Berghaus Reversa Jacket | Review
The clue's in the name: the lightweight, synthetic Reversa can be worn either side out for greater warmth or better breathability depending on need.
'Two jackets in one, the Reversa has a 'warm' side and a 'windproof' one so you can adjust it to suit your preference by simply turning it inside out and back again.'
Outdoors Magic: Reversibility gives versatility, warm or just windproof, light, small packing, sleek fit, copes well with dampness and dries fast.
Outdoors Tragic: Pockets on one side only, a little expensive.
Outdoors Grabbit? The genius of the Reversa is that it does double duty. One way round it's a lightweight, reasonably warm, insulated jacket. The other, it's effectively more or less a simple windproof. Which means you can tune the jacket to suit conditions. It also copes well with damp in a classic, synthetic way, has a neat cut, a simple but effective hood. And getting two jackets in one, means the slightly pricey initial cost is slightly easier to bear. Our one quibble? There are hand-pockets on the warm side only and no chest pocket either way round. Apart from that, it's a quirky but brilliant bit of kit for all-round, lightweight mountain use.
Reversa Jacket Ratings
Outright Warmth [rating score="2.5"]
Packability [rating score="3.5"]
Damp-proofing [rating score="3.5"]
Overall: [rating score="4.5"]
Reversible synthetic-filled jacket / Hydroloft Elite Pro synthetic fill / Polyamide windproof fabric one side, air permeable fabric the other / twin hand pockets on windproof side / hood lined with Pertex Microlight for wet hair protection / full-length zip / elasticated cuffs and hem / non-adjustable hood.
Full Review Below
Berghaus Reversa Jacket - The Fill
The Reversa uses Berghaus's own-brand synthetic fill which it calls Hydroloft Elite Pro. It's a classic Polyester-based insulation which retains most of its loft when damp, doesn't absorb water and dries quickly.
We've used the technology before and found it to work well. In particular, the fibres don't try to escape through the outer fabric, so Berghaus can use more breathable materials with it.
How It Works
As with all insulation, it works by trapping air which is warmed by your body and then holding it in place. That's also at the heart of how the Reversa works. It has two different fabrics, one is basically windproof and stops the trapped air from being stripped away by wind.
But the other side is far more air permeable and allows the trapped, warmed air to escape easily, so the jacket effectively works more like a windproof than an insulation layer.
Berghaus Reversa Jacket - Performance
The new Reversa is the technological descendant of the original ultra-lightweight HyperTherm which pioneered the reversible concept and was aimed at ultra-runners. In essence, the Reversa is a mountain jacket, which works in the same way.
One side of the jacket is pretty much windproof and seamless, so the synthetic filling is protected from the wind and provides maximum warmth. While the other, cooler side, is more permeable and allows heated air to escape more quickly, particularly in windy conditions.
The easiest way to tell the two sides apart, is by the quilting pattern on the more breathable fabric, but there's also a small label showing a snowflake on the cool side and something which we think is either a small flame or a tadpole on the other...
Worn the 'normal' way round, the Reversa is a sleek-fitting, lightly-insulated, small-packing, conventional insulated jacket complete with hand-pockets and a neat, close-fitting hood. It's as good as anything else we've used in the category and ideal for short stops, pottering about the campsite and general outdoor use. The windproof fabric shrugs off light showers and is pretty much windproof.
Whip the jacket off and turn it inside out so that the quilted surface is on the outside and the difference is marked. The jacket's still windproof, but because the insulation is now more exposed to air currents, it doesn't hold air and it feels markedly less warm. More like a simple windproof in fact.
In practice that means you can, for example, use it that way out on the move and then, when you stop and start to cool down, simply reverse the jacket for extra warmth. The effect's actually more marked than with the first HyperTherm because the breathable fabric side is more air permeable.
On one cold early winter day we wore it in cooler mode on the climb up onto Kinder than, once we were on the flat, lower-output plateau, switched into warmer mode. Neat stuff.
One thing we missed was having pockets when the jacket was in doing the cooling thing. The hand-pockets live on the windproof, warmer side of things. And while we understand why, we still missed them. And woe betide you if you stow something in a pocket and then reverse the jacket...
And there's no phone-friendly chest pocket at all, on either side.
Berghaus Reversa Jacket - Verdict
You could argue that the whole reversibility thing is a little gimmicky, but our experience first with the original HyperTherm and now with the Reversa, is that in certain circumstances it works really well and makes for a significantly more versatile jacket. Incidentally, Montane's Fireball Verso works in a very similar fashion
With the windproof side out, it's simply a nice, synthetic lightweight, but switch things round and it becomes a windproof that works better on the move, particularly if you run hot. If you run on the cool side of course, you may never feel the need to engage reverse mode, but for the hotter-blooded walker, it's a real boon.
Add in top notch build and detailing and we think it's a winner.
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