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Down and Insulated Jackets

Jöttnar Elvar Thermolite Insulated Jacket | Review

British brand Jöttnar don’t release new products very often, but when they do…

Why We Chose It: Excellent insulation, functional design features.

It’s probably fair to say that Jöttnar aren’t a particularly well known brand, not compared to the likes of Arc’teryx or Rab anyway. But they deserve to be up there with the big boys, and probably will be eventually. They make seriously good kit – we haven’t come across a duff product from them. And they’ve hit the bullseye again here.

This is a very good synthetic insulated jacket, good enough to convert even the most diehard fans of the down filled variety. Quite simply, it’s just really warm without being bulky and heavy. It’s probably the best synthetic insulated jacket we’ve come across recently actually. Our editor, Will, wore it during a six-day backpack along the Beacons Way during February and says that he was snug the whole way. “Even when it got wet in the rain, that snugness never disappeared” – a very handy attribute.

“As with the rest of Jöttnar’s products, it’s made with UK mountaineering in mind”

The insulation is called Thermolite, and it’s very similar to PrimaLoft, providing that light, lofty and breathable feel to mimic down. It’s rated at 100g/m² which is on the heavier, warmer end of the scale (for scale, the Arc’teryx Atom LT uses 60g/m² and their Atom AR uses 120).

It uses a tough outer fabric as well. Much, much tougher stuff than you’d find on any down jacket. This is made from a mix of nylon (89%) and PU (11%) with a micro ripstop construction and a 20 denier strength. There’s a slight bit of stretch to it which will make it less likely to tear when it snags on anything.

As with other Jöttnar products, this has been made with UK mountaineering in mind. Photo: Chris Johnson
The hood can be worn comfortably under a helmet. Photo: Chris Johnson
The adjustable fit here will help you get the most out of its insulating properties. Photo: Chris Johnson

As with the rest of Jöttnar’s products, it’s made with UK mountaineering in mind – for those days when you need something to get you through everything from drizzly rain to full-blown snow blizzards. The jacket’s designers are climbers themselves so they know what’s needed, and the feature set reflects this. The hood can be worn comfortably under a helmet for instance, the pockets are carefully placed so that they can be accessed when a harness is worn, the arms have a bit of length and articulation to them so the hem won’t lift up when you’re reaching high and the drawcords are split at the ends rather than looped so that they won’t catch in your equipment.

Other details include a webbing strip under the zip to prevent it from snagging, large zipped handwarmer pockets and another two pockets on the chest as well – all four are big enough to fit an OS map inside.

The jacket has the ideal place to store your gloves. Photo: Chris Johnson

Finally, the trim. Another box is ticked here according to OM Editor Will, who says that he finds the cut Jöttnar use across their jackets to be perfect for him. It’s athletic and trim but not overly so. It’s still loose enough to be able to fit an extra layer or two underneath while you could also easily squeeze it under a typical alpine shell. (More thoughts on the jacket from Will below)

At £249 it’s fairly pricey – £9 more than Arc’teryx’s Atom AR which is very similar. But we think with this, you can be pretty safe in the knowledge you’re buying a quality item from people who know what they’re doing.

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, Outdoors Magic Editor

“I was so impressed by this when I took it on a six-day backpack along the Beacons Way in February. In fact, I think it’s the warmest PrimaLoft insulated jacket I’ve tried. Granted there are warmer and lighter down jackets out there but none that can perform like this when things get a bit wet. I was happily wearing this in some pretty damp conditions and didn’t feel the insulating performance was hampered at all, and it dried quickly as well.

“A smaller thing, but one worth noting, is that I basically walked and slept in this for days, but it didn’t seem to get at all grubby, and that must be, in some part, thanks to the DWR treatment to the shell fabric.

“I’ve always liked Jöttnar’s kit, and I’ll still clearly have to wait to see a bad item from them.”

Trade Secrets

Tommy Kelly, Co-Founder of Jöttnar

“The new Elvar jacket is the result of four years of testing and development with the skiers, climbers and alpinists of the Jöttnar Pro Team. We wanted to build a high performance insulated jacket that could be used in a wide range of conditions, and which could withstand season after season of abuse. The fabric, componentry, fit and finish all needed to be best in class in order to give the real-world performance we were after. Four years and many iterations later, we got there.”

Jöttnar Elvar Thermolite Insulated Jacket

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