Pretty much any dude who has spent even one night outdoors knows of brands like North Face and Patagonia. They have a reputation for making high quality gear that many outdoor enthusiasts swear by (including several of Gear Patrol’s editors). Being the type of men who are always curious to discover new brands though, we spent some significant time over this particularly crazy winter testing outerwear from the Icelandic outdoor specialists at 66° North. In short what we discovered is that this Icelandic export is one of the best things to come from the island since Björk (if your into wailing) and deserves to be included in the same upper echelon of outdoor gear as the brands mentioned above. In fact, in many ways 66° North’s stuff is actually better.
Considering that April is a month known for showers here in the U.S., we’ve decided to share our review of the Glymur rain shell from the company’s collection first. Sitting at the top of our list of likes about this jacket is its fit and overall look. The trend of serious outdoor gear being covered in obnoxiously bright colors, unnecessary patches stitched with words like “extreme”, and more zippers than a man has fingers, has simply turned into an outrageous marketing caricature for the industry. Similarly, to accommodate a growing consumer base of out of shape buyers not actually active in the outdoors, the big American brands offering’s now seem to come with an entire extra half jackets worth of bulk and fabric at every size point.
In contrast the Glymur is available only in solid black or brown, and features an athletic cut that hugs the wearer’s body well while still managing to provide space for several layers underneath. Zipper wise, there are only two external pockets running diagonally away from the chest, which double as vents, along with the a main dual direction zipper for sealing the jacket up or letting it breathe. One thing we did find ourselves missing in this piece was hand pockets on the side for protecting our digits against the elements without schlepping gloves. Despite this quip, the Glymur is a subtle, but sharp-looking jacket that appeared right at home during our tests both on the slopes of Vermont and protesting silently against rain delays while sitting in bleachers.
The Glymur’s minimalism however doesn’t mean it lacks functionality. Made of 3 layers of ultra waterproof eVENT fabric with expertly sealed seams to prevent any leakage from pockets and openings, it repelled rain just as effectively as our Gore-Tex North Face Mountain Light with just as much breathability. In particularly bad weather, battening down the hatches of the Glymur was also as simple as tightening the wrist and hood straps. Details in the hood design particularly left us impressed, as its wider swivel shape allowed us to maintain our peripheral vision, and unlike other jackets didn’t leave us feeling less like a walking Frankenstein while having it up.
Overall our conclusions from months of use with this shell is that it won’t disappoint those willing to spend some extra dough for its quality. There are certainly cheaper options available which can provide decent shelter from the elements, but few can match the Glymur’s top-notch performance in any condition, or its versatility as a slicker for cities or summits. Best of all, it’s highly unlikely you’ll run into a soccer mom wearing one in the grocery store outside of Iceland.
Buy Now: $480
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