Klättermusen are a new company to us here at CGR but they have a long history in their native Sweden stretching back to 1975 with a focus on ‘Maximum protection, minimum impact’ they also have a cool logo though I must admit I really like the original version best 😉
We have two items on review which work well together as well as fulfilling their respective individual roles. First up is the Nal Jacket; a classic lightweight (226g) windproof, 195g on my size small. The Nal Jacket is made from a “bluesign® approved Ultramid® Bio-Mass Balanced Polyamide”. Unpacking the sustainability of BMB fabrics is a little beyond the scope of this review but check out Science Direct, suffice to say the bluesign® approval is proof of decent environmental credentials. Additionally the fabric’s water resistant coating is fluorocarbon-free. Performance wise this feels a fantastic fabric – moderately windproof, it ranks a 4 on Klättermusen’s own MFR windproofing scale, but it has a gorgeous ‘hand’ feeling lovely on the skin and breathing phenomenally well. Build quality is also at the absolute top end, something we’ve come to associate with all the Nordic companies that we’ve reviewed over the years but even in that exalted company Klättermusen stands out. The Nal is a zip fronted jacket, the zip pull incorporating a nifty little whistle which might be good for passing kit checks but I’d not rely on it as my main signalling option, something true of all the rucksack buckle whistles we often see too, but at least you never leave it behind. The zip is a decent size too, not some hard to fasten micro affair, but easy to fasten, robust and suprisingly double ended which is unusual in a lightweight garment such as this. There is no hood on the jacket which is a little unusual for a mountain windproof but not uncommon on running jackets. Instead you have a collar that is nice and high at the back giving a bit of sun protection and works well with a peaked cap whilst at the front it dips a little and is offset to avoid discomfort with multiple zippers under the chin. The dipped collar does mean you can’t seal out the elements as you can with a higher or hooded neckline but I didn’t find this an issue in practice whilst running. The nape of the the neck has a light fleece lining, yet another neat touch showing attention to detail. Two ‘hand-warmer’ pockets are placed high enough to clear a harness but I feel they are an odd choice for this type of garment. Though high enough to access whilst wearing a hip belt or climbing harness anything beyond a buff or pair of gloves (such as keys) tends hangs down and bounce annoyingly whilst running as the fabric is so lightweight. I’ve never personally seen the point of hand-warmer pockets on wind-proofs though I admit that if you’re hiking they might provide some protection. There is no chest pocket so carrying things like keys necessitates the use of a waist pack or shorts with a key pocket. Inside the right pocket is a well executed stuff pouch for the jacket, in fact the best I’ve seen in a long while and something other manufacturers should take note. Being a simple elasticated pouch/envelope there is no risk of busting a zip when stuffing and it has a substantial cord loop to fasten to your harness if desired.
The cut of the jacket is well executed with one exception in my case and that’s the forearms. These are too slim for anything beyond a light base layer in my case, even an R1 type fleece feels a bit constricted (especially when pumped!) and there is no chance of pushing the sleeves up to regulate temperature. This later issue is something that has become more prevalent in the outdoor clothing industry of late whereby a slim forearm fit prevents you rolling up the sleeves, there are benefits in that you get a low bulk fit over the forearms so less flap running or xc skiing and for climbers no tabs to catch in cracks etc. However the downsides are limited ventilation and no way to get the sleeves out of your way when climbing.
The sleeves finish with a neat elasticated mesh which dries quickly and seems more robust than many of the alternatives. Otherwise the cut is first rate with articulation at the elbows, a three quarters elasticated drawcord at the waist, above the hem, using neat, minimalist ‘cleat’ cord locks which pulls the body in nicely.
I’ve used the Nal for running in the mountains and on our local moors as well as more casual hikes and a few bouldering sessions. Running wise it is a truly excellent wind-proof, accepting the lack of hood. The fabric achieves a great balance between breathability and moderate wind resistance making a great outer layer for those days when it is chilly in the shade but you are working hard, perhaps ascending a north facing slope or running a breezy ridge line. The breathability means I could keep the Nal on when I’d have been stopping to remove a less breathable wind-proof.
The soft nature of the fabric also makes it comfortable to wear over a singlet or t-shirt making this an excellet jacket for sunny alpine runs where you might end up descending late in the day into a shady valley having been running in the sun. The slight stretch and tailoring of the jacket meant that it moves well and never felt in the way or restrictive, the only exception being the inability to role up the sleeves. The slim fit on the forearm was not an issue when running, though it made it a bit of a squeeze getting the wrists over a GPS watch, but for climbing it was more limiting. Obviously the fit will depend on your physique but if you plan to wear anything beyond a light mid-layer you will want to check the fit of the forearm. I’d like to think this just reflects on me having ‘Popeye’ like forearms but sadly this is not the case – I’ve been plucked out of the air by both Denis and Manbeast when bouldering and know what big forearms look like! I’d happily recommend the Klättermusen Nal as a running wind-proof but for climbing you would need to think about the forearm fit. Some people I spoke to were put off by the lack of hood but that is a choice you’d make based on personal use. I’d like to see a chest pocket as a replacement for the two hand-warmer pockets (or as an addition) or have the hand-warmer pockets moved higher still to reduce ‘bounce’ when running. Likewise the forearm needs a bit more ‘room’ to my mind ideally combined with a cuff design that allows the arms to be pushed up for ventilation. Klättermusen in common with many Nordic companies have an excellent reputation for the durability and longevity of their products coupled with excellent eco-friendly manufacturing practices. The Nal manages to combine this into a reasonably lightweight package that functions exceptionally well for running but would not be my first choice for climbing.
- Exceptional fabric & build quality
- Environmental credentials
- Comfort over varied conditions
- Forearms too slim (physique dependant)
- Pockets not ideal for running
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising. 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 reasons and more often they’re in no fit state to return!