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I bought this jacket last year after rekindling my love of walking with my husband. I wanted a good quality jacket that would last and after having other Berghaus products in the past including fleeces and thin pullovers it was an obvious brand choice. Berghaus is a well known quality brand with a range of product choices for men, women and children. This particular jacket, the Alaska Gemini Jacket, has 2 purposes. 1. A waterproof outer winter coat. 2. An inner removable fleece coat. This coat is extremely fit for purpose and is a great wind deflector in bad weather. The fleece is warm and kept dry by the outer layer (even in extreme rain). This coat is also easy to wash and has numerous well designed pockets to hold wallets, compasses and other items you may wish to carry around. This is a top end coat with a top end price of around £160. I got mine a little cheaper than this in an outlet store but on the whole they are an expensive brand to purchase. I would say that this coat is well worth the money and the design is such that it will age well and be able to be worn for many winter seasons to come. It is a great choice for a present as the design is both modern and classic at the same time.
Berghaus Women's Alaska Gemini Jacket I bought a cheaper jacket before winter in 2009 and just about a year later the zipper completely broke and it developed a small hole in the seam of the arm, so I decided that I wanted to buy more a substantial winter jacket this time round. I already own quite a few Berghaus products so I knew that it was a brand that usually delivered quality items, so I started my search there and ended up purchasing their Berghaus Alaska Gemini Jacket, which is one of their 3 in 1 jacket ranges. So is it really 3 Jackets in 1? These jackets are really flexible and I was tempted to get this one over many others because instead of just being a winter jacket it has the ability to be an all year around jacket. The three in one options are that you can wear this as I bought it with the fleece inside the outer shell creating a really warm, water proof and cosy jacket, or you can just wear the fleece jacket, which in itself is a complete item. Or thirdly, you can wear the outer waterproof shell, which will make a great light rain proof jacket for those rainy spring and summer days where you need the protection but without the heavy layers. Jacket number one - The winter jacket This is the cosiest and warmest jacket that I have ever owned. It not only looks great but it is also very practical. To begin with there are two front side pockets to tuck your hands in or as I more commonly use them for carrying poop scoop bags, my keys, money and my phone in. The pockets are zipped but they also have quite a large flap just above them to make sure that no water can get through the zip and into the pocket, so you rest assured that any items like your phone or iPod are safe even in the worst weather. The jacket also comes with a hood that was folded into the collar, since taking it out it has pretty much stayed out as the weather has not been the driest or warmest. The hood is not only great in the rain and snow but also great in the wind. While out walking the puppy I have often had my hood up to keep the cold wind from blowing around my head and it really helps to keep you warmer. The hood isn't your typical poor quality pull out hood either, it feels quite structured and has a small cap like section at the front to keep the rain off your face and from dripping down onto your face. There is also a drawstring at the side of the hood, so you can tighten it if like me you have a smaller head. The hood also has a couple of clips which you can fasten beside your chin which pretty much guarantees that this won't come down with even a large amount of wind. The collar is quite high and quite stiff especially when the fleece is zipped inside which means that this is great at keeping the wind and any rain away from your neck, when it is particularly cold I zip this all the way up. There is also a drawstring at the bottom which you can use to tighten or release the jacket depending upon your preferences or the weather, when it is particularly bad weather I like to keep my jacket as sealed as possible to keep me warm. However, on the warmer days I prefer to leave it loose. The fleece part is extremely simple to both remove and then re-attach to the outer jacket, Berghaus have really thought the process through and the fleece jacket just zips inside but as well it has little hooks which are easily attachable at the wrists and back of neck to make sure that it firmly stays in place. Jacket number two - The fleece The fleece that is included can we worn as part of the jacket or as well as being a standalone fleece, the first time that I removed the fleece to wear, I was surprised and pleased to find that it was a complete fleece. I had thought that it would have just been an insert but it looks good worn on its own. The fleece is quite heavy and was a blessing when our gas central heating decided to pack in and the house got very cold for a few days before we got it fixed. I wore the fleece pretty much from the moment I was dressed until it was time for bed again. As well as being a warm item of clothing it is also very soft to the touch and really has been well made. The fleece is also very easy to wash and it does come with washing instructions but so far mine has washed up pretty much perfectly. If for some reason you might need to you can buy another separate fleece to go with this jacket, a lot of the Berghaus fleece jackets are part of their interactive system so they will fit inside most outer jacket shells. However, I don't think that I will need to replace this anytime soon, but I have worn this quite a lot when it has just been a little colder in the house rather than turn the heating on. Jacket number three - The rain jacket Without the fleece this is really quite a nice lightweight jacket which is ideal when you don't need a heavy warm layer but just something to protect you from the rain or wind. The outer shell jacket is made from a Gore-Tex material which is both waterproof and breathable. Another great advantage of the Gore-Tex material is that it is easily wipe able, after I have been out for a walk with the dog I can get a bit muddy. I often have to deal with a puppy that occasionally slobbers over me or puts a dirty paw on my jacket and it is a great added bonus that this jacket is easy to keep clean, or at least cleanish. As well as having a zip it also has an additional flap with clip buttons which you can easily fasten to make sure this jacket is properly sealed if the rain is particularly bad. The cuffs are also adjustable with a Velcro strap, which means that again you can tighten these in the worst of the weather to make sure that no water is going to sneak in. The sleeves are also a great length they are slightly on the long side which means that I can easily tuck my hands inside to keep them warm or shelter them against the biting wind we've been experiencing of late. The Jacket Overall This is a rather expensive jacket but you do get a lot of jacket for your money, the Berghaus Alaska Gemini Jacket typically retails for somewhere around about £200, but you do get quality for your money. I wouldn't say that this jacket was a bargain but I do think that it has been worth every penny that I paid for it. It is also worth searching around as I have seen this available for £160 at some online stores. The jacket is available in a number of different colours from a plain black to a plum colour as well as what Berghaus refer to as an eclipse shade. I choose the eclipse shade, which is a lovely mix of predominantly navy colour with a light purple (a kind of lavender) shade, that highlights the flaps and inside cuffs. I really like the navy because it is dark but without being black. If I could give this jacket more than five out of five stars I would, from the moment I brought this jacket home I have been in love with it. It is warm and completely comfortable to wear, with the recent horrid snow and rain it has been a real asset to my wardrobe. I would happily recommend this jacket to anyone looking for something similar, it really does have a lot to offer and it does so while being warm and comfortable but also looking really good. This is a great practical jacket and although I have only had this for a few months it really seems life a proper piece of winter gear that will last and last and last.