Home Gear How Good is the Return of Berghaus Extrem?
Feature type Spotlight
Read time 15 mins
Published Dec 05, 2022
Author Chris Hunt
The Extrem range from Berghaus has long been considered a technical pillar of clothing intended for challenging mountain conditions. Brought to life more than four decades ago, the iconic range is what once elevated the brand to its high ranking position at the pointy end of technical outdoor apparel. Now six years after its last iteration of the range, Extrem is back, and in March 2022 we headed to the Cairngorms for a closer inspection of the range.
As the name suggests, Extrem is Berghaus’ most technical offering when it comes to mountaineering clothing. And the range itself is nothing new, in many ways it’s what secured its status as a leading mountain brand and Extrem has been at the heart of the British brand since its first iteration in 1986. Over the years, it has equipped some of the UK’s best climbers and mountaineers on pioneering expeditions around the globe, from Sir Chris Bonington, Alan Hinkes and Mick Fowler to Leo Houlding and Anna Taylor.
During the 90s and beyond, Extrem and Berghaus continued to sit in the top tier of adventure gear. But with the rise of outdoor clothing and the expansion of the market pushing technical clothing into streetwear, Berghaus’ focus shifted away from their most technical performance oriented product. But now, six years, after the last Extrem launch in 2016, it’s back.
‘For four decades Extrem delivered ground-breaking high-performance kit that allowed climbers and mountaineers to make the most of the mountain, helping more people to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors,’ explains Graeme Paige,’ Product Technical Lead at Berghaus. ‘We’re extremely proud of it and very excited that it’s back. We can’t wait to see it out on the mountain.’
As the brand’s top tier offering, designed for challenging conditions, in Extrem, you can expect the latest and greatest in material technology and design innovation.
In covering a full layering system from lightweight mid-layers to insulation through to GORE-TEX hardshells, the range is designed for a full range of mountain activities including mountaineering, alpinism, ski-mountaineering, touring and ice climbing.
And they’ve categorised the offering into three distinct sub-groups not only to further refine the needs of each specific range but to offer different price points. While all of these are effectively part of the ‘best-in-class’ range, by further refining into three ranges, within Extrem customers can find the right balance of technical features to suit their intended use.
We’re extremely proud of it and very excited that it’s back. We can’t wait to see it out on the mountain
Performance orientated kit designed without compromise, the Arete range is for the demanding ski-mountaineer looking for maximum features for kit that will enable them to do more.
The Guide range is aimed at those after top performance mixed with long-lasting durability. You’ll find everything you need for technical movement in demanding conditions without any unnecessary features. Designed for performance orientated versatility, this is for the seasoned all-round mountaineer demanding performance day after day.
Built to do a bloody good job and nothing more, the Seeker range is a more stripped back addition to the Extrem range without compromising materials to deliver premium value, performance and protection.
The products in this range still use high performing fabrics such as 3-layer Gore-Tex performance shell but you won’t find the same bells and whistles or more complicated designs of the other two ranges.
But while this may be the entrance to Extrem, that’s not to say this is ‘entry-level’ kit. The MTN Seeker GTX hard-shell will still set you back more than £300 and still boasts all of the core performance most of us need for days on the mountain without more movement specific additions.
Earlier this year, ahead of the official launch of the new Extrem launch, I was invited to the Scottish Highlands to test some of the new key garments from the MTN Seeker range.
For the job at hand, the conditions couldn’t have been better. A late season dumping of dry snow and freezing conditions, down to as low as -14ºC with windchill on he exposed summits.
A classic winter day on the mountain, we navigated a route to the summit of Cairn Gorm, following then to the secluded area Cnap Coire na Spreidhe in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.
This wasn’t a technical route, a winter hike rather than challenging winter climb. We were however out for almost all the hours of daylight and the conditions remained cold all day. As snow continued to fall we faced a range of different terrain and conditions, starting below the snow-line, progressing up to the higher peaks using ice-axes and crampons for large portions of the journey.
A fully featured GORE-TEX Performance mountaineering
jacket that provides everything you need, and nothing you don’t.
Gore-Tex Performance 3L – durably waterproof, windproof and breathable.
Fully adjustable helmet compatible hood – with two-point adjustment around the face and single point rear adjustment, with a strong wired peak.
High volume mountaineering compatible pockets – 2 x raised A-line pockets with built in volume, plus 1 x chest pocket and 1 x internal security pocket.
Reflective detailing – improved visibility & safety in poor conditions.
Two-way man zip & pit zips -Perfect for heat dumping during high-intensity movement and easy access to under layers.
No Snow skirt – While this is a great all-round mountain jacket, for those looking to push more into snow sports, the Guide or Arete ranges may be better suited.
Mountain-ready shell trousers that deliver premium value and functional performance.
Gore-Tex Performance 3L – Durably waterproof, windproof and breathable
Low profile multi-use waistband – For in-harness comfort. Elasticated back for personal fit, with belt or braces option
Studded ankle closure – Reduces volume around ankle improving visibility of foot placement
3/4 Length side-zips – Great for dumping excess heat.
No bib or brace compatibility – similarly to the Seeker jacket, if snowsports or particularly challenging snowy conditions are your thing, check out the Guide and Arete range.
Highly packable warm down layer with impressive freedom of movement. Great as a stand-alone piece or as part of a layering system under an outer shell.
100% Recycled Pertex Quantum with stretch woven baffle construction – freedom of movement with maximum stretch both inside and underarm
800 fill-power hydrophobic goose down – body-mapped insulation warmth and movement
Under helmet wired peaked hood with single point rear adjustment – ensures snug fit and protection
3 pocket design: 2 x high hand pockets, 1 x internal chest pocket
Two-way front zip with internal zip guard – delivers additional protection against elements.
All-round mountain backpack for all weather across all disciplines.
Back panel zipped access – find your gear efficiently and easily.
Versatile axe/pole/rope carrying systems – traditional webbing loops or aluminium toggles available for any style of axe.
Low volume lid with expandable pocket – compress your pack from the top down.
Weatherproof zipped pocket – for goggles and small valuables.
Stashable mesh helmet holder with reflective logo – conveniently attach your helmet to the outside of the pack.
Hydration reservoir compatible – internal sleeve fits up to 3L bladder.
Across the whole Extrem range what really stands out is that it is backed by Berghaus’ free in-house repair service Repairhaus. Better still, the repairs are carried in at their HQ in Sunderland.
Keeping outdoor products in play for as long as possible is the best thing we can do for the sustainability of our equipment, so it’s fantastic to see brands taking responsibility for the life cycle of their products beyond purchase. Repair over replace initiatives like this have a far greater impact on the longevity of the products beyond that of those cautious only to source the materials in a more environmentally conscious manner. By Berghaus taking that responsibility in-house rather than outsourcing it prevents significant unnecessary from being added to the products.
We often see brands providing a bit of a gap between their entry level kit and their highest performing models and for the users to get lost in technical jargon. Here, Berghaus do a great job at keeping the core fundamentals of what makes their performance range so good but stripping out some of the additional features that won’t be a must for everyone – particularly the more price-conscious.
The MTN Seeker range of Extrem is a fantastic example of well-designed, good looking and high performing mountain clothing for the all rounder that won’t break the bank. For those who want good looking, brightly coloured all-round mountain kit to suit a range of different activities, then the MTN Seeker line from Extrem is well worth considering.
For those who are after more sports specific tehnical features to help them perform to the highest level, then the MTN Arete and MTN Guide ranges are for you.
Sign up to our free newsletter and get a weekly BASE hit to your inbox
Chris Hunt • Apr 27, 2023
Lightweight windproof insulated jacket from the contemporary Danish cycling brand
Review • Chris Hunt • Mar 15, 2023
The highly breathable waterproof shell for on and off bike use from the young British cycling brand
Review • Chris Hunt • Mar 02, 2023
Garmin's flagship bike computer with solar power top-up
Review • Hannah Mitchell • Apr 11, 2023
Breathable, well-ventilated and protective hardshell pants for technical terrain
Review • Hannah Mitchell • Mar 15, 2023
Osprey's latest climbing pack offers durability, versatility and value for money
Story • BASE editorial team • Nov 30, 2021
The 2021 ultralight adventure Christmas gift guide