Jöttnar Bergelmir Hardshell Jacket | Review
'Deluxe soft, strong and super breathable NeoShell fabric plus thoughtful design and cut make the Bergelmir a little bit different and a little bit good.'
Outdoors Magic: Fantastic soft and breathable NeoShell fabric, layering-friendly cut, solid feel, thorough spec, capable hood.
Outdoors Tragic: No pit-zips if you do want them, fabric needs care.
Outdoors Grabbit? The fabric is brilliant. Super breathable and with a lovely soft, stretchy feel. The rest ain't bad either. A big helmet hood, top spec components and a cut that's about right for cold weather layering without being baggy or flappy. It's not cheap, but it's a little special and a little different from the Gore-Tex Pro norm. A very nice shell.
Waterproof mountaineering jacket / 3L Polartec 80-denier NeoShell fabric / helmet-compatible hood / Velcro adjustable cuffs with Hypalon cuffs / scooped drop-back hem / wire stiffened hood brim with fully moldable laminate peak / anti-snag hem draw cords / YKK® Aquaguard® VISLON® water repellent chest pocket zips / two internal valuables pockets / YKK® Aquaguard® VISLON® water repellent front zip with internal storm flap
Full Review Below
Jöttnar Bergelmir Hardshell Jacket - The Tech
When UK brand Jöttnar launched a couple of years back - yes, it's British, despite the nordic name - it adopted Polartec's excellent NeoShell fabric both on performance grounds and, you have to think, as a point of difference.
They're still using it and, performance aside, the heavy gauge 80-denier version used on the Bergelmir, is lovey stuff. A sort of thick, soft, slightly stretchy, almost soft shell-like material that feels great.
Sound of Silence
It's virtually silent in use - a bit of a contrast to crunchy Gore-Tex Pro - but its main attribute is a class-leading level of breathability. It keeps you cooler and more comfortable for longer and, if you do get a little damp, the fug clears faster and under-layers dry out quicker.
Great stuff and one of the few waterproof fabrics that's almost as breathable as a windproof or some soft shells.
Is there a downside? Long-term NeoShell users we've spoken to reckon that it's not as long-term durable as something like Gore-Tex Pro with heavy, sustained use. And that if you don't look after it with regular washing and reproofing, its level of waterproofness does fall off.
Ultimately we suspect that heavy users like professional guides may be better off with a more durable fabric, but for normal use, if you're prepared to be careful, a heavier grade NeoShell, like that used here, should do fine.
Jöttnar Bergelmir Hardshell Jacket - Performance
We've become a used to well-cut technical mountain jackets with good hoods, but the one things that sneaked up and ambushed us here was the amazing fabric. Pull on the Bergelmir after using a 'normal' waterproof material and you're instantly struck by the soft, solid, stretchy feel of the NeoShell and its uncanny quietness.
Throw in a medium-close, winter-friendly cut and a well-shaped, soft-faced, high-cut collar that sits neatly and protectively over your chin and it's like being encased in a sort of reassuringly protective soft-feel casing.
And Just Breathe
It's very breathable too, so you fig-out less often and clear the ensuing dampness from your under layers faster when you do. It's great stuff and while it's not mentioned often, the quietness of the fabric - as with Paramo's Enduro Jacket - is oddly comforting in the midst of a hood-up hoolie.
Talking of the hood, it's also very good. It's one of the few available that's capable of accommodating a climbing helmet and also covering most of your face up to just under eye-level. But also works well with a bare head or beanie. The peak is excellent too mixing a mouldable laminate stiffener with a wire reinforcement.
Elsewhere things are equally reassuring. Two big Napoleon pockets are super easy to access with pack on, with glove-friendly tags and smooth-running YKK Vislon zips help too. The main zip is Vislon too and equally slick and reliable.
The pit-zips? There aren't any, something we found disconcerting at first, but soon realised we mostly didn't need anyway. You can, if necessary, roll up the sleeves and/or open up the main-zip.
Finally, the adjustable hem-cords are separated so there's no loop to tangle with gear or be accidentally clipped in error. Though as with the hood cord-grips, the adjusters are slightly fiddly wearing thick gloves.
Jöttnar Bergelmir Hardshell Jacket - Verdict
We keep going on about the NeoShell fabric, but it really is very good if you run hot and the soft, tough feel and near silence in use is a bonus too, albeit not one that often mentioned.
Otherwise as, to be fair, you'd expect from a £450 jacket, the Bergelmir is pretty damn good. The hood gives great coverage and protection with or without a helmet, the YKK Vislon zips are the current benchmark for smoothness and water resistance and the pockets work just fine with or without a pack and harness in place.
There are two internal ones too if you want to stow a phone or GPS away. Our only slight quibble is over outright durability, but for most non-professional users and with a little care, we reckon it should do just fine.
A very good technical mountain jacket made from a very nice fabric albeit with a stiff price-tag. Not least because that fabric is far from cheap.