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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Norrona fjora INFINIUM pants > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

NORRONA FJORA INFINIUM PANTS
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
May 10, 2020
fjora1

PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 73 years old  
Height: 6' 3" [1.91 m]
Weight: 210 lb [(93 kg])
Waist: 38 in [97 cm]
Inseam: 34 in [87 cm]
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Outside Bozeman, Montana USA, in the Bridger Mountains

I've been backpacking for more than 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.

THE PRODUCT
fjora2
Norrona, a family-owned company headquartered in Norway, has many product lines, each pitched to a particular activity and each named after a geographic region or landmark in that country. Fjora is an area along Norway's west coast renowned for mountain biking, and Norrona designed the fjora [product lines are all lower case] line specially for that sport. I'm not a biker, but the features on these pants looked like a good match for Nordic skiing and winter trekking. Read on to see why that has proven to be true.

Manufacturer: Norrona A/S, norrona.com
Size: XL Also available in S, M, L. Be aware that Norrona's sizes tend to run small.
Color: Olympian Blue with Navy trim.  At this writing available only in Caviar Black and Olive Night/Olive Drab.
Gender: Men's 
Related products: The fjora line includes similar pants made of different fabrics, and several of the other lines include waterproof-breathable pants in various fabrics including GORE-TEX.
Fabrics: GORE-TEX INFINIUM, flex1 trim
Weight, listed [no size specified], and measured [size XL]: 400 g [14.1 oz]
Dimensions, measured: Waist, 38 in/97 cm; inseam, 35 in/89 cm; outseam, 41 in/104 cm
Warranty: Five years against defects in workmanship and materials. This is extended to seven years for "loyalty members," customers who maintain an online account with Norrona. From the website it appears that a user can return the product through a Norrona retail store, of which there are two in the United States. The independent retailer who carries Norrona products in my area has assured me that he will process any requested warranty or repair. Norrona's website has a Find Store tab for locating a place to purchase products.
Year purchased: 2020
MSRP: $299 US

Listed features, with my commentary in brackets, are:
  • Custom-fit waist systemâ„¢ [Velcro patches on each side of the waist that allow the wearer to adjust the girth. More on this below.]
  • High waistband in the back [Just what it says, and a very practical feature it is. Keeps baselayer and midlayer tucked in.]
  • Two hand pockets [Just below the waist on either side. On the small side; in my opinion better for storage of car keys or a multitool than for keeping hands warm.]
  • One thigh pocket [On the right hip, zippered up.]
  • Reflective safety logo [Norrona's Birkebeiner logo on the front of the left hip; two stripes and GORE-TEX INFINIUM just above the right cuff; the brand name just above the left cuff. All in a reflective silver color.]
  • Inside vent on thigh [One on the front of each thigh. At first I thought they were cargo pockets.  Each zipper opens to a liner, as shown in the photo.]

Each cuff has a seventeen-inch [43 cm] zipper to allow putting the pants on or taking them off without having to remove boots. A liner about four inches [10 cm] up from the cuff has an elastic band to prevent snow and grit from creeping up the leg. A Velcro tab, similar to those at the waist but smaller, allows cinching up each leg at the cuff.

Each pocket, the cuffs, and the pants' fly are secured by stout tape-backed zippers, and each zipper has a small pull that allows operation when wearing mittens. 

A hangtag from GORE that accompanied this product describes INFINIUM in four languages as "water resistant, totally windproof, and extremely breathable."  The fabric employs GORE's Windstopper technology, something I am familiar with from other products - and another reason I purchased these pants. Patches of flex1, the navy-colored fabric at the waist and backs of the knees, add some stretch.

FIELD CONDITIONS

GORE's hangtag advises that the fabric is intended for use "when performance is a priority and waterproofness isn't." For me that means below-freezing conditions, which in the Northern Rockies happen regularly from November through April, often in the shoulder seasons, and possibly on any day of the year. My use so far has been in winter and spring, at temperatures from 0 to 50 F [-17 to 10 C], during periods of sunshine, overcast, snow flurries, and full-on snowstorms. In all use the pants have been worn over lightweight merino long johns. Most of my use has been cross-country skiing, with a healthy dose of snowshoe and cleat-aided hiking. 

OBSERVATIONS

I like the fit. The manufacturer calls it a "technical fit;" I'd call it athletic. While not skintight, they are considerably trimmer than a standard pair of civilian trousers - more like stretchy jeans than grey flannels. Certainly they are much less baggy than my other winter athletic pants or my rain pants. This was a big part of the fjora's appeal. Slim-fitting clothing suits Nordic skiing, whether classic kick-and-glide or skating style. It's more aerobic but requires less body articulation than alpine or telemark skiing, more like hiking or skating with skis on one's feet. For this same reason the pants are comfortable when hiking, with or without snowshoes. The flex1 patches behind the knees provide some articulation, enough to keep the fit from bunching or constricting.The rise of size XL give me a good fit in the seat - somewhat tight but not constraining.

fjora3The fjora's design and features exemplify my decade-long use of assorted Norrona clothing. I can't recall any other manufacturer that pays so much attention to cut, features, and functionality. As with my other Norrona garments, there are few features that I don't use. All features are carefully designed to achieve their intended purpose. All the features on these pants work as advertised, though as noted I do have some minor issues with the handwarmer pockets. [Those are, however, very useful for storage.] This goes for items large and small. The waist system allows easy minor adjustment to accommodate different midlayer weights and eliminates the need for a belt or braces. Length is perfect when wearing my Nordic boots, a bit long when it's low-cut hiking boots. The liners behind the vents are inspired - who wants snow and ice splashing directly on bare skin or a base layer? There is sufficient pocket capacity for items needed ready to hand. The handy extra material in the rear to keep upper layers stowed.
 
The other side of the design coin is what's not there. These pants have no gimmicks - no fancy features of questionable utility that add nothing but weight and frustration. In summary - a lightweight,  highly functional pair of athletic trousers.

Wind protection was the other big reason I chose these pants, and here they excel. Much of my cross-country skiing this winter has been at the local Nordic center, which has a world-class trail system that includes several exposed ridges. The pants block - completely block - cold winds. The stitching between the fabrics does not mean a weak spot. When I have the vents open I can feel the breeze on my legs but not when they are zipped up. For me GORE Windstopper is as good as it gets. As is true with every GORE-TEX product I have used - and there have been many - the pants are quite breathable. Heat doesn't build up inside when I'm zipped up.

I was caught in a rain/sleet squall on a hike a couple of weeks ago, giving me a chance to evaluate water resistance. Results were promising. The water beaded and rolled off the surface, and nothing seeped through the zippers. The surface dried very quickly once the precipitation stopped.

Cleaning is on the agenda for this spring. A tag in the pants and instructions on Norrona's website direct washing at 40 C [104 F] without bleach or fabric softener, spraying with a water repellent spray, and drying in the dryer on low or ironing at low heat, in that order. Per Norrona, adding the spray even if not strictly needed helps water run off the product's surface.  [An aside - Norrona's website lists a waterproofing spray, though it's not clear whether that product is available in North America.] INFINIUM's DWR treatment has helped shed briars and debris from contact with rocks and trees. It doesn't do as well with accumulated dirt and grunge on my car's tailgate. Certainly there's been no deterioration of the fabric after a few months' regular use.

SUMMARY

My first purchase from the fjora line has been a solid winner. These are great multi-use winter outdoor pants. They are so lightweight and comfortable that I'm going to try them out for shoulder-season backpacking. I especially like the comfortable yet athletic fit. I'd like slightly larger handwarmer pockets.





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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Norrona fjora INFINIUM pants > Owner Review by Richard Lyon



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