THE BERGHAUS BRAND (distributed in Australia by Mountain Designs) has been around for many years. In fact, my first trekking backpack was a Berghaus model, many years ago. The company produces good quality outdoor kit at very reasonable prices and this Stormcloud outer shell is an example of that bang-for-your-bucks combination Berghaus does so well.
The Stormcloud is is light (285g) and its mid-hip length ensures it is equally at home on the hiking trail as it is being used as your cycle commute jacket. During testing I have used the Stormcloud for both these activities and it has performed well. The AQ2 fabric is what accounts for the jacket’s light weight; this 100 per cent polyester fabric features a polyurethane coating and a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment, so is not only light but also waterproof and highly breathable. Even during a grinding uphill cycle home in a wet spring rain shower, when you would expect an outer shell to struggle to transfer the moisture from your sweat to the outside of the jacket, it did so quite well. Yes, I was still slightly damp on my arms, but not cold and, considering the conditions, I reckon the Stormcloud did as good a job as any other higher-end shell would in providing the right balance of ventilation and protection.
The two main pockets on the jacket are quite deep, so handy for storing small items such as mobile phones and GPS units, while the full-length zip worked snag-free each time. Plus, the zip’s storm flap kept wind ingress to a minimum as well – handy when you’re riding at some speed on the bike.
Besides the breathability of the Stormcloud, its other impressive feature is the adjustable hood. With side toggles and a toggle at the rear to ensure a perfect fit, the wearer’s head will definitely stay dry and protected in wet and windy conditions. Sort that out, adjust the waist cord and tighten the Velcro cuffs, and you have the ideal protective outer layer garment.
For this tester, the Stormcloud’s versatility – and its price – is its appeal. If you’re budget-conscious (or, like me, cannot possibly squeeze any more gear into your cupboard) and want an outer shell that does double-duty cycling and hiking, then this is worth a look.
RRP $199.95 www.mountaindesigns.com