Thursday, 11 December 2014 15:03

Berghaus Insulated Frendo Jacket Reviewed

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Berghaus Insulated Frendo Jacket

Price: £320

Colours: Black,Electric Green, Intense Blue / Blue Lemonade

Weight: 2.49kg


The warmest waterproof in the Berghaus range and featuring the latest technology the Insulated Frendo is a serious ski jacket built to keep the elements firmly on the outside. Combining heat mapping and the new Hydrodown it's designed for use in the snow. As a top end piece of kit it's absolutely packed with features and can be used together with the Insulated Frendo Trousers to form a complete weather protection solution. We put it through its paces on a recent trip to the Otztal Alps in Austria.


What the manufacturers say:

Our warmest waterproof, the Berghaus men's Frendo Insulated GORE-TEX® and Hydroloft® Jacket is just what you need for extended backcountry skiing in the depths of winter. Guaranteed protection from the elements, innovative MtnHaus® body mapped insulation and multiple features add up to the ultimate jacket for adventures in the snow.

The Frendo Insulated boasts a fixed and fully adjustable helmet compatible hood, a detachable snow skirt and loads of storage in seven pockets. Venting and adjustment options mean you can adapt the jacket to stay comfortable at all times when in action.



On Test:

We took the Insulated Frendo Jacket, along with the matching trousers, out to Austria in December as the temperatures dropped to -11.8 at 2600m. With 2 days of almost constant snow we put it through everything you'd throw at it on a skiing trip, plus a bit more durability testing being a total beginner. The trip involved regular periods of inactivity interspersed with lots of short climbs and descents as we learnt the basics - meaning the jacket had to contend with changing condtions every few minutes. Just to top it off we put it through 30 minutes lying prone on the snow shooting pictures and a rapid night time descent on the back of a skidoo.

Insulated Frendo Jacket and Pants together


In technical terms the Insulated Frendo is a two layer Gore-Tex fabric in combination with Berghaus' own synthetic Hydroloft Elite Pro. Using body-mapping Berghaus have distributed the insulation to the areas where it's needed most and the outer fabric is a durable ripstop. YKK AquaGuard zips and bonded cuff attachments, together with the fixed hood and removable stretch snow skirt keep the wearer completely sealed in. The jacket also zips together with the Insulated Frendo Pants to make a completely sealed unit. We used the Insulated Frendo with just a base layer, a mid layer would have been over the top, but the fit would allow additional layers in between if necessary. At 935g it's light enough to put in your baggage but equally if you're totally reliant on it should your bags go missing or already pushing your baggage allowance then it's not unreasonable to travel in.

In practise it took a couple of goes to zip the trousers and pants together but soon became 2nd nature and just a couple of seconds work. It may seem the least important of the tests we put the combination through but in reality the ability to seperate them was vital. The Insulated Frendo, zipped up, is warm....really warm. If you're standing around on the slopes listening to instruction with everything zipped up you'll be just aboput get away with staying fully zipped up but once you get moving you'll be glad of the underam ventilation zips. Step off the piste into a hutte for lunch and the chances are you're going to want to take it off completely - this is the point where being able to join and seperate trousers and jacket is important.

Out of the hutte and back on the piste the combination worked perfectly. When the cable car broke down and we were stranded at 2600m for an hour rather than stand around we took the opportunity to get a few portrait pictures, lying prone in the snow for the best part of 30 minutes. The temperature was close to -12 but with zips all done up and cuffs sealed it may as well have been +12. The helmet compatable hood pulls up and adjusts quickly and simply and with or without the trousers attached the removable snow skirt stops and snow or draughts finding their way inside.

There are pockets everywhere in the Insulated Frendo with mesh and zipped internal pockets, 2 Napoleon chest pockets and 2 hand warmer pockets plus the mandatory sleeve pocket which housed GPS and touchless lift pass for the weekend. Access to the pockets is quick and simple even carrying a pack, or camera bag, with non-snagging and waterproof zips.



With the constant changes in activity level from sweating uphill sideways to lying prone in the snow the Frendo had a lot to put up with and it took most of the first day's use to work out the optimum ventilation adjustments reqired to avoid overheating. Cold was never an issue, nor was water resistance and once the subtlety of the venting was worked out breathability was better than expected. The stretch snow skirt allowed just enough air intake with the hem loosend that slight adjustments in how far the pit zips were opened made a noticeable difference and gave a fine level of control.

With the ripstop facing fabric the outer proved durable whether pushing through crowded hut entrances or taking multiple falls on the piste. The layout and number of pockets made carrying a drink and snacks an option without the need for a daypack and the hood was everything we've come to expect from Berghaus. There's no doubt that the Insulated Frendo wasn't even close to its limits at -12 and that's reassuring when you're waiting for the cable car power to be restored!




Fabric: Gore-Tex 2L (100% nylon, 95gsm)

  • Insulation: Hydroloft Elite Pro (100% polyester, 100gsm, 80gsm)
  • Fixed, fully adjustable, helmet compatible hood
  • Zipped sleeve pocket
  • Two zipped napoleon chest pockets
  • Two zipped hand warmer pockets
  • Internal stretch pocket
  • Internal zipped pocket
  • YKK AquaGuard VT10 centre-front zip
  • Underarm venting
  • Bonded cuff tab adjustment
  • Inner stretch cuffs
  • Detachable, stretch snow skirt
  • Zip to compatible pants
  • Drawcord hem adjustment
  • Weight: 932g