The Berghaus MTN Arete LB synthetic hoody comes recommended by tester David Lintern who says it “does what it says on the tin perfectly”.

The Berghaus MTN Arete LB acts as the active insulation offer in the brand’s revamped Extrem range. For those that lamented the discontinued Vapourlight Hypertherm jacket from a few years ago, this is almost exactly the same (I still have mine) in both appearance and performance. Like its predecessor, it’s exceptionally warm for its weight, and it packs down tiny.

  • Stars: 4/5
  • Price: £170
  • Weight: 215g
  • Pros: hipbelt/harness friendly handwarmers
  • Cons: questions over long term durability, no chest pocket

Fill: Hydroloft®Elite – 40g/sm | Shell: Reversible for varying breathability | Hood: elasticated | Cuffs: elasticated | Hem: elasticated | Pockets: 2 handwarmer, zippered | Sizes: XS-XXL | Women’s version: yes

It’s a simple garment, which helps keep the weight and bulk to a minimum – the hood, hem and wrists are all simple elastic and non-adjustable, and there’s only 2 zipped handwarmers. The fit is relaxed. It sits easily under a shell and over a mid-weight fleece, and worn like this, offers a massive boost of warmth as an insulation sandwich.

The shell is very thin and designed to be breathable. It wets out quickly from rain but less so from sweat, so poorer weather would warrant a waterproof or windproof layer over it. The jacket is designed to be reversible, with one side more breathable than the other, although I’ve noticed little difference in practice. Either way, the shell fabric doesn’t bind to other layers and so it’s easy to slip on, off and inbetween other layers. All materials are PFC free.

The Arete performs brilliantly as active insulation, as part of a layering system. I love it (and its predecessor) paired with a thin down jacket for late season winter mountaineering. I’d prefer a third pocket, although on a garment this lightweight it’s debatable whether a phone would sit well in the chest position. I’ve also noticed some piling on the sleeves – so durability may be a concern with this thin a shell, although the brand will repair it for free. Otherwise, it does what it says on the tin perfectly.

Compare the Berghaus MTN Arete LB synthetic hoody with more of the best insulated jackets as reviewed by our expert gear testers.