Many companies like to claim their hardshell is the "toughest" or designed for the "harshest conditions". These conflicting claims obviously can't all be true, but in the case of the Mammut Nordwand Advanced, we think they're pretty credible. This jacket accepts being a little heavier to allow for the use of burly Gore-Tex Pro fabric in a design with a generous cut. The result is serious weather protection in a shell that fits well and supplies excellent mobility. Our more energetic testers are also pleased that it features pit zips, whose advantages in terms of ventilation easily exceed the added weight for an expedition jacket. The truth is that most shoppers don't need the toughest hardshell. But for those planning extended trips to mountainous zones, the Nordwand Advanced is our favorite hardshell for the harshest conditions.Editor's Note: This review was updated on November 8, 2021 to reflect design changes to the Nordwand Advanced.
Mammut Nordwand Advanced Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Unrivaled weather protection, decent venting options, perfect fit
Cons: Expensive, not ultralight, mediocre breathability
Compare to Similar Products
Mammut Nordwand Advanced
|Price||$625.00 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$500 List||$249 List||$81.15 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Check Price at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Pros||Unrivaled weather protection, decent venting options, perfect fit||Awesome weather protection, fits great, very mobile||Cheap, ultralight, solid weather protection, impressive breathability||Good ventilation, bargain price, lightweight, fully waterproof||Lightweight, inexpensive, easy to tighten drawcords|
|Cons||Expensive, not ultralight, mediocre breathability||Skin pockets a bit too narrow, small ventilation zips, unreliable wrist cuffs||No internal pockets, poor ventilation, unreliable hood drawcords||Interior fabric is clingy, feels delicate, limited drawcords||Glossy internal fabric, poor mobility, hand pocket zippers not waterproof|
|Bottom Line||A serious hardshell for serious adventures||A solid hardshell that thrives in bad weather||An affordable hardshell that can get the job done||The lightest hardshell that includes pit zips||Closer to a rain jacket than a hardshell|
|Rating Categories||Mammut Nordwand Adv...||Dynafit Radical||REI Co-op Drypoint GTX||Marmot Knife Edge||Mountain Hardwear E...|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Mobility and Fit (20%)|
|Venting and Breathability (20%)|
|Features and Design (10%)|
|Specs||Mammut Nordwand Adv...||Dynafit Radical||REI Co-op Drypoint GTX||Marmot Knife Edge||Mountain Hardwear E...|
|Measured Weight (size large)||16.0 oz||15.4 oz||11.0 oz||12.4 oz||11.4 oz|
|Material||3-layer 100% nylon Gore-Tex Pro||Gore-Tex Pro with C-Knit backer||Gore-Tex Active 3L||Gore-Tex Paclite 2.5L 100% Polyester||Gore-Tex Paclite 2.5L 100% nylon w/ DWR coating|
|Pockets||2 front, 1 internal||2 side handwarmer, 1 sleeve, 2 internal stash||2 hand||2 hand, 1 chest||2 hand, 1 chest|
|Helmet Compatible Hood||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hood Draw Cords||3||1||3||1||1|
|Two-Way Front Zipper||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Nordwand Advanced hardshell was granted some style updates, with new colors, accents, and different seamlines. Mammut also added some microfiber fabric to the inside of the chin area, addressing a minor gripe we had with the previous version. Compare the two models below; the version we tested is shown on the left, with the updated version on the right.
The trend to design gear to be "ultralight" has accelerated in recent years, and the drawbacks in terms of durability and versatility seem to have been largely ignored. The designers of the Mammut Nordwand Advanced refused to ignore these drawbacks. The result is a hardshell that is reasonably light but without any compromises to its durability or versatility. If you pick one up, you won't be able to brag about being ultralight, but you also won't suffer when the snow starts really dumping.
In previous years, the Arc'teryx Alpha FL received a perfect score in weather protection.
Mammut can take pride in the knowledge that its Nordwand Advanced jacket is the reason the Alpha FL no longer does. That's because the Nordwand sets a new standard for weather protection. Its Gore-Tex Pro membrane paired with 30-denier nylon face fabric is incredibly tough. Our testers were also thoroughly impressed with the durable water repellent (DWR) coating that continued to bead water after months of regular use.
All of the zippers are watertight. The hood features three drawcords that provide a great fit with or without a helmet. Meanwhile, the stiff, 3.5-inch brim shelters you from any kind of precip.
The adjustable wrist cuffs use a simple hook-and-loop closure that's designed with appropriate length and width to dependably stay closed regardless of your wrist diameter or layering. With this jacket, we found ourselves praying for storms just so we could delight in true weather protection perfection.
This jacket's exceptional storm protection comes with some drawbacks, and principal among them is weight. A size large weighed in on our scale at 16.0 oz. This isn't heavy enough to be disqualifying, but it's five ounces more than its lightest comparable competitors. In drier mountain ranges or during less committing outings, these lighter competitors are probably a better choice. For wet climates or legit expeditions, however, the Nordwand's performance benefits are worth its added mass.
Mobility and Fit
On an ordinary garment, the fit is important for comfort and style. On a hardshell, fit also impacts weather protection, and ultimately, safety.
This jacket is a favorite among our testers in terms of fit. The hem is low and stays tucked into a harness as well as any jacket we tried. The sleeves, meanwhile, are long and stay securely in place, even with arms overhead.
When it comes to mobility, the Nordwand Advanced suffers from the same crinkly feel as any jacket made from Gore-Tex Pro. Despite this noisiness and a mild resistance to movement, our testers didn't feel any restrictive areas or discomfort while taking it through a wide array of movements. We also love how this shell pulls all this off without being loose or baggy. Across various activities and with an assortment of under layers, the Nordwand continually impressed, which is why it receives top marks for mobility and fit.
Venting and Breathability
In our stationary bike test, we found the Nordwand's Gore-Tex Pro fabric, which relies on solid-state diffusion, to be less breathable than air-permeable fabrics like The North Face Futurelight or Outdoor Research AscentShell.
This disadvantage, however, is negated to some extent by this jacket's inclusion of underarm vents and a two-way main zipper. When conditions permit you to use those features (i.e., when it's not precipitating heavily), the Nordwand Advanced sheds heat nearly as well as any hardshell we tried. It might not be the best choice if you hope to keep charging in a downpour, but if you're willing to slow down a little when it's storming, you can keep the Nordwand on, and when it stops, you can speed right back up.
Features & Design
Unlike some other hardshells, this jacket doesn't sacrifice features to save weight. As we've mentioned, it includes a pair of useful pit zips and three pockets.
These zippered pockets are positioned on the chest (two external, one internal) away from your shoulders and hips to avoid irritation from backpack straps or a harness waist belt.
This jacket sports three drawcords on the hood and two on the waist to seal out the storm. All of these are easy to tighten and loosen, even with gloves on. Unlike a few other jackets designed for alpine climbing, the Nordwand doesn't include a pocket or separate stuff sack for stowing and clipping it to your harness. We also don't like that the material on the chin isn't soft. Instead, it's the same material as the rest of the jacket, which can be a little hard on your chin and lips if you're forced to wear it fully zipped for a long period of time.
The Nordwand loses an additional point because it's marked with a feature called "Mammut Connect." We are concerned that some shoppers might confuse this feature for a proprietary version of an avalanche rescue reflector, such as the Recco reflectors that are now included on many ski jackets and enable rescuers to locate buried victims from up to 200 meters away. Mammut Connect, in contrast, is a smartphone app and a marketing ploy to encourage you to share your adventures in Mammut apparel online. Mammut is free to promote this app, but we wish they would do it in a more responsible way, with a logo that couldn't be confused with a potentially life-saving Recco tag.
The Nordwand Advanced is listed at an astronomical price that places it among the most expensive hardshells we've tested. For this price, however, you receive best-in-class weather protection paired with sensible venting options. Although it's not a screaming deal, we still think this performance is a decent value for those that need a serious jacket for serious weather.
As much as we might not want to admit it, most of us don't need the "toughest" outdoor gear. But for those that do, there is the Mammut Nordwand Advanced. Its 30-denier Gore-Tex Pro fabric provides real waterproofness in a shell that is also dependably durable. The exceptional fit will be most appreciated on extended trips, particularly among alpine climbers who are tired of having their jackets come untucked from their climbing harnesses. Finally, the Nordwand's pit zips lend a degree of versatility that is missing in some of its closest rivals. Taking all this into account, this jacket is overkill for most shoppers but is our first choice for the harshest conditions.
— Jack Cramer
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