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(The Gear Loop) - Before we begin, we must admit that we’ve tested the Jöttnar Fenrir thoroughly over a period of months in every condition conceivable, from -15°C at 3000m in the Swiss alps to heavy rain in the UK. It’s this tester’s go-to item for every trip and has proven to be a durable, lightweight, warm and super-comfortable piece of kit in every situation. 

And so it should: Jöttnar was founded in Arctic Norway by two former Royal Marine commandos and when they need kit to perform, they need kit to perform. The brand is used by mountaineers, climbers and skiers - professional and amateur athletes who not only design the gear but also test it to the max, too. 

While the price tag is lively, the Jöttnar Fenrir down jacket is worth every penny. Like some other niche brands, you won’t see it on every street corner and cable car, and the newly redesigned women’s collection has been so thoughtfully updated with features and details you need and want from high-performing, high-quality kit. 

JöttnarJöttnar Fenrir women’s hooded down jacket photo 5

We tested the women’s jacket here, but there’s a men’s version that packs many of the same features and cold-beating properties.

Our quick take

An outstanding jacket in its class. Reinventing the word "lightweight" and standing up to heavy use in all environments, we found it was the jacket we reached for in nearly all situations, whether that was back-country skiing or just popping to the shops.

The Gear LoopJöttnar Fenrir women’s hooded down jacket photo 9

Even when it gets wet, the Fenrir dries again in no time, so we didn’t even have the quibbles typically associated with down jackets and heavy precipitation. 

This is well worth the investment and you won’t see many of them about, making the jacket feel that little bit more special. What’s more, anyone rocking Jöttnar takes their winter exploits seriously and buying one of this company’s high-tech products buys into a club of elite explorers and athletes. Even if you only wear it on the odd dog walk.

Jöttnar Fenrir women's hooded down jacket review: unbeatable warmth to weight and outstanding performance

Jöttnar Fenrir women's hooded down jacket

5 stars - The Gear Loop editors choice
For
  • Lightweight to the point of weightless
  • Warm (850 fill power)
  • Hydrophobic/water repellent
  • Packed with technical features
Against
  • Lightweight fabric can snag
  • Bulkier than some mid-layers
  • Slim fit not great for layering

In the loop

Everything you need to know about the Jöttnar Fenrir 

  • 850 Fill Power Goose down in a premium 93/7 ethically-sourced down/feather ratio
  • Water-repellent DownTek down 
  • Synthetic insulation at potential moisture zones (cuff, hem, collar, underarms)
  • Cinch hood with elasticated binding
  • 30 dernier micro rip-stop nylon outer
  • Hem draw cord
  • Two side pockets, internal valuables pocket
  • Stretch technical cuffs
  • Supplied with stuff sack
  • Available in three colours: heather, black, eclipse (blue)
  • Available in four sizes XS, S, M, L

Attention to detail

The Fenrir has been so considerately designed, despite being simple. There are three pockets - two on the side and an internal one for a phone and wallet. 

All are large enough to carry gloves, a head torch, a phone, and more. You don’t need more. 

JöttnarJöttnar Fenrir women’s hooded down jacket photo 1

The cuffs are elasticated and oh-so comfy, with a hard-wearing fabric on the underside so the down doesn’t get snagged at this classic pinch point. 

The insulated hood is really cosy, with a drawstring to cinch it in if you need to make it more form-fitting beneath another hat, helmet or shell jacket hood. 

Do the zip up and that jacket sits high up over your nose, almost forming a balaclava. Almost everything you could think of for a sub-zero trip has already been covered here.

JöttnarJöttnar Fenrir women’s hooded down jacket photo 4

Styling, fit and performance 

Jöttnar specialises in muted colours. The black and eclipse (dark navy) are unexciting, but the heather is a gorgeous unusual purple. There are embroidered chest and rear logos - both equally understated. 

This kit is top-of-the range and it’s built for a job; it’s not showy and you won’t see it everywhere. Yes, partly because of the price, but also because you need to know about Jöttnar to know exactly how good it is. And it’s more than worth the initial outlay. 

This is the most comfortable jacket in our wardrobe. It fits every situation, from layering under a shell jacket for windy walks, a mid-layer on the ski slopes, shower-proof for around town, warm on a cold and windy day… it covers most bases.

The Gear LoopJöttnar Fenrir women’s hooded down jacket photo 8

While there are no pit zips, the Fenrir is breathable, so we haven’t found a need for them. Thoughtful use of synthetic insulation on the moisture-prone zones makes sure that excess heat and moisture gets wicked way, and if you really get too hot, it’s so lightweight it feels like nothing to carry or stuff in it sack.

It’s not the jacket for a downpour, but in light rain and showers its water repellency is useful. It’s a down jacket, so it still gets wet, but not as quickly as untreated down.

The Fenrir fits to the lower hips, not covering your butt but the fit is longer than all other down jackets we’ve worn. This means it doesn’t ride up and the hem draw cords ensure that when you’re using this in a mountain environment, there’s no gap for wind to sneak in.

JöttnarJöttnar Fenrir women’s hooded down jacket photo 3

In the months we’ve owned this jacket, it hasn’t snagged seriously, but as with all down jackets, you need to be careful of the fabric - it’s not designed to be thrown around like a hardy Gore-Tex shell. 

The only thing we haven’t tested is how the jacket comes out of the wash, but in four months of almost daily use, we’ve not needed to clean it yet. But perhaps we are just especially neat.

Sizing 

Our tester is a UK size 10 and wore the small. The slim fit means there’s not a huge amount of room for a big sweater underneath, but a couple of technical layers fit perfectly. 

JöttnarJöttnar Fenrir women’s hooded down jacket photo 6

It’s a bulkier mid-layer than some - a middle ground between mid-layer and outer. It’s definitely all you need over a shirt on a chilly UK winter’s day, it’s that warm. 

But we could have got away with wearing a medium, too, so the large isn’t going to go very big. All in all, this is not the jacket if you wear larger than a UK size 14, for example.

To recap

It would be difficult to find a more useful jacket. An absolute leader in its field, this warm, lightweight and water-resistant down jacket is the first item we’d reach for to pack for a mountain trip, a long hike or even just a jaunt to the pub. It’s packed with technical features, an absolute pleasure to wear in all conditions and despite being a pricey piece of kit, worth every single penny, in our humble opinion.

Writing by Abigail Butcher. Editing by Leon Poultney.