As part of my blogging for the Keswick Mountain Festival a few of the sponsors have kindly sent me some items to try, to test, and to review. Berghaus were the first of those, when they supplied me with their new Vapourlight Hyper Smock 2.0.
My first impression was WOW! As you can see from the photo, the smock stuffed into the supplied pouch is tiny! It also weighs a miniscule 75g (for a large, as I’m a medium it’s even less!). I couldn’t believe anything this light or small could possibly be waterproof, so I went online to check the technical specs. According to the Berghaus website the jacket is completely waterproof, manufactured from their new fabric Hydroshell Hyper. On checking the garment it also has taped seams, meaning it should pass all kit checks (certainly for races within the UK). I tried the smock briefly in the Lake District, and have since had the chance to use it a couple of more times locally. On all occasions it’s performed perfectly - I’ve stayed completely dry. What’s even more astounding bearing in mind the weight is the fact that it comes with a hood (complete with fastening so it can be rolled away, which I love as I hate running with a hood flapping around), and with a chest pocket large enough to take a compass, a couple of gels, a phone…
The material it’s made from is extremely thin - this has advantages and disadvantages. As someone who runs very hot the thinner material isn’t completely windproof, meaning I don’t sweat quite as much when wearing it, compared to other waterproofs I own. On the negative side I do wonder how tough it is - but as I really like the smock I didn’t want to test that by crawling through gorse bushes etc. Also, for runners who do feel the cold it won’t add any real thermal value as an extra layer.
Do I recommend it? Yes, with a proviso - for Spring to Autumn races where checkpoints aren’t that far apart, or you’re not that far from the beaten track, then it’s perfect. Stuff it in your pack, forget it’s there as it’s so small, then be amazed by how dry it keeps you when you need it. For winter events, or training runs when you’re going to be up in the hills for a long time I think I’d rather carry a heavier weight jacket, that also has some thermal properties as well. Berghaus do a nice range that mean you’ll be able to find something suitable - I know two friends who both finished the Spine Race this year (Google it - especially the weather conditions!) both used Berghaus jackets without a problem.