Here’s something else that got a serious try out over the winter and spring and I’m only getting round to writing up now. That could be because I like to thoroughly test before committing my opinions here, or it could be because I procrastinate a lot. Probably both.
Time for some serious insulation, this the Jöttnar Fjörm.
So far, Jöttnar have really impressed me with their approach. They’re a company with a small range of kit, focusing on providing the best quality of gear that’s specifically designed for mountaineers. There’s no high street stuff here, only technical wear for serious mountain goers. The range is slowly expanding and every piece has been clearly thought through; not by a committee of designers with goatees and lattes, but by people who actually use the kit in real mountains. That gets my vote.
The Fjörm is a technical insulation piece. One of the great joys of Scotland is that sometimes it can be cold and dry, and sometimes it can be cold and wet. Down jackets have always been great in proper cold, but once you bring moisture into the mix, it’s not so good and synthetics start to win the battle for warmth when wet. The Fjörm is a hybrid of both down and synthetic. It’s a 20 denier nylon outer shell, filled with 850 fill-power Downtek hydrophobic down, but in addition there are sections of synthetic, particularly in the areas most likely to get wet like the hem and cuffs. Pretty much ideal for a Scottish winter then.
Other features include a helmet friendly hood, with stiffened peak, big handwarmer pockets, an internal pocket that will take a 1 litre bottle, a two-way main zip with glove friendly zip pulls and one-handed hem cording. My handheld scales are broken, but by juggling on the kitchen scales it seems my large weighs in at just over 600g.
I’ve used it as a belay jacket, a winter camp jacket and a standing about in the snow chatting to people jacket. It’s excelled in all roles. It packs down small, it’s very warm for the weight and the outer shell sheds snow nicely. The two way zip is handy when you’re wearing a harness. It layers nicely over the top of bulky midlayers and yet the fit is still good and not too roomy. I’ve even thrown it on top of wet hard shells and it’s coped fine.When it gets nasty, you can batten down the hatches and hide away in the deep hood.
I haven’t found any significant downsides. I guess the price will be the one that’s mentioned most in the feedback I’ll get. You can’t have the best materials, design and construction and not expect to pay for it, but we’ve had that chat before so I’ll not labour the point.
I’ve grown very fond of this jacket, it’s like a safe haven on the wildest days. There’s some internal warmth to be had too from the joyous green colour which always makes me smile when I pull it out of my pack on a dreich day. The Fjörm reeks of quality and is almost like someone has made a bespoke design to suit my personal needs.
I’ve had a synthetic jacket on test from Rab for the same amount of time, and when it comes to the real cold weather, the Fjörm outperforms it for less than half the weight. Once it gets soggy and you’re stood belaying in sleety drizzle, then the synthetic wins out, it’s hydrophobic down but it can’t work miracles. Having said that, if it’s that wet you’re gonna be too hot in the Fjörm anyway.
When it gets proper cold, the Fjörm is unbeatable.