Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mount Asgard Smock - Gear Review in Climber Magazine

English outdoor giant Berghaus recently introduced its high end Mtn Haus range of clothing and gear. Developed with nutbar Brit climber Leo Houlding, the Mtn Haus ‘Extrem’ range is purportedly focussed towards the technical user – without all the overhyped wicking-this, pit zip-that bells and whistles the mainstream market seems to feed off these days.
I got the opportunity to test drive one of the ‘Extrem’ flagship models – the Mount Asgard Smock. Upon receiving the rain jacket, my first thought was ‘Jesus, it’s small.’ It comes in a stuff sack that’s about half the size of my bivvy bag, weighing in at a paltry 290g (size large). The fabric is Goretex Pro Shell, which means it should wear well. I still think of this as a two-layer fabric, but Google if you want to know what it does and doesn’t do compared to other ‘waterproof, breathable’ fabrics.
 Generally speaking, rain jackets get a bum rap. They are stuffed into dark, cramped spaces for hours, days or even months on end, and then hauled out when things turn pear-shaped. And that was the case with my Smock. I’d only throw it on at bivvy sites, strut around and comment on its nice shade of blue with red trim. But a ‘death and taxes’ day finally arrived, and the Smock played its part well.
So, rather than a typical rain jacket that has a zip running all the way down the front, the Smock’s zip ends midway, kind of like an old Fairydown model from years ago. This is where a major saving in weight comes in, as well as being more waterproof. The Smock is a tight fit, but has these nifty underarm gussets, meaning there is still enough movement in the sleeves. And the hood fits well with a helmet.
This is supposed to be an impartial review but…I love the jacket! The design cuts out all the extraneous stuff that has been weighing down other supposedly technical jackets. This is true ‘smash and grab’ stuff. It may be a squeeze getting my big puffer on underneath during a midwinter climb, but that’s nothing I can’t solve with a bit of lypo-suction.
Score: 4.999999/5

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