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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Bergans of Norway Storen Jacket > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

BERGANS of NORWAY STOREN JACKET
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
September 22, 2015
Birkebeiner

PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 69 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 205 lb (91 kg)
Chest: 46 in (117 cm)
Waist: 37 in (94 cm)
Torso: 22.5 in (57 cm)
Sleeve length: 36.5 in (93 cm)
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Bozeman, Montana USA

I've been backpacking for nearly 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 to reduce pack weight, I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences.  I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals.  Winter activities often involve telemark or touring skis; summer trips often focus on fly-fishing opportunities.

THE PRODUCT

Storen jkt The Storen Jacket is a member of its maker's Slingsby line, which Bergans says has been designed for ski touring and mountaineering.  With a three-layer waterproof-breathable (WPB) fabric - Dermizax(r)NX – I consider it more than a shell, though it is not insulated. Other noteworthy design features include longer length in the back than the front, articulated elbows, oversized openings at the wrist (said to facilitate donning the jacket without removing one's gloves), and sleeves that while not a classic raglan cut do avoid any stitching on the shoulders.

The first thing about the Storen that struck me was its somewhat startling coloring. Most of the body is a bright light blue ("light sea blue"), with darker ("deep sea") blue across the bottom of the back.  Trim is either bright lime green (pocket zippers) or even brighter yellow (main zipper, Velcro strips at the sleeve cuffs, the manufacturer's name on the right breast, and its logo, the famous Birkebeiner Norsemen with the royal baby (pictured at the top), on the left sleeve and middle of the back). I think it looks sharp, not flashy. And who knows, the standout colors might make my body easier to find after an avalanche.

Manufacturer: Bergans of Norway, www.bergans.com  The website's home page has tabs for six specific countries and an "Others" tab for each of Asia, Europe, and North America.
Size: XL; available in Men's XS-XXL. The Storen Lady Jacket is available in women's sizes XS-XL
Weight, listed: 460 g (16.2 oz) for size Large
Weight, measured: 18.0 oz (510 g), size XL
Fabric: Fabric: 3-layer DermizaxNX: 100 % Polyamide (Nylon)
Color: Light Sea Blue/Deep Sea/Lime. Available in two other color combinations, one whose principal color is Lime and the other Yellowgreen [sic]. The Storen Lady comes in slightly different but equally cheery color combinations.
Measurements, size XL: Length, 32.5 in (83 cm) from collar to hem in the back; sleeve 40 inches (102 cm) from the middle of the collar.  Waist 54 inches (137 cm).
MSRP: Not listed.
Country of origin: China

FEATURES

The Storen has a fixed hood that I can adjust using toggles at the left side or middle of the back. Toggles for cinching the waist are on the inside, about twelve inches (30 cm) from the zipper on each side.  As I have found on other products from European manufacturers (both of which, come to think of it, are also Norse, and both of which I've reviewed on this site), the main zipper has the slider on the left.   

To regulate ventilation each underarm has a 15-inch (38 cm) zipper in the same light blue as the top of the jacket but easily visible thanks to a bright yellow zipper pull. The zippers open by pulling the zipper up, a design I've found in the past to facilitate operation when wearing gloves.

In addition to the manufacturer's name and logo, the Storen has eight reflective strips, one on each corner of the front and the back.  These are a sober grey in the photo but are easy to spot at night when light is shined upon them.

This jacket has five pockets. Two are standard handwarmer pockets on the sides. Two more sit on the chest – vertical zipper on the right and horizontal on the left. Bergans states and I verified that these are intended to stay clear of pack straps. The horizontal pocket on the left is described as "radio link compatible" and has a two-way zipper.  (Presumably for anatomical reasons, the Storen Lady does not have this pocket.) An inside pocket, on the left, features a mesh panel in the middle of a fabric (more bright blue).

FIELD CONDITIONS

Storen-BBI have worn my Storen regularly since acquiring it in late February, which means already all or part of three seasons' use. In March and April it was my outer layer for spring skiing inbounds at the local ski hill, on trails and in the backcountry on touring skis, and on a couple of weekend overnights at local Forest Service cabins and another overnight in the nearby Absaroka Mountains. Here's a photo from Bridger Bowl with BackpackGearTest.org colleague Andrea Murland. Weather conditions late in the season varied wildly, from 50+ F (10+ C) and sunny to 15 F (-10 C) and heavy snow.  On the warmer days I wore the Storen over a single long-sleeve merino shirt, usually with my Norrona bibs (the subject of an Owner Review on this site). I'd add a sweater or second merino shirt on colder or windy days. If the sweater was my Dale Storetind (also reviewed here), that made for an all-Norse combination.

Once the trails dried sufficiently to allow for hiking – before in fact, when hiking on snowshoes – the Storen became my rain jacket and insurance layer, a combination windbreaker and additional insulation on windy ridges or at rest stops.  Spring hiking and a single three-night backpack conditions included temperatures from just below freezing in March to 80 F (26 C) once summer arrived.  The Northern Rockies had a rainy spring. Mist and drizzle were common and steady rain not infrequent.  Summer use was as an outer layer and rain jacket when backpacking, hiking, and fishing saw a gamut of mountain weather, from snow at 9000 feet (2700 m) in July to a summer Sunday at 94 F (35 C) to a severe thunderstorm, with hail, while fishing on the Yellowstone.

Hikes and the backpack trip all took place in Montana or nearby Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, and varied from easy walks of an hour or two to all-day dayhikes involving several thousand feet (1000 m) of elevation gain. Except for the snowshoeing all these occurred on established trails.

The Storen was not limited to backcountry use. In our rainy springtime I often wore it, over a t-shirt or sweater, when performing outdoor chores around the house, most notably splitting wood (a daily event – my home's principal source of heat is a woodstove).  And years ago I ditched trenchcoat-style rain gear in favor of "civilian" use of a WPB shell or parka over a suit or sport coat.

All in all, at least one hundred days' use in varied conditions for various activities. 

OBSERVATIONS

The Storen has fully lived up to my expectations of being a state-of-the-art outer layer for backcountry and front country use. Read on for details.

Fit. Based upon trying sizes Large and XL, I'd say that Bergans sizes a bit large. I consider this a plus.  I'm difficult to fit in jackets and must often choose between a tent-like, blousy body to get the necessary length for my long torso and sleeves or abbreviated coverage to get an athletic fit.  The Storen XL, while slightly larger than needed around my waist, fits quite comfortably everywhere else. Most noteworthy is the sleeve length, which is more than adequate even when I'm not wearing gloves.  Chest girth is just right for an outer layer, providing enough room for a heavy sweater underneath but not so loose over a t-shirt as to cause folds under my pack.  I can cinch down the waist if needed  to avoid the chance of an air pocket or flapping tail.

Extra length in back is much appreciated, both in the backcountry and on the street. In the woods and on the water it has meant not packing rain pants when I'm wearing shorts.

Whisper-Storen Design and Features:  I'll start with the two I like the best. At the top of the list is the horizontal zipper on the left breast pocket, which makes access to my mobile phone much easier than the slash pockets I have found on other jackets I own. Works better with a field radio as well.

All zippers save the main one are easy to operate by using the attached zipper pulls. As noted I appreciate the pit zips' up-unzipping ones for ease of operation.  

Pockets are good-sized for what I tend to use them for. In the backcountry unloseables (especially car keys) go into the inside pocket and things wanted close to hand (camera, energy bar, pocket knife, spotting scope, and the like) into the handwarmer pockets. When I wore my trekking pack I occasionally had difficulty getting my hands into the handwarmer pockets, yet I continue to prefer the standard slash style employed on the Storen. I'm willing to endure this minor inconvenience to avoid the nuisance of outer pockets that I can't stick my hands into easily at all other times.  Besides, the pack straps help keep things from falling out. Handwarmer pockets work best when I can easily insert my hands.

The hood fits neatly over my ski helmet and is easy to adjust in a stiff wind when needed for warmth or rain protection, as it was frequently last spring.

My only sticky (literally) wicket has been the main zipper, which on occasion has been difficult to zip up, the slider catching at the bottom.  As I've had similar issues with other left-side zips the cause may come from using my left hand or simple operator clumsiness.

Waterproofing and Breathability.  These are the reasons for a WPB jacket, and in these categories the Storen hasn't disappointed.  I have found the Dermazax NX to be completely waterproof, even when I was caught out in a downpour. The fabric has breathed exceptionally well too, even on steep bootpacks in the bright sun.  I can adjust ventilation with the pit zips and front zipper. The jacket has breathed so well I don't recall ever having to take it off during strenuous activity even in high summer.

With its three-layer fabric the Storen when zipped up and cinched does a surprisingly good job of trapping body heat for warmth at rest stops.  I'm not a scientist and I haven't conducted any lab tests, but I can say with confidence that Dermizax works as well as any WPB fabric or treatment that I have worn.

Durability and care.  Durability has been amazing. This jacket truly looks like new after six months of use.  Whenever I found a spot after a hike I'd wash it off with warm water.  But that's all I've done. I haven't needed to run the jacket through the washer and, unlike some other DWR treatments, Dermizax doesn't depend upon micropores, which function better with frequent washings.  A hangtag that accompanied the jacket states that the technology "retains full functionality even when the garment is soiled." I haven't yet gotten the Storen really dirty, despite the the fact that my new hiking companion, pictured here, seems able to find the largest puddles, but I haven't noticed any deterioration in breathability.

WHAT I LIKE

Just about everything; this jacket is a real performance winner that looks terrific. I'm particularly fond of:

    Perfect sizing for me. I especially like the long sleeves.

    Outstanding waterproof-breathabilty

    Front pocket design

WHAT I MIGHT CHANGE

Not much. I'd prefer a standard right-side zipper.




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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Bergans of Norway Storen Jacket > Owner Review by Richard Lyon



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