Here at Woodlore HQ, we’ve asked the members of our full-time team to pick their favourite courses and kit from our range, to find out just what it is that makes them so good. Team member Steven Bullen picked his Bergans Sauda Down Jacket:
I am, without a doubt, someone who feels the cold more than others. When the rest of the team are sleeping out in their Ospreys or Golden Eagles, I’ll be there in my Canada Jay; with a woolly hat on. I’ve always been like this – possibly due to poor circulation – and as such I often have to go the extra mile when planning trips in cold environments, or simply when heading out for the day in winter.
After purchasing a fairly expensive down jacket a few years ago and still feeling the cold, I wasn’t convinced of the benefits of down over fibre-filled jackets; it would take an age to warm up and even once it did it was never that snug anyway. However, what I failed to look into at the time was the down-to-feather ratio of the jacket – a figure often displayed as something like ’80/20′. What this figure shows is just how much of the jacket’s filling consists of actual down, compared to feathers (which do not provide as much insulation). In the simplest of terms, the higher the ratio of down, the warmer the jacket will be. So, with a down/feather ratio of just 60/40, it wasn’t too surprising that my old jacket wasn’t up to scratch.
Fast forward to last winter, and after doing some research I decided to invest in a new, higher-quality down jacket. The jacket I chose was the Bergans Sauda Down Jacket which, with a down-to-feather ratio of 95/5, was a vast improvement on my old jacket. When I first tried the Sauda on, to say that the difference was noticeable was an understatement. As soon as you put it on it feels as though you’ve just wrapped yourself in pre-warmed duvet – the insulation is almost instant.
The high ratio of down has other benefits too – the jacket is extremely lightweight, and you can compress it to such a small size that it fits inside its own inner pocket, which is a massive help when packing for a trip. In most situations it is easily warm enough with a single base layer on underneath, thanks in part to the completely windproof outer, which makes it feel like a really solid barrier on windswept days.
My only word of warning would be with regards to the sizing, as it is a very close-fitting jacket. Being a 37″ chest I originally purchased a Small, but I had to swap this for a Medium to allow for better movement. If you’re looking to wear multiple layers underneath, I would definitely recommend going up a size.
Nowadays, as soon as the temperature drops, the Sauda is the first jacket I grab when heading out. It has kept me warm on many occasions, whether camped out lakeside in Norway, climbing and belaying in high winds off the coast of Portland, or simply driving to work in the snow when the car heater has packed up.
- Steven Bullen