Of all the items in my backpack, I couldn’t think of one I’ve used more regularly on this world trip than my Berghaus jacket. It goes absolutely everywhere with me, and has functioned as everything from a pillow to a makeshift duvet and many more besides. With that in mind, I wanted to go into a little more depth about why this single item of clothing has been a lifesaver and how you too can choose the perfect travel jacket to suit you.
‘By Failing to Prepare You are Preparing to Fail’ – Benjamin Franklin
While research for this trip, I realised I would need a jacket that would be able to cope with all seasons, as well as something hardy enough to deal with being thrown about on various adventures across the globe. It may seem that a simple item like a jacket isn’t so important to having a great trip, but when you’re carrying all your possessions on your back for five months you’ll soon see that every gram of weight should be put to good use.
Review of Berghaus Arran 3-in-1 Jacket
After much deliberation, I sought out a waterproof yet warm coat, but one versatile enough for active adventures. The result of my search was the Berghaus Arran 3-in-1 jacket. Considering the brand is well-known for its mountaineering and hiking gear, it seemed like the perfect fit for a trip where I’d be climbing mountains, traversing trails and be exposed to the elements in alpine conditions.
What I first loved about the Arran was its neutral colourways of grey and blue, allowing me to seamlessly blend into a casual environment, and not stand out as technical gear if I later paired it with a smarter outfit. The rollaway hood also helps to look a little more sophisticated than your bog standard packaway mac.
This jacket is stuffed with cool features that all help on a long trip:
Detachable Fleece, the jacket arrived with a cosy fleece layer that can be attached for extra warmth, worn on its own or taken off completely for warm weather hikes where only a waterproof layer might be needed.
Waterproof, made with the fancy sounding Hydroshell Elite fabric this jacket is 100% waterproof. I can personally guarantee after downpours in New Zealand, thunderstorms in Australia and snow Japan that you won’t get wet while you wear this. Additionally, the waterproof pocket seals means you can keep your phone or other gadgets dry when the heavens open.
Breathable, for use in sporting activities like hikes the jacket material is extremely breathable to keep you from overheating. As well as keeping you the right temperature, the jacket is lined with a polyamide dry mesh and taffeta with Argentium technology – which combats odour.
Weight, while this might not be a key feature, the fact this jacket only weights 652g means it’s a breeze to wear or compress into your bag, although I’d probably suggest wearing the fleece layer on flights as this has a thicker material that can take up more space.
Fixed Hood, have you ever been hiking and the wind was so strong that it kept ripping your hood off your head to expose your bare cranium to the elements? Well, the peaked adjustable hood was created to combat that issue, and it made my life so much easier.
Deep Pockets, four large pockets on the outer rain jacket and two inside the inner fleece means you have plenty of room for all sorts of bits and bobs you might accrue on the road. My favourite pocket must be the large internal map pocket, which is super handy for passports, tickets and the like.
Guaranteed, this jacket came with a handy lifetime guarantee, as well as an adventure guarantee to which I can already confirm it passed the test with flying colours.
Functionality wise this garment is spot on. My only real criticisms of it is that you’ll need to wear underlayers if you’re travelling in severely cold conditions. When the mercury drops below zero, a baselayer or two is absolutely necessary. Luckily I’m travelling with a Berghaus all seasons tech t-shirt that is also lined with the same Argentium silver ion sweat and odour resistance – which has kept me warm and comfortable so far.
Field Testing & Verdict
I’ve worn this jacket on hikes around Mount Cook, up a chilly 16km trail to Isthmus Peak in the Lake Wanaka region and through the icy Japanese Alps in search of snow monkeys. My final verdict is that I love this jacket and I hope it will always be a part of my travel kit. The biggest plus for me is the convenience of only needing a single jacket to travel the world – one that can handle both urban and active environments with equal ease. This is the only jacket I brought with me for the trip, and I don’t regret it one little bit – if that isn’t proof enough I don’t know what is.
Tips for Choosing the Perfect Travel Jacket
After some time on the road I’ve found what works for me, but let me give you some top tips for finding your dream travel jacket.
Substance Over Style
Stylish coats may look great while you’re sipping a café latte on your Parian weekender, but if they lack waterproofing, are oversized or non-breathable they can become a massive burden to lug around with you on a long-haul trip. Opt for something more fit for purpose – if you think you’ll be quite active, shop around for technical gear or if you’re on the road in summer months the best bet would be to find a very light parka that can be compressed as easily as possible.
Arguably the most important feature of a jacket is its waterproofing. No one likes getting wet – fact – so peruse the options carefully and go with a tried-and-tested technology like Berghaus’s Hydroshell Elite or Gore Tex.
There is almost no point having a waterproof jacket if the result is you sweat like Donald Trump trying to understand foreign policy. Breathability lets the hot air out, so you stay cool even when you’re working hard, like Trump’s PR team.
Must Have a Hood
I don’t get it when people travel with waterproof jackets that don’t have a hood – your head will get wet. Jacket + hood = happy times.
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I was given my Berghaus Arran 3-in-1 Jacket by the lovely folks at Blacks, but – as always – any opinions expressed are entirely my own.
To learn more about what travel gear I’ve brought with me, check out my all seasons packing guide.