Under the Radar

This Small British Company Is Making Some of the Finest Outerwear on the Planet


Jöttnar makes only 20 products. Compared to many other high-alpine gear makers’ extensive catalogs, 20 is next to nothing. But that’s exactly the point. Years before the company’s founding in 2013, during a ferocious winter in the mountains of Norway, two ex-British Marines and life-long mountaineers, Tommy Kelly and Steve Howarth, dreamt up Jöttnar. Back then, they didn’t have ambitions to occupy REI shelves or make ordinary outerwear for the masses. And they still don’t. Jöttnar was, and remains, intended only for those with the most extreme high-alpine demands.

Arc’teryx followed a similar path. Somewhere along the way, though, they veered course. They still make supremely technical alpine gear, but they also don’t. And many of Arc’teryx’s customers — you, probably — purchase said technical outerwear not because they’re looking to bag some cloud-breaking summit, but because they demand nothing but the warmest, most rugged outerwear. In this respect, Jöttnar is a company that deserves your attention.

In all of Jöttnar’s 20 products — hardshell and down jackets, midlayer fleeces, hardhshell pants, baselayers and hats — only the finest materials and construction methods are used. Many of the garments are totally waterproof, windproof, breathable and warm enough for unexpected blizzards atop 14,000-foot peaks. And since Jöttnar’s catalog is so humble, every garment receives an attention to detail that’s rare in the world of outerwear — indeed, sometimes non-existent, especially amid REI sale racks. But you’ll never find a Jöttnar garment there, and that’s exactly the point.

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