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Waterproof Jackets

Berghaus Changtse Jacket | Review

Not content with just one type of Gore-Tex, Berghaus have utilised three different variations of the waterproof fabric with this new alpine offering, the Changste

Why We Chose The Berghaus Changste: Innovative materials, clever features, good performance.

When a jacket features three different types of Gore-Tex there’s going to be a lot to discuss, that’s for sure, but in a nutshell, what we have here is a very impressive jacket.

Sitting within Berghaus’s top-level Extrem range, it’s one of those waterproof jackets designed for people who want to travel fast and light in the mountains but still remain protected from rough weather.

Its helmet-compatible hood, arm articulation and two-way zip are features that make it suitable for climbers but it’s also one that ultralight hikers, fastpackers and perhaps even trail runners will find interesting.

At 375g for a men’s medium it’s not anywhere near as light as Berghaus’s trail running focussed Hyper 100 (100g) or its Vapourlight (75g) but it’s much more heavy duty and protective. At the other end of the scale, it’s a fair bit lighter than their mountaineer-aimed Extrem 8000 (590g) but not quite as rugged. So the Changste’s of the middling sort within their collection, or you could say, a bit of a jack of all trades.

“Gore-Tex’s military design division came up with this fabric, which, as its name suggests, is super stretchy but still waterproof.”

The bulk of it is made from Gore-Tex Active. This is a three-layer fabric made specifically to support high tempo activities. In other words, the aim is breathability. We’ve tested this in a number of different products over the last few years and have been very impressed. It is, as our reviewer Jon Doran once wrote “both subjectively and in lab tests, one of the more breathable fabrics out there”.

Gore-tex Active isn’t necessarily a fabric to expose to much abrasion though, and that’s why Berghaus have swapped in Gore-Tex Paclite in the parts of the jacket that are likely to take a bashing. It’s not the most technical of fabrics, Paclite, it’s only a 2-layer system after all, and for that reason, it’s placed only in the parts of the jacket that it’s absolutely needed. On the shoulders to protect from backpack straps for instance, and along the arms to stop scuffing on sharp rocks during scrambles.

Gore-Tex Active used in the blue panels, Gore-Tex Paclite in the orange panels. Photo: Chris Johnson
Gore-Tex Topo Stretch gives waterproof protection, yet still offers high levels of stretch. Photo: Chris Johnson
Pit zips offer more ventilation on top of what the permeable fabrics offer. Photo: Chris Johnson

The third and final material is Gore-Tex Topo Stretch. Gore’s military design division came up with this material, which, as the name suggests, is super stretchy but still waterproof. It’s very interesting stuff; a three-layer design that’s so air permeable you can blow through it. It’s used on the hem of the jacket along the hips as well as on the cuffs to give a bit of flex where it’s needed. Those who like a really secure-fitting cuff might wish this came with Velcro tabs to hold them in place rather than just relying on the semi-elastication.

Complimenting all of these breathable waterproof fabrics used on the Changste there’s also plenty of ventilation, including two-way pit zips, and a clever little vent on the back between the shoulders.

A small but useful detail is the little popper at the bottom of the main zip. When you’re in need of extra ventilation you can unzip the jacket from the bottom up and that popper will ensure the jacket stays wrapped around your torso.

One phone-sized zipped pocket (which isn’t big enough for an OS map) sits on the chest and that’s all you get in terms of pocket space. That’s fairly common to see with these kind of ‘fast and light’ style jackets though – when the focus is on performance rather than convenience.

And what about that colourway, eh? Some readers out there might be pleased to know it comes in more subtle tones also.

Tester’s Verdict

Anna Blackwell, record breaking kayaker

“This was probably my favourite bit of kit that I got to have a play with during the Outdoors Magic gear testing weekend in the Black Mountains. I couldn’t believe how lightweight it was, yet it coped perfectly with the heavy rain and hail downpour. It’s incredibly breathable and has ventilation zips under the arms meaning I didn’t overheat. I particularly like the stretch fabric at the cuffs (instead of Velcro) and at the hips.”

Helmet compatible hood is large enough to fit over a helmet, yet has enough adjustment to fit neatly without a helmet. Photo: Chris Johnson
Part of Berghaus's top level Extrem range. Photo: Chris Johnson
Featuring semi-elasticated cuffs. Photo: Chris Johnson

Trade Secrets

Joe O’Connell – Berghaus Changtse Jacket Designer

“There are a lot of alpine shells on the market, but we were determined that a new jacket by Berghaus had to introduce something compelling and unique. It took a lot of hard design and development work to translate our concept into the product that we launched and I think that we achieved our objective. There’s nothing else out there that combines the three body-mapped Gore-Tex fabrics in the way that we have done in the Changtse, and that’s backed up by our rightly renowned approach to hood design, pattern cutting and other attention to details, to deliver a really exciting new jacket for fast and light alpinism.”

Berghaus Changste Jacket

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