We have spent the last three years living in Panama City, a place where coats are never needed. Here, the climate is a reliable 30C year-round and our daily uniform consists of shorts and t-shirts. So when it came to packing for our trip to Chile and Patagonia, I did wonder how we’d keep warm in the Chilean great outdoors. Given the unpredictable nature of the climate in southern Chile at this time of year (our spring equates to their autumn), I knew we would need coats that would keep us both toasty and dry. We were delighted, therefore, when Blacks asked us if we would like to collaborate with them. Talk about perfect timing!
For the kids’ coats, I was after something warm, waterproof, machine washable and classic looking. The parka jacket for boys and girls ticked all these boxes. Moreover, I couldn’t fight that irresistible urge to get them matching coats, especially ones with fur-lined hoods – so cute! Fortunately they were the first choice for my kids too. I like to think that the Ranulph Fiennes look appealed just as much to their inner explorer as it did to mine.
As luck would have it, we enjoyed spectacular weather during our time in Chile! Apparently the week before our arrival it had rained non-stop. During our visit, however, the air was cool and crisp, the skies blue and the landscape a lush green. As prepared as we were to test the ‘fully waterproof AQ2™ fabric’ no rain came our way. All the same, the children still appreciated their warmth and coziness when frolicking in what many refer to as ‘Chile’s Alps’ (this region did look surprisingly like Switzerland!)
The coats have a quilted lining and the hoods, a super-soft interior that is (I imagine) like snuggling up to an Angora rabbit. The faux-fur trim is connected to the hood with poppers and can be easily removed.
Berghaus recommends the parkas for walking, casual wear and commuting. I would also add ‘cartwheeling on lawns’ and ‘an alternative dressing gown on chilly mornings’ as additional categories. My kids did not want to take these coats off!
Parkas for Girls vs Parkas for Boys
Both coats are identical in colour and fabric and I only found a few tiny differences between the two:
- The pockets on the front of the coat are tailored a little differently (slanted pockets for girls and straight for boys), although the pocket sizes look the same.
- The boys coat has an Antarctica Expedition badge on its left sleeve. My daughter was a little put out that the girls didn’t come with this emblem (note to Berghaus: children take badges very seriously!)
- The velcro strip that fastens over the strip fixes to the right on the boys jacket and to the left on the girls.
As these were the only differences I spotted, I’d suggest that both the boys and girls parkas also work as unisex coats – good to keep in mind for sibling hand-me-downs!
Kids’ Size Chart
Before placing an order, I would recommend checking Black’s size guide. As both my children fell within the upper bracket of their age groups, I decided to get them the next size up. I ordered a size 9-10 for my 8-year-old and a 11-12 for my soon-to-be 10-year-old. Both jackets fitted them perfectly. If your children are, like mine, at the upper end of the age bracket, I would also consider getting them the next size up, allowing some room for movement and/or growth. A larger size also allows for adding extra layers underneath.
Berghaus Coats for Women
My adventure in Chile started with a week solo exploring the great outdoors in Patagonia before meeting up with the family in Santiago. I needed a coat that would withstand some serious trekking and long days horse riding in an unpredictable climate. I then met up with my husband and children in Santiago from where we all travelled to Chile’s Lake District for some quality family time outdoors.
In Patagonia I was staying in a hotel that organises daily ‘explorations’ in the Torres del Paine National Park, including full day treks and horse-rides. The weather in this wild and remote corner of the world is often described as ‘four seasons in one day’ and having the proper clothing is crucial. The Blacks Collection of women’s coats has a coat to suit every outdoor enthusiast, from 3-in-1 jackets to down coats and sleeveless vests. Being on the tall side, I liked the look of Berghaus’ Women’s Glissade III Interactive GORE-TEX Jacket as I wanted a longer-length coat, (one that covers the bum basically!).
I am happy to report that I loved this coat! Although I was, once again, extraordinarily lucky with the weather, it did get quite chilly and windy at times and at no point did I ever feel cold. As it’s fairly lightweight I either wore it over a fleece or, on colder days, over a down jacket. Miraculously it didn’t rain but had there been a downpour, the jacket has a two layer GORE-TEX membrane and a roll-away hood, meaning that rain wouldn’t have been an issue.
I wore the coat every day, for both trekking as well as for riding. As I couldn’t carry my backpack on the horse, I found the deep inner ‘map pocket’ very handy for sticking my GoPro (plus mini tripod, plus bulky gloves) in. There are two additional zip pockets on each side of the coat (which can easily fit an iPhone Plus for example).
I found the Black’s Size Guide for Women worked well for me.
View the Full Collection
To see Black’s full collection of Berghaus coats, you can visit their website here.
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Disclaimer: We were given the coats for the purpose of this review but all opinions remain our own.