Berghaus Axis 2009

The Berghaus Axis is an unassuming jacket, but beneath the streetwise design lie a set of functional features that direct this more towards the hill-walker than the casual user. Made from Gore-Tex Pro Shell with a rollaway hood and two chest pockets, it packs the vital stats to compete well with better-known modern classics that walkers talk about over a beer.

Design
The Axis definitely performs better than its nondescript style suggests. The jacket is made from Gore-Tex Pro Shell so it is top-notch in terms of breathability and waterproofness. Its most interesting feature though is the hood, which is a full-blown, top-of-the-mountain-design, with a huge wired peak, volume adjustment and an ability to roll it down to the collar. The front zip gets a standard zip with a double stormflap over the top to keep the rain out. A nice little detail is the brushed chinguard at the top of the zip. There are two external chest pockets with water-resistant zips and stormflaps, while a third pocket behind the front zip stormflap is ideal for maps, compass or GPS receiver. A fourth mesh pocket inside the jacket is useful too. There is one drawcord that extends around the hem to block draughts too. So this is a simple design that should be comfortable around town and practical on the hill.

On the hill
The first thing I noticed when trying this jacket on was that it was the shortest of those tested here. This made it comfy indoors but as soon as I stepped outside I felt exposed to the elements. Now most jackets are like this these days so I was not completely surprised, but having used the longer jackets here I really missed the extra length when wandering over the Lakeland fells and got annoyed when scrambling in really wet weather on the Coniston Fells. Length aside, the Axis does sit well with a rucksack on your back. I could access the pockets easily and stash a map in the external pockets or dedicated map pocket. The hood was the real gem of this package, though. I fitted it over a climbing helmet with ease, and it cinches down to really hug the head. The peak is superb too, thanks to its size and wire stiffener. Not only that, it rolls neatly into the collar too.

In the lab
No leakage on hood but main zip double stormflap did not keep water out. It appears the water entered through the bar-tacked seam that creates the gutter on the stormflap.

Outer Gore-Tex Pro Shell
Inner none
Fabric waterproofness extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability extremely breathable
Sizes S-XXL (men’s); 8-18 (women’s)
Weight 510g  (L)
Made in China
Stores in the UK no info provided
Stockist details – tel. (0191) 516 5700; www.berghaus.com
Verdict
The Berghaus Axis is a superb lightweight jacket featuring a hood and pockets that make it ideal for the hill, but it is slightly short. We reckon this is a good option for the average Trail reader.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2009