This year Berghaus announced that all of its down products will be made from the company’s hydrophobic down, called Hydrodown, which is down that has been treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) and therefore performs far better than regular down if it gets wet. It can last much longer in damp conditions, and if it does completely wet-out it will recover much better. Previously Hydrodown had only been used in the company’s most technical products, so it’s great news that it’s available right through the range. I’ve been wearing a Hydrodown jacket for the last couple of years and the way it performs in the rain is remarkable – as is wearing a down product in the wet without having to worry.
The Scafell Down Vest uses 600 fill duck down and is in Berghaus’s Trail range, which is aimed at hikers (like me) rather than serious mountaineers. Despite this it’s still a really warm coat. It’s bulkier than most of the others on test, which might make you less likely to wear it as a mid-layer, but it doesn’t bother me – for a warm outer layer, it’s great. And despite feeling bigger it’s seriously light – just 247g for a size 12 – and it packs down small too. It isn’t supposed to stuff into one of its pockets (you can fit it in if you try, but it’s hard to do the zip up) and while this doesn’t really bother me, some might find it an omission.
The Scafell Down Vest has a high, insulated collar for extra warmth around the neck, with a chin guard to stop the zip from flapping around. The zip itself has a tough zip pull for using when you’re wearing gloves. The jacket has two discreet handwarmer pockets but no extra pocket for valuables such as a car key or phone – in my opinion a dreadful oversight in an otherwise excellent jacket. If anything the fit’s a little big on me, and you can’t adjust the hem to improve the fit here (or keep cold air out) but this gives plenty of room for layers underneath. I like the looks; the green my test jacket is in didn’t make it to the final range, but there’s still a choice of black, pink and grey.
In conclusion, this is a great, warm jacket for the wet British hills as well as further afield. It’s light and looks good as long as you don’t mind it being a bit bulky. Just a shame about the missing pocket.
In a line: Great warmth for weight gilet with innovative Hydrodown.