Jottnar Clothing Review

17th Apr 2015

In an outdoor market saturated by equipment manufacturers you would be a brave person to form a business start up selling clothes.  To do so you'd need a clear vision of your brands unique selling point.  You'd need the experience to sort the features that work from the gimmicks.  You'd also need a very keen eye for detail and the mental strength to be sure enough that it will work to give it a go.
And so, there were two marines with that vision.  With oodles of mountaineering experience and a belief that the market had a place for a range of no compromise, top end clothing.  A vision of a strong brand that would appeal to discerning users and a range that, though small, would provide unparalled performance.  The ex-marines are Tommy and Steve - their clothing company is Jottnar.
The Jottnar range currently comprises a range of hard shell jackets and some waterproof trousers, a few down jackets, softshells, a baselayer and hats. Some items are available in women's fit.  Infact, although the whole range comprises only 9 men’s products and a couple of women’s specific garments, it is clear the focus is on quality rather than quantity. Common to all Jottnar products is careful attention to detail, a great fit, use of top end materials and a single minded focus on clothing for mountaineering use.
Since last autumn I have been using four items from the range and here are my thoughts so far.......

Fjorm Down Jacket

RRP £295

The Fjorm is a down duvet jacket with durable water repellent rip stop face fabric and a filling of 850 fill power hydrophobic down. There is a full length YKK 2 way zipper, storm baffle,  helmet compatible hood with wired brim, 2 hand warmer pockets and a mesh interior pocket which will hold a one litre bottle.  The Fjorm is the warmest jacket Jottnar make.
The first thing I noticed about the Fjorm was the excellent fit.  The jacket wraps around you like a glove and avoids baggy bits which could become cold spots. The hood is really well insulated and fits comfortably over a helmet. The chin flap also comes up nice and high.  All in all you feel cocooned - and that'sthe best feeling possible when wearing a cold weather jacket.
Jottnar use body mapping technology on the Fjorm which means, put simply, that more down is targeted in areas where it is needed.  They also use synthetic insulation in areas, like on the sleeve cuffs and collar, where the down is more likely to get wet.  A great addition that makes the jacket more practical in wetter conditions.
This is the first jacket I've owned that is filled with hydrophobic down.  I expect this will soon become the standard for down garments and the advantages are clear. For the Fjorm Jottnar use high quality 93/7 down/feather ratio grey goose down supplied by American company Downtek.  There are lots of statistics about its hydrophobic and insulating qualities but I guess most people just want to know that it is warm and that it repels water well.  My jacket’s main testing ground this winter has been Scotland and I deliberately used it in situations where, due to the high moisture environment, I would normally use synthetic insulation.  It got rained on and used in snow shelters and still worked really well without the down clumping at all.  It was also very warm.  Full marks.

Vanir Salopettes

RRP £350

Jottnar's Vanir salopettes are a fully featured Neoshell hard shell layer suitable for extreme conditions.  They are ideal for mountaineering and all snow activities and boast a stack of features including 2 sets of removable gaiters (one sized for ski boots and the other for mountain boots), 3/4 length YKK Aquaguard side zippers, zippered thigh pockets, braces with a high back trouser band for protection and a bib style front with additional zip pockets. The Vanirs also feature very durable Kevlar reinforcement on the inner ankle to protect against crampon damage and general wear caused by mountain boots.
The Vanir's are, hands down, the best salopettes I have ever used.  They have been in use just about every day over the winter and they have performed superbly.  The fit is great, the features are spot on, the Neoshell fabric is highly breathable and fully waterproof and they are still showing no signs of damage or wear.   The Vanirs are undoubtedly expensive........but worth it.

Hymir Smock

RRP £230

I have been a huge fan of the smock style for very lightweight waterproofs for many years - particularly for activities focussed on climbing.  They are simple and 'clutter free', have few features which means that, when combined with high performing breathable fabrics, they are very lightweight and the design is perfect for wearing with a climbing harness.
My ideal smock has a decent length YKK Aquaguard front zipper, a single chest pocket, a helmet compatible hood and simple cuff and hem closures - and that nicely sums up Jottnar's Hymir. The shell is made from the lightest grade of highly breathable Neoshell and the fit is superb.  This has, so far, had the smallest amount of use of any of the Jottnar garments I’ve been testing (I see very lightweight shells as more summer than winter waterproofs) but I have used it enough to know it is going to be very well loved!

Alfar Jacket

RRP £180

The last Jottnar product I've been testing is harder to categorise.  It is a hybrid jacket combining Powerstretch Pro arms with Neutron synthetic insulation torso covered in DWR coated rip stop nylon shell.  The Alfar also features harness compatible insulated pockets, a YKK front zipper and a panelled hood combining powerstretch sides and Neutron insulation along the centre.
Initially I wasn’t sure what the Alfar would be suitable for but, in reality, it has been useful for a lot!  On many occasions it can be worn as an outer layer but it also works really well under a shell.  The fit is snug and the Powerstretch arms allow a full range of movement.  It has taken a little while but the Alfar is becoming a well loved garment. I particularly love the high neck and the close fitting hood which, when zipped up snuggly, feels very much like wearing a cosy balaclava.  It also works really well with a harness and under hard shells.  Another great design.
We'll give a more detailed review after we've tested the clothing more.   Full details on the Jottnar range is available on their website here.
Posted by Paul