Since it first arrived in gear shops way back 1986, Berghaus Extrem™ has come to be a byword for extreme adventure and has earned the repect and admiration of mountaineers across thE globe for its Innovation and technical excellence.
In the intervening decades between its launch and its 30th anniversary this year, Berghaus Extrem™ clothing has offered protection to mountaineers and adventurers on nearly 100 expeditions. To celebrate its longevity and multiple successes, and in keeping with its ethos of constantly seeking improvement of performance through innovation, Berghaus has launched its most advanced range ever. Two of the key products in this exciting line-up are the ISPO award winning Extrem™ 8000 Pro jacket and the Ramche 2.0 down jacket, more of which you can read about below. But how do we know that these new products are as good as Berghaus claim they are? Good question…
The fact is that if you want to make sure a product is going to perform in the most extreme environments, you need input from the people who are going to use it in those extreme environments. You then need those people to take those products to those extreme environments and use them, abuse them, and test them almost to destruction, and provide feedback. And then you need to tweak those products before giving those improved products back to those people to take them back to those extreme environments and use, abuse, and test them over and over again until you end up with a product that you can be certain will fulfil its intended purpose. And that’s exactly what Berghaus did.
Extreme athletes played key roles at crucial stages of product design and development, working closely with, Berghaus’ dedicated Extrem™ and MtnHaus™ innovation teams to provide advice and test concepts, early prototypes and final samples. For example, Leo Houlding trialled the new kit during his successful expedition on the Mirror Wall in Greenland, while Mick Fowler gave the Ramche 2.0 a thorough workout during his first ascent on remote Gave Ding in the Himalaya. The result? The most technical range of mountaineering clothing that Berghaus has ever released.
Extrem™ 8000 Pro Jacket
Berghaus claimthat the new Extrem™ 8000 Pro is the most advanced mountaineering shell jacket now available. Now that's quite a bold statement, so what does the 8000 Pro offer to back that up? Well, for starters there's the new Berghaus Xpanse™ back, hood and faceguard, all of which have been designed to provide the ultimate level of adjustability and comfort for mountaineering along with "unparalleled freedom of movement during extended use".
Berghaus has always worked closely with GORE-TEX®, particularly with their Extrem™ range. After all, the best products have to be made from the best materials. The Extrem™ 8000 Pro continues that winning formula. Constructed from 3L GORE-TEX® Pro Shell, the jacket uses a combination of two face fabrics to maximise the balance between comfort, performance, and robustness. This includes an exclusive lightweight 40D face fabric which was developed in partnership with WL Gore especially for this jacket. Not only is it extremely tough, but it also delivers outstanding water shedding performance and breathability – key features of a top-spec hardshell garment. This of course should come as no surprise; the Extrem™ 8000 Pro is aimed squarely at the top of the performance waterproof market, and Berghaus has gone all-out to ensure it succeeds there. As a result, not only is the 8000 Pro packed with essential features, it’s also been finished with an uncompromising attention to detail in every aspect of its construction, setting a new standard for jackets of this type.
Ramche Down 2.0 Jacket
The original Ramche was a firm favourite of Trail magazine and a regular winner of our down jacket tests. So how do you improve on what was already an excellent product? Among other things, the Ramche 2.0 has gone green. For autumn/winter 2016, Hydrodown® (the insulation that gives the Ramche it's warmth retaining properties) forms part of the Berghaus MADEKIND initiative and uses Nikwax’s PFC-free hydrophobic down, which provides water repellency without using environmentally damaging perfluorocarbons. But it's not all about eco-responsibility (although that's always good); the Ramche 2.0 is also lighter, warmer and more durable than its predecessor.
To appreciate how it’s achieved this we need to get technical for a moment. The Ramche 2.0 uses 183g of 90/10 850 fill goose Hydrodown® distributed across three ‘bodymapped’ zones. Bodymapping takes into account how different areas of the torso lose more or less heat and therefore require more or less insulation. This ensures the optimum distribution of the down throughout the jacket. But down insulation is only any good if it stays where it’s supposed to. Berghaus have used offset baffles in the construction of the Ramche to prevent down migration and eliminate cold spots. And they’ve not stopped there in the pursuit of maximum heat retention. An all new Reflect™ aluminium mesh is sewn into the core of the Ramche 2.0. to reflect radiated heat from the body back into the jacket without reducing breathability. The outer face fabric of the Ramche 2.0 (a super-lightweight 7D 100% polyamide material weighing just 22g/m2, if you like to know the details) also contributes to maintaining the jacket’s breathability, whilst remaining windproof and water resistant. It's also twice as strong as the fabric that wrapped the original Ramche!
If you need solid proof of what this extra strength means, you only have to ask Himalayan mountaineer Mick Fowler, who used a sample of the Ramche 2.0 on Gave Ding: “The Ramche 2.0 was absolutely brilliant in temperatures that dipped to around minus 30 degrees Celsius. It was also really tough compared to the previous version. At one point I got it caught in my abseil device and had to descend a fair way with the fabric caught - but there was only superficial damage!”
The 30th anniversary Extrem™ range is available now from www.berghaus.com/extrem and selected specialist outdoor retailers. You can see the kit in action on the big screen in the film of Leo Houlding’s Mirror Wall expedition, which premieres at this year’s Kendal Mountain Festival at 6:00pm on Friday 18th November – tickets available from www.mountainfest.co.uk.