We spoke to Tommy, co-founder of Jottnar, at the time of the release and his confidence in the new line was obvious.
What Jottnar say:
With articulated and reinforced knees, two sets of swappable zip-out gaiters sized for ski and climbing boots, harness-friendly ¾ length water repellent side zips and full-sized Kevlar™ instep protectors, the Vanir LT climbing pant is already the choice of mountain rescue teams working in the harshest conditions, as well as international mountain guides and ski mountaineers. It delivers true breathability, stretch and robustness in a lightweight, versatile and fully waterproof package.
What My Outdoors say:
These are the little brother to the original Vanir bibbed pants, the variation has lost the bib and is Lower Torso or LT. Undoubtedly they are lower in the torso, though they still sit at a nice height at the rear for the single point fixing, the braces don’t cause any discomfort whilst using a harness or wearing a pack.
There is a built in waist belt which does well to keep the breeches up without the braces. The braces are slim and unobtrusive. I have a couple of times felt it shift about under a mid-layer. This is linked to body movement and the security of the belt, just something to get used to. I didn’t suffer from the braces falling off my shoulders and also no sign of the braces becoming unhooked.
The cut of the pant is, well, simple! They are kinked in the right places, more technically the knee is articulated and it feels natural from the waist to the ankle. The fit is effortless, it’s difficult to quantify but put basically: when they’re on, you don’t need to think about them. So “simple” is definitely a positive.
The zips for the pockets sit in the right place for ease of use and whilst wearing a harness. The pockets zips and the leg zips are all robust and waterproof YKK’s.
The back side and knees are reinforced, I am lucky enough that my lower half doesn’t suffer too much from the cold (my hands is a different story, for another time) but I have sat in an icey belay position with very little effect from the cold, they are not insulated you understand. However when I picked at the fabric back home it’s dual layered, as are the knees and some of the ankle area which gives the reinforcement.
On a warmer walk in the other day I found the use of the vents really useful. They say they are ¾ but they stop not far off the waist band. This is useful for when wearing a harness as it gives that little more opening.
Breathability isn’t hindered by the reinforcement, it’s Polartec Neoshell after all. This gives the pants its comfortable feeling, along with the practicality, waterproofness and breathability. I know Jottnar are proud to be using this fabric for their products and rightly so. It has its limits but for winter sports it strikes the perfect balance.
On the inside of the ankles there is tough Kevlar protector, fortunately so far it hasn’t been tested too much but I think it might be an advantage to a little bigger, particularly to the rear where the crampon swinging in could cause an issue.
Around the inside of the ankle there is an elastic drawcord to pull in the circumference, I didn’t feel the need to do this. There is also a press stud for additional security.
The gaiters are great, the option to change them between boot types is inspired. It makes the pants really versatile. They have eyelets to fit cord to go under the boot but between the rubber inner of the elastic and shoe lace clip I haven’t felt the need. And it comes with a cool little pouch for stowing the unused set, result!
The fact the gaiter cuff sits lower than the pant cuff does allows transition of the leg inside the pant leg, meaning the gaiter doesn’t strain against the pant giving it more chance of rising off the boot.
The Jottnar team are well within their rights to be proud of these pants, following on from yesterday’s review they are creating garments that meet the needs of the people in the mountains. The Vanir LT’s are versatile, comfortable and in the most positive way possible, simple. They are already used successfully by Lochaber Mountain Rescue, surely that is proof enough?
Are they worth 300 notes? Do I recommend them? Will I continue to wear them? Simply, yes!