With a sturdier face fabric than most delicate down puffers, this is a hard-wearing, mountain-ready jacket that feels warm and protective. In addition, zoned synthetic fill and hydrophobic down offer added reassurance in damp, drizzly winter weather.
Mid-range fill power
No inner dump pockets
Hood not compatible with a climbing helmet
Only a one-way main zip
No women’s version
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Jöttnar Thorne Jacket: first impressions
The Jöttnar Thorne Jacket (available direct from Jöttnar in the UK, US and EU (opens in new tab)) may sound like it comes from a Nordic company, but Jöttnar is actually a British brand. It was established in 2013, the passion project of two mountain-loving former Royal Marine commandos. However, despite being relative minnows in the outdoor industry, Jöttnar have built a reputation for turning out some of the finest and most considered technical apparel in the business, including down jackets like the Thorne.
• List price: $299 (US) £285 (UK)
• Weight: 540g / 1lb 3oz
• Materials: Insulation 750FP 90/10 hydrophobic RDS-certified goose down with body-mapped synthetic fill (140gsm shoulders, cuffs, collar and hood / 80gsm under arms); Shell 30D ripstop nylon with DWR
• Sizes: Men’s S-XL; Women’s n/a
Back in winter 2020, we got our hands on the Fenrir down jacket and were hugely impressed with its overall build quality and real world performance. So, this winter we were excited to test the newest addition to the range, the Thorne.
In terms of fill power, it sits just below the Fenrir and the top-of-the-range Fjorm, both of which use premium 850-fill power down. In contrast, the Thorne features 750FP water-repellent goose down. This makes it slightly cheaper. And although in terms of outright warmth for weight it doesn’t quite match up to its brethren, it’s arguably the most versatile and hard-wearing insulated jacket in the Jöttnar range. It’s essentially designed to balance warmth and durability, while still tipping the scales at under 500g. This makes it a good choice for mixed mountain adventures, from skiing and climbing to hiking, hillwalking and mountaineering.
The Thorne’s main USP is that it is built tougher than most delicate down puffers. It features a 30-denier ripstop nylon outer fabric, which is ideally suited to hard use in the mountains. That will be a big plus for anyone who has ever shredded a baffle or snagged a stitched seam, causing clusters of precious down to escape from their jacket.
The fill itself is also hydrophobic, which means the down has been treated with a moisture repellent finish. In addition, areas that are susceptible to moisture – like the shoulders, hood, cuffs and underarms – have synthetic insulation rather than down fill. These zoned panels feature two different fill weights – 80gsm under the arms, 140gsm at the shoulders, in the hood and at the cuffs – to provide warmth where needed, whilst minimizing bulk elsewhere. This all helps to ensure more reliable insulating performance in damp conditions, without the jacket feeling too cumbersome.
Jöttnar Thorne Jacket: in the field
The fit of this jacket is excellent, with a trim silhouette that can be layered under a shell if required. A close-fitting, well-insulated hood – with an extended full zip that goes right up to the nose – locks in warmth effectively, as do the stretch-bound cuffs and adjustable hem drawcord. The hood isn’t helmet compatible but does have an elasticated binding around the face and a rear drawcord to cinch it in tightly.
Bringing up the rear, a scooped tail guards against unwelcome drafts. There’s plenty of length in the arms and torso too, ensuring neither the sleeves nor the hem ride up when bending down or stretching upwards. In fact, all round mobility is very good for a down puffer.
It's also a very comfortable layer to wear. The inner lining is silky soft, so it slides easily over other layers, making it a great piece to pull out of a pack and put on quickly whenever you’re static in the mountains.
In our experience, the 750 FP down fill provides a good level of warmth down to single digit temperatures. It’s proved to be the ideal jacket for cold-weather wild camps and mountain days in upland areas of the UK like Snowdonia, and we particularly appreciated its qualities during a cold, wet night on the exposed Nantlle Ridge.
It’s slightly less well suited to more technical mountain use, since you can’t fit the hood over a climbing or ski helmet, and the main zip only runs one way, which is less practical when wearing a harness. (If those are dealbreakers, take a look at the Jöttnar Fjorm or the Berghaus Ramche Micro Reflect). We would also have liked one or two inner dump pockets, to add some storage options for stashing big winter gloves.
All in all, however, the Thorne is a high-quality, well-built down jacket that we think will serve hikers, hillwalkers and campers extremely well. It strikes a great balance between warmth for weight and durability, and also nails the fit – not easy to achieve when it comes to baffled puffers.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.
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