Berghaus Athunder Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Berghaus Athunder Jacket | Review

Risk of thunder? Berghaus’ new jackets offer total weather protection for brutal conditions

Why We Chose the Berghaus Athunder Jacket: Stylish, protective, eco-friendly

Price: £250
Weight: 563g (L)
More info:

There’s nothing like donning your favourite hardshell when the heavens open. Having a really good waterproof jacket stashed in your pack gives you the confidence to shrug off the worst weather – making you feel utterly impervious to the elements, totally invincible in your Gore-Tex suit of armour.

Presumably, that’s what Berghaus were going for when designing the new men’s Athunder and women’s Parvati waterproof jackets (‘Parvati’, incidentally, is the name of a Hindu goddess that translates as ‘she of the mountain’). They’ve done a great job, making use of three-layer Gore-Tex fabric with a design that takes a belt and braces approach to waterproofing. There’s a full-length external storm flap for the main zip, for instance, a fully adjustable and helmet-compatible hood, a dropped rear hem and a really high funnel neck that zips up almost to the bridge of the nose, giving excellent facial protection in driving wind and rain.

“When bad weather is on the cards, I’d be glad to be armed with something as bombproof as this.”

Both jackets look the part too, with slick monochrome logos and retro colourways for nostalgic appeal. Berghaus have obviously raided their own archives for design inspiration, as these jackets hark back to the 1980s, taking visual cues from the classic and virtually bomb-proof Trango jacket, as worn back in the day by hardened mountaineers like Chris Bonington. The fabric shoulder panels in contrast colours and the long, slashed handwarmer pockets further add to their throwback appeal.

Related: Best Waterproof Jackets Reviewed

When it comes to eco credentials, however, they’re bang up to date. Berghaus have acknowledged that product manufacturing is where outdoor brands create their biggest impacts – so in recent years they’ve invested heavily in finding greener solutions. This has resulted in some laudable commitments through the brand’s MADEKIND initiative, which includes an aim to ensure all the DWR treatments in Berghaus clothing will be PFC-free by next year. That has meant working with Gore-Tex to develop alternative fabrics and coatings in a project worth over $150 million. It’s good to see the results emerging in new lines then, as both the Athunder and Parvati jackets are free from PFCs. In addition the fabrics are Bluesign approved, ensuring that harmful substances are absent from the supply chain.

A buttoned down storm flap covers the main zip. Photo: Chris Johnson
The slightly stiffened peak adds to the overall reliable protection of the hood. Photo: Chris Johnson
The hood is adjusted via a single toggle at the back. Photo: Chris Johnson

It’s commendable stuff, and has resulted in a pair of his ‘n’ hers mountain-ready jackets that would serve you well whether you’re a walker, mountaineer or climber – or indeed, do a bit of all three pursuits. Critically, in both men’s and women’s versions the hood fits easily over a climbing helmet and the pockets are accessible even when wearing a climbing harness or rucksack hipbelt. The fit and patterning is also excellent, thanks to articulated sleeves that give plenty of freedom when scrambling or climbing. So there’s little excuse not to get hold of one, get out there and test it to its limits.

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, OM Editor

I’ve worn too many jackets with leaky PU coated zips to know the difference a good storm flap makes. So, it’s good to see the double external one here on the Athunder. 

“That’s one of the slightly retro things about this jacket that I like. There’s also the slightly longer cut, similar to Berghaus jackets of the 90s, where the hem covers your handwarmer pockets to make sure rain doesn’t run straight into them. The big benefit of this length, I find, is that it means you can sit down and not get a wet backside! 

“This is on the heavy side, so I’d think twice about taking this on a trip where it might stay in my pack for most of the time. That said, when bad weather is on the cards, I’d be glad to be armed with something as bombproof as this. 

“To improve it, some underarm vents would be handy, and I like the big OS map-friendly hand pockets but I’d have greater peace of mind if the storm flaps over their zips could be buttoned down.”

Selected For The Green Gear Guide 2019/20
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