Ortovox 3L Ortler Review
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Ortovox 3L Ortler
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|Pros||Athletic fit, good packability, plenty of venting options, decent weather protection||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||Pricey, relatively heavy, limited durability, fabric seemed to get dirty quickly||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||This model is a slim-fitting hardshell that's designed for backcountry skiing and offers ample stretch||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||Ortovox 3L Ortler||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||Ortovox 3L Ortler||Norrona Trollveggen...||Mammut Nordwand Adv...||Mountain Hardwear E...||Patagonia Triolet|
|Measured Weight (size large)||17.0 oz||16.8 oz||16.0 oz||11.4 oz||19.8 oz|
|Material||Toray Dermizax NX||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||1 chest, 1 arm||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||3||1||3||1||3|
|Two-Way Front Zipper||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Ortovox is a german company that specializes in ski clothing and avalanche safety gear. Their Ortler jacket is a lightweight, slimmed-down model that's ideal for backcountry skiing or other wintry human-powered pursuits.
This jacket is made with a Dermizax NX membrane. In our tests, we found this material to be every bit as waterproof and windproof as advertised. The membrane is sandwiched inside a mixture of polyester and merino wool that feels especially stretchy and supple compared to the materials used on other hardshell jackets.
To keep precipitation out, the Ortler is fitted with a tall hood that easily accommodates a ski helmet. The hood's trio of drawcords supply plenty of adjustability and a swatch of soft merino wool at the collar does an excellent job at preventing any chafing. Our biggest complaint when it came to weather protection is that the DWR treatment seems to wear off quickly, which meant the exterior fabric began to wet out sooner than some competitors. Be ready to frequently apply your own DWR treatments to keep this jacket beading water and keeping you dry.
A size large weighs in at 17.0 ounces on our scale; that's a little higher than average compared to the other jackets in this review. Still, 17.0 ounces is awfully light compared to many less specialized rain or ski jackets. We should also mention that the Ortler seems to pack down smaller than its weight would suggest. That's good news when you're skiing uphill on dry days because it's easy to throw this jacket in your pack and avoid sweating it out.
Mobility and Fit
One of the more distinguishing characteristics of this model is the suppleness and stretchiness of the fabric. Unlike many other hardshells, this waterproof fabric doesn't feel crinkly at all. The stretchiness, at the same time, ensures that there that this layer hardly provides any resistance to your body's movements. Fit wise, we should note that this jacket is a bit slimmer-fitting than many others. This slimness can help you feel less encumbered by high-output activities. However, it doesn't leave much room to accommodate larger folks or anyone hoping to wear several warm layers underneath. It's a great shell when you're moving fast, but less ideal on slower or colder days.
Venting and Breathability
It's almost always better to vent excess heat and moisture rather than to rely on a waterproof layer's breathability. With this attitude in mind, the Ortler features a few venting possibilities. It includes a pair of pit zips that are fitted with quality waterproof zippers. We only wish these zippers used longer pull tabs so that they would be easier to grab with gloves on.
The main zipper is rigged for two-way opening and closing. This makes it slightly easier to vent on a stormy day or while wearing a backpack waistbelt. In the breathability department, the Dermizax NX material does a great job. That's great news because the stretchiness of this fabric makes it more likely that you'll keep it on during strenuous activities.
Features and Design
When it comes to features, we are pleased with some and disappointed by others. Our testers appreciated the pair of waist drawcords because they were sized well, easy to operate, and effective at sealing the hemline to stop snow from sneaking inside. They also liked the zippered pocket on the left arm for storing a ski pass while they were searching for powder stashes on sidecountry days.
On the other hand, we are disappointed with the reliability of the wrist closures. These closures utilize a patch of velcro to stay close; however, an excess of fabric means that the closure fabric is prone to snagging on stuff and coming undone. There also aren't very many pockets — only the left arm pocket and another on the breast. This is an inconvenient arrangement if you like to carry an extra pair of gloves or a hat inside your jacket.
The Ortler is priced a fair bit below the priciest hardshells, but it's still an expensive piece of clothing. We think the cost should be worth it for passionate backcountry skiers because the performance is excellent for that specific activity. Shoppers who are also looking for a shell for mountaineering or resort skiing are likely to be less satisfied. In other words, the value that you will receive from this jacket depends on your interests.
People use their hardshells for a wide range of activities. There are lighter models that we prefer for alpine climbing and loose-fitting styles that perform better for resort skiing. But the Ortovox Ortler performs extremely well for the activity it was designed for — backcountry skiing. We think it's a great choice for anyone searching for a quality jacket to wear while they earn their turns.
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