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Reviews > Rain Gear > Jackets and Pants > Norrona Falketind dri3 Pants > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

NORRONA FALKETIND dri3 PANTS
OWNER REVIEW
by Richard Lyon
November 4, 2016

PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 70 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 205 lb (91 kg)
Waist/Inseam: 38 x 34 in (97 x 86 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 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 centered on fly fishing opportunities; winter on ski or ski touring.

THE PRODUCT

Norrona pants The Norrona Falketind dri3 Pants are waterproof breathable [WPB] pants made of three-layer dri3, a fabric the manufacturer describes as an "ultra-thin, stretchy, non-porous, hydrophilic membrane that is highly waterproof and breathable." I wear them in the backcountry as rain pants from spring through autumn and ski pants in warmer ski-time weather.  In the Field Conditions section below I list a few other uses for these very versatile pair of WPB trousers.

Manufacturer: Norrona Sport AS, norrona.com. When accessed from the United States the website is in English with US dollar prices. Norrona's exclusive US dealer is Backcountry.com, backcountry.com.
Size: XL. See note below about current availability.
Color: birch green
Waist, measured [XL]: 38.5 in (98 cm)
Inseam, measured [XL]: 34.0 in (86 cm)
Weight, measured [XL]: 15.2 oz (431 g)
Fabrics: shell 100% polyamide; membrane 100% polyurethane
MSRP: n/a
Norrona provides a five-year warranty and two-month no-questions-asked return policy; the US distributor also has a no-questions-asked return policy.

Falketind is a "concept" [Norrona's word] used by its manufacturer for garments "made for all challenges nature has to offer regardless of weather all year around." In my experience the collection tends toward lighter-weight gear.

The Falketind dri3 Pants are no longer listed on Norrona's website, although I have seen them recently on the US distributor's Clearance pages. Norrona now offers similarly-featured Falketind GORE-TEX Pants in men's and women's versions.

FIELD CONDITIONS

In the five years I've owned these pants I have worn or carried them as rain pants on just about every backpacking trip I've taken and many day hikes, especially when foul weather has been in the forecast. This has included backpacking trips in Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and Idaho; day hikes in those states plus Pennsylvania, California, northern Italy, and Switzerland. They have been my outer layer on many ski touring adventures, especially on cross-country tracks and in the backcountry when the weather is warmer, and once or twice for telemark skiing at a resort. Temperatures have ranged from -20 to 86 F (-32 to 30 C). As rain pants I slip them over my hiking shorts or trousers; when skiing I wear them over merino long johns. Winter (skiing) conditions have varied from bright sun to whiteout blizzard, with most use occurring at less-than extreme conditions. At least 100 days of wearing these pants for hiking or skiing, and many more when they sat in my pack in fair weather.

These pants don't always get time off when I'm not in the backcountry. Because they are so easy to don and doff, I often add them before a dog walk or outdoor chores around the homestead for protection from rain, wind, or mud. (I live on a dirt road that often is muddy.) This past spring I often wore them over a leg brace both to keep off the rain and as an insulating layer.

PERFORMANCE

WPB. I haven't encountered dri3 before and I couldn't find out much about its provenance, but in these pants it surely works. The pants keep me dry. Period. I have never had rain seep through the three-layer fabric. And that's after many, many hours in the rain, some of it a total downpour. As waterproof as a non-breathable slicker made for sailing.

Unless the rain is really heavy I tend to manage ventilation with the 3/4 side zips rather than rely totally on the fabric's breathability. Things can get a bit steamy when wearing the pants during heavy exertion such as plodding up a skin track on a ski tour or doing trail work in the rain, but not much worse than occurs with many other WPB treatments I have used, particularly with a three-layer fabric.

The fact that I use them for skiing should demonstrate that when zipped up they're quite windproof.

Insulating ability. With the sides zipped up the pants keep body heat inside, hence their use for light morning insulation around camp. I've always marvelled at WPB fabrics' ability simultaneously to breathe yet hold heat in, and dri3 excels at this. These pants even hold the heat in during breaks in skiing, though as noted on really cold days I tend to trade them out for stouter pants.

tab pockets
Features
. For so light a pair of rain pants these are feature-rich, and I regularly make use of all the features. I've mentioned the side zips (visible in the photo at the top), which allow me to don the pants without removing my boots, even ski boots. Hook-and-loop patches on each side (above left) allow me to adjust the waist and work well enough that I normally wear them as rain pants without a belt. (I add suspenders when skiing.) The pants have two side pockets and a conveniently placed cargo pocket (above right) on the front of the left leg. Each cuff has a metal snap closure, reinforced fabric, and a bootlace hook that help the pants serve as gaiters on a muddy trail and keep out powder snow in the winter. Knees are articulated to facilitate movement. All zippers - side, fly, pockets - are waterproof and come with pull tabs.

Storage. These pants scrunch up nicely and thus allow storage in either the main portion or front shovit-type pocket of my pack, even smaller day-hiking packs. When used for skiing they're worn, not stowed.

Durability. Quite remarkable; I really think they look like new after five years' frequent use. They certainly perform like new.

Care. Norrona's instructions for dri3, included in eleven languages on a couple of tags, indicate gentle wash with no bleach, tumble dry lightly, no fabric softener, iron at maximum 110 C (230 F), and mild dry cleaning. I follow the first three and ignore the last two, washing with non-detergent soap. I'll wash these when they're particularly dirty or when I have similar garments for the machine, but not very often. Norrona also recommends retreatment with "spray;" once or twice a year I re-treat with Atsko waterproofing, sprayed and ironed in.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Likes

Durable
Waterproof and windproof
Really durable
Ample pockets
Long side zips

Dislikes

Only one - they've apparently been discontinued! But dri3 and a related WPB fabric, dri1, remain available on other Norrona products.



Read more reviews of Norrona gear
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Reviews > Rain Gear > Jackets and Pants > Norrona Falketind dri3 Pants > Owner Review by Richard Lyon



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