Berghaus Couloir/Abruzzi 2010

Berghaus has been producing gear for British hill-walkers and mountaineers since the mid 1970s, so they should know a thing or two about keeping people dry. The Couloir trouser (the Abruzzi is the women’s version) is designed for mountaineering where unrestricted movement is required but it is equally at home on the fells when a walker just wants to be comfortable. 

Design
The Berghaus Couloir is made from Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric so it is up there with the best in terms of its fabric’s levels of waterproofness and breathability. The trousers have some articulation at the knee to provide a better fit. The waist has a brushed polyester lining for added comfort while a press stud closure and zip fly make them easy to fit and comfy. There are removable braces to help keep the trousers up. There is a gaiter inside the ankle cuff that can be detached if it is not required. As with all the trousers here you get full-length side zips, meaning these can be put on easily.

On the hill
The biggest difference between these trousers and the others here is that the full-length side zip has a double external stormflap. Regular readers of Trail will know that we have regularly found that zips leak without such flaps. On the hill these were definitely better at keeping me dry than the trousers with exposed zips. The fit is a little looser than other trousers here, but it’s still comfy. I particularly liked the braces and these were comfy too, meaning that I was happy to keep these on all day. The ankle cuff gaiter is a little wider than some others and does not have a lace hook, which is a pity as they can ride up without one, although there are loops so an instep cord could be added. There is also a drawcord at the ankle cuff that can pull in the baggy fit a little. Strangely there are two zipped pockets at the waist although I cannot imagine anyone would use them. One of the best features of these trousers is the price, as they are as good as the higher-priced options yet they can be yours for far less cash.

How waterproof?
I found the Berghaus Couloir to be the best in our test in terms of staying dry. The double stormflap over the side zips did not let in water in my trials on the Lakeland fells during late November 2009, when rain was a daily event.

Outer Gore-Tex Pro Shell
Inner none
Fabric waterproofness extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability extremely breathable
Sizes S-XXL (men’s Couloir); 8-18 (women’s Abruzzi)
Weight 630g (size L)
Made in China
Stores in the UK no info provided
Stockist details – tel. (0191) 516 5600; www.berghaus.com

Verdict
The Berghaus Couloir/Abruzzi has an excellent price; water resistance of design; braces help keep them up; women’s version available. But they have a slightly baggier fit; others are lighter in weight. Overall, they’re excellent overtrousers for hill-walkers, but mountaineers may prefer the benefits of some other trousers. They won both the ‘Best Value’ and ‘Best in Test’ accolades.

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine February 2010