So we get to the last piece from my winter kit for 2013/14 and it’s the Jottnar Alfar.

Jottnar Alfar

Jottnar are a new brand set up by two ex-marines, both climbers. They’ve been active in some pretty interesting places. They’ve tied up with some well known outdoor pros, including Mike Pescod, so the pedigree is excellent.  Techy kit designed by climbers, for climbers? Result.

The range is small but perfectly formed. The Alfar is a mid layer and it’s specced nicely for winter use. The sleeves, hood and sides are Powerstretch Pro, which is pretty much my go-to fabric for winter mid layers. You’ve got warmth with stretch and good breathability.  The windproof body and top of the hood are insulated with Advansa Thermocool.  Targetted insulation is definitely a smart play for winter climbing when you can go from full on trailbreaking steam train to standing around on freezing ledges over the course of the day. There’s a scoop tail to keep your bum warm and thumbloops to stop the sleeves riding up when you’re whacking ice tools in. The hood is slim and fits under a helmet. There are two handwarmer pockets that sit above harness height.

Also, look at that orange. That’s worth an extra point surely?

Jottnar AlfarJottnar Alfar

 

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Attention to detail is excellent. The insulation doesn’t extend directly under your arms to limit the bulk and aid venting.  There’s a baffle and garage for the main zip, you wouldn’t want to snag your beard when you’re traversing the icy wastes of Jotunheim would you? The hood fit is snug and it zips up high.

Jottnar Alfar

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When it comes to how it performs on the hill, it’s nothing short of excellent. I’ve used it for low grade winter climbing in some really shonky conditions, along with winter backpacks and high camps.  It’s been used in conditions where the camera doesn’t even come out of the bag, but it’s kept me warm and just as importantly, dry. The keen eyed will have spotted it poking out from under other layers in these pages over the winter months, it’s been getting a lot of use. The weather resistance of the core is good, so wear it on it’s own and  you keep warm while you can vent via the sides and arms, the moisture management is excellent. The heat is retained and you don’t chill when you stop either, so you can leave your down jacket in your pack.  Once you layer up over the top, you can still pop the hood up like an insulated balaclava and laugh at what the gods send your way.

This is an absolutely cracking opener from Jottnar. These guys know their stuff.

The tagline that Jottnar use is ‘conquer giants’. The branding is great, tying in Norse mythology with the urge we have to climb large frozen lumps of rock. Thor’s hammer Mjolnir is the symbol on the zip pull. If you do travel to the realm of the frost giants in the Alfar, you’ll be well protected.  Jottnar may also be sending a message to the larger manufacturers of technical outdoor kit, there are some giants there that could see their market share shift over to these guys if Jottnar continue to produce kit of this standard.  Highly recommended.

Jottnar Alfar

 

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andy
June 18, 2014
Hi Michael, Interesting new brand. Wonder what you'll make of their sallies, if you get a chance to try them out. And may I ask what are those yummy suede-ish gloves? They look the business! Cheers!
June 19, 2014
I'm told there are some new things of interest coming from Jottnar later in the year, stay tuned. The gloves are what are widely known as Chamonix bin men gloves, or to give them their proper name, Venitex ski gloves. Cheap and very warm, although not great in the wet. I did a wee write up here.
andy
June 21, 2014
Cheers, Michael. Funny, I remember that post about gloves but I'd forgotten you'd mentioned the bin men gloves! Nice that they are cheap! Will give them a try and see if the Nixwax makes them waterproof enough. They look rather stylish, don't they.
June 25, 2014
I do like the retro vibe. The Nikwax did the job for me, but you do have to reapply after every trip.
September 17, 2014
Have you tried this under a shell, like their Bergelmir? Wondering how warm things get when climbing/moving in sh'tty conditions.
September 18, 2014
Aye, it's fairly weather resistant on it's own but also adds a decent bit of insulation under a hard shell, but not so much that you'll be stewed when you're working a bit.
Rob
January 2, 2015
Hi MT, Like yourself I enjoy lugging DSLR gear about the hills but like the approach you seem to have adopted in keeping the camera handy- I assume that's what is in the chest bag anyway? Rather than taking the pack off for each shot I was looking for something similar and was wondering that the make was. Can't quite make it out in your pictures. Fantastic shots by the way. Kind regards Rob
January 11, 2015
Rob, you're right the chest pack is mainly for camera gear. It's a raidlight pack, I did a wee piece on it a while back: http://scottishmountaineer.com/raidlight-equilibre-front-pack/ I can get a Nikon D3 in there, it's a squeeze though. The zip pulls have been replaced, but other than that it's still going strong. I wouldn't be without it.
Russ
January 30, 2015
Howdy Rob, thanks for the review and the beautiful photos. How would you compare this to a Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer or a Rab Microlight Alpine or Strata? Thanks!
February 10, 2015
Dunno who Rob is, but I reckon the Alfar is a different beast to the others, it's more suitable for active use. The others are more light insulation which I'd use for standing around in one way or another.

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