call it summer) has been wet with occasional outbursts of sunshine. In just one hour, the sky can turn from bright blue and sunny to white and cloudy to black and stormy and back to sunny. Over and over again.

Berghaus Calisto Women’s Waterproof Jacket

So an outdoors person has to have a jacket that can cope with this continual weather chaos. Whether I’m walking the dog, hiking a hill, climbing a mountain or taking a stroll to the shops, the jacket needs to be waterproof, breathable, adaptable and comfortable.

These days, having tested a wide range of waterproof jackets, I have a good idea of what I’m looking for.

Essentials include:

• Highly waterproof and breathable fabric.

• A hood with adjustable tighteners.

• Ample pockets for carrying a wallet, dog treats, gloves, a map and compass or a few snacks.

• Long arms because I have long arms.

• Adjustable cuffs because I have long and skinny arms.

• An adjustable hem to stop the wind and rain soaking whatever base layer I happen to be wearing (could be vest top, t-shirt, long-sleeved top, fleece or quilted top depending on the type of weather that happens to be taking place at the time!).

• Feminine fit (rather than scaled down male-fit).

If possible I also like my waterproof jackets to feature:

• A roll-away hood.

• Two way full-length zip.

• Come in a colour other than black – and look good.

• A zipped pocket or two.

• A waterproof zip cover.

• Nice and comfy feel.

• The ability to pack away into a small package when not needed.

The latest women’s waterproof jacket to be sent for me for review is the Berghaus Women’s Calisto Waterproof Jacket, courtesy of Go Outdoors. I’ve worn this jacket – in a fab shade of deep berry purple– for dog walks, a hike along a local country trail and to the shops.

I’ve had the Berghaus Women’s Calisto jacket  on, and off, and on, and off and on again. I’ve rolled away the hood, taken out the hood, rolled it out again and then simply left the hood out and put it up and down, depending on the latest whim of the weather.

At first, I admit, I was a little suspicious of a fabric that isn’t Goretex. I know and trust Goretex. This jacket is made from Berghaus’s own AQ2 Aquafoil fabric. The fabric details say: “Lightweight breathable protection. Developed by Berghaus, AQ™ is a tried and tested fabric designed to keep you dry and comfortable. AQ™2 offers good waterproofing and breathability keeping you protected from the elements while out on the hill or during everyday use. Our AQ™2 fabric provides excellent breathability and waterproofing meaning you have durable and high performing clothing.”

Brilliantly, in the great outdoors, the AQ2 Aquafoil does what it says on the label. It’s light-feeling, waterproof and nicely breathable. It’s not as “actually” light as Paclite Goretex but I have the feeling that the AQ2 will last a great deal longer and provides better protection when the wet weather turns to wet and stormy/windy.

I’ve checked the waterproof jacket against my “essentials list” and my “preference list” and after all this I can confirm that I really like it. The jacket ticks every desire on my essential list and all but one on my preferred list. If the jacket had a two-way zip and also stowed away into an intsy-bitsy pack to stuff in my bag or rucksack when not in use, then it would have scored top marks on both lists.

A number of female friends have also commented on the colour of the jacket and the flattering fit. Although looks aren’t vital, these days outdoors girls can expect to have a practical jacket that doesn’t look like a sack of potatoes. The Calisto scores well on both practicals and looks – and is being sold by Go Outdoors at £64.99 (23% less than RRP). Can anyone face being without a highly waterproof jacket this summer?!

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