Haglöfs Nordic Expedition Down Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Down and Insulated Jackets

Haglöfs Nordic Expedition Down Jacket | Review

A technically advanced, temperature regulating belay jacket designed for the coldest and harshest conditions

Why We Chose It: Innovative, sustainable, award-winning design

The average winter temperature in Sweden’s far northern regions is typically around -15°C (5°F). With that in mind, you’d expect Swedish clothing brands to be knocking out some pretty warm winter gear. Haglöfs’ new Nordic Expedition Down Jacket doesn’t disappoint, thanks to its mix of the brand’s own Mimic synthetic insulation and premium 800 fill power goose down.

As you’d expect, the result is a jacket with a superb warmth-to-weight ratio. But it also offers a superior level of weather-resistance compared to most down jackets, since the fill is hydrophobic and the face fabric utilises a three-layer waterproof construction across the shoulders, torso and arms. This has a hydrostatic head of 15,000mm and a moisture vapour transmission rate of 10,000g/m2/24hrs. The latter figure is a measure of breathability, which means that although the jacket is well-stuffed, it shouldn’t get too stuffy. This is particularly important during winter, when moisture vapour trapped inside your inner layers can otherwise condense and chill your core, with potentially dangerous consequences. 

What Is The Expedition Down Jacket Best Suited To?

This is a jacket designed for expeditions in the mountains of Northern Sweden and other Nordic countries. It’s well suited to keeping you warm, dry and comfortable while belaying, whether you’re climbing a classic alpine icefall or shivering in a mountain gully.

Photos: Chris Johnson

Unlike a classic belay jacket, however, the Nordic Expedition Down Jacket offers plenty of versatility. As well as providing efficient block insulation, it’s designed to move moisture through the jacket and to offer enhanced ventilation options in order to dump excess moisture more quickly. Put it this way: imagine you’ve just led a tricky pitch. You’re pretty pumped and a bit sweaty but having built a belay it’s time to bring up your second. Now you’re static – and given that you could be standing around for some time, given the difficulty of the climb – you want to get a big, warm layer on. If your body continues to sweat, and that moisture can’t move beyond your outermost layer, there’s a good chance you’ll start to get cold, despite having a big layer of block insulation wadding around your torso. This is exactly the scenario for which the Nordic Expedition Down Jacket has been designed, with fabrics and fill that are not just moisture-resistant but also breathable.  

It’s a situation that could easily apply to winter climbers and mountaineers in North Wales or Scotland too, so this is an excellent belay jacket for those environments. Similarly, it would work well for other outdoorsy types who spend a lot of time in cold and wet conditions doing stop-start activities, like nature photographers, wildlife guides or even fell-running race marshals.

Eco Credentials

The Nordic Expedition Jacket is made from bluesign approved fabrics, meaning that harmful substances have been eliminated right from the beginning of the manufacturing process, and all resources involved in its manufacture have been used responsibly – leading to a reduced impact on people and on the environment. The down fill is also certified by the Responsible Down Standard, ensuring good animal welfare, and is further traceable back to the farm.

“The straps let you open up the main zipper without sacrificing too much in terms of rain and wind protection.”

The durable water repellent (DWR) treatment applied to the face fabric is free from harmful fluorocarbons, while Haglöfs as a brand is also a leading member of the Fair Wear Foundation and is a certified climate-neutral company.

Construction and Performance

We’ve already mentioned the zoned waterproof-breathable face fabrics and the blend of hydrophobic down and synthetic fill. Specifically, the latter is Haglöfs’ own Mimic Platinum insulation, a high-performance synthetic fill that contains graphene to better conduct your body heat and spread it throughout the garment.

However, the most striking element of the jacket’s design are the straps placed across the front panel. Designed to help improve ventilation, these straps let you open up the main zipper without sacrificing too much in terms of rain and wind protection. According to the brand, this improves temperature regulation and moisture management. But we see this feature also being really useful while you’re belaying, as it will help ensure a clean line of sight to your belay device.

Another unusual feature – which is unique as far as we know (at least, we’ve never come across it in any other jackets) – is the fact that the jacket incorporates a waterproof drop seat in the rear. This is designed to offer improved coverage and protection for when you’re sitting on snowy ledges. It takes the form of a stiffened flap, similar to the removable seat pad you sometimes find in rucksacks. You also get a fully helmet-compatible hood and a two-way main zip – again, both designed with technical climbing or mountaineering use in mind.


Industry experts have been impressed by this jacket. It snagged a Gold Award in the Product of the Year category at the most recent ISPO trade show – the outdoor industry’s largest trade event. It’s also won a Scandinavian Outdoor Award. We can see why it’s turned heads, thanks not only to its use of innovative materials, but also the unique and considered design.

It’s undeniably something of a specialist piece, which is reflected in the hefty £660 price tag. But if you’re planning some serious winter adventures, and looking for a warm and weatherproof protective layer, it’s a very enticing prospect.

“One of the hassles of better insulation is that there is less permeability (hence if you break the sweat point, it is harder to get rid of the dampness: it is this that is also the quickest way to cool down your body too fast); hence the combination of graphene channels to move excess heat away without compromising the insulation. If there was a subject of Performance Sportswear Design – this would be the ultimate design project.”

Haglöfs Nordic Expedition Down Jacket

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