66°North Hornstrandir Jacket | Deep Dive - Outdoors Magic

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Waterproof Jackets

66°North Hornstrandir Jacket | Deep Dive

A jacket with high-performance fabrics, mountain-focussed features and some very commendable post-purchase services.

The top line on the Hornstrandir jacket: it’s absolutely bombproof. This is an item for those really, really demanding days.

It’s fair to say it comes from a brand with a decent enough track record when it comes to producing protective waterproof jackets. In fact, 66°North’s origins lie on the Icelandic coast where, all the way back in 1926, they started making clothing to serve local fishermen.

It’s a jacket designed to handle a variety of activities as well. On its website, 66°North states that it’s for ‘mountain athletes’, encompassing skiers, climbers, mountaineers. They don’t shy away from highlighting the jacket’s suitability for just plain old commuting either, something many of the leading brands tend to shy away from in an effort to appear ‘core’. But why not make a jacket to cover multiple uses? It’s certainly better for the environment.

On the subject of sustainability, since 2018, 66°North has deliberately slimmed down its entire product line by 52% as part of its commitment to encourage multi-use and reduce waste. It also became fully carbon neutral in 2019 and has pledged to make free repairs on any product it’s ever made – whether that’s from last season or anytime in the last century.

I’ve been testing out the Hornstrandir during a number of trips this winter and while I’ve not had any snow to pit it against, I’ve certainly faced up to a lot of rain.


A couple of years ago, Gore-tex unveiled their plans to evolve their standard, tried and tested Gore-tex Pro fabric, designing three new variations of it that could be paired with materials of different thicknesses and elasticities. We’re now starting to see brands roll out products using these innovations, the Hornstrandir being one of them.

Testing out the Hornstrandir in southern Snowdonia.

The shoulders and elbows of the Hornstrandir feature the heavier duty ‘Most Rugged’ version of Gore-tex Pro, the ‘Most Breathable’ Gore-tex Pro fabric makes up the hood, front of the torso and the centre of the back and then under the arms you’ve got the nice, stretchy version of Gore-tex Pro to give you complete dexterity while wearing this thing.

There are no denier ratings here but we’d hazard a guess the range stretches between 40 and 80D. It’s super tough.


The Hornstrandir has the kind of feature set you’d expect from a jacket made for demanding mountain activities. The hood, for example, can be worn over a helmet, it has a slight card-stiffened peak and there’s three-point adjustment so you can really seal yourself within this. The hem of the jacket has a glove-friendly cinch, there are big Velcro tabs on the cuffs for easy adjustment and the main zip is two-way so you can throw the jacket on over a climbing harness.

Note the access to the pockets even with a sternum strap across the chest. Photo: 66°North

Two napoleon-style pockets are situated on the front of the jacket. These are fairly modest in size and will only be suitable for things like your sunglasses, snacks and small essentials. Then you’ve got two handwarmer pockets which are slightly larger than the chest pockets, so you can realistically keep a fairly thick pair of gloves in these, or perhaps a radio or folded up OS map. These are placed so that you can access them while wearing a climbing harness or backpack with a hipbelt. Last but not least, there’s one zipped internal pocket against the chest which I’ve found is just big enough for my Samsung Galaxy S21 (71.2×151.7×7.9 mm) in its case. All of the external zips, by the way, are made by YKK and feature water resistant seals and large zip docks.


I’m 5 foot 10, 11 stone and my build is fairly slim and I had this in my usual size which is a men’s Medium. For me, it was the perfect fit.

Lining the inside is Gore’s C-Knit backer for comfort against the skin and membrane protection. Photo: 66 North

From what I can tell, 66°North recommends going for the size that normally works for you. If you often find yourself between sizes, you’d probably be best going up rather than down. I say that because this thing’s cut quite short on the front of the hem and I think I’d find a size S would be almost above my trouser belt.

The hem does drop down nicely at the back though, meaning the jacket won’t pop out at the back of your climbing harness when you’re reaching up. The articulation of the jacket overall helps there too, with the long arms and stretchy fabric at the armpits all working together to allow you to reach up for the highest hold without the jacket lifting up at the hem.

In terms of volume, I found I could comfortably wear this over a bulky insulated layer on days out in the hills. When required, I can see it catering for my full winter layering system too. That being said, I’ve also found that it doesn’t feel or look baggy or flappy when worn simply over a baselayer. In other words, this jacket hits that goldilocks spot for me; the kind of spot that, from my experience, high-spec jackets do generally tend to hit.


This weighs 508g which would generally be around-and-about the weight I’d expect from a Gore-tex Pro jacket. It’s marginally heavier than I’d like a jacket to be if I was going to be using it mainly for multi-day hiking in summer, but it’s still not heavy enough to be totally ruled out for that kind of thing either. If I was going to be expecting heavy rain throughout that hike, I can see myself being glad to have its reliable protection.

Work really hard and you’re always going to end up getting a bit sweaty in a membrane-lined jacket, but still, this one does seem to be in the top bracket in terms of breathability. OK, there are no pit zips and personally I think it would’ve benefitted from them – even if they can sometimes increase the risk of water ingress – but as you’ll see in the video on this page, I wore this jacket throughout a whole hike on a sunny, strenuous day in Snowdonia and I didn’t ever feel uncomfortable in it.

If you’re already familiar with the performance of Gore-tex Pro fabrics then the reality will be no different to your expectations. This does also mean that, like any other Gore-tex jacket, you’d be wise to wash this and reproof it every now and then using Nikwax’s aftercare solutions. Doing that will maintain the outer fabric’s ability to bead away moisture, thus allowing moisture vapor to escape through the membrane.


£500 is a pretty hefty sum of money, there’s no denying that. But, I’d say that if you did choose to purchase this, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re getting a premium product here. Perhaps more importantly, with the overall durability and then the free repair service on top of that, you’re also getting a product that, technically, is going to stay with you for life.

You’ll find the Hornstrandir in men’s and women’s versions and in three different colourways: red, blue and black.


  • Price£500
  • Weight508g
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