The Asmund is very breathable and packable mountaineering jacket that is still durable enough for mixed climbing abuse.
Jöttnar have garnered an enviable reputation in the short time they have been producing kit for the UK market. Started by two ex Marines, Jöttnar have focused on the elite end of the mountain clothing market. Their Bergelmir jacket and Vanir salopettes have already been reviewed by Kev and Dave and the quality of the kit is in no doubt. I bought a pair of the Vanir salopettes last year as they were the most comfortable ‘climeable’ hardshell salopettes I could find . Nothing has changed the quality is still awesome – if you buy Jottnar kit you are buying top quality equipment with a specific focus, they don’t make walking/hiking or dual purpose pub/mountain kit. The founders obviously know their stuff and the Asmund reflects this. Built from the lightest version of Neoshell it has two vertical chest pockets, a helmet compatible hood and a simple boxy cut with a slightly dropped tail.
Unlike many manufacturers Jöttnar’s hard shells are made Polartec NeoShell rather than the more ‘standard’ GoreTex variants as their base fabric. This years abysmal early winter gave me more than enough experience with rain and together with the annoyingly high temperatures of early winter also allowed me to push the breathability of the Neoshell fabric. Now I’ll be the first to admit that a field review is not very scientific but warm wet tramps up Bowfell (in the total absence of winter conditions) and the like have led me to believe that the Neoshell is the most breathable hardshell I have reviewed. Neoshell is rated with a hydrostatic head of 10,000mm which qualifies as totally waterproof even though some membranes from Gore and the like can approach 30,000mm. However though these extremely waterproof fabrics are ‘breathable’ they are not air permeable and highly breathable in the way Neoshell is. Couple this with the slight stretch built into the fabric and you get an incredibly comfortable jacket which doesn’t require pit zips or an ‘on-off’ routine on a wet approach aiding both wearer comfort and reduced faff. So you have to ask yourself what is your priority with a hardshell? For me it’s a no brainier for winter climbing because if it’s that wet that I need more than normally waterproof jacket I’m not going to be able to ice climb or find rimed up rock but if it’s that in between kind of conditions or if it turns nasty later then good waterproofing and excellent breathability rather than the reverse is going to be my choice. Using the Asmund in Neoshell has meant that where I might previously have taken a softshell with a lightweight hardshell as a back up I can now just take the Asmund.
The hood on the jacket is excellent, it works equally well walking in as when climbing with a variety of helmets, never floppy, constrictive or obscuring your view. The chest pocket configuration works brilliantly, it is set up in a ‘reach across’ manner you access the left pocket with your right hand and visa versa – no use for stuffing your hands in at the bar but perfect on the hill. The pockets easily swallowed all my ‘on the go’ food, two pairs of leading gloves and a compact camera. The arms are plenty long enough and the cuffs fasten either over or under glove wrists with no problem. The cut of the Asmund is quite boxy which provides plenty of room for layering and ensures the jacket stays tucked into your harness without any constriction around the shoulders when climbing but does lead to a bit of bagginess over the lower torso.
I’ve used the Asmund for a variety of activities from scrambles in Wales, dry tooling in a non winter Lakes and proper #scotwinter climbing. The breathability, waterproofing and durability have been without question. It is not as robust as the Bergelmir but the Asmund is more than tough enough for your normal ‘activist’ so far there are no holes or rips despite hooking some fairly aggressive picks around my shoulders and neck when mixed climbing – if you are a guide or outdoor professional then the Bergelmir might be the better choice for day to day abuse but it wouldn’t tuck away into a pack as easily and the Asmund saves your weight in that fast and light Alpine pack. As an added bonus the Teal jacket’s orange trim matches nicely to the classic ‘Petzl orange’ of my Nomics, Darts and Helmet 😉 The only down side I have found is that the slightly boxy cut leads to a little ‘bagginess’ over the lower torso for your skinnier Alpinist when only wearing a couple of thin layers.
Addendum – Tommy from Jöttnar has emailed to let us know that next winter’s Asmund will have a revised cut to eliminate the bagginess over the lower torso which should make it a five star jacket for sure!
- Lightweight snd packable.
- Super breathable and comfortable to wear.
- Excellent hood and pocket configuration.
- Slightly baggy over the lower torso.
- Not as durable as the Bergelmir (but certainly sufficient).
Richie is the enthusiastic amateur of the team. Enjoying all aspects of climbing but especially alpine, winter and his local grit . Having managed to survive the vagaries of both fluorescent Koflachs and rainbow tights in the 80s he looks forward to an even more stylish future. A shady past in mountain marathons and adventure races, including the Marathon des Sables, means he’s an advocate of fast and light. Though the former is debatable if you’ve seen him on a tricky lead!