Berghaus Vapour Light Hyper Smock 2.0 | Review
At just 76 grammes, the second generation Hyper Smock is the world's lightest waterproof shell jacket and an ideal emergency piece for runners and adventure racers in particular.
'Insanely light and packable AND it really is waterproof making it ideal for emergency use and to conform to fell and adventure race regulations'
Outdoors Magic: Improbably light, improbably small packing, fully waterproof and complete with a hood and pocket too.
Outdoors Tragic: Not the most breathable or durable option and mostly non adjustable too.
Outdoors Grabbit? If you want the lightest, smallest waterproof in the world, here it is. Just don't expect world-bearing breathability or durability too, though it's claimed to be tougher than the original Hyper Smock anyway. It's an incredible thing if it matches your needs, but not one you reach for on all-day, rainy days.
Ultra-lightweight waterproof shell / Hydroshell Hyper proofed Nylon fabric with 10D face / lightweight 10mm seam tape / hood / venting zip and front pocket / Lycra-bound cuffs, hem and hood / comes with 5-gramme stuff sac.
Full Review Below
Hyper Smock 2.0 - The Tech
There are two types of lightweight running jackets. Those that are designed to be worn all day in persistent wet conditions and those, like the Hyper Smock 2.0, that are emergency shells to be carried 'just in case'.
And that's what the Hyper Smock 2.0 is arguably the best in the world at. It's been honed and whittled like a minimalist race car until only the bare necessities remain. That means a lightweight, PU-coated, or maybe 'PU-smeared', 10D face Nylon fabric that's semi-translucent.
It has a 15,000mm Hydrostatic Head just the same, so it's technically waterproof despite the genuine 76g garment weighing less than a lot of windproofs. The seam tape is a scant 10mm to save even more weight, and nothing is adjustable - hood, cuffs and hem are all Lycra-bound and snug fitting.
There is a pocket though, formed by a continuation of the main half-zip and sat just below the sternum. It's a marvel of product engineering and quite amazing in its own way.
One last point, the Hyper Smock 2.0 is ideal for fell and adventure racers who need a taped, waterproof jacket to conform to race regs and pass kit checks.
Hyper Smock 2.0 - Performance
Part one of the mission: is it tiny and light and really easy to carry? The answer is absolutely. Packs down to a small apple-sized bundle and you can save another 5g by either stuffing it into its own pocket or not using a stuff-sac at all. Fits great into a small bumbag for example.
Pull it on and you'll find it cut slim, neat and'athletic' with minimal flappage. The fabric's light, but not 'cheap' in feel and yes, it's waterproof. Like really waterproof.. It doesn't feel like it should be, because it is so light and fine, but it does the job.
What it isn't so great at, is being breathable when you're working hard. The lab figure is 10,000g/m2/24hrs metro - to put that in perspective, next spring's lightweight 3-layer Berghaus shell is around five times more breathable on paper.
In practice, it means you get hotter and sweatier than you might want to, though the main-zip gives you some cooling options at the risk of getting wetter at the same time. The hood fits neatly enough, given its lack of adjustability and hem and sleeves both worked for us as well.
Finally, it's nice to have a pocket, though the placement, just below your rib-cage feels a little odd to begin with.
Brilliant for its defined purpose, but limited by the ruthless pursuit of minimalism. It's not particularly tough, breathable or adjustable as a result and it's not really an all-day option.
But for occasional use when space and weight are vital, it hits the nail on the ultra-lightweight head. Great for racing too.
For more normal use though, we'd be asking whether a more breathable windproof alternative would give adequate protection for short periods while being a lot more breathable. And for day-long wet-weather outings, we'd rather carry something heavier, but more comfortable.
If you want to have your cake and eat it however, watch out for the new Berghaus Hyper 100 jacket featured in our report from this year's OutDoor show... It's a sub-100g, 3-layer, minimalist shell that's claimed to be five times more breathable than the Hyper Smock and is due out in February 2017. Unfortunately it's also more than double the price.