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I have owned a Berghaus Women's Spectrum Interactive Fleece Jacket for about the past two years. I can't remember exactly what I paid for it, but I notice it is available to be bought on Amazon at the moment for £33.24. I know that initially this may not seem like a particularly cheap price, but it is a very good quality jacket from a trusted manufacturer, and having owned one of these jackets and used it extensively, I really do feel that it's worth the money.
The jacket is a fleece jacket that is designed into be worn in a casual style - and I would tend to wear it with jeans, walking trousers or tracksuit bottoms. Having said that, the Berghaus Women's Spectrum Interactive Fleece Jacket is not scruffy and looks quite neat despite its casual nature. There are a number of colours to choose from, namely black, grape, fig, palestone, amethyst, china blue, eclipse, navy, mauve wood and green tea. I have the china blue colour which is a dark pale blue (if that makes sense!!). It is also available in a wide range of sizes, from sizes 8 - 20, but I do find these jackets tend to be on the small size and so I would recommend opting for the size up from what you would normally buy.
This fleece jacket is known as being a good heat insulator. It has a Clothing and Thermal Insulation factor (CLO) of 0.7, and if you compare this to the fact that a light sweater has a CLO of 0.2 and a thick sweater has a CLO of 0.35, this means it is twice as insulating as a typical light sweater - and hence it really does keep you warm. This jacket can actually be zipped into and therefore combined with any Berghaus jacket and therefore you can get even more insulation if you combine this with a Berghaus overcoat. It's not completely insulating, because if it is very cold then it will not provide the impossible, but it certainly helps. It is not waterproof and so if it gets wet then it doesn't keep my skin dry, but it does have a good wind-proofing ability.
The jacket feels very comfortable and it zips up the middle, which provides more warmth and also gives the jacket more shape. The zip will go right up over the neck and so, again, this adds to the warmth factor, but it also can be worn open neck - which tends to be how I find it most comfortable to wear it. It has a pocket in each side at hip height, but there is no fastener on the pocket, and I would prefer it if I was able to zip the pockets up.
This jacket can be washed in the washing machine and the tumble dryer. I tend to wash it on a fairly low weight, and also put it into the tumble dryer on a low heat also - although it's better if it's hung on the line. It washes well and doesn't bobble or shrink.
Overall, I think this is a very decent jacket and it's come in handy to me over the last few years.
This spectrum fleece by Berghaus is a super product, it is great for keeping me warm in the colder months and is part of the Berghaus interactive system which means it can also provide the thermal inner for a heavier waterproof coat by using the zips to attach it to the inside of the coat, this is a really neat feature and allows you to build up layers when in very cold climates.
It comes in a range of colours and sizes and I have two of these, one in boring black and the other in a pale cashmere blue. Both cost around the £40 mark and they are 200 fleece fabric so not the heaviest of the range but perfectly good for blocking the effects of the wind and providing good thermal protection when used with base layers ion very cold weather. I also love these for just lounging around the house in and of course they are excellent for their main purpose when hiking.
They have a high neck with the zip going all the way to the top so they can provide warmth right up to your chin and this can fold down when unzipped to form a collar. I like the cut of these jackets as they fit nice and snug around the waist while giving a generous fit around the bust. The zip is excellent quality and never snags and there are two zip pockets one on either side which are fleece lined so great for warming cold hands.
These jackets are pretty hard wearing and especially my black one which I have worn a lot while hiking is still in good condition with only a few bobbles showing. They are machine washable and while the black one is not quite as dark as it was new after a number of washes it still looks pretty good.
Berghaus are a great brand and this is a great range of fleeces that I would certainly recommend.
Being an 'outdoor' type, I am a fan of fleeces. They are a great, versatile piece of clothing that can be used in lots of situations, therefore I have quite a few of them which I will gradually review.
One of my favourites is the Berghaus Spectrum Interactive fleece. You may wonder how it is 'interactive' and this is simply because it can be zipped into any compatible Berghaus jacket. In fact I don't have a compatible jacket so I don't actually use it for this, I use it as a fleece on its own and it is more than suitable for this purpose.
== The Material ==
This is described as 'AT classic double sided velour fleece with a thermal insulation of 0.6-0.7 CLO'. I'm not exactly sure what this means(!), but to the layman this is a nice, soft fleece which is fairly thick - not the thinnest fleece but also not one of those very thick ones which are more like a jacket. So I would describe this as a medium-weight fleece. It is very warm and has done a very good job of keeping me cosy in the cold weather. It is not windproof though (you have to pay a lot more money for windproof fleeces) so if you wear it as an outer layer on a windy day, the wind will bite right through this fleece and really you need some sort of windproof jacket instead or as well. That is pretty standard for fleeces though, as they offer breathability, and is not a fault of this particular one.
== Colours ==
Lots to choose from! Mine is burgundy but it is from last season and I'm not sure you can get it in that colour any more. Looking at the Berghaus website it is available in several lovely new colours:
Grape compote (this is a pretty lilac colour)
Eclipse (a dark, charcoaly blue/grey)
Cashmere Blue (very pale almost baby blue)
Mauve Wood (a dusky pink)
Palestone (very light cream - lovely but maybe not the most practical colour!
== The Fit ==
I tend to buy some fleeces in my correct size and some in one size bigger so that I can wear a sweater underneath if I want to. This one is one size bigger and still fits nicely. It is slightly fitted so offers a flattering shape, but not so fitted that it is tight or restricting. There is a drawstring at the bottom which sits about on your hip. I don't tend to use the drawstring as I prefer the bottom to hang rather than hug, but it's there if you want it as some people prefer to close it up, especially if it's being worn under the interactive shell. The cuffs are elasticated, but not ever so tight so they are very comfortable and easy to get on and off over your hands. It has a high neck like most fleeces which is great for a chilly morning as I can zip right up to under my chin to keep the chill out, then when it gets warmer I gradually unzip to allow a bit of air in.
There are two fairly small zip pockets which are referred to by the manufacturer as 'hand-warmer pockets' - presumably called this as they are quite small and not designed to hold much more than your hands! They are plenty big enough to hold my phone, a couple of tissues, door keys etc though (as well as my hands if need be!) and I like the fact that they are zipped as this means everything is kept secure.
The main front zip is well made and easy to grab and do up/undo, even with gloves on.
== Protection ==
Part of the reason that I like fleeces so much is that they do a great job of keeping you warm but are also breathable, so they are incredibly handy for outdoor active use. This one is no exception and is a great piece of clothing for changebale weather, like recently where we've had chilly mornings followed quickly by the sun appearing and making it much warmer. So if I'm out on a long ride and I pop this on it will keep me warm while it's still chilly, then as it warms up I don't feel overhot due to its breathability.
Another great benefit is that, although not totally waterproof, this fleece will certainly keep you dry in a shower and as well as that, it dries ever so quickly. So if I get a bit of an unexpected soaking, I only have to hang it up somewhere dry for an hour or so and it totally dries out again.
== Washing and Durability ==
Like my experience with all Berghaus products, this is very good quality and washes extremely well, at 30 or 40 degrees. I hang it to dry and it dries out very quickly as mentioned above, even after washing. It has not lost its shape or colour at all and there is minimal pilling on the fleece which speaks volumes about the quality of it as I have worn and washed it tons of times.
== Value for Money ==
RRP is £45 and that is what you will find it for on the Berghaus website, however I have seen it for £30 in several places so I think it would be quite easy to get it at that price. This is a good, basic, quality fleece which is very well made so I think it offers excellent value for money.
Thoroughly recommended, even if you don't want to use its interactive feature, as this is a great fleece just on its own.
(Review will also appear on Ciao)