First review Berghaus Ardenne Softshell

This product was supplied by Berghaus. First Reviews are not “just out of the box” reviews, but are posted after I have chance to use the product several times.  It is my goal to ensure that I update with a long term review of each piece of gear I purchased or have sent to me.

Berghaus Softshell Jacket

The Berghaus  Ardenne is a new Softshell jacket for the autumn/ winter season of 2011.  I have had this jacket for a month now and used it on several local walks. I carried it in my pack for my walk – Snow in the Peak District but did not require it as I was adequately warm.   I have worn it pretty constantly on a daily basis as it is very comfortable.

This ws the first softshell I have used. In the past I have worn or carried a fleece and worn a Montane Litespeed Wind shirt when chilled  as fleece normally is not wind – proof.

I guess this is the main reason for a soft- shell as they are meant to be warm, breathable, but also wind-proof.  Some, like the Ardenne have a DWR finish as well  and will shrug off lighter rain showers or drizzle.

The Ardenne has 4 way stretch material with the fleece bonded to the outer material . The jacket has a full length zip, behind this zip, material running the full length to stop draughts.  There are two zipped, mesh lined pockets and two meshed lined inner pockets. The mesh lined pockets will give ventilation in warmer weather, but of cause you could not utilise the pockets unzipped without stuff falling out.

The Ardenne has a high collar, a scooped tail which protect your backside and two toggles at the hem to adjust the fitting.

The jacket sleeves  are snug around the arms and I would describe the jacket as slim fitting, with movement in the jacket easy when stretching or bending down.

In use

The jacket is comfortable and snug, with the high zipped collar, keeping me warm against the wind.  Importantly I have found the jacket to be pretty wind-proof and I have felt no chill so far when using it on my bike or walking. I have not worn it in particularly cold weather to be fair, but it is certainly much better than the standard fleeces I have worn before.

The Ardenne will resist a shower better than a standard fleece and the water beads up on the DWR material, but will start to wet out during anything more than a shower I have found.  It will be interesting to see how the DWR lasts, but like all garments I am sure it will need treating to maintain the DWR.

So far I have worn both a short sleeve and long sleeve base layer underneath and there is sufficient room to add my thin Columbia micro-fleece to a base layer, without it feeling uncomfortable. I am not sure I will do this when out walking as I would put my Montane wind-shirt over it to increase warmth.

Conclusions

Certainly the Ardenne is a comfortable stylish piece of clothing which has both a level of water and wind resistance.  The jacket’s weight of 543g (19oz) in medium is no heavy than my standard fleece and wind-shirt combined.  It has the advantage that I would not have to stop to put on a wind-shirt over my fleece, when the wind was getting up.  Ideally I would wear the Ardenne and also carry my Montane Lite-Speed wind-shirt, giving me plenty of options, with a small but acceptable weight gain of 165g (5.8oz).

I would conclude that this set up would be most appropriate outside of winter.  In winter   I would use my Paramo jacket and base layer combinations – more about this soon.

Overall rating :  4.5/5

Price: RRP £80. There is an option with a hood for £9o

What I like: Style, comfort, wind resistance

What I don’t like: Nothing I can think of

Berghaus outdoor clothing

Berghaus Ardenne

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8 Responses to First review Berghaus Ardenne Softshell

  1. Alan R says:

    Hi Mark,
    Nice jacket but i have tried backpacking with my Rab Cioch which is similar and i just can’t make it a long term bit of kit. I think your windshirt and fleece give you better options. Wear one or the other or both as situations present themselves.
    I know what you mean though, this type of jacket has a kind of comforting feel but i’m afraid mine has become relegated to being an everyday casual. I’m not convinced that soft shell of this spec. has a true identity yet.

  2. alan.sloman says:

    That’s interesting, Mark – I have been using my TNF softshell for day walks and it has coped with showers really well – but it is completely wind-proof,

    I like it a lot – initially I was sceptical about softshells but now I am coming to love it. I am still not sure how it will work in a backpacking set-up though, but I ma going to give it a try with a merino base layer and a Gore-Tex jacket – for winter, obviously.

    • I like mine a lot and it is right for the day walk category, not sure yet for backpacking. Will have to see in the spring now – as I will use/I am using my Paramo set up. By the way I washed my 3rd element and re-proof it – seems fine. Will be interested to hear what Paramo finally say about your jacket. – Your post on Paramo generated probably the most comments I have seen on any outdoor blog – excellent stuff !!

  3. Jules says:

    Interesting comments, everyone! And a good review.

    I am probably another of those who quite likes the idea of a soft shell, but haven’t quite found the perfect product/identified the right niche to work out what it is, precisely, that I want or need.

    The trouble seems to be that there are actually dozens of different products touted as “soft shells” – if you look at what Berghaus, Rab, Montane, ME, etc, market, there are significant differences between them!

    FWIW, I have a Mountain Hardwear softshell that is quite heavy, and currently use as a casual jacket as it works well for that and looks quite nice!

    I also have a Jack Wolfskin Atmosphere softshell, a different beast again, that I do use as part of my spring/autumn system and have on stand-by in the summer. I reviewed it on my blog (here) after having used it for quite a while because I couldn’t decide at first what I thought about it!

    I hope the Ardenne continues to work fo you, and I’d be interested to see further opinions.

    • Jules you are right about softshells and the different types there are. This is the first softshell I have, so I am still deciding whether they fit into my walking kit or whether I will be using it mainly for casual use. I am going over to see your review on your blog.

  4. Jules says:

    Sorry, link didn’t seem to work last time, so here is the URL in full just in case:

    http://amblesandrambles.blogspot.com/2011/12/jack-wolfskin-atmosphere-softshell-75.html

    Cheers

    J

  5. Pingback: Softshell Jacke Kind

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