Review: Jöttnar Fenrir jacket

Premium lightweight down jacket from the small British brand

Feature type Review

Read time 5 min

Published Dec 07, 2022

Author Alex Smith

Alex Smith BASE’s investment and growth guy Alex loves pushing his limits with Ironman and Ultra events. When he’s not testing his endurance, he’ll be seeking out the best ski-touring spots in the Alps.

The Verdict

Peak quality lightweight down jacket exuding a premium feel and fully set for use in the harshest conditions.

RRP £325
Weight 390g (men’s medium)
Features 850 Fill Power goose down, 30D micro rip-stop nylon, Water repellent down technology

Pros

  • Incredibly warm and soft. Plush and reassuringly comfortable.
  • Super lightweight with self-stuff sack
  • Stretch technical wrist cuffs and cinch hood
  • The 30 denier micro rip-stop nylon with water repellent treatment improves  durability and protects down

Cons

  • Hood does not have peak (useful when wearing additional hard shell on top with hood up)
  • Slightly too roomy for someone who is on the smaller side of Large (I’m 6ft, 78kg)
  • High price tag

What I’m Looking For

A down jacket is one of those essential pieces of kit that you need to rely on when the temperature drops, or you find yourself in unexpected situations needing to stay warm. It’ll be a permanent fixture in my pack on a late summer hike or when I’m doing a multi-day ski tour in the Alps in mid-winter. Therefore, the two essential criteria for me in choosing a down jacket are that it’s incredibly and immediately warm and lightweight. 

Fit is also very important to form part of a good layering system – large enough to allow all movement and accommodate base and mid layers underneath, but tight enough to fit comfortably under an outer hardshell. Additional features, such as pockets, water repellent coating and stuff sacks are very useful secondary features that may tip the dial, but very often come as standard. I’m also conscious of the ethical implication of using down, so compliance with the Responsible Down Standard is a big plus for me.

The two essential criteria for me in choosing a down jacket are that it’s incredibly and immediately warm and lightweight 

First Impressions

If you’re not already aware of the Jöttnar mythos, it’s a technically-focused brand formed and now nurtured to serious success by two former Royal Marine commandos and lifelong mountaineers, climbers and skiers, Steve Howarth and Tommy Kelly. It’s fair to say they understand what harsh conditions require when it comes to gear and kit. Although the business has of course now expanded, the core team behind the products design the gear themselves and still personally test it as well as running the wider operations. Impressive, you have to say.

As soon as you pull it out the bag, the Fenrir radiates quality. Incredibly lightweight, soft and plush, the jacket’s first impressions are hard to fault. Getting excited and trying it on inside, you’re reassured of the performance as you quickly overheat. I was immediately drawn to the technical, elastic silky cuffs which, along with the super lofty down, add to the premium feeling. The zipper runs smoothly with minimum resistance and the hood fits snugly around your head and face. I couldn’t wait to get it out on the hill. 

The Test

I live in London, however with family in Devon, Dartmoor and some of the Two Moors Way were the ideal testing grounds to put the Fenrir through its paces. 

Dartmoor is well known for being an environment with rapidly changing conditions and includes significant exposure to the elements atop some of the highest tors. The jacket was tested on a number of hikes in conditions ranging from chilly, sunny mornings to cold and very windy November afternoons. However, it’s worth noting that being mid-autumn in the UK, the temperatures hadn’t dropped much below 10°C for the jacket to be truly pushed to its limit.

I was wearing a t-shirt under the jacket which provided enough warmth whilst preventing me from overheating. On the climbs I needed to open the zip to provide some airflow and stop a layer of sweat building up. 

Who Is This Item For?

This is a top-of-the-range, high performance down jacket that does not mess around in terms of its quality nor its price point. It would absolutely be suitable for use in some of the harshest mountain conditions but is lightweight and warm enough to feature in any daypack whether skiing, climbing or hiking. So, whether you’re hitting some serious elevation, passing the snowline or just out for a chilly morning walk on the coast, it’s got you well covered.

What Stands Out

850 Fill Power Goose Down

One of the first things that strikes you about the jacket is that it’s very, very warm. It’s clearly stuffed full of insulation and has an incredibly soft and fluffy feel that makes it a pleasure to wear.

DownTek

The hydrophobic nanotechnology means that the down continues to insulate in all conditions even in the wet. The water-repellent down using this tech ‘stays dry times longer than untreated down’, according to the brand. Moreover, they also confidently state that the water repellency will not wash out *and* is free from fluorocarbons. Good work. The nanotechnology treatment works by creating surface tension on the filaments of the down clusters. This forces moisture molecules to bead and roll off the down, thus leaving each cluster able to continue trapping warm air.

Technical Elastic Cuffs

Only a minor detail, but one that provides a huge amount of function and satisfaction. Firstly, the cuffs create a super seal around your wrist helping to retain heat and prevent drafts. Sliding your hand through the silky cuffs also gives an immediate impression of quality as you don the jacket and they add a stylish detail if wearing the jacket as your outer layer.

Synthetic Insulation

The use of synthetic insulation in the areas where the jacket may get wet is also really clever. It removes the worry of the cuffs, neck or armpits of the jacket getting damaged if you sweat, or it’s not fully covered by an outer shell, whilst still providing the insulation benefits or real down in the rest of the garment.

Value For Money

£325 is a fairly sizable price tag firmly in the upper end of the set. There is no doubt this is an unashamedly premium jacket, but the price point won’t suit everyone. Down jackets are legion and pretty much the absolute norm for everyone in winter whether you are an adventure fan or not, and as a result there are plenty of other jackets that would be similar in terms of warmth and weight, for a lower price tag. However, here you certainly get the quality the price tag reflects.

This is an unashamedly premium jacket, but the price point won’t suit everyone

BASE Bottom Line

This is the first Jöttnar product I’ve used, and being a highly respected brand in the outdoors space, I had high expectations. The Fenrir jacket certainly didn’t disappoint. From the initial impressions of quality, to the performance out in the elements, the jacket felt, looked and performed very well.

The finish of the product is very high end with plenty of attention to detail. Being critical, the size felt slightly on the large side, but this is more of a personal preference and would provide good room for layering options underneath. Overall, it’s a fantastic piece of kit if you’re happy to splash the cash.

 

 

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