Jottnar have produced a number of synthetic insulation mid-layers over the past few years. The original Alfar was a hybrid combining fleece with Primaloft and later Thermolite insulation. The Elvar which I reviewed back in 2019 was in many way the predecessor to the Floyen HS. To be honest the Elvar didn’t really work for me so it was interesting to see how Jottnar had reworked their warmer synthetic mid-layer.
First up the Floyen-HS is a massive improvement over the Elvar. All my niggles with the Elvar have been addressed and if you’re looking for a very warm mid-layer then the Floyen deserves serious consideration. There are still some issues to be aware of but really these boil down to where you intend to use it. The Floyen-HS is a very warm mid-layer and to be honest a lot of the time in Scotland it was too warm for active use this year.
I opted for the hoodless version as I envisaged using it when wearing a hooded fleece layer underneath and a hardshell over the top. If you factor in donning a belay jacket at stances then I find that you can end up with too much hood faff. As Jottnar produce a hooded version you can choose according to your own layering preferences. The Floyen HS is insulated with Thermolite as opposed to the more common Primaloft and although it doesn’t seem to ‘loft’ to quite the same extent for comparable fill weights in practice there seems to be little difference in warmth. I still think that Primaloft compresses better in the sac but the difference isn’t massive and the Floyen is aimed at active wear so wouldn’t be in the sac as much as say a belay jacket. The Thermolite is body mapped with 100g/m2 in the body and lighter 60g/m2 under the arms to aid breathability and ease of movement. The side panels of the Floyen HS are a Polartec hardface fleece to aid breathability and give some added stretch to the garment. The emphasis with the Floyen HS is on breathable insulation which can be worn whilst active – the corollary of this is the jacket tends to be slightly ‘permeable’ to the wind. Whilst active you really only notice this in a positive way in that you don’t overheat or sweat out in the jacket. When you stop however you notice the windchill more than with a fully windproof jacket. This is not a problem per-se but it is something to be aware of when planning your clothing choices on the hill. My personal take is that you would always have a shell of some form; waterproof or windproof if you are climbing in Scotland or the Alps, just check it works comfortably over your Floyen! One of the Floyen’s greatest strengths is also a weakness in the UK at least.
The Floyen HS is a very warm jacket, have I mentioned that already!? For me at least too warm the majority of the time for active wear in Scotland. However it feels ideal as super warm mid-layer for cascade climbing or winter alpinism. If you are spending a lot of time inactive instructing etc. or even on belay duty under your belay jacket as your mate picks their way up some mixed horror the extra warmth would be welcome. Fit wise the Floyen HS in a small was generous on my 36.5″ chest 5’8″ frame. I know that the average person is now larger than when I was a youth and Jottnar are not alone in offering a ‘small’ that bottoms out at 38″ but it would be nice to see an XS option for some of the jackets for us skinny (feeble!) folk. Perhaps there is not the demand? Freedom of movement was excellent, plenty of length in the arms and no ‘untucking’ from the harness when climbing. As always with Jottnar the quality of construction is first rate with lots of effective design details from the non-looped draw cords to stop snags (and easily replaceable) to the minimalist elasticated cuffs which are snug enough and yet can still be pulled up to the elbow. I wish this was more common as it’s such a simple way to regulate temperature or stop your sleeves getting wrecked or soaked in some minging crack when sorting pro. With two hand warmer pockets an external chest pocket and an internal chest pocket the pocket allowance is perhaps over generous for a mid-layer but does allow it to function as an outer layer.
The hand-warmer pockets are borderline harness compatible but I’d prefer to see them positioned a little higher as on Jottnar’s Asger mid-layer. The Floyen HS also makes for a smart jacket when you come off the hill too and I was stashing a mask in the internal chest pocket whilst the pandemic restrictions were still in place just to cover impromptu pub visits in Scotland this year!
Overall an excellent very warm mid-layer but be aware that the level of warmth may impact its versatility for UK use. Just as we are publishing this review Jottnar have released a lightweight version the Floyen LX that is billed more as a summer layer but might prove more suited to active UK use.
- Good cut for active use
- Sensible breathability
- Often too warm for the UK
- Hand-warmer pockets could be placed higher
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!