Baffin Island sounds like a kitschy ’70s BBC game show, but is actually a mountainous island in northern Canada and the fifth-largest island in the world. Surrounded by and often covered in cold or frozen water, it’s no surprise that it would be the namesake of a waterproof shell. The Berghaus Baffin Island Jacket ups the ante for both breathability and protection in alpine shells with an innovative design.
The shell itself has three separate waterproof layers using Berghaus’ proprietary Hydroshell technology. Berghaus designed it as their answer to materials like Gore-Tex. It’s light and waterproof, but emphasizes comfort and ventilation more than its contemporaries. It’s a great material, but what elevates the Baffin Island is intelligent design. Different areas of the jacket excel at different things. Vulnerable areas such as the shoulders are reinforced for extra waterproofing and durability, while other areas take liberal advantage of Hydroshell’s natural ventilating properties with a lighter build of the material. The result is the perfect jacket for exerting yourself in bad weather.
The Baffin Island is first and foremost an alpine jacket, with technical features like a hood that accommodates a climbing helmet, a lock down front puller (which is fancy-speak for saying it pulls tight so it doesn’t snag on a rock) and drawcords that keep wind out. Stretch fabrics give the wearer a full range of motion. It also has nifty touches like pockets for hand warmers and a sleeve pass designed to keep the jacket from catching. It’s also reinforced against wear and tear from harnesses and packs.
By pairing every feature that one could want in an alpine jacket with one of the most exciting new materials on the market, Berghaus has created one of the most bombproof as well as one of the most well-ventilated alpine jackets ever — two terms that should be mutually exclusive. Wearers will be sweating less, but they won’t be cold. berghaus.com
Hydrostatic Head: 20,000mm
Primary Materials: Hydroshell Air, Hydroshell Elite Pro
Build Layers: 3
Country of Origin: UK