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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Dale of Norway Storetind Sweater > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

Dale of Norway Storetind Sweater
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
March 1, 2014


PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 67 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 200 lb (89 kg)
Chest 46 in (117 cm), waist 37 in (95 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. I've been actively reducing my pack weight, though I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences.  I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Winter outings are often on touring or telemark skis.

THE PRODUCT

Storetind 1 The Storetind is a heavyweight Norwegian wool pullover sweater with a fabric liner for protection from the wind. Its mock turtleneck style sports a 1/4 zipper from the top of the turtleneck collar to the top of the chest.

Dale of Norway has been making and selling sweaters since the nineteenth century. Though better known for fashion than for athletic gear, Dale (da-LAY) actively promotes several of its products, notably its Knitshell and Weatherproof sweater lines, as intended for athletic pursuits. The Storetind sweater belongs to both these categories, though its maker’s Weatherproof pitch describes it better: “Combining our 100% wind proof membrane with our water repellent wool gives you a completely weather proof Dale of Norway garment.”

Manufacturer: Dale of Norway
Website: www.daleofnorway.com  [U.S. viewers are automatically redirected to Dale's U.S. site. Elsewhere hit the “Nord Amerika” tab for English.]
Color: Listed in seven colors; mine is predominantly grey with white, blue, and black in the snowflake pattern.  As do most Dale sweaters, the Storetind has a distinctive patterned design on the chest and sleeves.
Listed in Men’s sizes S-XXL. Mine is the largest, XXL.
Measured length, collar to hem: 26.5 in/67 cm
Measured collar length, extended: 3.5 in/9 cm
Measured sleeve length: 34 in/86 cm
Measured weight: 35 oz/992 g
Materials: Nano-treated Norwegian Heilo wool with Gore Windstopper liner.
Related products: According to Dale’s U.S. website the Storetind has been “updated” as the Lyngen. For those who prefer a full-length zipper, jacket style, Dale offers the Telemark.
MSRP: N/A, but its replacement the Lyngen is listed at $528 US.

FEATURES

The Storetind includes a number of features for skiing or other fun in the snow:

•    A powder skirt, really an extension of the liner with a light elastic band that sits slightly above the hem. It’s not adjustable but it works quite well. It’s also not removable.

•    Wrist warmers/cuffs with thumb holes. These are made of knit wool rather than the liner fabric, which I believe adds warmth and definitely adds comfort. After scrunching about to get the Storetind over several layers I often must manipulate the cuffs so that the hole is aligned with my thumb.

•    A drawstring waist. The sweater fits my less-than-svelte torso tightly enough at the hem without it, so I haven’t used this much. I have tried it out and it’s easy to operate, with a toggle at the left hem.

•    Side vents. Short pit zips in the American backcountry argot. Just under the armpit, each twelve inches (19 cm) long with a single zipper tab.

Storetind 2 •    Two pockets: a security pocket at the left hem and a ski pass pocket on the left sleeve. Both are on the small side, but the security pocket is big enough for my wallet and the ski pass pocket big enough for my car keys. When I skied at Alta, Utah, I did place my pass in it for electronic reading at the lifts. (At the two ski areas near my home cards must be displayed, so this feature doesn’t help much for its stated purpose.) Each pocket has a zipper that I found difficult to operate with one hand, despite the inclusion of a zipper pull.

•    Elbows reinforced with a heavy-duty nylon-type fabric. These help prevent abrasion when the Storetind is my outer layer.

•    A fleece-lined neck that may be adjusted turtleneck-style by rolling down the top. The fleece is soft and not scratchy and in effect windproofs my neck. A delightful feature!

These features distinguish the Storetind from other sweaters in Dale’s Weatherproof line. (I have another Windstopper-lined Dale sweater that I’ve used for cold weather fishing for two or three decades. It’s just a lined sweater – none of these features.) In my opinion the pockets, neck liner, and powder skirt improve functionality for outdoor activities, downhill skiing especially. The other features, while nice to have, I could live without.

FIELD CONDITIONS

My Storetind was a birthday present (July) from a Swiss skiing pal. Given its weight I waited until this past November to place it into service. I have worn it this winter for backpacking, resort skiing, day hikes, ski touring, chores, dog walks, and a few casual front country occasions, on all or a part of fifty or more days.

The sweater has seen six days, four nights of backpacking use, all on hut trips. The first trip was to a cabin in the Gallatin National Forest, Montana, in December, amid snow flurries with daytime temperatures in the 20s F (-4 to - 7 C) and a nighttime low of 8 F (-14 C). The second was to a couple of yurts in the Teton Range, Wyoming, in February, with a lighter pack weight (an outfitter had stocked food and sleeping bags), and generally clear conditions at 5 to 25 F (-15 to -4 C). I had a couple of serious uphill skin hikes on the latter trip, during which I strapped the Storetind across the front of my pack. This was a trip for ski turns, and during the day I’d put the Storetind on for downhill runs and take it off for uphill treks. The Storetind came in very handy in the evenings and mornings on wood and bathroom runs, and inside as the yurt as well when things turned chilly after the fire died out at night.

Early winter ski season in Montana was bitterly cold – a blustery -12 F (-24 C) at Big Sky on one day, a clear and calm -16 F (-26 C) three days later at Bridger Bowl, and gale-force blowing snow at -18 F (-27 C) a few days after that. Particularly nasty weather in general, in each case enough for an extra layer and my warmest clothes. On my upper body from skin to atmosphere: merino base layer, MontBell Plasma 1000 down sweater (see separate Test Report), Storetind, and eVent or GORE-TEX shell. On one occasion I substituted my insulated Ground Terra parka (separately reviewed on this site) for the shell. As things have warmed up I have usually dispensed with the shell or parka, using the Storetind as my outer layer.

Day hikes around Bozeman, on skis or snowshoes or cleat-aided hiking boots, have included some of the brutal wintery conditions listed above and also more temperate winter weather: from 10-40 F (-14 to 4 C) in calm and windy weather, usually overcast but once in a while sunny. Hikes have had up to 2000 vertical feet (625 m) gain over a few miles/kilometers, though several occurred on friendlier terrain. When planning for a day hike the Storetind is in or on my pack if the trailhead temperature is above freezing, on my torso as an outer layer if below.

My home sits at about 5800 feet (1700 meters) and it’s considerably colder here than what’s reported for Bozeman. This winter’s temperatures have dipped as low as -29 F (-33 C) and have regularly been below 0 F (-18 C), though for some reason it’s usually (and thankfully) not very windy. Dog walks, woodcutting, shoveling snow, short day hikes on the nearby trails, and similar daily life must go on, frigid or not, and the Storetind has helped me brave these elements. When the temperature exceeds 0 F (-18 C) or so the Storetind, over a cotton or merino t-shirt, is often my outer layer; any colder and I’ll add a down sweater underneath or parka of some kind on top.

OBSERVATIONS

FIT. As I have found true of many European brands (including other Dale sweaters), Dale garments tend to size a bit small by American standards. Its XXL gives me a cozy fit, especially when I’m wearing more than one layer underneath. The Windstopper liner occasionally sticks and bunches up when I’m pulling the sweater on, requiring some minor manipulation to remove the creases, but after adjustment I’ve got a good athletic fit. The sweater’s sleeves are several inches too short for my very long arms, but with the Storetind’s thumb-holed wrist warmers and a pair gauntlet gloves I can keep my hands and wrists warm and dry. Body length is sufficient, just below my waist. I often wear the sweater inside my bibs or trousers for some help in keeping my backside warm.
At a trade show I witnessed a staged demonstration of the waterproof capability of Dale’s Heilo wool. Two treated sweaters were placed under the nozzle of a garden hose for thirty seconds and the water ran right off, as if the spray had flowed over a rock. Most impressive. I don’t plan to duplicate this test, but I’ll testify that this heavy-duty sweater definitely makes good on its maker’s winter weatherproofing claims.

WARM and WEATHER-WORTHY. The Storetind is a great (repeat – great) wind blocker. As an outer layer it’s kept me warm in gusty winds and blowing snow when stalled on a chair lift at 0 F (-18 C).  The fabric does not wet out even a little bit when exposed to blowing snow or even a fall in deep powder. (That trade show test might really be genuine.) From a weatherproofing standpoint I trust this sweater as an outer layer down to a wind chill well below -15 F (- 26 C). The only reasons I’ve often added a windbreaker or parka are fear – I tend to be cold-prone – and the Storetind’s shortage of pockets. An outer shell is not needed to keep out the wind.
 
With its stout wool, liner, and athletic fit the Storetind keeps me as warm as any sweater I’ve ever worn. It works so well that in calm weather its upper temperature limit for me is right around freezing, otherwise it’s too warm. In windy conditions I might stretch its use up to about 50 F (10 C).

WICKING. For all this protection the Storetind is surprisingly breathable. I haven’t had an unpleasant build-up of sweat or clammy feeling even after serious bootpacking or skinning up a steep slope.

DURABILITY. The fabrics are also extraordinarily durable; my Storetind looks like new and I haven’t had a single problem with the sweater’s fine workmanship. Not even the occasional snag on a tree has caused any wool or stitching to come loose. I can say the same for my other lined Dale sweater after at least twenty years, so I expect the Storetind to outlive its owner.

PACKING THE STORETIND. The stout construction and bulk of the wool do not make for an especially packable garment. In fact it’s very difficult to find room in my pack for it, so on the occasions when I’ve wanted to carry rather than wear it I’ve placed it on the outside of my pack using a shovit pocket or compression straps to keep it with me. This limits the Storetind’s use as a layering piece considerably.

Storetind 3 APPEARANCE. Nonpareil for athletic gear; this sweater exudes style and make makes even a crusty old dirtbag skier-backpacker such as this writer stick out. Classic, stylish, handsome, Viking, retro, even Olympic [Dale has designed the official sweater for Winter Olympic Games held in Norway, Canada, Italy, and the United States] – you select the adjective. In my opinion any is appropriate. I daresay the Storetind is the best-looking outer layer I’ve seen on any ski hill. All my Dale sweaters, including the Storetind, not only look like new, they also look great. In my opinion though the good looks do not compromise in the slightest these sweaters’ (at least those that I own) functionality. That’s particularly true of my two Windstopper-lined sweaters.

PROBLEMS. I’ve mentioned two. The cozy fit occasionally means some stretching and straining to keep the liner, and once in a while a base layer, properly seated. That is a minimal inconvenience for the extra warmth the close fit provides. Longer sleeves would suit my lanky frame better, but again Dale has made up for minor inconvenience with the unusually warm knit liner extensions. My only other complaint, also minor, is that the security pocket can be difficult to access, especially when I’m wearing the Storetind inside bibs.

CARE. I haven’t needed to wash the Storetind yet but at the end of the winter it will get the same treatment given all my wool sweaters – hand washing and air-drying flat. (This coincides with the directions given by Dale.) I intend to use a wool-specific or other non-detergent cleaner for soaking.

WHAT I ESPECIALLY LIKE

Turtleneck collar – warm (really warm) and comfortable. Because of it I needn't pack a neck gaiter and it's a feature that adds to the sweater’s good looks.

The liner. It truly stops the wind.

POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENT

Maybe a hood, though to get one might have to sacrifice the turtleneck. That would be a difficult trade-off.

I’d consider trading the torso pocket for a kargaroo-type handwarmer pouch across the front.

Eliminate the drawstring waist. I think it’s unnecessary, as the powder skirt suffices to keep the snow out.



Read more reviews of Dale of Norway gear
Read more gear reviews by Richard Lyon

Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Dale of Norway Storetind Sweater > Owner Review by Richard Lyon



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