Jöttnar Fjörm Down Jacket

rated 4.5 of 5 stars (1)
photo: Jöttnar Fjörm Down Jacket down insulated jacket

Specs

Insulation 850 Fill Power DownTek

Reviews

Great mid-weight, water and wind resistant down winter…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £295-(US$378-) & £350-(US$448-)

Summary

Great mid-weight, water and wind resistant down winter jacket. Even better as a winter mid-layer.

Pros

  • High lofting 850 fill power and 235g plus fill weight (size Med) hydrophobic down
  • Superbly designed, well insulated, easily adjusted, helmet compatible hood with wire stiffened brim and moldable laminate peak
  • Synthetic insulation 130g/m2 in moisture susceptible areas
  • High fastening two-way main zip protects face
  • Oversized synthetically insulated baffle behind YKK VISLON two-way main zip
  • Micro-fleece lined chin-guard and elasticaticated, velcro adjustable cuffs
  • Ethically sourced down and environmentally friendly processes used in manufacture
  • Box-wall construction in torso
  • Snug form-fitting body helps minimise heat loss
  • Glove-friendly over-sized zip-pulls/tabs
  • 'Anti-snag' split hem cinch/drawcords prevent them catching

Cons

  • Minimalist on the feature count (pockets/pouches etc) for my needs
  • Main two-way zip ocasionally catches/snags
  • May be too warm for all but the very coldest spells
  • Wary of 30D micro rip-stop face fabric (20D lining) catching and tearing on sharp edges.
  • Stitch through construction of sleeves means arms feel cooler than body, particularly noticeable when inactive for prolonged spells
  • Price hike means it's not quite the bargain it once was
  • A few more colours would be nice
  • No micro-fleece lining in hand pockets
  • Hand pockets slightly on the small side when wearing winter gloves or mitts

Had been searching for a mid-weight compressible down insulated jacket flexible enough to use as a mid-layer for cold, wet and windy weather. Or as an outer-layer in ice-cold but fairly dry conditions. Fortunately stumbled on this one.

Packs small in its own supplied stuff sack. Surprisingly water and wind resistant 30D DWR treated micro rip-stop shell. Over 235g fill-weight (Men's Medium size) of premium 93% Down to 7% Feather 850 fill-power DownTek treated hydrophobic Goose Down. Predominantly used in body, shoulders and upper sleeves. With 130g/m2 synthetic insulation in moisture susceptible areas (sleeve cuffs, main zip baffle, hem, hood, and neck).

Oversized insulated zip baffle, behind a water-resistant YKK Aquaguard VISLON two-way main zip with micro-fleece chin-guard, fastens high enough to protect the neck and the face from the cold. The two-way zip is particularly helpful when wearing a backpack (or climber's harness), allowing access to mid-layer or bib pockets and when additional ventilation is needed without having to unzip the jacket completely.

Easily adjusted, well-insulated helmet-compatible hood with a wire-stiffened brim and moldable peak is one of the best(if not the best) designed and constructed hoods I've ever owned or used.

It should be noted that one ought to use the three cinch-cords(one each side and one at the rear) to adjust the hood to your liking BEFORE venturing outside. Next time i must remember to take my own advice. As it was pretty frustrating trying to adjust the hood while on the move and once the wind started blowing hard!

Tough Hypalon Velcro cuff tabs on micro-fleece lined elasticated cuffs. Two insulated zippered hand pockets. Glove-friendly over-sized zip-pulls really come into their own when wearing gloves during the coldest spells.

There's a single inside (left) zippered mesh pocket which is just large enough to store something like a 1.5-ltr bottle. Personally, I'd have much preferred two reinforced non-zippered mesh internal pockets (for my camera batteries, binoculars, compass, gloves, GPS, head-torch, maps, mobile phone etc.), with perhaps one smaller zipped security pocket for valuables.

Initially bought the Black colour with Red trim in XL to allow for winter layers. XL size on me feels somewhere between the 'Alpine' or 'Athletic' fits and more generous 'Expedition' fit. Though a little snug around my bulky torso, it doesn't hinder the movement of arms, head, neck, and shoulders in any way.

Wore it a number of times to put it through its paces during the frigid temperatures, high winds, and occasional rain & sleet up North, either side of the new year. Performed really well keeping me pretty warm and cosy over just a Merino or Polartec base-layer and a breathable wicking fleece mid-layer when being active. Though I did begin to feel somewhat cooler over the arms, particularly noticeable whenever I was inactive and exposed outside of my shelter in windy conditions for more than few minutes at a time.

Much like a number of outdoor brands these days, it's notable that Jöttnar products adhere to down traceability and welfare standards (ie. no live-plucked nor molt-harvested down, from non force-fed geese etc.), as well as using environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, which is most admirable and should reassure potential buyers.

I do have a few (minor) issues though: The jacket would feel a bit more secure if a more durable and slightly heavier(50D micro rip-stop) face fabric were used - Admittedly. This may have some detrimental effect upon the jacket’s breathability and down loft. As with most light to mid-weight down insulated jackets, one should be conscious about it potentially catching or tearing when around briars, thorns, jagged rocks, or from the sharp edges of crampons, ice-axes, and walking-poles etc.

The YKK VISLON two-way main zip may occasionally catch on the over-sized insulated baffle underneath, if one doesn't take care when zipping up.

One or two more internal/external pockets wouldn't go amiss. Also micro-fleece lined hand warmer pockets would have been a nice touch.

After purchasing my first Fjörm in Black I bought a second one in Petrol Blue. But, after a price increase, the second one cost £55-(US$70-) more. From £295-(US$378-) to £350-(US$448-)!

I appreciate that Jöttnar gear is primarily designed to meet the needs of serious mountain climbers who demand functional, lightweight, and high quality technical solutions. Undoubtedly the Fjörm easily meets, and in certain respects has even surpassed, those requirements and specifications.

But, for my own particular needs, I did find the Fjörm a bit on the minimalist side in regard to its feature count. With this in mind, I'm investigating the possibility of customising the jacket (through a third party), by adding some more functionality and versatility.

Early days still but, despite my aforementioned minor reservations, these jackets feel as if they'd protect me during the depths of an Arctic winter!

UPDATE 06/2018: In the light of my most recent experiences using (and abusing) this down jacket during arduous late autumn (fall) and early winter (2017/18) camping, mountain trekking, and scrambling expeditions in the Cascades and the Canadian and US Rockies at altitudes of up to 3,500m, I’d revise my earlier estimate and conservatively state that these Fjörm jackets when worn as an outer (over suitable mid-to-heavyweight Merino base-layers and Polartec PowerStretch Pro or similar Merino mid-layer) would provide the average person with sufficient protection and warmth in temperatures ranging between +5°C to -20°C with a variance of +/-5°C depending on the amount of sunlight, degree of physical output, user’s sensitivity to cold and wind-chill etc. But when layered under a hard-shell the Fjörm would clearly have little issue in helping the wearer to withstand even harsher conditions.

Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Great review, Bob! This brand was unfamiliar to me, so I especially appreciate you bringing it to our attention. Out of curiosity, what do you think is the best temp range for this jacket? And have you tried anything else by Jöttnar?


2 years ago
Bob Sherazi

Hi Alicia. Yeah. I only came across them after having them recommended by a couple of climbers and scramblers i know. I'm told the two ex-Royal Marine Commandos who started the company are seriously obsessive mountain men and test their new designs while on expedition before being released for sale to the public. I now have a number of pieces from Jöttnar and aim to post some more reviews on their high quality product as soon as i have some time to do them justice.


2 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks, Bob! It's good to learn about different outdoor brands, especially ones making very technical apparel and gear. I'll look forward to your additional reviews in the future. If you have some pictures of this jacket you're willing to post, it would be great to see them in your review.


2 years ago
Bob Sherazi

Regarding the temperature range in which the Fjörm would be best suited as a stand alone outer i reckon would be around +5°c to -15°c. With a variance of +/-5°c dependant upon amount of sunlight, wind chill, degree of physical output, user's sensitivity to cold etc. But when worn as mid-layer under a reasonably generous fitting hard-shell together with a PolarTec or similar base-layer they would provide the best protection for even more extreme conditions. Hope this is of help.


2 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks, Bob!


2 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Thanks for the update, Bob!


2 years ago

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