You may not have heard of Norwegian-based Norrona before, but they’ve been around a while, in fact creating the original mountain tunnel tent in 1972, and were the first company to use Gore-Tex in Europe in 1977. However, this isn’t a history lesson – it’s a Norrona Falketind PrimaLoft100 Vest review – so let’s get cracking.
The basics – the Norrona Falketind PrimaLoft100 Vest is a windproof, lightly insulated midlayer in a fairly classic mould. It’s well finished (more on this later), and weighs in at a claimed 240 grams, and our size large hit 241 grams on the climbingtips scales, so far so good.
The Norrona Falketind PrimaLoft100 Vest packs into it’s own chest pocket, and thus packed would fit in a pint glass – it’s pretty portable, basically. There are two well-placed handwarmer pockets, as well as the internal chest one, and it’s a generous length on the body, so can be neatly trapped under a harness. The collar is relatively high too, so on chillier days provides a little extra weather protection.
The main insulation panels unsurprisingly cover front back and a chunk of the neck area, while the Power Stretch side panels give a bit of flex and fit to the ensemble. The main insulation is a big part of the story – it’s PrimaLoft Silver Active 100, which is essentially UK-proof insulation, designed to work when wet.
PrimaLoft Silver Active 100 is the most breathable insulation on the market, according to PrimaLoft, with higher performance dry and wet than any other PrimaLoft Silver item. This is down to a proprietary finish and manufacturing process which locks the tiny PrimaLoft fibres in place, so that excess heat and moisture can escape between the inner and outer fabrics. Overall, PrimaLoft claims, this combination results in lighter, warmer, more breathable garments.
Official figures from Primaloft claim that Silver Active absorbs three times less water, is 14% warmer when dry and 24% warmer when wet, than the competitive insulation. We’ve not tested the detail here, but the broad concept works, as you’ll probably be aware. It’s slightly less toasty weight-for weight than down, but works in conditions that down simply doesn’t – like most of the UK’s damp, rainy clag.
The detailing on the Norrona Falketind Vest is particularly good, one specific detail is the zip baffle, which you might think is a fairly standard beast. However, Norrona have extended the baffle and solidified it into a strip that covers both sides of the zip, stitched in separately. The result is a much more robust baffle, and one that overlaps the main insulation considerably, adding key warmth, and also minimising zip snagging antics, both of which are welcome indeed.
Overall, it’s a decent vest – we tested it as an extra winter layer, and it delivered very well against our usual option, a Patagonia vest that weighs in exactly the same, but features all-round Primaloft, rather than the stretch sides. Really the decision comes down to that question of fitment. The Norrona Falketind is brilliantly made, and warms the cockles as you’d hope.
The Norrona falketind PrimaLoft100 Vest is available now for £132.95 from Bergfreunde.co.uk