Waterproof jackets come in three basic types: “2-layer”, “2.5-layer” and “3-layer”. (You can read more on what that means in our Gear Glossary).
The Berghaus Ridgeway Waterproof Jacket is a “2.5-layer” jacket, which means that a single sheet of material is coated on the inside with a waterproof, breathable plastic membrane and then covered in micro-dots to stop your skin and base-layers from damaging the waterproof layer. This makes a “2.5-layer” jacket much lighter and smaller packing than the alternatives because you only have 1 layer of material. (Confusing, or what!)
Berghaus have called their material AQ2.5 and they say that, since it’s lightweight and highly breathable, the Ridgeway jacket is suitable for sweaty activities like mountain biking, hiking or running after dogs which have caught the scent of a rabbit.
The Ridgeway is designed for women, and it’s noticeable. It’s a women’s waterproof jacket that fits and looks great. It’s not self-consciously figure-hugging, but it does contour around natural curves and have narrower shoulders and waist than an equivalent mens jacket. Jodie, our tester, was massively impressed by how sleek it felt and girly it looked. Despite this, it has enough material under the arm so that it doesn’t feel constrictive when you raise an arm. A noticeable benefit of the slim-fit is the lack of flapping in a strong wind – it doesn’t act like a windsock.
What you really want from a waterproof jacket is to stay dry in the rain, and on that score the Ridgeway works very well. Water beads and runs off the material, and no amount of time seems to make the jacket get saturated. Rainproof zippers on the two large hand-warmer pockets and under-arm zips work as you’d expect, and for when things get chilly or windy the Velcro cuffs and bungee waist adjuster both seal you in nice and snugly.
The Ridgeway has a permanently attached hood with a stiffened visor. Jodie didn’t think that it would be quite stiff enough in a strong wind and I tent to agree since it is still quite flimsy despite reinforcement. Nevertheless, the hood has bungee adjusters and is a nice close fit. It rolls away with a Velcro tab when you don’t want it deployed.
Weighing in at a mere 250g, which is exactly the same as two iPhones, or slightly less than a Grey Squirrel, it feels featherweight when worn and due to its single layer can be packed down at the bottom of a daypack with ease.
Worn on a humid spring day the Ridgeway waterproof jacket was quite warm. Jodie found the armpit vents necessary and useful to balance her temperature, and they didn’t leak when it rained for a short while. She really liked the long fabric toggles on each zipper which made opening and closing the pockets and vents easy when on the move or one-handed.
A slightly sloped/scooped rear covers your bum when you’re leaning forward to climb hills, or when you reach up. We don’t think it’s really long enough for cycling though.
At £125, some of you might baulk at what feels like a cagoule (because of its single layer) in store. But a closer examination of the materials and finishes reveals a very well made waterproof jacket indeed. The AQ2 fabric feels hard-wearing and the seams are all taped with precision. Bungee pulls, zippers and Velcro tabs are also all very well finished and easy to use. A quick look online at waterproof jacket prices reveals that it’s not expensive at all, compared to the quality competition.
Oh, and if you’re not a fan of hot pink, the Ridgeway comes in green and tasteful black too.
SUMMARY: Lightweight, packable and well-fitting jacket which is as happy shoved at the bottom of a daypack ‘just-in-case’ as it is being worn on a hike through a monsoon. A lot of work has gone into the fit and finish of this jacket and it shows. It looks great on and feels feminine. It’s a lot more than a simple cagoule, and the AQ2 material sheds water but breathes well – it was never uncomfortably sweaty in use. As a 3-season jacket to wear over base-layers or a thin fleece it is brilliant. It’s not insulated though, so when you need more layers in winter you might need to trade up a size or go for something different.
From: Google Shopping
More info: Berghaus
Tags and search info for this review: This is a review womens waterproof jacket review. GearWeAre.com tests and reviews waterproof clothing, outdoor gear and camping equipment.