The Vaude Men’s Bormio Jacket with Polartec Alpha Insulation is a thermal jacket for ski touring or spending long hours outdoors in winter weather. I have skied in my distant past and all the jackets I have used had two things in common – bright colors and thick padding. As I unpacked this jacket I discovered a very bright blue jacket, but rather than making me feel like the Michelin man, it’s surprisingly thin. The jacket is designed as an internal layer, but it matched the coldest of the English winter on its own with no problems at all.
If you’re skiing, running, mountaineering, hiking or enjoy spending hours outdoors during the winter months, a thermal jacket is a must. The ultra light-weight Bormio that doubles as an inner for very cold temperatures and outer leather for milder English winter weather, takes up very room in either a bag or a coat rack and is made sustainably, is an excellent contender.
Price: ± £ 180
About Vaude and Polartec
Vaude was formed in 1974 in southern Germany as a mountain sport equipment supplier. They have expanded into three areas – mountain sports, bike sports and bags. They have an always had an eco perspective and were the first outdoor company to get EMAS an EU Certification of good eco practice all the way through the supply chain.
Polartec is a US fabric technology company that formed in the early 80s and is best known for their first big product – synthetic fleece. Since fleece they’ve produced a number of more specialised fabrics like High Loft and Grid Fleece. Alpha is their newest specialised application.
The first thing that strikes you about the Bormio is how light it is. At less than half a kilogram it’s by far the lightest jacket I have in my cupboard. The Bormio is designed to be worn fairly tight to your body without any big layers underneath and with flexible wrist cuffs and a single hand waist tightener to keep all of the draughts out. The material is triple layer – an outside smooth stretch surface, Polartec Alpha insulation in the middle and an internal brushed interior designed to wick moisture. The end result is a tight fit, but not a restrictive one.
If you’re looking to pack the Bormio for when it gets colder there’s an extra bonus – it folds into an integrated internal pocket and zips into a small package about 22 by 27 by 8cm. One side of the package is soft green cloth and the other is a tight netting which means that even packaged up it gets air flowing around it – great if you’ve had to put it away a little wet. It also has a small hanging tag that I found could be used to attach it to the outside of my bag when I was short on space.
I was concerned that it wasn’t going to be that warm. As luck would have it, the Bormio arrived in the first week of February. It snowed (slightly) the first day I wore it out of the house without an overlayer. My worries about being cold turned out to unjustified thanks to the insulation. The Bormio uses an insulation called Polartec Alpha. It’s the US Military’s newest insulation. Rather than using bulk for insulation the Alpha has knotted mesh fabric in two layers which keeps you warm. It works far better than I expected.
The Bormio is water-repellent – it’ll stand up to drizzle or light rain with no problems at all and kept me dry for several hours. If the rain gets stronger, it does get a little overwhelmed, but putting a waterproof layer over the top is an easy option due to its lightweight design and snug fit. The Bormio was surprisingly quick to air dry as well going from fairly sodden to near dry in a warm house overnight.
Water generated inside – sweat – is also handled well with the combination of the breathable insulation and the stretch inserts letting most of the humidity out quickly. I did get a bit of sweat build up when I was actively running with the jacket zipped up, but it wasn’t a great deal and opening up slightly fixed it quickly.
- Articulated sleeves
- Integrated UV protection
- Two zippered chest pockets
- 1 inside pocket that the jacket can stow into
- Two way front zip with back flap
- Stretch inserts under the arms
- Elastic cuffs
- One hand drawcord bottom hem
- Attached adjustable hood
Environment & People
The Bormio and Vaude manage to hit almost every positive category of environmental qualification. They’re a member of the Fair Wear Foundation committing to good working conditions at all levels of production. They commit to sustainable materials. They don’t use PFC’s that are often used in outdoor gear for waterproofing. They repair damaged jackets and commit to recycle those that have gone past a rebuildable state. If the environmental aspect of the manufactures and the product is important to you, I’m not sure what else you could ask for.
The Bormio Jacket is available between £160 and £180 which, considering its specialist design, probable lifespan, excellent build quality as well as its environmental and fair wage qualification is a justifiable price.
Product dimensions (pouch): 22 x 27 x 8cm
Materials: Main fabric: 88% Polyamide, 12% Polyurethane; Inserts: 87% Polyamide, 13% Elastane; Lining: 90% Polyamide, 10% Elastane; Padding: 100% Polyester; Polartec Alpha 100g/m².
Sizes: From Small to XXL. This ranges from height 175-180 to 179-85, chest 96-99 to 112-115 and waist 83-87 to 102-106 cm
Warranty: Two years legal warranty, but they also have a repair service to replace damaged parts and accept and repair no longer wanted items which are then donated to charity.
The Bormio is designed for an active lifestyle and is cut fairly tightly. I’m not overweight, but could do with increasing my gym time and found it just worked for me. The two front pockets and one internal pocket are reasonably sized but if you try and overload them the jacket doesn’t hide it well. I found any more than a couple of cards and a phone was too much.
Would I recommend the Vaude Bormio? Yes. It claims to be very warm and thin and the Polartec Alpha insulation really delivers. It’s reasonably waterproof, breathable, light and the smooth outside makes putting layers over it really easy. It’s got every possible environmental qualification and perhaps most importantly, it’s really comfortable to wear. If you’re a keen outdoors-man, frequent traveller or spend hours outdoors during the winter months, you’re going to love it. Collapse it down into it’s pouch and it deserves a place in your bag for that extra layer when the weather gets a bit cooler. Highly recommended.
The review is based on the medium version of the Vaude Men’s Bormio Jacket kindly provided by Polartec during February 2017. This article was first published on the 27th of February 2017.