Tested: Jöttnar Hymir Hardshell Smock
We try out a lightweight mountain smock that’s made using highly-breathable Polartec Neoshell
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: JUNE 2015
Since British start-up Jöttnar launched a couple of years ago, we’ve tried out a number of their products, including the Bergelmir mountain shell, the Fjorm and Fenrir down jackets and the Alfar midlayer – and without exception, they have all impressed with their use of fabrics, quality of construction and attention to detail. The company’s small but ever-expanding range now has a new addition in the form of the Hymir – a lightweight technical smock aimed primarily at climbers and mountaineers but eminently suitable for other users too.
Like their full-on mountaineering shell, the Bergelmir, the Hymir uses Polartec Neoshell as the main fabric, only this time the face fabric is much more lightweight (96g/m2 as opposed to the 167g/m2 used on the Bergelmir) which Jöttnar say is the ‘world’s lightest grade of Neoshell’. This helps keep the overall weight of the jacket down to a very respectable 330g, as does the minimalist feature set that befits a climbing shell. So what do you get? Well, the smock has a half-length, water-resistant front zip backed by an internal storm flap. A single napoleon-style chest pocket is the only pocket on the jacket and there’s a single adjustor at the hem. When it comes to the hood, there’s all the adjustability you would expect. A toggle at the back reduces the volume of the hood, while a drawcord on each side adjusts the hood around the face. As on the Bergelmir, pull cords are sited on the inside so that gusts of wind don’t whip them against the face. The downside of this is that you have to unzip the top of the jacket to make adjustments. The peak has a semi-stiff insert which can be moulded to shape, while the general usability of the hood arrangement is completed by a chinguard made of a soft, fleecey fabric. That’s it in terms of features, other than to mention that the arms are articulated and have tapered cuffs that can be tightened by velcro tabs.
One of the things I particularly liked about the Bergelmir was its fit – athletic, with no excess fabric, yet roomy enough in the chest area and long enough in the arms to aid freedom of movement when stretching and bending on climbs or scrambles. This is also one of the strong points of the Hymir, and for my money this smock fits as well as any shell I’ve ever tried. Add to this the dropped hem at the back, which keeps you covered even if the jacket rides up when stretching, and you have a garment that is just a pleasure to wear. The hood works brilliantly in practice too; there’s plenty of room for your helmet, yet with the range of adjustment provided you can get a great fit around your face when not wearing a lid. Your chin and lower face are protected well by the collar and there’s enough room through the neck area not to restrict movement when turning the head.
The use of Neoshell also contributes to making wearing the Hymir a pleasurable experience. Not only does it give you the breathability that we’ve come to expect from this membrane, it also gives a nice amount of stretch, which again makes movement and stretching that much easier. If you do find yourself overheating then you can vent through the deep front zip. We absolutely loved using the Hymir; in fact, it’s probably our favourite Jöttnar product yet. The thought that goes into designing and making these products is obvious, as demonstrated by the excellent half-mesh, half-Neoshell stuff sack that it comes with (complete with loop to hang off your harness or pack). What’s most surprising is the price; while the Hymir is not what you would call ‘cheap’, it does represent excellent value-for-money.
Verdict: Beautifully designed lightweight technical shell with outstanding fit
Weight: 290g (men’s small)
Fabric: 3-layer Polartec Neoshell
Hydrostatic head: 10,000mm
Zips: YKK Aquaguard
Hood: Fully adjustable with wired peak
More info: www.jottnar.com
GROUP TEST: LIGHTWEIGHT MOUNTAIN SHELLS
EDITOR’S CHOICE: Jöttnar Hymir
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: JUNE 2016
Jöttnar’s Hymir is the only smock in this test, but for those who want a full zip, the British brand’s new Asmund (not available at the time of our test) gives you a very similar spec for £20 more. What you get with the Hymir is a lightweight (333g for a medium) 3-layer Polartec Neoshell garment, with a single chest pocket and fully-adjustable hood. There’s a single pullcord at the hem and Velcro tabs at the cuffs. It also comes with a natty half-mesh stuffsack so you can clip it to your harness or rucksack for quick access.
The big story with this jacket is the use of Polartec Neoshell though, the only garment in our test to do so. The face fabric has a really great, non-crispy handle to it and a small but useful amount of stretch. The weight of the face fabric (96g/m²or about 75-denier) strikes just the right balance between weight and protection. Neoshell is known for its excellent breathability (albeit with a comparatively low hydrostatic head) and this was borne out when testing the Hymir. The fit, as with other Jöttnar products, is superb, with room in all the right areas. There’s a dropped hem at the back and articulated arms that are long enough to keep wrists covered when stretching. The hood is first rate too – plenty of adjustment with a wired peak that makes it just as good without a helmet on. There’s plenty of room in the neck/chin area, which means your lower face is protected when the zip is done up. The balance of features and performance is first-rate.
Verdict: Superb fit and features, combined with excellent breathability of Polartec Neoshell