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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > NORRONA GORE-TEX LOFOTEN INSULATED > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

NORRONA GORE-TEX LOFOTEN INSULATED JACKET
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
March 2, 2020
MB-Norrona2

PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 73 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 210 lb (93 kg)
Upper body: Chest 46 in [117 cm], waist 37 in [94 cm], arm length 36.5 in [93 cm], torso 22.5 in [57 cm]
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Outside Bozeman, Montana USA, in the Bridger Mountains

I've been backpacking for half a century, most often in the Rockies. I do at least one weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 10000 ft (1500 - 3000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Though always looking for ways to reduce my pack weight, I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences. I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Winter backcountry trips are often planned around skiing opportunities.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Lofoten, named for a string of islands above the Arctic Circle, is Norrona's product line targeted for "Exceptional weather protection combined with relentless dedication to freeride functionality" - in simple English, snow sports, in particular skiing and snowboarding. This jacket's name describes it perfectly - a waterproof-breathable hooded jacket fully lined with Primaloft.

Manufacturer: Norrona A/S, norrona.com
Model: Men's Gore-Tex lofoten insulated jacket. A women's version is available in different colors.
Year purchased: 2015 or 2016
Size: XL; also available in S, M, L, XXL. See sizing note below.
Color: Bamboo Green. Four other colors are available.
Listed weight: 850 g [30 oz], no size specified.
Measured weight: 16.8 oz [476 g] [See discussion of Features below.]
Measured dimensions: Sleeve length, 37 in/94 cm; length from top of zipper to waist, 32 in/81 cm
Warranty: Five years
MSRP: $499 US

Note to buyers: I have submitted several other Owner Reviews on Norrona jackets and pants. Since the most recent of those Norrona has made a distribution change, replacing an exclusive United States distributor with direct sales through its own website and selected retailers. A Find Store tab on the website directs a consumer to the nearest store in which its products are sold.

Sizing note: As I have found with several European clothing makers, Norrona tends to size its jackets and pants [I have purchased three of each] a bit small. I fit in both XL and XXL categories on
its sizing guide, available in centimeters or inches on the website. For a cold-weather jacket I chose the smaller of the two for a snugger fit.

My jacket has a number of features, and Norrona has added several more to its current model. Here's the current feature list with my comments. Those listed in red postdate my jacket. I attribute the discrepancy between actual and listed weight to the new features.
   
    Asymmetric cuffs with Velcro adjustment [I have experience with these on other jackets from several manufacturers and like them. As discussed below I have not found them necessary on my lofoten.]
    Asymmetric longer back cut [A very practical design that I wish every manufacturer would copy.]
   
    One-hand hood adjustment [I haven't needed one.]
    Laminated stretch woven hand gaiterâ„¢ [I'm not quite sure what this is. My jacket has a fabric liner (not woven and no thumb hole) that extends an inch (2.5 cm) or so beyond the cuff and adheres to my wrist with elastic.] 
    Storm hood fitted for freeride helmet [I'm not sure I know what makes a helmet "freeride," but my hood fits nicely over my ski helmet.]
   
    Soft brushed chin protection [Sounds nice.]
    Goggle wipe with leash [I have this feature on another Norrona jacket and wish it were on this one.]

    Mine has two handwarmer pockets and a vertical chest pocket on the left, each with a YKK water resistant zipper. Norrona has added a second chest pocket, a keycard pocket on the left sleeve, and pit zips.

    My jacket has a drawstring at the waist that is controlled by two toggles located just behind the handwarmer pockets.

FIELD CONDITIONS

lofoten cuffI've found a number of uses for this uncomplicated yet versatile jacket. It's regularly in my kit on winter day hikes [whether I'm on snowshoes, skis, or just boots] whenever I anticipate a lunch break or other extended down time. That's when the pack comes off and the jacket goes on. For similar reasons it's ideal for backcountry skiing, particularly skiing for downhill turns. Skinning or bootpacking uphill can be hard work, and with a warm jacket I can perspire profusely. But when I stop to shed the climbing skins, don my helmet, and adjust my bindings I need insulation immediately to avoid a chill, and I definitely need it when descending.

For less strenuous activities, such as dog walks, easy day hikes, and everyday winter wear in casual Bozeman, this jacket is great. As discussed below, it insulates well, it fits well over either backcountry base layers or civilian clothes, and it's easily visible day or night. This last benefit really helps at 45 degrees north latitude, where the winter days are short and the dog needs walks. I'm difficult to miss in the headlights when I wear this jacket.

I estimate at least fifty backcountry days' use and many, many more when walking my dog or undertaking outdoor chores. My preferred temperature range is 40 to -10 F [4 to -22 C], with number and insulating power of layers underneath varying with the weather condition. Normal for me in winter is a merino base layer and wool or down sweater beneath the jacket, though if it's relatively warm [40 F/4 C or warmer] I might swap the sweater for a vest or second base layer, or ditch a midlayer altogether. I've worn the jacket in comparable spring and fall temperatures when rain is in the forecast.

PERFORMANCE

The size XL lofoten gives an athletic but not constraining fit. It is this fit that makes this garment so versatile.
The lining is extended about half an inch [1 cm] beyond the cuff, with an elastic band inside that both extends the sleeve length and makes the liner hug my wrists. The jacket is comfortable on a frigid day on the ski slope over a heavy sweater. There's enough wiggle room for the athletic motion of downhill skiing even though the fit is trim. I have never felt like the Michelin Man on skis. Over a single base layer there's obviously more room but the elastic at the cuffs and drawstring at the waist still keep out the north wind. With a long torso and long arms I often have to choose between XL to avoid loose folds or XXL for adequate length at the extremities. Not so with the lofoten. The sleeve liners, waist drawstring, and extra length in the tail give me almost a custom fit.  That goes for the hood as well.

The lofoten is a warm jacket. With its snug fit and liner sleeves it blocks the wind effectively, and the Primaloft works really well - perhaps not as well as down, but very well - to keep out the cold. I'm usually a natural fibers guy who goes with down whenever possible, but I've had no complaints about the synthetic in the lofoten. And synthetic insulation allows wear in fall and spring when the precipitation is not always powder snow. This jacket has justified my trust in GORE-TEX to be waterproof, but even that estimable fabric cannot always survive a sustained downpour. Once or twice I've had the opportunity to experience the Primaloft's ability to insulate when damp, and it's OK, though no soggy fabric is truly comfortable. Once out of the rain both outer fabric and insulation dry reasonably quickly.

This jacket has received some scratches and scrapes in the five years or so that I've owned it, including one small tear on a sleeve resulting from its owner's carelessness when reaching over a barbed wire fence. I treated that mishap first with duct tape, later with an iron-on patch. There is some wrinkling and pilling at the top of the zipper. No loss of insulating ability or comfort, however. For a jacket worn almost daily during several winters I think it has been remarkably durable.

And I haven't pampered the lofoten to obtain this durability. I wash it twice a year at most. At winter's end I toss it in the washer and run a cycle with cold water, delicate setting, and non-detergent soap; allow it to hang dry; and then treat it with a waterproofing refresher. I'll give it a similar bath, sans waterproofing treatment, if it looks dirty. A hangtag in my jacket warns against dry cleaning, tumble drying, fabric softener, ironing, and bleach.

WHAT I LIKE

It's simple, with little that can go wrong.
Durability
Warmth

WHAT I'D CHANGE

My commentary above indicates that the manufacturer has made this jacket much more featured since I bought mine. I'm quite happy with my simplified version, though I'd like to have the inside pocket, Velcro-controlled cuffs, and pit zips that are now standard. 

SUMMARY

A well-designed, well-built jacket with many uses.




Read more reviews of Norrona gear
Read more gear reviews by Richard Lyon

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > NORRONA GORE-TEX LOFOTEN INSULATED > Owner Review by Richard Lyon



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