Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Review
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Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex
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|Pros||Highly weather resistant, great fit, good features and style||Comfortable, weather resistant, great features, excellent price||Great protection, comfort, ventilation, and style||Great performance at a low price, tons of features, weather resistant, breathable||Great value, warm, comfortable, relaxed vibes|
|Cons||Expensive, not warm, vents have mesh||Not warm, less durable than other hardshell pants||Not warm, few pockets||Lacks good style and warmth, average comfort||Limited seam and pocket sealing, less effective vent design|
|Bottom Line||These are the best ski pants we could find, thanks to their excellent fit and weather resistance, freeride style, and great durability||These best-in-class pants feature a removable bib and excellent weather resistance||These light and protective hardshell pants are the best option for backcountry skiing||An affordable hardshell that provides great weather resistance, ventilation, and features||A good insulated ski pant for budget-minded resort skiers who don't need a technical pair of pants|
|Rating Categories||Norrona Lofoten Gor...||Mammut Haldigrat HS||Patagonia Stormstri...||Outdoor Research Sk...||The North Face Free...|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Fit and Comfort (25%)|
|Specs||Norrona Lofoten Gor...||Mammut Haldigrat HS||Patagonia Stormstri...||Outdoor Research Sk...||The North Face Free...|
|Main fabric||70D x 160D 100% recycled nylon||100% Polyamide||100% Nylon||88% Nylon, 12% Spandex||100% Nylon|
|Insulation||None||None||None||None||60 g Heatseeker Eco Polyester (50% Recycled)|
|Waterproofing||3-layer Gore-Tex||DRYtechnology Pro||H2No||AscentShell||DryVent (2-layer)|
|Waistline construction||Snap/zipper fly with adjustable velcro waist tabs||Snap/zipper fly||Snap/zipper fly with adjustable tabs||Snap/zipper fly with external velcro adjustment, belt loops||Snap and zipper, Velcro tabs for adjustment, belt loops|
|Weight (in pounds)||1.44 lbs||1.09||1.05 lbs||1.32 lbs||1.32 lbs|
|Weight (in grams)||653 g||496 g||476 g||599 g||599 g|
|# of Pockets||3||3||2||4||3|
|Vents||Outer thigh zips||Outer thigh zips||Outer thigh zips||Inner thigh zips||Inner thigh zips, with mesh|
|Ski-specific features||Reinforced interior ankle, snap-in solution for powderskirt, gaiters||Removable bib, Dyneema ski edge protection||Scuff guards, gaiters, 3-setting snap adjustment and zipper at bottom cuffs||Scuff guards, powder cuffs, articulated knees, beacon clip||Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs|
Our Analysis and Test Results
These pants perform excellently in nearly every category we score, except for warmth. They are expensive, but not more than other top-notch pants.
The Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex is built with a thick and protective three-layer shell that includes the namesake waterproof and breathable membrane. Many products that use other membranes are just as waterproof, but when Gore-Tex is used, we are confident that it will repel water in the worst conditions. All seams are taped, and all zippers are waterproof. This shell also is thick enough to effectively block cold wind gusts.
These are the pants we reach for when the weather takes a turn for the worst. From deep powder days at the ski resort to nuclear conditions in the backcountry, we trust these pants more than any others. The shell fabric is also thick and stiff enough to repel sharp objects like branches and ski edges. We had a few close calls skiing through tight trees in the backcountry, and this jacket didn't rip or tear when bashing through pointy branches.
An aftermarket zip-on bib is available, as well as a zip-on powder skirt that zips into Norrona's Lofoten shell jackets, creating an impenetrable full-body shell system that is among the most protective outerwear we have ever seen.
Fit and Comfort
While other pants also have excellent weather resistance, the Lofoten stands out for its excellent fit and comfortable range of motion. Some pants offer a heavily tailored fit that hugs the body's contours but doesn't leave excess material for lunging and reaching with the legs. And since Gore-Tex pants are rarely stretchy, there needs to be excess material somewhere in order for users to make acrobatic moves while skiing hard or climbing mountains in the backcountry. These pants strike the perfect balance between a loose, comfortable range of motion, and a tailored, athletic fit.
These pants offer plenty of space through the leg but not so much that they feel baggy. They fit perfectly through the hips and crotch, leaving enough room to move without feeling limited. There are also hook-and-loop flaps on the outer waist belt to help adjust the waist fit, but the pants don't feel loose even if the user has tightened these flaps all the way. We think these are the best-fitting hardshell pants on the market, resulting in comfort when walking, skiing, skinning, and hiking.
These pants have some good ventilation features, but they aren't the best. The shell fabric breathes about as well as any Gore-Tex fabric, but not as well as some other pants that use highly breathable proprietary membranes. Gore-Tex can't be topped for weather resistance, but it isn't the most breathable membrane out there. Still, the shell does an adequate job of allowing warm air to escape, and we only noticed the difference while skinning at our aerobic limits on warm days in the backcountry.
For vents, the Lofoten features two 12-inch zippered vents, one on each outer thigh. The vents have a very thin mesh fabric covering the opening, which limits some air movement. While we generally don't like vents with mesh blocking the opening, we were pleasantly surprised at how well these vents worked. On warm, sunny skin tracks, we were able to ditch enough heat to stay comfortable, and the ventilation was perfect for warm resort skiing while zippering bump lines.
These pants aren't the warmest on the market, but they aren't too bad for a shell-only pant. The Lofoten's shell material is thick, which traps some warm air, and the fit allows plenty of room for air pockets. Otherwise, these pants don't provide any insulation on their own, and all warmth must come from layering underneath.
We find that many skiers and riders these days are opting for shell-only bottoms. The human body is less susceptible to cold in the lower body compared to the upper body, so we often need less insulation below the waist than above. Also, we need a wide range of motion in our hips and knees to ski and ride at our best, and insulation can get in the way of that. These pants, when paired with an average base layer bottom, provide plenty of warmth for most days on the ski hill.
The Lofoten pant doesn't have the most pockets or flashy bells and whistles, but their features are extremely well-designed and useful. There are two large zippered thigh pockets that are roomy enough to swallow plenty of gear without impeding the user's range of motion when packed full. The right side thigh pocket has an internal sleeve for a smartphone or avalanche transceiver. There is one zippered waist pocket on the left side that is perfect for a couple of credit cards, car keys, or lip balm.
At the leg cuff, there are burly kick patches that protect the pant from rips and tears. There are elastic powder cuffs that stretch enough to easily slide over boot buckles, and the shell cuffs can seal tighter over the boots with snap buttons to keep snow out during backcountry bootpacks or while wearing crampons. The pants also come with belt loops and adjustable waist flaps, making sizing easy. And finally, there is a zipper around the entire waist circumference, which allows the user to employ modular (but not included) features like a bib with overalls, a vest, or a powder skirt that also zips into certain Norrona jackets. These features allow the Lofoten Gore-Tex to be used in many different ways.
We like the look of these pants. The fit is perfect, with a loose, freeride style that doesn't look too baggy or slouchy. The zippers, pockets, and features all blend in with class and don't make a statement, letting the cut of the pants do all of the talking.
Style is subjective, but surprisingly, there aren't that many pants on the market that appeal to our picky test team. A good fit goes a long way towards attractive style, and subdued yet useful features complete the understated yet dialed look of these excellent pants. You won't turn heads because of these pants alone, yet you will look refined and classy.
Should You Buy the Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex?
These pants are downright expensive, and we only recommend them to everyday or regular skiers and riders who need a pair of pants that will perform day in and day out, in any weather, and in any context. For those kinds of hardcore users, these pants are worth the investment. For everyone else, especially users on a budget, you can find great performance in pants that cost a lot less. Simply put, these are the best resort-specific shell pants on the market, and they also perform well for average tours in the backcountry, and they'll last a long time.
What Other Ski Pants Should You Consider?
These pants surpass all others on the market for the complete package in a pair of hardshells. That said, if you are looking for a shell pant that costs a lot less but will still provide excellent performance, we love the Outdoor Research Skyward II Pant for its great value. If you want similar top-notch performance at a slightly lower price, the Mammut Haldigrat HS hardshell is very similar, including a removable bib, but doesn't use Gore-Tex, which saves you a few bucks. If you spend most of your time in the backcountry, the Haldigrat or the lightweight yet protective Patagonia Stormstride will suit you well.
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