Bergans Stegaros Soft Shell Mid Layer for Men and Women
Product Review & Walking Gear Test
Stegaros Soft Shell Mid Layer for Men and Women
Bergans says:"Technical jacket in windproof and water-repellent softshell material, designed for a versatile and active outdoor lifestyle."
Features to Note:
- Fabric: Faceside 87% Polyester/13% Elastane
- Fabric: Backside 100% Polyester
- Extended back panel and reflective logo
- Helmet compatible hood
- Pit zips
- Front pockets and chest pocket lines with mesh
- Elastic drawstring at hem
Soft shells seem to sit on a spectrum between a fleece and a full waterproof jacket in the expectation that a reduction in waterproofness is compensated for by an improvement in other aspects of technical performance - eg breathability, weight or freedom of movement.
The Stegaros from Bergans is certainly a extremely stylish example that seems to be located closer to the full jacket end of the spectrum; it looks and - to some extent feels - like a waterproof jacket. The exterior has a relatively hard feel- and does rustle quite a lot (for a soft shell!); the interior does have a much softer feel.
I was wearing my usual size and found that the fit overall is very generous - there's certainly room for a good thermal layer underneath if necessary. The sleeves are actually a little too long and I found I had to roll them up a little - not a situation I usually face! It's a good long length with a drop-tail back for extra protection.
My several outings wearing the Stegaros have been on a number of day walks in the Staffordshire Peaks in some quite variable September weather. It's certainly windproof and is pretty breathable although I was glad of the good long pit zips during higher energy periods. It's ok in light drizzle but definitely not in anything resembling heavy rain. There's some insulation but overall I think its strength is its wind resistance. The fabric does have a slight stretch in it and I must say the freedom of movement overall is pretty good.
The Stegaros isn't a particularly light weight garment but it's not too bulky to stow quite happily at the bottom of a daypack. In fact it's less bulky than my Paramo fleece.
Generous enough to wear over a helmet, the hood is overall quite impressive. There's a decent volume adjuster and a good peak; a minor gripe is there is a tendency for the closing toggles to flap around a bit but once its adjusted it provides very good protection and does move with you when you look around.
The main front zip is one-way only and just about usable with gloved hands.
Finally the pockets - there's one front chest pocket (handy for phone etc) and two large side pockets which are big enough to take a folded OS map. However, these side pockets aren't really conveniently accessible if you're wearing a daypack/backpack which is a bit of a nuisance.
As I've come to expect from Bergans, the overall build quality is very good.
Bergans' Stegaros is probably one of the most stylish garments I've seen for a while. At it's best as part of a layering system in drier weather, for higher energy activities particularly if there's a biting wind. (I'd certainly include it in my luggage for ski-ing - will look great on or off the piste!) However, if you're looking to make just one major investment for all year hill/mountain walking in the UK - when rain is probably a given - then you're better off looking at a full waterproof jacket.
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