Berghaus Mount Asgard Jacket

The 'light and fast' approach has taken off in recent years, and clothing and gear manufacturers have responded by producing ever lighter kit. Developed as part of Leo Houlding's Asgard antics, the Mount Asgard Jacket (reviewed here) and Smock are Berghaus' latest flagship 'fast and light' shells.

Damp scrambling in Ogwen, 89 kb
Damp scrambling in Ogwen
© vscott

My jacket weighs just over 350g (it's size medium). The Asgard Jacket is certainly light in weight but, as each of these grams costs about 74p, it's not exactly light on the wallet. So aside from featherweight what does the £260 recommended price tag get you? In essence, a jacket where every little detail has been revisited, thought through, tested, tweaked and tested again. The result: a subtly different, minimalist yet very functional and generally excellent piece of kit.

Starting with the fabric, the Japanese Gore-tex Pro Shell is as good as it gets. It's light (obviously enough), very flexible (no restriction and little rustle), impressively tough for the weight (no signs of wear from rucksack straps and scrapes), and it breathes very well, with the water resistant coating beading rain so well that it can almost be shaken dry.

Berghaus Asgard jacket, 73 kb
Berghaus Asgard jacket
UKC Gear
© Berghaus

Berghaus Mount Asgard Jacket

  • Part of the Extrem Asgard Collection
  • Ultra-lightweight Japanese Gore-Tex Pro Shell
  • Average weight: 370g
  • Highly packable
  • Wire peaked, helmet compatible hood with single hand adjustment
  • High reach articulated sleeves
  • Diamond underarm gussets
  • Elasticated and adjustable hem drawcord
  • Self fabric bonded cuff tabs with hook and loop fastening
  • 3D venting system allows for more efficient core body cooling

More info on the Berghaus Website

Light, compact and easily carried in supplied stuffsac, 137 kb
Light, compact and easily carried in supplied stuffsac
© vscott
Next comes the fit - as a lanky type I usually find jackets overly roomy in the body and a bit short in the arms - the Asgard by comparison has a noticeably slim neat fit and good length in the arms. The underarm gussets work brilliantly allowing reaching up with no lift at all in the body or pulling up of the cuffs. The jacket is reasonably short in length so doesn't restrict when climbing or walking.

The main zip, instead of being the normal coated waterproof type found on most light jackets, is a more substantial Riri zip. It seems much tougher, is easier to use (less sticky) and very weatherproof. It also has a zipper at both ends, so the jacket can be thrown on over a harness when the heavens open, and the zip opened from the bottom to allow belaying.

Moving on to the details, lots of thought has gone into how all the adjusters and features work, with everything being kept as accessible, minimal and as clutter free as possible. The excellent stiffened peaked hood uses a clever drawcord arrangement that puts all the adjustment (one handed) on the front of the jacket, so there are no elastics or toggles on the back to catch on slings or rub under a helmet. The same logic has been applied to the hem drawcord, with everything tucked away so there's nothing to tangle with a harness or gear.

The combined vent/pocket arrangement (zipped chest vents with mesh inner pockets behind them) takes a while to get used to, and personally I'd have preferred just pockets but it's a neat way to have both venting and pockets without lots of external zips. Rounding off the package is a helpful carry sac complete with clip in loops for carrying on a harness - though quite why it needs to be made in the same Gore-tex fabric as the jacket is beyond me.

Overall, the Asgard is a great (if pricey) piece of kit. It's marketed as an 'extreme' climbing shell, but it's more versatile than this suggests: I've found it to be a great all-round lightweight waterproof, working well for everything from bad-weather cragging backup, long days in the hills, to the daily cycle commute.

Summary: A top of the range, very functional all round lightweight shell with well thought-out minimal features, good fabric and a great slim fit.

Great for carrying on the back of a harness - dodging showers in Pembroke, 177 kb
Great for carrying on the back of a harness - dodging showers in Pembroke
© vscott

Viv Scott, 100 kb

About Viv Scott

I've been climbing for a bit over ten years, and am currently based in Edinburgh having escaped from the southern flatlands. Climbing highs include Scottish winter climbing, a couple of trips to the Alaska Range, classic alpine routes, sunny ski touring, cragging in the UK and abroad, and beers and craic in the pub afterwards. Lows include Scottish winter climbing, alpine bivies, base camp blues, midges and the UK weather... I guess I'd like to be a jack of all trades and I'm definitely a master of none, but most enjoy the great variety of climbing and look forward to trips back to old favourites and hopefully many new and different places.

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