This is a very interesting jacket to review as the designers had a clear but yet contradictory and potentially impossible design brief; to produce a very lightweight jacket using the world’s lightest grade of micro rip-stop, to be used in the harshest environments any jacket can be expected to perform.
The first time that you handle the jacket it is a bit of a shock as it is so light, which of course it’s supposed to be. The jacket is designed for ice climbing and rock climbing however, if you don’t participate in either of these activities read on as some of the features lend themselves to a far wider range of activities.
The jacket does not have lower pockets but two large chest pockets; this allows a climbing harness to be worn without any restriction to pocket access. The chest pockets will take a guide book, compass (not OS map) light weight gloves or hat. Obviously anything bulky simply gets in the way. The pockets are great and really do make a big difference when ice climbing allowing easy access.
The second feature that is designed for climbing is the over large hood which will fit over a climbing helmet. Again it works well and allows you to move freely whilst having the hood up. The hood is big enough to allow the climber to look around for hand and footholds without the hood feeling constrictive. The hood can be tightened and loosened using two draw cords, and I am pleased to say that this is even possible with gloves on.
So the designers have done well, the jacket fits well, looks good, has well thought out pockets and hood but how robust is it? I have to say it now really comes down to personal choice. If you want to buy one jacket that does everything from your morning bike commute, to walking the dog and going down the pub in as well as your outdoor stuff then this isn’t the right jacket.
If however, you want a super lightweight jacket that will stuff down into a pocket on a multipitch climb or will be used on Alpine routes then this may be for you.
Like many climbers I have a number of jackets that are in various states of decline, the Jottnar is currently the top of the list and only comes out when I really need it. In wet and snowy conditions it has performed well and has proved to be totally waterproof and as wind proof as many much heavier jackets. It has stood up to a number of ice climbs and despite its initial flimsy feel it has not ripped or abraded.
It is the lightest jacket that I have ever owned and initially I was sceptical but having now used it for ski touring where its lightness was brilliant as well as some very wet Cumbrian hill walking I can trust it and I really like it. As I said at the start if you are not a climber don’t dismiss the jacket, the chest pockets work well when wearing a rucksack with waist strap and the large hood fits well over hats and other hoods and its lightness make it easy to pack and carry. It would make a brilliant summer jacket as it packs down so well and is so light.
As with all modern jackets, only time will tell as to whether the glued zips continue to perform and how well it stands up to use. However, this could easily be said of jackets that are twice the price of the Jottnar Asmund. It works well but if you want it to last it needs to be treasured and only brought out when you really need a super lightweight jacket which is what it was designed for.