I was sent the Ramche Micro to take on my recent trip to Switzerland. It is due for release in the upcoming 17/18 Winter season. It is the leaner version of the Ramche 2.0 that was released for the 16/17 Winter season. I have seen the Micro previewed at outdoor retail events by multi Piolet d’Or winner Mick Fowler. He was involved in the designing of the jacket. So the Micro has pedigree.
As a disclaimer, I haven’t (yet) used this jacket in anger, just mildly perturbed. I took it to Switzerland and due to the planned route being a non-starter I stood in wet snow fall eating lunch and watched snow career down the gullies of our route. I’ve also used it as a belay jacket on the windy sea crags on the North Sea. There’s certainly more scope for use but I wanted to give you my initial impressions of Berghaus’s addition to its winter Extrem range for 17/18.
The specification of the Micro is similar to the Ramche 2.0 just turned down a bit.
Berghaus’s spec says –
Superior Insulation – Stay warm and dry with Hydrodown®, down treated with hydrophobic Nikwax® that stays dry and warm for up to 16 hours in damp conditions.
Reflect Technology – A fine, breathable internal reflective mesh fabric reflects your own body heat bock in adding 10% extra warmth without the weight.
Intelligent Heat Distribution – Experience heat where you need it most without the bulk, thanks to clever body mapping.
Enjoy a perfect comfortable fit with your helmet and the jackets adjustable hood.
Keep essentials safe with two hand pockets and one cosy inner pocket.
Main Body: Super-lightweight 100% polyamide (22g/m2)
Content: 100% polyamide
7d polyamide ripstock
Highly wind resistant (less then 5cfm)
Durable water repellent finish
Lining content: 100% polyamide
Insulation: Hydrodown® 850 100% (90% down & 10% feather) goose down.
The quoted weight is 310g, my sample weighs 311g.
The shell is Berghaus’s “super lightweight” 7 denier fabric, which to look at is transparent enough to see the down through. However as I stood at the foot of our objective with wet sleet/snow falling on me I was impressed by how it beaded. There was no sign of penetration form the short period and precipitation shook off easily when I rolled it away. I had it over a wet hardshell and the internal fabric coped with the damp surface too.
The fit for a medium is definitely ‘active’, I was impressed it went over the hardshell. The fabric has minimal stretch and with only a base layer on it was comfortable. Since then I’ve had it on over a softshell and again sat nicely whilst belaying in the wind.
The hood is huge, it will fit over any climbing helmet you choose to wear. If you’re wearing this jacket and you want to use the hood a helmet is advisable. Without a helmet it is baggy and cumbersome when cinched down on the mark 1 skull. It doesn’t turn with the head very well unless there is a helmet on, then you can’t fault it. The cinch cords pull inside the jacket which prevents them blowing about in the wind.
There are 2 waist level pockets with zips which use mesh as the internal layer to make the pocket. For me a pocket on an insulated jacket is to help with the warming of my hands when the glove needs a bit of assistance. When the wind blows a lot of it can creep in to the jacket depending on your position to the direction of the wind, even with a gloved hand in it. I have forgotten to zip them up and sat on a belay with heat being pushed out as the wind blew in. I would have thought it would make more sense to have made it a sealed unit.
The specification detailed above says that there is a “cosy inner pocket”, the model I have hasn’t got that and also I was also told that the model, when it is released, will have a beard guard on the inside of the zip, where you would expect to find the zip against an Alpinists chin.
The “Reflect Technology” is something that is hard to test but the heat the Ramche Micro holds is notable. It’s not an orthodox method of testing but I used it as a blanket on bare legs whilst I slept in the car and when I removed it the temperature change to bare skin was surprising. The warmth to weight ratio is very impressive.
Overall the Berghaus Ramche Micro is a great addition to the Extrem range, pricey by most standards but has its place in the market. When the temperature decreases again (we are on the winter side of the summer solstice) I will take it out for some Scottish Winter abuse and come back to you.