norronaThe outdoor apparel world is chock full of companies all trying to carve out their niches in this competitive landscape.  On the top are companies like Arc’teryx , Patagonia and Marmot  who are focused on producing quality technical outerwear for people who actually need it.  Sealed zippers and 25k waterproof ratings are demanded for this upper level of gear.  Up until the last couple of years most of these companies only focused on performance and didn’t spend too much time worrying about looks.  Recently we have seen companies, like my boys over at Trew Gear, try to make performance outerwear that looks cool too.  Norrona is another such company and although not a new company, they are new to the USA, being offered exclusively through backcountry.com.  Their outerwear features Gore-Tex Pro shells with taped seams and everything you would expect from a $500 jacket.  They set themselves apart aesthetically with their super neon zippers, matched with equally as bright solid prints making their line-up loud but having the quality to back it up.

The one product I have purchased and tested is their 25L pack, the Narvik which retails for around $150.  When I bought the pack before the ski season, there were no reviews on it and only one product image.  I took a chance and so far i’m loving it.  You get everything you would expect from a quality backcountry pack: diagonal ski carry with adjustable width, internal shovel pocket, bladder compatible with room for hose in shoulder straps, beefy waist strap and plenty of straps and comfort adjustments.  One thing I love is the way the top zipper opens.  As someone who takes pictures in the backcountry, I am often taking my pack off to grab my camera.  The top zipper opens towards the back and not away so that items in the pack don’t flop out of the pack.  There is also a zipper on the side so that you can access things quickly without having to go through the top opening.  The straps and ergonomics of the pack are almost too good, making it hard to take the pack off as it is formed to my back so perfectly.  The materials used are all of high quality and of course the zippers catch a lot of eyes.  The size coming in at 25L is perfect for side-country jaunts or single day tours.  I have enough room for my shovel, probe, SLR camera, skins, extra layer, water bottle and a small lunch or snack bars.   Although there is a lot of competition in the pack world from the likes of Osprey, Ortovox, Dakine etc… this pack is well worth the price and a nice change up from the usual suspects.  If you are looking for new backcountry ski pack, I would definitely recommend this pack, if you can find one (looks like Backcountry is solid out).

Norrona Narvik 25L

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