Mountain Hardwear Beryllium Jacket



Waterproof: Yes Windproof: Yes
Hood: Yes Adjustable Hood: Two-Way
Cinch Cords: Hem & Waist Insulation: None
Cuffs: Velcro Pit Zips: Yes
Napoleon Pocket: Yes Handwarmer Pockets: 2
Sleeve Pockets: None Zipper Type: Water-Resistant
Inner Pockets: 2 Seams: Taped
Weight: 18 oz. Stowable: No
Chin Abrasion Guard: Yes MSRP: $475

Fabrics utilized: FTX Pro Shell, and FTX Pro Shell Light. 
Laminate:  Gore-Tex Pro Shell
Lining: none

Overview

This Mountain Hardware Beryllium jacket, geared towards alpine climbing and mountaineering, offers bombproof protection where it counts. This Jacket is excellently designed and it packs several nice features that set it apart from other Mountain Hardware shells. The Beryllium is not designed as an ultra light shell, allowing for extremely durable construction through and through. The gang at Mountain Hardware did not take any shortcuts on this shell, and they put out what I consider to be the Cadillac of mountaineering shells. Not only will this jacket protect you from whatever you might encounter on the mountain, it will make you smile.

Pockets

The Mountain Hardwear Beryllium jacket features two Napoleon pockets, two handwarmer pockets, one interior mesh pocket on the left side with a zipper (a map pocket), and a mesh water bottle pocket on the inside right. You certainly won’t find yourself at a loss for storage space with this shell, even if it does add on a little extra weight. I have never had the need or the desire to carry my water bottle around inside my jacket, with the exception of keeping hot water by my core during down time, and trying to keep my water from freezing (which in most cases is done by keeping my Nalgene in my sleeping bag over night). In most cases, I have found the water bottle pocket to be more useful for my goggles or my gloves, but in any case it has come in handy a few times. I like the Napoleon pockets because they are just big enough to carry a digital camera without it flopping around.

Zippers

All of the zippers on the Mountain Hardwear Beryllium jacket are welded and watertight except the main zipper, which has sturdy large teeth, adding to the overall durability of the shell. An internal flap as well as two storm flaps that Velcro together and button on the top and bottom protect the main zipper, making it just as waterproof as the welded zippers, yet more durable. The pit zips are generously long, adding breathability points to this jacket.

Hood

Out of all the well designed features of this jacket, it’s the hood that takes the cake. First of all, the three-inch visor on this hood is triple or quadruple thick, so it holds it’s form well, and does not get in your face and it definitely won’t soak though. The two way adjustment system for the hood allows for a better fit than I have ever seen on a Jacket made to accommodate a climbing helmet.

The back adjustment on the hood is in the shape of a V, and with one hand you can adjust the hood so that it practically suctions to the back of your noggin when you aren’t wearing your helmet. It feels like the jacket is giving you a hug on the back of your skull! This design keeps the hood secure and does not allow the visor to droop down and obstruct your vision. The two pull strings for the face adjustment are easily accessible, and effectively block out the wind. The pull strings are designed so that the toggle is actually hidden inside the wall of the hood, making it almost impossible to snag. You can adjust the pull strings by pressing the button inside the jacket and pulling on the unobtrusive 1 inch section of exposed chord. The remainder of the chord finds it’s home safe back on the inside of the jacket thanks to the eyelet tunnel system.

Body Adjustment

The Mountain Hardwear Beryllium jacket has a hem adjustment with two one handed access points, as well as another cinch line three inches from the bottom. With double protection, your chances of ruining a perfectly good glissade by having your jacket infiltrated by wet snow are much less likely.

The cuffs are adjustable via a Velcro closure system.

Extras

If a person ever had the crazy thought that they didn’t want to sport their hood for some strange reason, there is a Velcro tab that would allow them to roll up the hood in a compact manner.

The top of the zipper flap and the base of the neck feature micro chamois lining for added comfort.

I thought that the zipper pulls on this jacket were a lot more practical than the ones on my Pinnacle, because they have more surface area and they are more easy to grip with gloves on.

Also, on the left side of the jacket on the bottom seam there is a small clip for hanging your gloves for a moment.

Qualms

What is there to complain about? Some would say that this jacket is too heavy, but they should take a reality check. In each shell, there is a tension between the features you can include, and the ounces you can save. This jacket is made to have durability and weather protection, and it does those things well.

The biggest problem this jacket offers is the price, but you are definitely getting the best that Mountain Hardware has to offer. In reality, everybody knows that Gore-Tex is overrated and over priced, even if it is the very best in the waterproof/ breathability threshold.  After months or years of dirt and pack strap friction, it loses its edge against other treated nylons. I foresee the price of Gore-Tex shells declining rapidly as other technologies come on to the market that are just as good or better.

Warmth

On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is a long-sleeved T-shirt, and 10 an expedition-quality mountaineering suit, The Beryllium is a 2. Hard-shells are not made to keep you warm, they are intended to keep you dry, and block wind. This jacket is cut to accommodate layering. I wear it with my down parka, and there is just enough room.

Waterproof?

Definitely.  Gore-Tex is typically understood to be the standard for waterproof fabrics, and the full seam taping and seamless shoulders help ensure full waterproofness.

Conclusion

If I were to give this jacket an overall rating, I would give it a nine out of ten. The Mountain Hardwear Beryllium jacket is plush. It is built tough as nails, with the best hood design I have seen on a jacket. The only reason I would give it a nine instead of a ten is that it costs too much, coming in at a pricey $475 MSRP. If you spend a good amount of your time in the elements, you should consider investing in this waterproof breathable fortress - that is, if you are willing to sell your car and your dog so you can buy the Cadillac of mountaineering jackets. If not, you might consider waiting two years until this jacket drops down in price a couple of hundred dollars – If you can wait that long.

The Verdict: 9/10

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