Brand: Bergans of Norway
Model: Torfinnstind Jacket
Overall Rating: 4.6
Protection and breathability have an inverse relationship: As one goes up, the other goes down. This shell sidesteps that tradeoff by using two different fabrics: A thicker, wind- and water-resistant material (88 percent polyester/12 percent spandex) goes on the zones most vulnerable to weather, like the front, shoulders, and tops of the arms. A thinner fabric (87 percent nylon/13 percent spandex) covers the body’s hottest areas, like the back, neck, and underarms, to provide crucial venting. It kept us warm at the start of chilly trail runs, but it breathed well enough that we could keep it on into the 60s.
The four-way-stretchy Torfinnstind moved with testers’ every reach, pole plant, and Pulaski swing (one wore it while doing trail work). Long sleeves and an extended hem make it comfortable for mountain biking, too.
“Fairly snug,” reports one tester, who appreciated how the slim cut didn’t flap in the breeze and slid neatly under a puffy or a waterproof shell. As an outer layer, it accommodates a baselayer, but not much else.
“It held up well in mist and drizzle, but persistent rain quickly soaked it,” says a tester, adding that the shell dried within an hour after he got caught in a fall cloudburst on the Appalachian Trail. The hoodless design saves weight, but sacrifices head and some neck protection.