A neat, lightweight and versatile Windshell that packs into the smallest space.
- A good fit for mountain sports
- Durable material suitable for climbing
- Great sleeve cuffs
- No pocket
- Stow bag needs harness clip
- If you have helmet on the hood zips up a little tight.
The last Windshell I reviewed was the Acr’teryx Nodin back in 2017 so it’s nice to be reviewing another one. At that time my preference had been for my more robust Squamish as I found it more suitable for climbing and mountaineering as well as trail running. That’s what I’m looking for in a Windshell – versatility. They have to work hard for me as they are my most used jacket and the item most likely to be in my pack, even if it’s forecast some rain. I would only pack a hardshell if I am knowingly heading out into some ‘weather’, for any other forecast I’ve found a Windshell more than adequate.
We’ve been fans of Jottnar kit for some time now, I’ve found it well designed and the company are more than willing to refine and improve on products that have been intensely tested in real world conditions. They are definitely positioned in the premium niche end of the market and the product range reflects this. The Jottnar Njord fills a little gap that was open in the product range and it is a well designed Windshell that I have found very useful on a variety of mountain activities this season – which has been typically British, by which I mean rainy!
Firstly to the all important fit. I tested a size Medium and I’m 173cms high, 75kg and a 40” chest so I really liked the fit. It was more than roomy enough to get over a couple of layers and the smooth nylon material and deep half zip made getting the Njord on and off really easy. It was also super easy to get a hardshellson and off over it – which you would want to do if you were heading out into more persistent rain. The Njord fitted over my UD Mountain Belt for shorter 2 hour type runs but not over my Fastpack. It would just (and I mean just, but smaller race vests could be OK) about go over my Adventure Vest if I didn’t fill it too much. So, roomy, a little athletic and a good enough compromise, but you would have to stop to take off a pack, pop the shell on and then move on in most situations. This might be an issue in a race but for recreational use it’s perfectly fine.
The YKK half zip style works well and the more I use this style of jacket the more I like it. It reduces weight and speeds up the closure when you need it – there’s nothing worse than fiddling round with a zip in windy conditions and cold fingers. The good sized pull tab makes this easier but I would have liked to see an oversized, reflective one for night running or winter use. It’s also nice and deep and so provides plenty of venting for those uphill training sessions. It’s finished with a microfibre chin guard for added comfort.
The arms are articulated which is good for running but does mean that there are some extra panels and stitching. The lower arm is fully stitched on with two darts and fully enclosed seams stop any wind getting through the stitched seams. The whole jacket has these seams which makes the Njord really windproof. Weight wise the Njord comes at 149g in a size Medium with the stow bag. This comes in lighter than my Squamish and it also packs down more compact. The Squamish does have a full length zip though so you’d have to take that into consideration.
Jottnar have gone with a 100% 20 Denier ripstop Nylon material which they have sourced themselves as opposed to the ubiquitous Pertex Equilibrium . Nylon is a very strong material and way stronger than Polyester this means that you can expect the Njord to stay the course over several seasons of abuse. I’ve used the jacket for mountain running and rock climbing and have found it really durable and I haven’t put any holes or small rips into it – yet!
The DWR coating has been effective at shedding a shower but soon wetted through in more aggressive rain or sweat or more usually, a combination of both! The mixture of elastic and Velcro tabs on the sleeves help keep the wind and rain out. Jottnar are really good at sleeve tabs and the grippy hyperlon style tabs are really good to use with gloves and wet hands.
These are all good features but do add weight, which is always a bit of a trade off as I would say the Njord comes into the Squamish type of Windshell. The type that finds itself more at ease in an Alpine situation as well as on the trail – but more suited to hardcore mountain running.
It’s finished with some reflective details – a Jottnar decal on the chest and a small logo on the back of the head. A bigger rear reflective detail would be good so that anyone following on the night time heather bash from Red Burn to the car park can pick you out easier. Not a position I find myself often in (at the lead that is) with my fitter mates!
Jottnar are known for their attention to detail, especially in climbing and mountaineering situations and the split hem cinch is typical of that attention to detail. You’d be amazed at how many times I have tried to remove a piece of climbing protection from my harness to find it clipped into the hem cinch. I’ve no need to describe how annoying and sometimes alarming this can be. Jottnar have easily solved this by splitting the cinch tabs, pull on either one to cinch up the Njord and you can wear it with a harness in confidence – sweet. The whole jacket works well with a harness, plenty deep enough to combat a little rising.
The helmet compatible hood is fully adjustable, a good addition and further enhances the climbing credentials although it come up a little tight over my Petzl helmet. Jottnar have got hood designs down to a tee and have spent years refining the hood design on their jackets – as you would expect from a company that specialises in jacket design for hostile environments. In anything other than full blown wind you’d need to have the zip down a little as when it’s done up the chin guard covers your nose! Once I had made a few adjustments the hood worked well with a peaked cap for running and hiking which is how I’ve used it most of the summer. The peak form is soft enough to shape around a peaked cap but just stiff enough to give a little protection on it’s own.
So, the Jottnar Njord is a good all round windshell, more robust than say the Arc’teryx Nodin or the Montane Featherlite and is useful if you find yourself running or climbing in the mountains. The smock makes it easy to do up the zip in windy conditions and the helmet compatible hood works well enough. Improvements that would make it truly great are a chest pocket that was accessible with a running vest on as I needed to pack away the stow bag once I had delpoyed the jacket. If Jottnar decide to keep the bag and not go with a pocket the bag needs a tab sewn in as clipping the bag by the bungy cord to my harness left it dangling down too low and it interfered with my climbing hardware.
The Jottnar Njord comes in sizes S-XL and three colour options Blue, Red and Black.
The SRP is £135 and it available direct from Jottnar.
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers and writers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising or link to affiliate sales. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene and safety reasons and more often it’s in no fit state to return!