Hydroloft is Berghaus’s award-winning synthetic insulation, which has been designed to mimic the way that natural down traps little pockets of air inside a jacket, but which has a couple of advantages over down. It doesn’t suffer from failure when it gets wet, which normal down does, and it doesn’t clump up and move around inside a garment, which means that you don’t need to construct a jacket in baffles or pockets with those horizontal sewing lines across it.
The Rannoch Jacket, which features this Hydroloft insulation, is a jacket which is designed for messing around on Autumnal days, or for when you’re active on a colder winter day. It’s not the warmest insulated jacket out there by a long way, but it is just enough to keep you feeling comfortable when the wind picks up or the temperature drops. And that’s quite neat because it means that you don’t overheat too quickly if you start moving fast or if you go indoors, as you would in a thicker down jacket or big fleece.
The Rannoch is actually very thin to the touch. If you pinch it, you can’t really feel any insulation at all, but it is there and does its thing as soon as you unpinch – spreading the inner and outer fabrics apart and trapping that air inside it.
Berghaus have zoned the Rannoch with warmer insulation where it’s needed. I’d love to go in to detail but because I can’t really feel the insulation, I can only make an educated guess as to where it’s warmer (chest, shoulders, outer arms). But I can attest that it has never felt uncomfortably warm or sweaty, so I guess that zoning is working in tune with my various warm and cooler bits. The best things are those that you don’t really notice working, right?
The styling of the Rannoch is simple. There are no bells and whistles here. Just a couple of warm pockets and an internal zippered pocket for your valuables. That lack of detailing makes me think it’s more of a mature-wearer’s piece than a radical action-sports kind of appeal.
It doesn’t have a hood, instead concentrating on sealing out any breezes via an adjustable neck and waistband, and simple but effective elasticated cuffs. The material itself does a great job of sealing out wind and drizzle, with only a stronger shower causing the Rannoch to start soaking up water. That said, I’ve yet to experience any water coming through to my base-layers.
I think that, on reflection, what I’d use the Rannoch for is as a ready-packed warm layer in my bag. Something that doesn’t suffer from being crushed in to a compression sack, and which will be ready when you get to the summit and sit down for a sarnie, or if the sun dips behind one too many clouds. And for that, it’s a really neat, simple solution.