Summer calls for a new wardrobe. And warmer weather demands altogether new things from outdoor clothes often more suited to tougher times.
Whilst wind-proofing, water-resistance and warmth top the list of priorities in winter, summer demands breathable cuts and sweat-wicking fabrics that don’t compromise strength and function.
And as all walkers know, summer weather is ‘changeable’. So women’s lightweight summer clothing needs to be cut correctly for women and also sturdy enough when necessary.
With these credentials in mind, I reviewed some of the latest walking clothing from Berghaus and put it to the test.
Capel short-sleeved hiking shirt
Pit pong is a real issue in hot weather and, especially if you’re on walking holidays or expeditions, washing your clothes everyday isn’t always an option. This shirt, however, seems to have the magical ability to de-odorise itself!
A sticky day on the Isle of Wight, in a mini heat-wave, and the Capel’s breathable fabric, and upper-back venting came into their own, and the loose yet tailored fit allowed air to circulate freely, keeping me cool on a 10-mile yomp to the Needles. Embarrassing sweat patches were avoided and a quick whiff of the armpits that evening revealed that I smelt somewhat fresher than my sister, who was sweating it out in an old cotton t-shirt.
Three days later, and the Capel was still going strong. In fact – confession coming up – I didn’t wash this shirt for a whole month! The Capel quite literally repels smells. Apparently, silver ion technology in the fabric provides an antibacterial quality, making the shirt resistant to a build-up of odour.
Why aren’t all clothes made like this!?
Perhaps it’s the price tag. Retailing at £47.50, the Capel is right at the top-end of the short-sleeve shirt range, but if you’re prone to perspiring or heading off on an extended adventure, well worth it.
Other lovely features include ‘invisible’ pockets – so discreet, I missed them at first; a well-chosen tail length, which easily tucks into trousers or can be left out, with minimal flap; and a resilient rip-stop fabric that gives a cold shoulder to thorns and thistles, as well as being deliciously smooth to the touch and incredibly crease-proof.
There is, however, one flaw. Choosing sky blue checks as one of their colour options, Berghaus have managed to design a great piece of technical clothing that bears a striking resemblance to the staff uniform at Tesco. My advice? Go for the ‘Spanish Pink’ (burgundy) option instead.
Best features – Outstanding odour-repellent technology
Considerations – Hefty price tag
Verdict – Pong free and super breathable – perfect for extended expeditions or hot-weather hiking
Women’s Lonscale Cargo Pant
Good-looking, easily-adaptable and with understated ingenuity – if only Berghaus made boyfriends.
At £50, the Lonscale Cargo Pants are a pair of midrange walking trousers well suited to trekking Europe during both Spring and Summer – and, in my opinion, there’s no need to spend a penny more.
Cut in durable yet lightweight nylon fabric, they’re so comfortable that you could almost wear them for slouching on the sofa; a level of comfort which owes to the lightweight fabric and slightly generous, but not baggy, cut.
Articulated knees add an extra level of comfort, allowing for unrestricted movement and no loss of ankle-coverage on steep accents and scrambles.
If petite ladies, however, find the cut a little too long in the leg, button-up hems allow you to lose a few inches or let in a bit of breeze on a hot day. Personally, I’d have liked a second tab, a little higher on the leg, so that I could hitch them up even further on sizzling summer days.
Nonetheless, even during the hottest conditions, the cut and technical fabric of the Lonscales make them brilliantly breathable and keep sweaty bum syndrome at bay.
One of the most impressive features of these trousers is their water repellency.
Light showers and splashes can be shaken off in a matter of seconds and, even if you point a hose at them, the water slides off or beads neatly on the surface – a useful tip for your next water fight.
Best features – Outrageously comfy and spectacularly shower-proof
Considerations – Not an alternative to shorts
Verdict – Superb summer trousers, but pack a pair of shorts as well
Socks: Women’s lightweight crew
I usually spend a good portion of my time on a walk pulling my socks up. It’s a bit of a habit more than anything but, nonetheless, Berghaus have cured me. Their EHS (ergonomic holding system) provides grip and support in all the right places, meaning that these socks stay put and minimise rubbing, without cutting off your blood supply.
And again, Berghaus’ brilliant moisture wicking and anti-whiff technologies mean that these socks are a particularly good investment if you suffer from less-than fragrant feet. Superb summer socks.
Verdict - So breathable, comfy and slouch-proof, you forget you’re wearing them.
Women’s lightweight no show fast track socks
If you like wearing trainers for summer hikes, you may as well go short, in the sock department – excess material around the ankles does no favours in keeping you cool.
But the last time I tried a pair of trainer-socks, they ended up slipping down inside my shoes so much so that I ended up barefoot, with my socks in the bin. There’s definitely a lesson in false economy to be had here.
Far superior to the supermarket multi-pack I tried previously, Berghaus have pulled out all the stops with their ‘no show fast track socks’, and packed in a stack of technical features – from slingshot bands to intelligent insteps – to create a super-breathable trainer-sock that moulds to your foot and stays there; this means no slippage, uncomfortable bunching, no blisters, no bare feet and definitely no bins .
So effective, I now use these for running in. Ten pounds well spent.
Verdict – Small socks that stay put
For more adventure travel info and guides, check out: Adventure Sports Gear: Penknife or Multitool?/ Top 10 travel apps for iPhone, iPad and smartphones / The Ultimate List of Extreme Sports / Airline weight restrictions: what every traveller needs to know/ The Rise of Gastro Adventuring
- Berghaus Bioflex 45 Reviewed by Explorer Mikael Strandberg
- Berghaus Women’s Exterra Trek Boots Reviewed
- Mountain biking clothing: Does it improve your ride?
- Adventure Sports & Travel Thoughts
- New Adventure Travel Ideas
- Our Experts
- Top 10s
- Travel Gear
- Adventure Sports Insurance: What Does The EHIC Actually Cover?
- Kayaking Challenges: Paddling 1300km in handmade kayaks
- Child-Free Sports: Time to reclaim the wave?
- New Zealand: Spiritual Home of Adventure Sports
- 5 Things Cyclists Never Do
- Kevlar Swiss Socks that Rock!
- Adventure Race Events: Trying the Toughest Challenges on Earth