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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Dale of Norway Telemark Jacket > Owner Review by Richard Lyon
Dale of Norway Telemark Sweater
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
May 21, 2017
PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND
Male, 70 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Torso: 22.5 in (57 cm)
Sleeve: 36.5 in (93 cm)
Chest: 47 in (119 cm)
Waist: 37 in (94 cm)
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Outside Bozeman, Montana USA, in the Bridger Mountains
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 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. Summer adventures are often on centered on flyfishing opportunities; winter on ski or ski touring.
Dale of Norway's best-known products are its Norse folk-patterned sweaters. Often imitated, these have practically become a genre all their own over the colder parts of the globe. Dale [pronounced dah-LAY] though also offers several lines of clothing for all-season use by backcountry athletes, from base layers to outerwear. While definitely a cold-weather piece, the Telemark sweater is a performance rather than a fashion garment. It's part of Dale's Knitshell collection, named after the fabric construction that melds heavy waterproof wool with a wind-stopping liner that in my experience guarantees protection against the elements in all but the nastiest winter conditions. [An aside: the Telemark wasn't named after the skiing style, the skiing style and the sweater were named after a picturesque region in Norway where, legend has it, downhill skiing began.]
The Telemark is a full-zip jacket-style sweater fitted with a detachable (by zipper) hood that may be adjusted with a toggle and closed up with two metal snaps. The sweater has two zippered slash handwarmer pockets and an inner pocket on the right side that's just big enough for a pair of folded-up climbing skins. It has raglan sleeves and a three-inch [7.5 cm] knit collar. That's about it for features; no pit zips, no wrist warmers, no zippered interior pocket, no powder skirt. This is a few-frills outer layer. Also missing is any colorful folk art pattern. The Telemark is more modern chic, its only decoration being contrasting piping, bright red on mine, from collar to cuff along the sleeves and down the sides of the chest. The sleeve piping separates a knit section on the outside of the sleeve and a Windstopper section next to the body. There is a small patch with the manufacturer's name and a Norwegian flag [pictured above] on the left sleeve.
The Telemark is now listed only on the Sale page of Dale's website. Dale offers Men's and Women's [in the company's terminology, "Masculine" and "Feminine"] versions.
Manufactuer: Dale of Norway
Website: www.daleofnorway.com This website has separate pages for different countries.
Color: Black with contrasting red piping.
Listed in Men’s sizes S-XXL. Mine is the largest, XXL.
Measured length, collar to hem: 32.5 in [83 cm]
Measured collar height: 3.0 in [7.5 cm]
Measured sleeve length: 37.5 in [95 cm]
Measured weight: 3 lb 13 oz [1.4 kg]
Materials: 100% wool outer, Windstopper liner.
Related products: Dale offers a number of other wind-blocking sweaters, zip-up and pullover, for both men and women. See the "Weatherproof" tab on the manufacturer's website. See also my Owner Review of the Dale Storetind, a pullover with similar features, now known as the Glittertind.
MSRP: $341 US [see note above]
I use my Telemark for three activities - telemark skiing, hut- or cabin-based backpacking, and casual frontcountry wear.
Old age has made me more comfort-oriented. In the past few years my winter backpacking has moved toward base camp-style outings from yurts, huts, or cabins. The Forest Service maintains a dozen or so cabins accessible from trailheads within easy driving distance of my home. After a hike on snowshoes or telemark or touring skis our group will park sleeping bags, food, and other gear at the shelter, then explore the surrounding area, with much lighter loads, for downhill skiing, wildlife viewing, or simply sightseeing opportunities.
The Telemark is a great outer layer for just such a weekend. Unless it's really cold (say below 10F/-13 C) the sweater is strapped to the outside of my pack during the hike in, which usually includes a climb, to keep it accessible for a rest stop, picnic lunch, impromptu ski run, or trekking stretch along an exposed ridge. At the shelter I wear it indoors until heat from the woodstove warms things up and sometimes after that, over just a base layer. With the zippered front it's easy to adjust to a wide range of temperatures and easy to slip on for an outdoor chore or bathroom trip.
For skiing the Telemark is my outer layer, worn over a base layer and a midlayer, the latter usually a wool sweater. I've worn the Telemark for downhill turns both at resorts and in the backcountry, at temperatures down to 0 F (-17 C) in weather from cloudless skies to near-whiteout snowstorms. When wearing bibs more often than not I'll don the Telemark over the bibs, to make zipper (and therefore temperature) adjustments easier.
This sweater is a perfect outer layer for everyday wear in cold conditions, particularly when it's windy or snowy. I've worn it over various combinations of heavy sweater, wool or cotton shirt, and base layer (usually a cotton shirt). I've done this at temperatures even lower than when skiing, to about -25 F (-32 C). I estimate 30-40 backcountry days and many more as casual wear.
Fit. I noted in my Storetind Owner Review that Dale tends to size a bit small. While that's true of the Telemark, this sweater isn't quite as snug as its pullover cousin. It's an easy slip-on fit over a puffy down midlayer or heavyweight wool sweater. Sleeve length accommodates my long arms, though I'd like an extra inch or two (2-5 cm). Even when fully zipped up the fit across the chest is comfortable and in no way constricting. The hem sits several inches/centimeters below my waist, giving a bit of butt coverage and certainly long enough not to expose bare skin even when I'm bending over.
Weatherworthiness. Protection from the elements is the Telemark's strongest suit. When zipped up it's as effective a wind blocker as any outer layer I've ever worn, just as is the Storetind. The zipper has a woolen tube that keeps front and center from drafts, a fact to which I can attest from a few instances when I wore the Telemark over a base layer only. The heavy Knitshell weave of the outer layer and a proprietary Dale treatment enable the sweater to shed snow from the sky or a fall when skiing. I've not worn the Telemark in the rain but have witnessed a staged demonstration involving turning a water hose full bore on a similar sweater. The water rolled off as it would have on a duck's back. This sweater is an all-weather blocker.
Breathability. The Telemark breathes reasonably well. In bright sunshine, after heavy exertion, or in warmer temperatures I do need to open the zipper to bleed off accumulated perspiration, but that's the exception not the rule. Most of the time the fabric wicks well enough that I don't feel clammy or overly warm. I have noticed better breathability when my midlayer is wool rather than down, which tells me that perhaps it's the midlayer not the Telemark that inhibits wicking.
Durability. No problems here. I once harbored worries that a knit outer fabric might catch on tree branches or fray from brushing against rocks. Several years in the Storetind and Telemark and those concerns have vanished. Both the Telemark and the Storetind sweaters look as good as new.
Features. The Telemark suits my preference for few frills and my prejudice against over-featured athletic gear. With one minor exception listed below I'm quite happy with the Telemark's streamlined design. When it's cold enough for the Telemark I wear gauntlet-style gloves, long enough to compensate for no handwarmer liners. The inside pocket is large enough for climbing skins, which must be kept warm before use. My hands fit inside the handwarmer pockets. In powdery conditions I can tuck the Telemark inside my bibs to compensate for lack of a powder skirt.
Appearance. I confess to preferring the elegant, retro pattern of the Storetind to the lower-key, sleek styling of the Telemark. But that's a matter of degree. The Telemark looks sharp, in the backcountry or in town. [Dale updated the Telemark's design after I purchased mine. The style now available has contrasting color across the yoke and down the sleeves, as shown in the photo from Dale's website.] And if you really must have a pattern, several of Dale's other Weatherproof sweaters are available in the more traditional style. More importantly for me, as with the Storetind the sweater's good looks in no way compromised performance.
Care. I have washed the Telemark twice, each time at the end of winter. I soaked the sweater in cold water dosed with wool-specific soap, rinsed, gently squeezed out excess water, and dried flat on a clean towel. It took a couple of days to dry completely. Washing was more in the nature of preventive maintenance than necessity, as the sweater didn't accumulate noticeable dirt, perspiration, or odors. There was no shrinkage after washing.
WHAT I LIKE
No frills; well, maybe low frills. Very little can go wrong.
Keeps me warm. In cold weather as weather-worthy as any outer layer I've worn, including those with high tech DWR fabrics.
Versatility. I can wear it anywhere in the winter.
WHAT I DON'T
There certainly are lighter weight alternatives, notably heavy-duty down jackets, and the Telemark's bulk makes it difficult to stow it anywhere but on the outside of my pack.
I would like a small zippered pocket for car keys and perhaps a cell phone. I get nervous about losing such things when hiking or touring. When wearing the Telemark I need to place these in a trouser or midlayer pocket.
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