Berghaus XCR Retract Jacket

Review by Review
Friday 2nd June 2006

It was one of my favourite parts in Back to the Future II. The bit when Marty McFly gets given all the oversized clothes and complains about the non-existent fit. The Doc tells Marty to press a button and ‘hey presto’ the clothes all shrink to fit.

Obviously someone in Berghaus R & D enjoyed this movie and has brought the first step in this futuristic view to Berghaus’ new XCR Retract Jacket.

Basically, Berghaus have developed a new hood system that takes this principle (albeit in a way more simplistic manner – but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere). The idea is that by pressing two buttons on the hood, the jacket will automatically adjust to the fit of the head of the person wearing it.

Advantages: It means a snug fit and removes the hated and excruciating annoying toggles that fly into your face when the wind is blowing.

This new hood system has been incorporated into the XCR Retract Jacket. So how does the jacket and hood measure up. Firstly the hood – it’s a really good idea…but it’s not quite there yet.

The hood does cinch down well but it has nothing to with the buttons on the side. To loosen it you pull the cords down to de-tension the internal cables (the reverse of the classic hood tightening system), the problem is that it automatically tensions back up WITHOUT needing to press the buttons. The buttons are therefore meaningless and more annoyingly the hood tightens down to the head automatically – good when the rain and wind is heavy, but frustrating when all you want to do is put the hood up in a light drizzle.

As for the rest of the jacket, it does the simple well, i.e protecting you from heavy rain, but there’s nothing else that’s amazingly different from dozens of other waterproof jackets out there. Two large chest pockets, map pocket, shaped peak on hood, storm flap and Gore-Tex XCR fabric are all good and work well. The hood also does fit over a helmet, so the jacket is suitable for climbing.

The velcro cuffs sum this jacket up for me in that they are ok but are frustrating in their ability to open up at the most inconvenient times. Some simple design changes could make this a fantastic jacket.

It’s almost a very good jacket... but not quite yet. Overall it’s a jacket for day hikers or as a year-round coat but it’s not something I would wear when climbing (rock or winter).

Key Features..

  • Price: RRP £200
  • Fabric: 3 Layer Gore-Tex XCR
  • Hood: NEW Retract hood system
  • Colours: Available in Dark Blue, Light Blue, Red, Green and Black
  • Reviewed: Light Blue, Medium
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