In February next year, I’m off on an overwhelmingly exciting trip to South America (just in case you haven’t noticed my frequent mentions of that fact yet). I’m swapping the freezing British winter for the Caribbean coast in Colombia; it’s going to be five months of sunshine and beaches, right?
Wrong! Unfortunately, I’ll also be heading up into the Andes which, at 13,000 feet above sea level, are going to be pretty cold. And wet. Not to mention that we’ll catch the tail end of the rainy season in Bolivia. So, although there will be plenty of opportunities to laze around in the sunshine, a practical traveller like me is also going to want to prepare for the cold, wet weather and take a waterproof jacket. And considering the amount of rainfall that the rainy season can bring with it in South America, it’s going to need to be a pretty decent waterproof jacket.
I’ve opted for the fairly high-tech Mirgin La GORE-TEX Pro Jacket from Berghaus, which is specifically designed for the female mountaineer, making it perfect for my trip to the Andes. Typically, since it arrived we’ve had almost no rain in London which means it’s been pretty hard to review it’s waterproof functionality, but I’ve done my best.
We’ll start with the basics. Looks-wise, this jacket is a tiny bit garish in uber-bright orange with pink trim, but that’s useful for visibility on mountain treks and, as a lover of all things bright, I actually like it. It’s a nice slim fit and it’s a pretty, feminine jacket. There are lots of pockets, which is really handy when hiking to keep things on hand – especially when your backpack is tucked up under it’s rain-cover.
What I love about this jacket is the attention to detail. Berghaus products are tested extensively by their team of athletes and mountain guides, so they really know what they’re doing. One of the most useful features is the YKK AquaGuard® VISLON® 2-way centre zip, which is designed to be easy to use with gloves or mittens. I tested this whilst out and about in the freezing cold weather at the weekend, and with numb, gloved fingers the zips were no problem to use. There’s also extra warmth and protection from the mountain winds, in the PrimaLoft® Spindrift collar, which is really insulating. Once the jacket is on, I feel pretty securely wrapped up; the collar is really high and the hood is huge! The hood has a wired peak and is really big, offering plenty of protection.
Since it hasn’t rained recently, I had to resort to using a pretty high-tech rain simulation system in my bathroom, to really test out the jacket’s waterproof capabilities. Yes, that’s right, I wore the jacket in the shower! The hood is definitely the best feature, being so wide that water ran right off the sides and came nowhere near my face, but overall the Mirgin La was completely waterproof: every bit of me that was under the jacket was bone dry.
It has been cold enough in London for me to test out how well the jacket performs in cold weather conditions, though, and I’m pleased to say it stood up very well. With a jumper underneath, the jacket kept me very warm while I was out for a long walk. The high collar is great against the wind at the weekend, and the sleeves have adjustable velcro straps at the wrists which let me tighten them up over my gloves, keeping me securely closed up against the cold.
For me, the Mirgin La is the perfect waterproof jacket to take on my trip to the Andes. It’s lightweight enough to squish into my backpack and not take up too much room, but it’s also sturdy, fantastically waterproof and nice and warm. Plus it’s nicely fitted and flattering, so I can still look good while I’m stomping around the mountains!
Head over to Berghaus to view their full range of outdoor clothing now.