Before ever getting the Trollveggen PrimaLoft100 Full-Zip Hooded Jacket, I’d wanted to try out Norrøna apparel for a while. They are a lesser brand known to us in the States, but are by no means an upstart new entry to the perfromance-apparel market: Norrøna has been making technical gear for Norwegians since 1929, and having gone chasing big ice in Northern Norway myself earlier this year, I can attest to the fact that Norway has some pretty rough conditions.
Anyway. Back to the Trollvegen PrimaLoft100 Full-Zip Hooded Jacket. It is part of the Trollvegen collection—Norway’s Troll Wall is the line’s namesake—designed for technical mountaineering and climbing. The piece is a mid-layer puffy.
Airy. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of the Trollvegen PrimaLoft100. It isn’t the single lightest jacket of its class I have worn—though at 528 grams it’s pretty dang light—but the PrimaLoft Gold Aerogel insulation, combined with the ripstop Cordura nylon outer, makes it feel like the jacket just floats on your torso and arms.
The Primaloft Gold Aerogel—aerogels being one of the world’s lightest classes of solid materials—is a synthetic down alternative that absorbs three-times less water than the feathers of those cute little geese. Additionally, claims Norrøna, it is “14% warmer when dry and 24% warmer when wet, than the competitive insulation.”
We can’t measure it down to individual percentage points, but compared to similar mid-layers, we’ll agree: the Trollvegen PrimaLoft100 certainly feels warmer. Wearing it on the way down after bitter-cold evening skins up the local ski hills, I never once felt cold—even without any other layers beneath the Trollvegen than a t-shirt.
A great thing about this jacket is that it feels a bit like a mid-layer and an outer shell in single package. To be sure, it’s not the same as a Gore-Tex waterproof layer. But what with the abrasion-resistant ripstop outer layer and the water-resistant down, it keeps you dry and warm. (Though if you’re in a heavy squall or heavy, wet snow, a traditional hard shell is the way to go.) I climbed technical ice in this jacket too, and—unlike some puffys—wasn’t (overly) afraid to drape my tools over the shoulders and risk tearing any holes. The jacket remains hole-less.
In general, the cut of the jacket didn’t feel as though it fit quite right to be worn as a technical climbing jacket for vertical ice, but more for mountaineering or skimo. Were I to use it for more technical pitches, I’d like a slightly more elasticated, snugger fit—a bit less “airy” perhaps.
That being said, the other features are all excellent. The hood easily accomodates a helmet, and is deep enough that you feel like you have a warm bubble around your head. Two chest pockets are great for extra gloves, a buff, sunglasses, etc. The hip pockets are positioned so that they are still fully functional even with a harness on.
MSRP on the Trollvegen PrimaLoft100 Full-Zip Hooded Jacket is $259. Based on this piece, I remain eager as ever to check out the rest of Norrøna’s offerings. These guys know what they’re doing.
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