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Norrona Falketind Gore-Tex Review

A quality hardshell with a few minor flaws
Norrona Falketind Gore-Tex
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $450 List | $299.25 at Backcountry
Pros:  Sturdy weather protection, extended wrist cuffs, supple fabric
Cons:  Super short zipper tabs, average weight, mediocre DWR finish
Manufacturer:   Norrona
By Jack Cramer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 8, 2020
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 15
  • Weather Protection - 30% 8
  • Weight - 20% 6
  • Mobility and Fit - 20% 7
  • Venting and Breathability - 20% 7
  • Features and Design - 10% 6

Our Verdict

Are you fed up with snow sneaking through that tiny gap between your gloves and jacket sleeve? Say goodbye to those cold wrists with the unique extended cuffs on the Norrona Falketind Gore-Tex. 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 the distinguishing cuffs, our testers also love the pit zips and chest pockets on this premium hardshell. However, they were disappointed with the tiny pull tabs on the zippers that make operating both unnecessarily difficult. Although lengthening these tabs is easy with a bit of string, it's not a chore you should have to perform on an expensive jacket. Despite this issue, the Falketind really is an excellent choice for anyone with long arms or activities where your sleeves are prone to sliding up.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Sturdy weather protection, extended wrist cuffs, supple fabricLightweight, form fitting, great storm hood, superior construction quality, reasonable priceUnrivaled weather protection, decent venting options, perfect fitAwesome weather protection, fits great, very mobileSturdy, real weather protection, mobile athletic fit, pit zips
Cons Super short zipper tabs, average weight, mediocre DWR finishCrinkly and noisy, very little ventilation, few pockets, short front hemExpensive, not ultralight, mediocre breathabilitySkin pockets a bit too narrow, small ventilation zips, unreliable wrist cuffsHeavy, expensive, mediocre features for the weight
Bottom Line A couple slight flaws detract from an otherwise great jacketStands out among some stiff competition with its simple and solid designOur favorite hardshell for serious adventuresTurns out a company known for skis and bindings also makes a great jacket for touringCasual 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%)
8
9
10
8
9
Weight (20%)
6
9
6
7
4
Mobility And Fit (20%)
7
7
8
8
8
Venting And Breathability (20%)
7
7
8
8
7
Features And Design (10%)
6
7
6
8
7
Specs Norrona Falketind... Arc'teryx Alpha FL Mammut Nordwand... Dynafit Radical Outdoor Research...
Pit Zips Yes No Yes Yes Yes
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
Adjustable Cuffs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
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.

Performance Comparison


The Falketing is a great jacket for ice climbing because the super...
The Falketing is a great jacket for ice climbing because the super long sleeves don't creep up your wrist when you extend your arms overhead.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Weather Protection


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.

The extended cuffs give you the option to wear them under or over...
The extended cuffs give you the option to wear them under or over your gloves. Our testers preferred over for thinner gloves, and under while wearing thicker gloves with wrist gauntlets.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Weight


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.

This jacket has just a single cord to adjust the hood. The hood is...
This jacket has just a single cord to adjust the hood. The hood is still effective, however, because the reinforced brim is stiff enough to direct any precip to the sides.
Photo: Jack Cramer

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.

In our stationary bike test the breathability of the Falketind to be...
In our stationary bike test the breathability of the Falketind to be roughly average. It's more breathable than some thicker Gore-Tex models but not quite as breathable as thinner proprietary fabrics from Outdoor Research or Mountain Hardwear.
Photo: Jack Cramer

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.

The Norrona Falketind has a pair of nice chest pockets but they can...
The Norrona Falketind has a pair of nice chest pockets but they can be tough to open with gloves on because the zipper pull tabs are so short.
Photo: Jack Cramer

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.

Norrona's viking logo represents the company's Norwegian roots.
Norrona's viking logo represents the company's Norwegian roots.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Value


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.

We believe hardshells are mostly only required for serious winter...
We believe hardshells are mostly only required for serious winter activities, but after you add one to your closet, they can prove useful for mellower activities on rainy days when you might otherwise stay inside.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Conclusion


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