Winter is coming. Actually, it’s pretty much here. If you’re looking to head out into the snow and frigid cold, you’ll need the right cold weather gear; a waterproof hardshell will be one essential piece, for when the snow starts falling or it turns to rain. This year, we’ve chosen the Norrona Lofoten as our pick for the best winter hardshell, thanks to its bombproof, waterproof construction, sheer versatility, and inspiring good looks.
First, who’s Norrona? This outdoor outfitter hails from Norway, where they got their start in 1888. Norwegians know a few things about cold weather and snow, and we most certainly trust them with creating the best winter gear out there, from ski jackets to climbing packs. It seems everything they make is ultra-high-quality, super functional, and very stylish – and the Lofoten is no different.
Made from Gore-Tex Pro fabric, the Lofoten is a technical shell designed for freeriders, but we think works for pretty much anyone looking for a hardshell for high altitude this winter. The fabric is recycled, but don’t think that means it compromises on performance or quality; this jacket will repel all the snow and moisture thrown its way. Gore-Tex Pro also means it’s entirely windproof, breathable, and wicked durable.
High-tech fabric isn’t the only thing about the Lofoften we love. The design and cut of this jacket is ideal for high-octane pursuits, especially hitting the slopes. A trim fit keeps it close to the body and prevent bagginess and bulk from getting in the way; articulated elbows give reach without breaking anything; underarm zipper vents let you cool down; an adjustable bottom hem and removable powder skirt keep the snow out and warmth in; a YKK 2-way zipper traps heat in but lets you dump it when you overheat; and the cuffs feature an integrated hand gaiter keeps your wrists warm, too.
Throw it all together, add in some good looks fitting of Norwegian style, and you have a bombproof jacket you can count on to deliver all the technical goodies and protection from the elements you need – while also lasting seasons to come. It’ll cost you about $800, putting it at the higher end of technical hardshells, but we know it won’t disappoint.