Norrona Falketind Gore-Tex Review
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Norrona Falketind Gore-Tex
$389.25 at Backcountry
$486.75 at Backcountry
|$650 List||$161.28 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
$399.00 at Backcountry
|Pros||Sturdy weather protection, supple fabric, lightweight, breathable||Excellent weather protection, great fit and coverage, good ventilation||Unrivaled weather protection, great fit, durable, vents well||Lightweight, inexpensive, easy to tighten drawcords||Inexpensive, protective, versatile, lots of pockets|
|Cons||Short on pockets, slim fit||Very expensive, a bit heavy, style not for everyone||Expensive, light on pockets||Glossy internal fabric, poor mobility, hand pocket zippers not waterproof||Heavy, boxy fit, vents could be longer, stiff fabric|
|Bottom Line||A lightweight shell that boasts great weather protection but without the bells and whistles of other jackets||This super-protective and well-fitting hardshell is versatile for any winter activity||Our favorite hardshell for serious adventures, this jacket is protective, durable, and relatively lightweight||This model is closer to a rain jacket than a hardshell, though it can be used as a lightweight just in case layer||A protective and durable hard shell jacket at a great price, but with a boxy fit|
|Rating Categories||Norrona Falketind G...||Norrona Trollveggen...||Mammut Nordwand Adv...||Mountain Hardwear E...||Patagonia Triolet|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Mobility and Fit (20%)|
|Venting and Breathability (20%)|
|Features and Design (10%)|
|Specs||Norrona Falketind G...||Norrona Trollveggen...||Mammut Nordwand Adv...||Mountain Hardwear E...||Patagonia Triolet|
|Measured Weight (size large)||14.1 oz||16.8 oz||16.0 oz||11.4 oz||19.8 oz|
|Material||30D Gore-Tex with C-Knit backer||100% recycled 40D Gore-Tex Pro with 160D reinforcements on shoulder, forearm, and hood||100% Polyamide 30D Gore-Tex Pro||Gore-Tex Paclite 2.5L 100% nylon w/ DWR coating||100% recycled polyester 75D Gore-Tex|
|Pockets||2 hand, 1 internal zippered||2 front, 1 internal zippereed chest, 1 zippered electronics pocket inside front chest pocket||2 front, 1 internal zippered chest||2 hand, 1 chest||2 chest, 2 hand, 1 internal mesh|
|Helmet Compatible Hood||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hood Draw Cords||1||1||3||1||3|
|Two-Way Front Zipper||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Falketind excels in bad weather during the warmer seasons of the year, thanks to its low weight and excellent breathability.
The Falketind features a 3-layer shell fabric with a Gore-Tex membrane that proved to be fully waterproof throughout all of our tests. Although the hood only incorporates a single drawcord, it is still easy to adjust and effective at sealing bad weather out. This effectiveness is principally due to some reinforcing material inside the brim that provides structure and directs falling moisture away from your face. All of the zippers are waterproof.
The wrist cuffs are also especially long and form-fitting. Although this isn't exactly fashionable, it is extremely functional. By ensuring the sleeves stay tucked in beneath your gloves, snow is sealed out, and your hands stay warmer and drier. Our only complaint is the durable water repellent (DWR) finish. Initially, it was better than average at beading water, but after a couple of months, it began to wear off, and we observed some wetting out of the face fabric. This will happen to any jacket, of course, but it appeared to happen a little sooner to the Falketind than the burliest hardshells we tried. The sleeves and hood offer slightly less coverage than the looser-fitting hardshells.
At 14.1 ounces for a size large, the Falketind is lighter than most other shells on the market. This makes it an ideal choice for weight-conscious climbers, mountaineers, and hikers who need good weather resistance but who aren't likely to encounter sustained, driving precipitation. Our testers keep this jacket in their packs during extended summer alpine climbing trips, when rain or even some snow is possible, but not expected.
This jacket shaves weight by using a thin 30-denier outer face fabric and a C-Knit inner lining fabric. It also has minimal features and a slimmer fit than most other hardshells, eliminating some fabric. The downside is that it is hard to fit thick winter layers underneath the shell, and there aren't as many pockets as you may be used to. For summer climbers and fair-weather skiers, this jacket is burly enough to provide protection, but serious winter enthusiasts will want a heavier jacket.
Mobility and Fit
The Falketind has great mobility and a tailored fit. The hood fits well while looking up or down, with or without a helmet. The extra-long sleeves also ensure that the wrist cuffs don't ride even when arms are fully extended overhead. These same sleeves, however, will probably feel less than stylish to many non-technical shoppers. On the other hand, the main hem is a little bit short. This may be more fashionable around town, but it's definitely a problem if you want the jacket to stay tucked into a climbing harness.
The fabric feels slightly softer and stretchier than other Gore-Tex shells, thanks to a thin 30-denier face fabric and a C-Knit inner fabric, which gives the fabric a soft hand. The result is a jacket that isn't crinkly or stiff, but rather soft and pliable.
Venting and Breathability
To shed excess heat and humidity, the Falketind has a pair of underarm vents. These vents are 18 inches (45 centimeters) long, which is longer than average for increased ventilation. The vents are easy to open with long pull tabs and no fabric flaps to get in the way of easily opening and closing the zippers with one hand. The thin, 30-denier outer face fabric allows air to pass through, and the soft inner lining fabric doesn't inhibit airflow.
For spring ski tours, fair-weather ski mountaineering, and alpine climbing with afternoon thunderstorms in the forecast, this shell is the perfect blend of weather resistance, weight, and breathability. It's still a Gore-Tex shell, which can feel like wearing a stuffy plastic bag before the movement of water vapor begins, but compared to thicker shells, this is a relatively breathable option.
Features and Design
The Falketind is a well-made jacket constructed from high-quality materials. It has two external high hand pockets that can fit plenty of gear, and one internal zippered chest pocket that is large enough for a phone, an energy bar, or smaller pieces of equipment. The hood has only one drawcord (instead of three), which helps shave weight. The hood has a stiff but flexible brim that sheds water and snow off to either side and not down the user's face.
This jacket is relatively minimalist, which helps keep the weight down, but it also limits the jacket's versatility. The hem drawstring cords have small pull tabs that are difficult to manipulate with gloved hands, and the small release buttons for these drawstrings can be hard to find. Still, this is a well-designed jacket with enough features to get the job done, especially considering the low weight.
Should You Buy the Norrona Falketind?
This jacket is expensive for such a minimalist design, but it isn't necessarily overpriced. It costs less than the fully-featured Gore-Tex Pro shells that are adept in any winter weather, and if you spend the bulk of your time outdoors in the spring, summer, and fall, this jacket is a great choice. There are better options out there for dedicated skiers and alpinists, but if you are looking for a high-performance shell for rainy weather and the occasional snowstorm, this jacket is a good value. It also has a stylish fit and more supple, less noisy fabric, making it more suitable for casual occasions. This means you might be able to save money by using the same jacket for technical outings and stormy days around town.
What Other Hardshell Jackets Should You Consider?
If you are enticed by the excellent fit and solid weather protection of the Falketind but need more weather resistance for winter storms, the Norrona Trollveggen Gore-Tex Pro Light is an awesome heavy-duty hardshell that performs well across the board. If you need more protection but also want to keep weight to a minimum, the Mammut Nordwand Advanced is super protective in all weather and weighs less than other Gore-Tex Pro shells. If you're on a budget but still need protection in severe weather, the Patagonia Triolet is a less expensive option with great weather resistance.
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