In 1986, Berghaus launched its new high-performance range: Extrem. It became an instant outdoor badge of proficiency for aspiring mountaineers and mountain walkers. Fast-forward 30 years, and the Mtn Haus design team is celebrating the longevity of the marque with a major relaunch. The Extrem 8000 Pro is the flagship product for the range, and it’s Berghaus’s most technical mountaineering jacket to date.
The 8000 Pro utilises Gore-Tex’s toughest 3-layer membrane, Gore-Tex Pro Shell. Subtly different face fabrics are used for different zones of the jacket. Areas facing the most wear are made from tough 70 denier material, while the remainder of the jacket is constructed from 40 denier fabric to keep the weight down. Both appear to have excellent water-shedding properties. As you’d expect from a jacket that’s had input from the likes of Leo Houlding, Mick Fowler and Italian ice-climber Angelika Rainer, the 8000 Pro’s design is pretty much bang on. The hood is wonderfully sculpted, with a single volume-adjusting bungee on the back and two cords to tighten it around the face at the front. These latter two lie inside the jacket, so you aren’t whipped in the face when the wind picks up. The peak is wire-reinforced and provides excellent protection without restricting your view. What’s really clever is the series of small magnets in the rear of the hood that automatically snap together to reduce the volume slightly without having to tug on the bungee cord, meaning there’s less need to readjust the hood when removing a helmet.
Other similarly neat features include an expanding back pleat, which keeps the jacket snug but allows for freedom of movement, and a zipped face vent to improve breathing ventilation when the hood is battened down and the jacket zipped up against bad weather. These might sound like minor details or even marketing gimmicks, but in use they make a significant difference to the Extrem 8000 Pro’s adaptability.
Notable by their absence are pit zips. On the hill the jacket was remarkably breathable for a such a robust design, but if needed, ventilation can be introduced using the deep, mesh-backed handwarmer pockets. The two sealed Napoleon pockets are large enough to swallow a map or guidebook. The Berghaus Extrem Pro has a longer cut than many climbing-orientated jackets, and this added protection from the elements makes it well-suited to hillwalking. However the neat drawcord around the hem also means the jacket can be cinched for more physical activities, or when wearing a harness.
In use, the Extrem 8000 Pro is remarkably comfortable for a jacket that feels like it could take on any weather. The sizing is a little roomy, but of course this is a shell designed for the harshest conditions, and you may well be wearing multiple thick layers underneath.
Materials 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell: durable 70D face fabric (hood, shoulders, hem, lower arms); lightweight 40D face fabric (main body)
Sizes XS-XL (men’s only)
The high level of specification and attention to detail mean the Berghaus Extrem 8000 Pro’s price is well above that of most hillwalking jackets. But for mountaineering or winter use, it’s an investment worth making as the features and benefits are impressive. 4.4/5
Review by Ben Weeks
First published in Trail magazine September 2016