Kit review: Jottnar Alfar mid-layer jacket
A new mountain clothing brand, Jottnar, has created a mid-layer jacket designed to deal with the harshest of winter conditions. I took it out for a winter walk in the Scottish hills. It was a cold and windy day but I stayed wonderfully warm. The background to Jottnar 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 is still small it does offer some impressively technical and useful jackets. The Jottnar Alfar is a mid-layer jacket and comes in male and female fit. The Jottnar Alfar is aimed at winter wear and was perfectly suited to an outing on the snow-covered Scottish Munro, Ben Chonzie, recently. It would also be a useful jacket for cooler spring and summer days at higher altitude. I might pop it into my rucksack during a walking tour in Europe, for example. The Alfar is created in different sections of differing fabrics. So, the sleeves, hood and sides are Powerstretch Pro. This is a soft and stretchy fabric with a fleece style inner. It feels super 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. 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. What I 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. I spent a day in cold winter conditions walking a Munro in Scotland. For much of the hike I wore the Alfar jacket as an outer layer, on top of a few baselayers. I felt warm at the core of my body yet not too over-heated while waling uphill. When I reached higher altitude and the wind picked up I simply added my waterproof jacket over the top for extra windproofing. The Alfar is lightweight enough to allow for my normal waterproof jacket to go over the top. But my favourite part of this jacket is not what you might expect. It’s the high-rise zip-up neck. With wind driving into my face I wanted to keep my bare skin to a minimum.
Trying out the Jottnar Alfar
While wearing wraparound sunglasses I pulled up the snug hood and zipped up the front of the jacket to the maximum to find that only my nose stuck out. This meant I remained as warm and windproofed as possible even at the windswept Munro summit. The Jottnar Alfar jacket is a great find and usefully versatile. It comes in male and female fit and in some nice colours. It’s priced at £180 from www.jottnar.com