An excellent puffer in many respects, especially for climbers, the Berghaus Ramche Micro Reflect down jacket offers truly impressive warmth for weight, which, in truth, few other down jackets in this class can equal. There are, however, some frustrating elements, detailed in our review, which could be addressed in the next design stage.
Very impressive warmth for weight
Hydrophobic 850FP down offers improved moisture resistance
Reflect mesh lining boosts effective warmth
Scooped hem and big hood offer generous coverage
Hood works best with a climbing helmet, not so good without one
Mesh-lined hand pockets can leak heat
Only a one-way main zip
No pack pocket or stuff sack
No women’s version
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The Berghaus Ramche Micro Reflect down jacket is the lighter and arguably more versatile successor to Berghaus’ expedition-ready Ramche 2.0 down jacket. However, it still has serious technical pedigree, with design input from Berghaus sponsored athlete and accomplished mountaineer Mick Fowler. As such, it’s a jacket that will appeal to climbers for its streamlined fit, generous coverage, voluminous helmet-compatible hood and highly impressive warmth for weight. The secret to the Ramche Micro’s lightweight warmth is its unique blend of advanced fabric technology, premium fill and clever patterning. It uses an extremely light but surprisingly tough 7-denier ripstop nylon face fabric and 850-fill-power hydrophobic goose down, powered by Nikwax. The design is body-mapped, with strategically placed baffles that put more fill around the torso to deliver increased core warmth. In addition, there’s an extra ingredient: an internal Reflect mesh, which according to Berghaus can increase overall warmth by up to 10%.
• RRP: £300 (UK)/€340 (EU)
• Fill: 850-fill-power hydrophobic goose down
• Sizes (men’s): XS-XXL
• Sizes (women's): N/A
• Weight (men's size M): 310g/10.9oz
• Colours: Black/Blue
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In the field
The effectiveness of that Reflect mesh was difficult to measure objectively, but we couldn’t deny that this jacket felt very warm indeed, particularly when you zipped everything up tight and cinched in the hem and hood. It’s worth noting though that the big hood works best with a helmet on; without one it is a little tricky to get a close fit. As such, it was the jacket we reached for on more technical days out, but not our primary pick for general cold-weather hillwalking.
We’ve also got a tip if you do get hold of the Berghaus Ramche Micro Reflect down jacket: make sure that you keep the hand pockets zipped up unless you’ve got your hands in them, otherwise their mesh lining can leak precious heat. The fact that the main zip only runs one-way also seems a little strange, since a two-way zip is generally considered a useful feature in a belay jacket, aiding convenience when wearing a climbing harness; we certainly prefer it, otherwise you have to be content with a jacket that bunches a little around the waist.
Lastly, that fine fabric is almost translucent, and though it is incredibly resilient for its weight, it is still possible to puncture it (as we discovered on test), though the ripstop construction means that only minor damage was sustained. Oh, and though it’s a very minor point, it’s slightly frustrating that this otherwise excellent jacket isn’t equipped with a pack pocket or even supplied with a stuff sack. We hunted around in our kit stash for a 2-litre dry bag to keep it in, which did the job. Still, the Berghaus Ramche Micro Reflect down jacket delivers a welcome boost of warmth in even the chilliest and most exposed locations.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.