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.
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.