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Reviews > Rain Gear > Jackets and Pants > Norrona falketind GTX Pro Shell Jacket > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

Norrøna Men's falketind Gore-Tex Pro Shell jacket
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
November 18, 2009

In the PyreneesPERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 63 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 205 lb (91 kg)
Chest 46 in (117 cm), waist 37 in (95 cm), torso 22.5 in (57 cm), sleeve length 36.5 in (93 cm)
Email address: rlyon AT gibsondunn DOT com
Home: Dallas, Texas USA

I've been backpacking for 45 years and regularly in the Rockies since 1986.  I do at least one week-long 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, but I do forced marches too.  Recently I've been actively reducing my pack weight, though I still often include my favorite camp conveniences and always sleep in a floored tent.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION and DETAILS

falketind (Norrøna uses all lower case) is a waterproof/breathable mountaineering shell made of single-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell, named after a mountain in its maker's native Norway.  Norrøna proclaims this particular falketind (it uses the name for a full line of products, including several other jackets) to be "Norrøna’s lightest ever 3-layer climbing jacket."  For reasons discussed below I think it's fair to describe it as "state-of-the-art." 

 

Manufacturer: Norrøna.  Exclusive United States distributoris Backcountry.com

Website: www.norrona.com

Fabric: Gore-Tex Pro Shell™

Listed Weight: 460 g (16.2 oz) [size not specified]

Measured Weight: 451 g (15.9 oz), size XXL

Size: XXL; available in S – XXL

Color: Metal (light grey). Also available in Caviar (dark grey), Medieval Blue, and Sulphur Spring.  Zippers and adjacent piping are in a contrasting color, bright red in my case.

Related Products: Norrøna also sells a women's version of the Pro Shell jacket, in different colors. 

MSRP including VAT: €499.00

Year of purchase: 2009

FIELD USE

My first backcountry trip with the falketind was three nights in the Slough Creek Valley in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, in early August, a base camp trip centered on fly fishing.  It rained each afternoon for an hour or so; temperatures varied from freezing at night to about 75 F (24 C) during the day, and it was windy most of the time.  I wore the falketind in the rain, at rest stops during the hike in, as an extra layer when the temperatures dropped in the evenings, and occasionally as a windbreaker (under a vest and over a merino t-shirt) when fishing.

Next backcountry use was on a three-day packrafting course on the Yellowstone River, Montana, and the following night camping in the Absaroka Range near McLeod.  During the course the low temperature each night was about 50 F (10 C).  The jacket served as a second layer in camp in the mornings and evenings at lunch breaks, again over a long-sleeve merino shirt.  A cold front blew through the last morning of the course, and my final night in McLeod was at 30 F (-1 C), and it was exceptionally blustery all day and night.  The falketind became my third layer – merino base layer, wool sweater, and then the jacket.

The falketind accompanied me on a three-day hiking and fly-fishing trip to the Spanish Pyrenees in mid-October.  More good weather, with no rain and temperatures up to 75 F (24 C) during the day and down to about 40 F (4 C) at night and early in the morning.  We had some windy periods, however, when it felt much colder.  When fishing the jacket served as a second layer, over a long-sleeve merino shirt.  I wore the jacket in the village where we stayed two nights and as a windbreaker on a day hike to a pass in a national wilderness area (pictured above).  The hike took place at a much higher altitude than the fishing, perhaps 3000 m (10,000 ft), and early in the morning, at temperatures only a few degrees above freezing, so I wore two merino layers under the falketind. 

I have worn this jacket on many day hikes in the Rockies and North Texas, at temperatures from 40-90 F (4-32 C).  We've had a rainy autumn here and many local day hikes were in mist or rain.

CITY USE

I bought the falketind to do double duty.  Since moving to Texas over two decades ago I have never worn an overcoat-length raincoat over a business suit or sport coat.  When protection from precipitation is needed I wear a hooded rain jacket, often one that I consider a part of my backcountry kit.  Temperatures in North Texas are usually high enough that a jacket with a lining makes me uncomfortably warm.  An unlined shell is ideal.  This anticipated civilian use prompted my selecting size XXL, in anticipation of wearing the jacket over several layers that might include a suit jacket or sport coat, and to get the most length possible.  In Texas, Montana, and on a recent business trip to Geneva, Switzerland immediately preceding the fishing in Spain I've put the falketind to good use as a rain jacket or wind shell, over a business suit.  Temperatures have ranged from 38 F (3 C) in Geneva (no rain) to 80 F (27 C) in Dallas (a thunderstorm included).

OBSERVATIONS

Features include long pit zips with double zippers, two slash front pockets, a smaller inner pocket, an attached hood, and toggle-adjusted cords at the waist and hood.  All zippers are seam-taped and waterproof, and each but the one on the inside pocket has a matching red plastic zipper pull that's slightly curved to facilitate a grip with the thumb.  The sleeves have hook-and-loop patches that allow me to cinch the cuffs tightly to my wrists.  Another nice detail is a smaller hook-and-loop patch adjacent to the one used for cinching, which keeps the outer strip in its place when I keep the cuffs open for ventilation.

Reflective logoThe manufacturer's name above the right breast, its logo (a helmeted Norseman) at the left bicep, "falketind" on the bill of the hood (upside down when wearing the hood, but right side up and visible from the rear when the hood is hanging down), and the zippers are all bright red and all reflective.  A small dark grey "Gore-Tex," not reflective, is printed adjacent to the seam that attaches the non-ripstop patch to the back of the jacket.  This jacket has a draw cord at the waist, with a toggle on each side inside the jacket.  The hood may be cinched with a toggle-controlled cord on either side of the hood or a single toggle at the middle of the back.  The side pulls runs parallel to the zipper and are easy to operate with one mittened hand.  The hood has a wire across the front of the bill to keep a hood shape and thus aid visibility.  The sleeves have a raglan cut, with non-ripstop fabric panel running from the collar to the cuff.  This second fabric is used in two trapezoidal panels, each just above the waist about seven inches (18 cm) from the zipper – about where shoulder straps on a pack reach the hip belt.  All seams on the jacket are seam-taped.

This jacket is my first garment with Gore-Tex Pro Shell, Gore's top-of-the-line fabric, and I'm definitely impressed.  The falketind's most striking feature is its exceptionally light weight, especially given its three zippered pockets and longer than normal pit zips.  Durability and waterproofing haven't been compromised, however; I've had no leaks even at the zippers, and the fabric doesn't show a scratch from frequent bushwhacking through heavy brush when fishing.  Pro Shell exhibits the breathability that characterizes all Gore-Tex products; the only time I've felt uncomfortably warm was when wearing the jacket over a business suit at 80 F (27 C), which I attribute to the layers underneath rather than the jacket fabric. 

The pit zips are great for hiking in warmer weather or when it rains.  At eighteen inches (46 cm) they are longer than what I'm used to, and provide great ventilation.  I believe that the looser fit provided by sizing up has also aided ventilation.  When it's cold it's equally easy to seal in body heat by using the hook-and-loop patches to tighten the sleeve cuffs at my wrists.  The falketind makes a great windbreaker with cuffs and zippers closed.  As with other Gore-Tex fabrics I've found Pro Shell to insulate quite well, an apparent contradiction with breathability that I've never been able to explain.

The pockets have been placed so as to be readily accessible when wearing a pack.  They are generously sized, 13 x 7 in (33 x 18 cm) measured inside.  The inside pocket, adjacent to the zipper on the left side, is smaller, but large enough for car keys and mobile phone.

The XXL size is a tad too blousy in the body for me when worn over a single upper body layer, but not to the point of creating discomforting folds when I've worn the jacket under a pack.  Sleeve and body lengths, on the other hand, are just right for my long arms and torso.  As shown in the top photograph the jacket comes a few inches/centimeters below my waist.  I like the extra coverage that provides as I often don't carry rain pants when hiking in shorts.  This may be the first jacket I've ever owned on which I can cinch the sleeve cuffs right at my wrists.

The hood is huge, fitting easily over a hat or helmet.  The wire prevents the bill from slipping down over my eyes – as long as I'm wearing a hat or helmet.  Without this "underbrim" of headgear visibility can be compromised.  This has been a problem for me only in the city, as I always have headgear with me when hiking and the falketind's hood is large enough to fit easily over even the largest of the hats I own.

The "Metal" color has worked well, reflecting the sunlight in warmer temperatures and providing increased visibility when walking my dogs in low light or darkness.  Vanity plays a part in my rating as well; I think the falketind looks sharp too.  The light grey does show a few smudges from brushes with the brush.  After washing the jacket I really have to look for them, however.  Washing was done in accordance with the manufacturer's directions, imprinted at the yoke inside the jacket: machine wash (I have a front-loading washer) in warm water with no bleach added, then tumble dry on low heat with no fabric softener added.  These instructions add the following: "After wash impregnate with spray on outside and tumble dry on low heat for reactivating the durable water resistance (DWR)."  No spray is specified, but this approach accords with that on a repellency treatment I have used successfully for some time, so when I detect any deterioration in repellency I'll use it as specified.

The falketind is also my first experience with Norrøna.  As this review indicates, that experience has been almost entirely favorable, in the woods and in the city.  The only problem I've had with the falketind is that the main zipper occasionally sticks a bit at the bottom.  I've had similar issues with other waterproof zippers, though, and I don't consider this a major demerit.  Certainly not enough to detract from falketind's great all-around performance. 



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Reviews > Rain Gear > Jackets and Pants > Norrona falketind GTX Pro Shell Jacket > Owner Review by Richard Lyon



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