Monday, 12 April 2021 19:25

Klattermusen Draupner jacket tested and reviewed

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We've commented before on how Klattermusen like to do things a little differently, and the Draupner jacket is no exception.

The Draupner looks different from other jackets and promises an intoxicating combination of stretch and durability. It's reinforced in all the right places and being Klattermusen it's build quality is up there with the best. To put it to the test we gave it to cyclist and photographer Henry Iddon, who's spent a few months testing it in all weathers.

 DraupRev 01Fully laden on High Stile on Christmas Eve

What Klattermusen say:

Draupner is a waterproof 3-layer Cutan® men's shell jacket with all the features you need for alpine mountaineering. This jacket is made to withstand the toughest abrasion and abuse, while it's still light and well suited for vertical missions.

Features:

  • Waterproof.
  • 3D-adjustable hood with Windvisor.
  • Long armpit ventilation.
  • Attachment point for gear at inner front chest.
  • Two chest pockets for easy access when climbing.
  • Emergency compass.
  • Two-way zip.
  • Integrated Recco system.
  • Safety toggle for security closure.
  • Adjustable sleeve ends and bottom hem.
  • Top hood reflector.
  • Duracoat™ reinforcements at shoulders, sleeves and hips.
  • Glove friendly zipper pulls.

Klattermusen Draupne on test:

As we headed in to the autumn of 2020 it wasn’t hard to dream of a white winter. We were owed one. The Corona lockdown in March 2020 had coincided with some snowy conditions in the hills and mountains of the UK, with ski areas reporting excellent conditions. However we were confined to port as the storm of Corona Virus swept across the UK. Surely winter 20/21 would have sympathy on us and bring some snow, or even be a classic winter, as the outdoor community yearned for seasonal fun after a turbulent 2020. Meanwhile I had the Klättermusen Draupner to test - a new jacket as part of the brands ski mountaineering capsule collection. If your not aware of Swedish brand Klattermusen then you can read more about them along with an interview with CEO Gonz Ferrero here.

I’d previously reviewed the Klättermusen Fjorgyn, a lightweight anorak / smock, that was capable of being used across the four seasons. 

But let’s make it clear from the outset - the Draupner is another thing entirely. This is a garment built for hard use, in harsh conditions, and made to last. My first impressions were its robustness, and solid feel all for £496. With that comes a weight penalty - a Draupner in size medium tips the scales at 864g, compared to say a Rab Khroma (£500) at 689g or a  Arc’teryx Alpha SV (£680) at 510g. That said it’s a lot of jacket, with a lot of features, that I’m sure would last a lot of years.

DraupRev 03Winter conditions on Fairfield

My first observation when putting it on, moments after the postman had been, was the height of the collar. High, robust and storm proof, with a large inner cuff lined with soft fabric, and not dissimilar from what you’d see on a sailing jacket designed for serious ocean going yachting types. If the Fjorgyn were a racing dinghy, then the Draupner would be a Tamar Class RNLI Lifeboat. Which could be handy should you be hit by the ‘Draupner Wave’ - an 84ft freak wave ( twice the size of waves around it at the time) that slammed in to the Draupner Gas pipeline support platform in the North Sea on the afternoon of New Years Day in 1995.

DraupRev 05Hatches battened down in high winds on Fairlfield

The soft lining of the chin guard is also echoed around the interior of the hood edge, cuffs and hem. This isn’t only to keep things cozy, but also to protect the main fabric from abrasion on buckles, watches or other items, plus natural oils from the skin. The rear tail area is also lined with a loose fitting mesh to allow the outer shell some movement and reduce abrasion against the bottom of a rucksack, same again at the neck area. There’s an aluminium toggle at chest height as an additional security closure to back up the chunky  two way YKK zipper, which has a substantial glove friendly puller attached that is also a whistle. Glove friendly design also exist on the under arm vents, cuffs, and the toggles to synch down the hood, which is 3D adjustable with an additional adjustment on the rear.  Meanwhile the right cuff also has an emergency compass attached, not sufficient for accurate navigation on a training exercise but certainly sufficient to get some general bearings in an emergency.

DraupRev 08Mesh lining to prevent fabric chaffing with the bottom of a rucksack

So you can see how all these additional features designed to add durability and safety add up in weight. This isn’t a jacket for fast and light, but for safety and durability.

The main fabric used in the Draupner is three layer Cutan super stretch, a proprietary Klättermusen fabric that is a waterproof and ventilating material that they developed to improve on existing performance, as well as sustainability by developing PTFE-free membranes to become fluorocarbon free in production. With the main fabric made with a blend of elastin and biomass-balanced polyamide. In other words it’s a stretchy nylon made with vegetable oil and petrochemicals. All seams are taped, and the sleeve incorporates a Recco rescue locator. Like items across the Klättermusen range it’s a garment with a unique look and style, unlike a lot of boring looking shells.

Thankfully winter arrived in the Lake District in December, and I was able to see how the jacket performed in a variety of situations.

As mentioned it’s not super light, nor does it pack to the size of a tennis ball, but I use a larger rucksack in winter to accommodate gloves, goggles, flask etc etc so there’s plenty of room for a robust shell jacket if it’s not needed when setting off. And if you are wearing it to keep the wind or weather at bay there’s the option of the underarm vents to stop overheating as you plough up hill. My first outing was over Helvellyn and I didn’t put it on until the summit cairn to keep the wind off, and one thing I often notice in Scandinavian brands is they have plenty of length in the arms and particularly the back to keep drafts out. 

DraupRev 04winter conditions ascending Fairfield with the hood keeping the wind out.

Over the Christmas period I was backpacking the Ennerdale Horseshoe over two days in cold but settled conditions and I wore it for extended periods while carrying a heavy pack - and the combination of breathability and under arm vents certainly didn’t result in any moisture on the inside. The Draupner also features Duracoat reinforcing on the shoulders, hips and sleeves to improve durability by up to five times on contact points, emphasising again the fact that this is an item designed for the long haul.

From a weather perspective a trip round Fairfield just after Christmas was a different kettle of fish entirely, strong winds and heavy snow showers. Proper winter weather. This is where the chunky glove friendly zipper pulls, and cuff adjustments really came in to their own, as did the high nautical style collar. It was barely possible to stand up in the gusts on the summit, but drafts were kept at bay and the substantial wind visor negated the need to faff around putting goggles on. In winds like that lighter fabrics would have flapped incessantly like a badly trimmed sail, not so with the Bluesign approved 3 layer Cutan. Low cloud was in and out on the summit of Fairfield and I’d taken a bearing while it was clear, as it can be a place where an error can have you heading off down the wrong valley. One neat feature of the Draupner are two rows of ‘daisy chain’ style loops on either chest, designed to allow you to attach items such as a watch, sat nav or compass, with the option then of tucking them in the enormous harness compatible pockets below. While it’s possible to do this on a pocket zipper it certainly keeps things neater, and could also be used for those sticky day ski passes that come on a piece of wire.

DraupRev 11Chunky main zipper toggle that is also an emergency whistle

DraupRev 10

Glove friendly cuff adjustments and emergency compass

Ah skiing. If only I lived in Inverness or Perthshire. January 2021 brought some of the best skiing seen in Scotland for years. Days of fresh powder in the Pentlands,  tree skiing in the Ochils, and freshies to be had off the Burma Road near Aviemore. Lockdown kept me south of the border, exercising locally and roller skiing on Blackpool’s north promenade.  So while the Draupner is intended as a ski mountaineering jacket I’ve only been able to test it on big days out on foot in the Lake District. Annoying because a) I missed skiing b) I need an excuse to wear the Draupner.  My lasting impression is that it is solidly built, extremely durable, packed with features, cut to allow plenty of movement and has a unique style to it.

DraupRev 07

Shooting large format images at Styhead - note the length at the rear of the Draupner to keep drafts out of your lower back.

If fast and light is your thing, then maybe its not for you. But if investing in a jacket that will last years and be used regularly in potentially full on winter weather then you could be looking at the gold standard which is good value at £496 compared to some Alpine spec jackets.

Oh talking of meteorology and precocious metal - the Draupner isn’t named after a freak North Sea wave, but the Draupnir a gold ring possessed by the god Odin with the ability to multiply itself. Every ninth night , eight new rings drip from the Draupnir each one the size and weight of the original.

Let’s hope we don’t have to wait nine more years for a stunning winter of skiing in Scotland, but I suspect if we do this jacket will still be going strong.

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