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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Berghaus Akka Down Vest from

One of the significant advantages of having a hillwalking/outdoor blog is that from time to time, people like to send you stuff for review. They get a plug, and you get some stuff. It’s a win-win, providing the stuff you get is worth having.

So I was quite pleased to be offered the chance to choose a piece of kit from  - a more or less free choice.

I had a rummage through their website and asked for this Berghaus Akka down vest. It arrived the next morning. Here it is on Simplyhike’s website page

I wanted one of these mainly for sitting around in on backpacking trips. Avid readers, stalkers and casual visitors with really good memories will recollect that in May this year, I’m taking part in the annual TGO challenge –a Scottish coast-to-coast with wild camping and some sitting around after walking all day. I’ve noticed that some other Challengers have down vests and, well, basically, I wanted one. The advantages to having such a thing is that 1) they’re very warm and 2) they pack down really small and 3) they don’t weigh much.

Sooooo does it do what I want it to do?

It is very warm. Apart from the fact that there’s no sleeves (!) But if there were sleeves, it would be too warm for walking. I used it on several walks, some of which were in typical nithering Northumbrian winds on the high fells. The insulation is 600 fill power on an 80/20 duck down /feather mix, which is very warm. The fit also comes very low down over the hips and buttocks which covers up any waistline draught-gaps that might happen.  For winter fellwalking, I used a micro fleece and a long-sleeved merino wool baselayer underneath it and a Paramo windproof over it. This was toasty, to be frank….

Does it pack down small?  This is it packed tightly into a stuff sack. The boot (a free TNG Dhaulagiri II GTX by the way…) is just there to demonstrate scale. This is small enough…..

akka 001

Does it weigh much? No. It weighs 470 grammes once I’ve emptied the loose change and car keys out of the pockets.  This will be fine. If the nights get perishingly cold, such as during our recent Cheviot backpack, I can invite it into my sleeping bag for a cuddle.

What else?

I was impressed by Simplyhike’s price. the RRP is £100 and the price on Simplyhike is £69.95.

What’s it like, though?

Its black. It’s outer fabric is AF treated with a Durable Water Repellant (DWR) finish. This is reckoned to be able to stand up to home laundering, though I haven’t washed it as yet. so I can’t comment. I’ll add something somewhere after it’s been laundered. The AF fabric combined with the fluffy down is windproof and is fine in light showers

It has two deep zipped pockets. This is ideal for me as I loose all kinds of stuff out of any pocket which doesn’t have a zip. I remember, for instance a futile chase over the moors of the Aberdeenshire after a twenty pound note that was making a wind-assisted escape towards Denmark last summer. These things leave lasting scars, so deep pockets with zips are just the thing.

The front closure is a good zip and there’s a high, soft collar.

What about the sleeves? It hasn’t got any sleeves. You haven’t been paying attention have you?

Verdict: I really like this vest. It’s cosy and comforting and useful and it does the kind of things I need it to do.

And Simplyhike have loads of hillwalking/camping/outdoor stuff and here is their website: simplyhike   Have a look.


Alan R said...

Mike, Who’s a lucky boy.
Price is good for a down vest.
I would hold off from laundering, well the vest anyway.
Down items don’t seem to recover 100% after washing.
And the DWR is also reduced.

afootinthehills said...

A Down Vest is one thing I don't possess. I think I might remedy that given your review Mike.

Jules said...

Isn't it great when you find a bit of kit you hope will do the job for you and it turns out to be fantastic? Most gear will do OK, but that extra something that takes it to "essential" is often just missing!

I'm in the process of considering my winter wardrobe at the moment. I haven't decided quite what I'm going to do yet, but any info about good stuff is worth checking out, so thanks for the advice!

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