You may have seen the video’s we made with Berghaus about the Hyper and Hyper 100 Jackets. A really cool project in which we were able to really use and experience the two garments in circumstances they were made for. And to have a chat with the person responsible for the design and development of these two amazing jackets was really great as well. But what we still owe you as reader/visitor of this online magazine thingy we call GearLimits.com, is an in-depth review of the products. So here goes. The Hyper 100 Jacket.
As mentioned, the circumstances to review the Hyper 100 Jacket were perfect. Firstly, we went Mountain biking and Trailrunning in Northumberland, in the beautiful Kielder Forest Park to be precise. On the coattails of storm Doris we spent hours at end outside. Wind, rain, temperatures around 5-8 degrees celsius.
After the UK, I have done multiple MTB bike rides in the Netherlands, with temperatures varying from 8 to 16 degrees; all of these rides were “dry”.
We always like to start with “the promise” a product makes to you. What is it made for, what is it supposed to do? What is the idea behind the product? We had ample time to find out exactly what that was, talking to James Hodgson, who is the father of the Hyper Jackets, having worked for years on the development of ultralight garments.
It is fully waterproof, fully windproof, highly durable, extremely light, and very durable for its weight. To start with a few numbers: It weighs only 97 grammes, but is still a 3-layer jacket, with a highly breathable membrane and an outer layer that is waterproof up to 20.000 Hydrostatic Head or Water column. (The highest level of waterproofness). The breathability of the membrane is between 55 – 60 MVTR (moisture vapour transmission rate), and with that is exceptionally high.
Last but no least, Berghaus claims the Hyper 100 Jackets is very strong for its weight. The reason behind that is the fabric weave is made up of very thin but very strong and slightly elastic yarns. Which means that, like a climbing rope, under tension, the strands of yarn will “bunch up” together to handle the pressure and not snap individually.
This elasticity doesn’t only contribute to the durability of the product, but also to the comfort. And this is our transition from the promise of the product to our review of it.
Fit and Comfort
The Hyper 100 is a close fitting jacket, which only works well if the fabric can move with the movements of your body. And that is exactly what the stretch in the yarns enables. The whole jacket has a slight stretch to it, resulting in a jacket that really does move with you. It is very comfortable regardless of what you are doing. When you are active you hardly notice you are wearing it.
The main body of the jacket is made of one seamless piece of fabric, cut in such a way that the stretch over your back is maximum. The sleeves are laminated to this body in such a way (cut parallel to the shoulder blades) that it fits into the build of your body. That means the movement of your arms will hardly influence the fit of the jacket. So as you stretch or reach for something, it won’t ride up your waist and leave you with an exposed back or belly. (As a mountain biker I am very happy about that). The only, only thing I noticed in this fit was that the sleeves were slightly short at the cuff, my mid layer peeping out underneath it at times.
If you are all sweaty and wet underneath your stretch jacket, you won’t be comfortable, no matter how well it fits. So in that sense breathability is highly connected to comfort and has a great impact on the level of fun you can experience. But it also has a mean impact on your performance level. Because as you perform, as you exert yourself, you’re body will heat up, and all the excessive heat needs to go somewhere: enter transpiration. You will always sweat, so a jacket promising that it is so breathable you won’t sweat would be just short of a bit of BS in my opinion. What you do need to know is how quickly the layers you are wearing can transport that sweat away from your body.
That also means that the jacket itself is dependant on what layer you are wearing beneath it. You can have the world’s most breathable jacket, but where a cotton shirt underneath it and you will be wet and miserable anyway. So a good base layer of merino wool or a highly breathable polyester fabric should be combined with any breathable jacket. Which was the case during our activities? We wore polyester fabrics which absorbed and transported my sweat through to the jacket which took care of the rest. And it really did. After a particularly intensive 30K bike ride at 16 degrees celsius, during which I wore the Hyper 100 jacket all the time, there were two very striking things:
- Regardless of the temperature and intensity, I never had the feeling I was too warm and that I had to take the jacket off. This means the excess body heat is being dealt with properly;
- Oftentimes in breathable jackets, you feel or even see condense on the inside of the fabric. While the base layer I wore did feel wet, the inside of the Hyper 100 Jacket was dry. That is a testimony to how well the Hyper 100 Jacket wicks transpiration.
So I was really and truly well impressed. Of the lightweight garments I have worn in my time, this is certainly the most breathable jacket I have ever worn.
Well, there’s not a lot I need to say about the waterproofness because that is up to par and then some as well. Spending hours at end in the ceaseless rain and the fabric not getting wet at all. As you would expect from a jacket fresh out of packaging, the rain droplets just beaded off the fabric easily; the real test is obviously in the many weeks and months afterwards. How does the water repellency performance as the DWR (Durable Water Repellant) coating that you nearly always see used on jackets, hold up? To that, I can confidently say that the “beading” effect is still going strong after many weeks of use and the waterproofness that the 20.000 water column provides is as strong as ever.
And that last point is a very important one, because if you are looking to spend € 300,- euro’s on any piece of clothing, you want to get as much use out of it as possible. And this is, if anything an extremely versatile jacket; because it is so technical, and because it is so light and packable. You can always fit this layer into your backpack and take it everywhere. And it is very well fit to combine with a good mid layer. We wore this in combination with the Berghaus Hypertherm Hoody – which we will be reviewing later (spoiler alert: it is amazing and I wear it every day) – and the result is you have bought something you can wear al day long, and all year long. And that is real bang for your buck.
Last but not least, the issue of durability. And there are two ways to look at that. How durable (in an environmental sense) was the jacket produced, and how strong is the jacket; how long can you use it before you have to buy a new one, impacting your wallet and the environment (through waste) once again.
Starting with the environmental side, or sustainability, when we asked James about that he confessed he wasn’t the perfect person to talk to bout that, that would be the sustainability officer of Berghaus. What he could he could tell us is that they were the first British Outdoor brand to be fully Blue-Sign. Within their “MadeKind” approach, they look for various ways to minimise environmental impact. One cool example was the “Colour kind” technology that they are pioneering which involves new dyeing techniques to reduce water impact on dying by 89% and by reusing fabric and minimising waste Berghaus works to minimise the impact on the environment. Also relevant obviously is the way the products are produced, if you want to read more about that check out Berghaus’ story on Ethical Trading.
And then, there is the issue of how long a garment lasts. When is it added to the world ever-growing garbage pile? Obviously, I don’t know that yet, having use dit now for no more than two months, but Berghaus gives a lifelong guarantee on its products; so they believe it is meant to last and will back that up.
The product is absolutely strong, certainly in relation to its weight. I have managed to scratch it on branches, trees and have had quite a few falls with it already without seeing any marks on it whatsoever. The only think that left the smallest mark was when it caught on one of the pedals on my mountain bike as I was carrying it along. These pedals are gravity pedals and are armed with quite sharp “nails” to provide grip to the soles of your shoes. The jacket snagged, stretched a bit and then let go, resulting in a scratch of 1 cm on the sleeve. So there is a logical limit to what the fabric can bear, obviously.
All in all, we were, as you can read, thoroughly impressed with this piece of kit. The ideas that went into its development, the care that has gone into its production and the fundamental understanding of what an outdoor or action sporter needs, can be felt in every aspect of the jacket.
Perhaps it is unwise to say so, being the objective gear review platform we want to be, but if I were to speak my mind absolutely openly (which I generally do) in its category, it is as close to perfection as I have encountered. I would certainly recommend this kit to my friends (and have done so already.)
The in-depth review of the Hyper Jacket will be coming up soon. The video review can be viewed below.