Kit review: Jottnar Alfar insulated jacket
Have you heard of mountain clothing brand, Jottnar? The small-ish (for now) range of jackets and outer trousers is gaining a name for itself, especially in Scotland, and I have been fortunate to have one of the women’s insulated jackets to test.
The background to the Jottnar brand is two ex-marines, Tommy and Steve. The story goes that during an expedition that saw them facing challenging winter conditions in Norway they decided to create a new range of high quality outdoor clothes.
Jottnar is the result and while the product range (especially for women) is still small it does offer some impressively technical and useful jackets. Tommy and Steve promise that more products will be forthcoming.
I first spotted Jottnar being worn by Mike Pescod of Abacus Mountaineering.
Among the men’s and women’s range is the Jottnar Alfar. It is a mid-layer jacket designed to deal with the harshest of winter conditions. I have been wearing it in tough Scottish winter mountain conditions and also as an outer layer when the weather is a bit milder. I am impressed by what the jacket offers.
I have found that with a couple of lightweight baselayers underneath, the Alfar works well as a stand-alone jacket. Then, when the rain or snow comes, or the wind picks up, I keep the jacket on and add a waterproof outer jacket over the top.
So for most recent outings I have kept the Alfar jacket on at all times and simply added a waterproof over-layer when required.
I like clothing that does not cause extra fuss when out on the mountains. I do not want to be swapping garments all the time so to find a jacket that I can keep on most of the time it great.
What I like about the Jottnar Alfar
The Jottnar Alfar works well because it is created in different sections of fabrics. So, the sleeves, hood and sides are Powerstretch Pro. This is a soft and stretchy fabric with a fleece style inner. It feels really lovely to wear and offers a good level of warmth and breathability.
The main part of the body of the jacket and the top of the hood are made with windproof and insulated Advansa Thermocool. This is a synthetic insulation that is aimed at keeping the core of the body warm.
On windy days I noticed that the wind does penetrate the Powerstretch Pro but the insulated section still kept me warm. The jacket offers an especially good balance of warmth and breathability for sunnier but chilly days at higher altitude where you are working hard, for example walking uphill.
The jacket also has a scoop back hem to keep your lower back and butt warm. The loops on the end of the sleeves for your thumbs are useful as a way to keep wrists and the top half of the hands warm.
There are two hand-warmer pockets that are nicely located above the waist-strap of a rucksack, or a harness if you’re a climber.
But my favourite part of this jacket is not what you might expect. It’s the high-rise zip-up neck. When the wind picks up you can stop it blasting your face skin by zipping it up to its maximum.
What I also like about the jacket is there is that it is not bulky. There is insulation where needed but nothing excessive. Yet the jacket does keep you brilliantly warm.
The jacket is now my first choice for Munro bagging. It’s light, easy to wear and offers a good balance of warmth and breathability in a range of conditions. It is neat enough to fit under my normal “slim-fit” waterproof jacket.
Unlike some insulated jackets that are made of down there are no worries about the down becoming sweat saturated and wet and therefore useless. The underarm area of the jacket is Powerstretch fabric and the main core of the jacket is synthetic insulation. Both offer easy sweat evaporation.
Jottnar is not a cheaper end product – the Alfar jacket is £180 – but if you are looking for good design and features in a durable product it’s well worth considering. See Jottnar