Norrona Falketind Gore-Tex Review
Cons: Super short zipper tabs, average weight, mediocre DWR finish
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Norrona Falketind Gore-Tex
|Price||$449.00 at Backcountry||$339.73 at REI|
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|Pros||Sturdy weather protection, extended wrist cuffs, supple fabric||Lightweight, form fitting, great storm hood, superior construction quality, reasonable price||Unrivaled weather protection, decent venting options, perfect fit||Awesome weather protection, fits great, very mobile||Sturdy, real weather protection, mobile athletic fit, pit zips|
|Cons||Super short zipper tabs, average weight, mediocre DWR finish||Crinkly and noisy, very little ventilation, few pockets, short front hem||Expensive, not ultralight, mediocre breathability||Skin pockets a bit too narrow, small ventilation zips, unreliable wrist cuffs||Heavy, expensive, mediocre features for the weight|
|Bottom Line||A couple slight flaws detract from an otherwise great jacket||Stands out among some stiff competition with its simple and solid design||Our favorite hardshell for serious adventures||Turns out a company known for skis and bindings also makes a great jacket for touring||Casual styling and serious weather protection|
|Rating Categories||Norrona Falketind Gore-Tex||Arc'teryx Alpha FL||Mammut Nordwand Advanced||Dynafit Radical||Outdoor Research Archangel|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Mobility And Fit (20%)|
|Venting And Breathability (20%)|
|Features And Design (10%)|
|Specs||Norrona Falketind...||Arc'teryx Alpha FL||Mammut Nordwand...||Dynafit Radical||Outdoor Research...|
|Measured Weight (size large)||16.2 oz||11.8 oz||16.0 oz||15.4 oz||19.4 oz|
|Material||3-layer Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex with N40p-X face fabric||3-layer 100% nylon Gore-Tex Pro||Gore-Tex Pro with C-Knit backer||Gore-Tex Pro 3L, 70D nylon|
|Pockets||2 hand, 1 chest||1 external chest, 1 internal chest||2 front, 1 internal||2 side handwarmer, 1 sleeve, 2 internal stash||2 hand, 1 internal|
|Helmet Compatible Hood||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hood Draw Cords||1||3||3||1||3|
|Two-Way Front Zipper||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Norrøna is a Norwegian outdoor brand that remains largely unfamiliar to 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.
The Falketind utilizes 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro fabric 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 some stiffness and directs 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 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.
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 compromising 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 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.
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 features just a one-way slide, which slightly limits your venting options. The Gore-Tex fabric itself feels slightly thinner than average, which seems to enhance breathability a little without sacrificing 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 difficult, 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 grommet and pull cord, which makes them tricky to locate.
This jacket presents a decent value compared to other hardshell jackets. Although it will still cost you several hundred dollars, it's 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 — as long as you're ok with the extended wrist cuffs. This means you might be able to save money by using the same jacket for technical outings and stormy days around town.
Norrøna might not be the best-known company, but their Falketind easily surpassed 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