A serious price for a serious jacket, the Changtse – named after a peak on the Tibetan side of Everest – has been designed for hikers who not only head into uncompromising hills and mountains, but who are dynamically active when they get there. It is a lighter jacket than you might expect at this price. However, if you’re a regular hiker in unpredictable spring-summer-autumn mountain conditions, it’s a compelling option.
Body-mapped Gore-Tex technology
Hood adjustable from a single point
Only one pocket
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For tech heads and gear nerds, the first place to assess the Berghaus Changtse is from the inside out, where a mosaic of three different Gore-Tex fabrics is clearly mapped to body zones.
Active Shell, the most breathable Gore-Tex, features around the torso to keep you cool; robust Paclite Plus is used in areas that suffer the most abrasion, such as the chest and arms; and Topo Stretch appears around the hem and cuffs for stretchable waterproof protection – its clingy grip is surprisingly strong, which is ideal for keeping it in place while scrambling, climbing, or even clambering over a ladder stile.
The other innovation that’s best admired from the inside is the patented Vapour Storm vent at the top of the back, a type of funnel or chimney that helps to stop sweaty spine syndrome. The walking action creates a billows effect that drives moist air up and out of the vent – it works impressively well even when heavy rain has forced a closure of the pit zips.
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On the trails
On test, during several flash downpours of summer, what impressed most about this jacket is not its waterproofness – which is great, but that’s a given at this price – but its breathability in the warm, damp, humid conditions that follow a deluge.
The excellent hood offers the type of protection you’d expect from a wartime coastal lookout station, leaving just a small window to face the elements. It can accommodate a helmet but also cinches from a single point to ensure a snug fit over a bare head. And the two chest pockets are well positioned to avoid any compromise with rucksack belts. My only gripe is that depending on the size of your wrists, the Top Stretch fabric may not grip as tightly as Velcro fastenings – with my hands pointing skywards to hold a map, raindrops did find their way in at the cuffs.
After spending a decade as editor of Country Walking, the UK’s biggest-selling walking magazine, Jonathan moved to edit Outdoor Fitness magazine, adding adrenaline to his adventures and expeditions. He has hiked stages or completed all of the UK's national trails, but was once overtaken by three Smurfs, a cross-dressing Little Bo Peep, and a pair of Teletubbies on an ascent of Snowdon. (Turns out they were soldiers on a fundraising mission.)