Norrona Falketind Gore-Tex Review
Cons: Super short zipper tabs, average weight, mediocre DWR finish
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Norrøna is a Norwegian outdoor brand that remains relatively unknown among North Americans. But it shouldn't be. They've been around since 1929 and continue to make high-quality gear that rivals the best from companies on this side of the pond. These cuffs are slim-fitting and long enough to cover half your hand to ensure that they stay in place no matter how you move your arms. This design is a favorite among our ice climbing testers but is seen as less than stylish by our more fashion-minded reviewers. Aside from these distinguishing cuffs, the Falketind is a high-quality hardshell that provides excellent weather protection.
The Falketind utilizes a 3-layer Gore-Tex that proved to be fully waterproof throughout all of our tests. Although the only encompasses 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 some stiffness and directs any falling moisture away from your face.
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 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.
We measured a size large at 16.2 ounces on our scale. That's near the middle of the field, and a reasonable amount for a jacket that features a pair of full-length pit zips. It's a little heavier than it could be, however, because metal grommets on the hood and waist drawstrings could probably be made from lighter materials without sacrificing overall durability.
Mobility and Fit
From a functionality standpoint, the Falketind offers decent mobility and fit. The hood fits well while looking up or down, with or without a helmet on. The extra-long sleeves also ensure that the wrist cuffs don't ride even with arms 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 fashionable around town but is definitely inconvenient if you're trying to keep the jacket tucked in to a climbing harness.
Venting and Breathability
To shed excess heat and humidity, this jacket has a pair of underarm vents. When fully opened they're pretty effective, but the short pull tabs on the zippers make it hard to operate them with gloves on. The main jacket zipper is only one-way, which slightly limits your venting options. The Gore-Tex fabric itself feels slightly thinner than average, which seemed to enhance breathability a little without compromising durability.
Features and Design
The Falketind is clearly a well-made jacket constructed from high-quality materials. The most glaring design flaw is the short zipper pull tabs that make opening and closing the pit zips and accessory pockets unnecessarily tricky, and especially so if you're wearing gloves or mittens. The waist drawcord design also caused it to lose a point because the internal spring clamps used for loosening are unmarked and positioned away from the gromet and pull cord, making them difficult to locate.
This jacket presents a decent value compared to other hardshell jackets. Although it will still cost you several hundred dollars, its available for roughly half the price of the most expensive models. The Falketind also comes with a stylish fit and more supple, less noisy, fabric making it more suitable for casual occasions. This means you can save money by using the same jacket for technical outings and stormy days around town.
Norrona might not be the best-known company, but their Falketind easily beats several other jackets from more famous manufacturers. Its quality is obvious and the extended wrist cuffs were particularly appreciated by our long arm testers. The largest downsides are the super short zipper pull tabs and a DWR finish that wore off a little sooner than the burliest jackets. Nevertheless, the Falketind remains a great buy, particularly if you can appreciate extra-long sleeves or you're able to find it on sale.
— Jack Cramer