I need my kit to perform. I get spend large chunks of every winter up mountains in far-flung places and when I’m not travelling I’m outside on a farm in the UK. But despite that, I get very cold (yes, bizarre) and it’s taken me a long time, more than a dozen or so years, to build up a carefully curated selection of outdoor kit that I know is up to the job. Brands that I can trust and outdoor gear that will do the job in extreme environments — whether that’s wild mid-Atlantic storms or the bone-breaking cold of Siberia and Greenland. In the past few years, the one brand I always pack, and wear most days, is Jöttnar.
Who is Jöttnar
This small brand was set up by two former Royal Marine commandos who are lifelong mountaineers, climbers and skiers — and that DNA runs deep through their company and the technical clothing they produce. Jöttnar works with a Pro Team of athletes who test their kit ruthlessly and it shows. If something is designed to be waterproof, it will be properly waterproof; if it’s warm it will be toasty. There’s movement in shoulders, arms, knees where it’s needed. Technical stretch cuffs are soft and just tight enough to stop water ingress or draughts. Hem drawcords don’t snag. Pockets are properly positioned and always the right size; the lengths of arms and body are long so you don’t get gaps when they ride up; hoods are sized right to work under or over helmets — it all just works, without any faff.
Jess Coonan, Jöttnar head of product explains further. “The industry is guilty of over-engineering gear. If it’s not functional and doesn’t help you in anyway, we don’t include it,” she says. “If a product doesn’t perform, it doesn’t get into the range. We and our Pro Team athletes test it to destruction up and down the mountain. We do this so we are curating a range that caters for those who need the best gear up high on the mountain edges, as well as down in the valley.”
Because you can only buy direct, Jöttnar has remained exclusive. It’s not as well known or as often seen as some of the technical outdoor clothing you can buy (and that I wear) and when you see someone wearing Jöttnar, you know what kind of adventurous person they are likely to be as they’ve chosen this brand for its rugged performance.
I’ve been wearing Jottnar for several years (as my Instagram account will testify) and my all-time favourite has to be the Fenrir — it would be difficult to find a more useful jacket and my go-to from October through to March. An absolute leader in its field, this warm, lightweight and water-resistant down jacket is the first item I reach for to pack for a mountain trip, a long hike or even just a trip to the pub. The ‘hydrophobic’ down stays dry ten times longer than standard and it dries three times quicker, too.
The Fenrir has the highest warmth-to-weight ratio of any down jacket I own — 850 Fill Power down in a premium 93/7 down/feather ratio (the highest possible). It’s an absolute pleasure to wear in all conditions and worth every single penny — the only thing I wouldn’t do is pack the Fenrir down for a lightweight add-on layer while touring, it’s too bulky — but that’s where the Asger comes in, their new featherlight midlayer with a windproof, water repellent outer and Polartec Alpha inner. Ideal for ski touring, beneath a shell layer, the Asger strikes the perfect balance of warmth and breathability.
I also love the mediumweight Magni LX and Hemming LX fleece lightweight midlayers — I’m actually wearing the Magni LX as I type. They’re warm and light, perfect for layering — ideally over the new logo t-shirt that has finally arrived in the range.
The one gripe I’ve had with Jöttnar is that their women’s kit is sized a bit oddly but this has been sorted for this season, and I’ve just landed the Asger, a lightweight hooded hybrid jacket that’s been part of my layering arsenal since it arrived. Warmth-to-weight ratio is outstanding, and its slightly longer length and athletic makes it a perfect layer beneath a shell in the awful autumn weather we’ve been. I’m a standard UK size 10 and the small fits me perfectly.
“Fit and ease of movement is a key focus for AW24 on our women’s gear,” says Jess. “For instance, seam placements will be off-set for further comfort and elbow and knee seams articulated to allow for greater movement.”
There’s a new colour for AW24, too, a type of mint green called Ether, which complements the existing black, blue (eclipse), grey (gull) and plum and works really well in the women’s range without being too girly.
In the words of Jöttnar co-founder, Mountain Leader and former Royal Marine, Thomas Kelly: “Clothing is a tool, reliability is a necessity.”
Jöttnar, I’m looking forward to much more.
For more information on Jöttnar see online.