The Rab Bergen is a great year-round mountain walking jacket. It is made from eVent, a well-proven waterproof and breathable fabric whose lab results place it top of the league in terms of performance. It features a relatively short body design, two chest pockets and a wired hood.
eVent fabric makes use of a microporous membrane that is laminated between an outer and inner scrim. These tiny holes allow the moisture vapour from your body to vent through the fabric. In the lab this fabric provides very impressive figures and as it has an inner scrim any moisture that cannot escape quickly is soaked up, so that it appears to be very effective at controlling condensation. eVent is used by a small number of companies but it is a tried and tested performer. In my experience it works as well as the other top-end 3-layer fabrics and I believe the inner scrim plays a major role in its performance and it is this that really makes the difference. The makers stress that eVent fabric needs to be washed regularly. Personally I’ve found it needs no more washing or cleaning than other materials, and it appears to work as well as others with the same amount of washing, which is a couple of times a year.
On the hill
I’ve used the Rab Bergen for many years and it still performs really well on the hill. It has a relatively short body length, and I’d prefer something longer for general walking. But it is fine for dabbling in a bit of scrambling, and of course it helps to keep the weight down too. The Bergen has two chest pockets on the outside and these are accessible while wearing a rucksack. Other jackets like the ME Morpheus have a big third external chest pocket, but on the Bergen you have to go inside the jacket to find a third chest pocket. The hood is really good, with a wired peak, close fit and excellent movement with the head. It weighs a snip over 500g, but is just under the £200 barrier and I suspect that for many this is an ideal combination of price, weight and features. The fabric is superb, but it is the design that really makes the Rab Bergen a great purchase for the hill-walker.
Outer 3-layer eVent
Fabric waterproofness extremely waterproof
Fabric breathability extremely breathable
Sizes S-XXL (men’s Bergen); 8-16 (women’s Vidda)
Weight 518g (size L)
Made in China
Stores in UK 35
Stockist details – tel. (01773) 601870; www.rab.uk.com
The Rab Bergen is a good weight; two good external chest pockets; excellent hood; fabric offers good level of breathability; excellent price. But is has a relatively short design; others have three external pockets which are useful
for stashing gear and warming hands. It’s great price for a jacket that offers excellent breathability and practical features for the hill-walker, and it thus won ‘Best Value’ in our test.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine March 2011