Seeing as it's getting to that time of year again where it starts to get a bit chilly I thought I would do an honest and in depth review of the Berghaus Ben Oss Fleece.
As I have said many times before I'm a bit of a Berghaus fan boy and I own around 7 of their jackets, several pairs of trouser and untold amounts of base layers and I really rate the gear they make but this will still be and honest review based around my findings.
A little bit of background to Berghaus to start with, It's a British company, despite its name (german translation is Mountain House) and I love to buy British especially during these turbulent times where the economy is up and down it's great knowing you are supporting a British company and British jobs.
Berghaus was created in 1972 by climbers Peter Lockey and Gordon Davison, who frustrated with the quality of mountaineering clothing available, decided to design their own.
Berghaus was born and quickly gained a substantial following based around the quality and innovation of its products.
In the late 90s they made a significant leap forward by securing the right to use Gore membranes in their products, at the time the most advanced material for waterproof and breathable functions.
Reputation quickly grew and they were established as one of the market leaders in walking & climbing clothing so as you can see they have a very good pedigree behind them.
So now you know the company lets have a look at the Ben Oss fleece itself (Named after a mountain in the Argyll region of Scotland).
The fleece itself is available in three colours, blue, dark blue and finally black, I opted for the Dark Blue version which is pictured in this review.
The design is very pleasing on the eye and a small splash of colour on the chest pocket adds to the look in my opinion.
The fit of the fleece is absolutely spot on, even for a fuller figured gentleman like me. There are elasticated panels and sections which allow the fleece to contour the body really well without ever feeling tight or restrictive.
The neck was an especially nice surprise as some of the older Berghaus fleeces tended to be fairly tight around the neck almost to the point that it was uncomfortable. Berghaus have listened to feedback and rectified this and made the neck stretchy so it fits perfectly.
The fleece comes with a hood which is very comfortable to wear and really does cut the wind down without even feeling like you are wearing one, I cannot emphasise just how comfortable it is to wear.
The Ben Oss Fleece has a draw string around the bottom of it so you can get a snug fit and again keep wind out, There are two outer hand warmer pockets which are mesh lined and can act as ventilation if needed while a single chest pocket is handy for a phone or small map, keys etc..
The fleece is made of 350 g/m2 weight polyester micro fleece which is non pilling so it will stay looking good even after a good bit of wear.
The feel is very much like velour and as crazy as it sounds, it makes you feel good when you wear it, much like someone is giving you a hug as it's so well cut and contoured with its stretch panels and material.
The Ben Oss fleece is designed to be a three season fleece and is suitable for all but winter seasons really although if its fairly mild it will still keep you warm, I have tested this to only 3 degrees at the moment but with a much colder wind chill and it was perfectly warm.
Because of its lightweight feel you almost wont notice wearing it and even in fairly warm conditions the fleece seems to regulate the body temperature very well.
The most important factor in the Ben Oss Fleece is the Gore Windstopper material.
Gore Windstopper is a membrane which is bonded inside the jacket and as the name suggests it will stop wind dead in its tracks but it will allow a good level of breathability to stop you from over heating and allow perspiration through the fleece.
It really is effective and I have tested it in England, Wales & Scotland so far on top of a fair few mountains and some extremely windy open spaces and it hasn't let me down once.
My back pack weighs a lot with all the camera gear I take and I often find that my back suffers with other jackets through perspiration but so far the Ben Oss fleece has been doing a perfect job and kept me dry and comfortable.
The Gore Windstopper material sadly doesn't extend to the arms of the jacket and you can defiantly feel a difference from the rest of the jacket. I have to say I was slightly disappointed at this for such a top end fleece but I'm sure Berghaus have their reasons for making it this way.
The arms do however do come with very comfortable elasticated cuffs to stop the wind from getting in and of course the thumb loops of which I'm not really a fan of but I have found myself using with this particular fleece to great effect, I didn't see that one coming !
The fleece isn't marketed as waterproof at all but I have been caught out in several showers while wearing it and have managed to stay pretty dry I'm guessing due to the Windstopper membrane which seem to poses some very good ability to repel water.
The fleece is also very quick drying if you do get caught which I don't need to say is a massive bonus.
This has now become my every day fleece, I use it for dog walks and even nipping down to the shops then of course for the full on treks through the mountains and coastal walks and I have to say it hasn't let me down at all over a period of around three months since purchasing it.
The Ben Oss Fleece really is exceptionally good and certainly the best fleece I have used, although its a 3 season fleece I will be using it all year round but with my Berghaus Mera Peak Goretex jacket over the top for the colder winter months and leaving my 4 season fleece at home from now on.
The fit is exceptional and as said its like someone is giving you a nice warm hug, The material washes well and doesn't seem to bobble up at all even with heavy ruck sack straps rubbing against it all the time.
I would have liked to have seen a couple of under arm zip vents put in but that said I haven't overheated in this Fleece so I guess its ok without them.
The price isn't cheap with an RRP of £95.00 but I do believe you get what you pay for and I know the membranes are seriously expensive and thats what you're really paying a premium for but it is worth it when youre out in a howling gale.
The jacket performs very well, looks fantastic, keeps you warm and is a joy to wear so I would recommend it to anyone, Well done Berghaus.
Value For Money 09/10
Total Rating 94%
I hope you find this review useful and would just like to state I am in no way sponsored or paid to review these items, they are all purchased with my own hard earned money at full retail price.
Berghaus products can be viewed HERE
All garment pictures are courtesy of Berghaus