When it comes to high-end alpine outerwear, most people haven’t heard of Mammut. But Mammut Sports Group AG, a Swiss company founded in 1862, has been supplying the outdoor enthusiast and mountaineer with high-quality equipment for over 150 years. Although popular in Europe, it’s remained under the radar in the U.S. for some time. But recently, REI, Backcountry.com, and other niche shops started carrying more Mammut gear, and it is steadily gaining popularity in the U.S. market. The Swiss design, construction, and fabric technology are geared for alpinists, extreme skiers, and ice climbers, yet we can all benefit from this technology. My last trip to British Columbia with my brother for some deep backcountry powder skiing was a great test for the well-thought-out design of the Nordwand Jacket.
The Nordwand (north wall) Pro Jacket is a hard-shell jacket in Mammut’s Eiger Extreme Collection featuring Gore-Tex’s top-of-the-line Pro Shell 3-Layer fabric weighing in at only 550 grams. Mammut decided to use Gore-Tex’s 3-layer Pro Shell fabric for its extreme abrasion resistance, ultimate water shedding capabilities, and breathability. While the competitors’ hard-shell jackets feel more like you’re wearing a stiff bag-like jacket, the Nordwand feels supple, remains flexible, and generally fits better due to its athletic cut.
I’m 6′ tall, 200 lbs, and I wear a size medium or large in a North Face jacket. After determining what type of insulation I wanted to layer under the shell, due to Mammuts slender fit, I chose a size XL in the Nordwand jacket. Mammut’s Eiger Extreme Collection offers several insulating options that coordinate with the jacket and pants, making for a very flexible garment “system” suitable for various activities. I use the Eiswand Fleece under the shell for warmer temps. The Eigerjoch Light with Polartec Alpha insulates me on the colder days. And if mother nature is really turning down the temperatures, I can even fit the down insulated Eigerjoch jacket under the Nordwand Pro Shell.
One of my favorite features of the Nordwand Jacket is the removable snow skirt. I tend to use this jacket for more than skiing, so I really like that, when the snow skirt is not needed, I can simply unzip it from the jacket. When installed, however, the skirt has a rubberized grip material that helps keep it from riding up. But Mammut does one better and has installed snap loops that interface with the Nordwand Pro pants, preventing any chance of that uncomfortable snow intrusion while shredding through deep powder.
The Nordwand Jacket also features front outer pockets that are located higher than typical jackets, which allows access even while wearing a climbing harness. The bicep pocket is a nice feature for easy access to your wallet, phone, or any other small item. The interior of the jacket includes one small zippered pocket as well as two mid-sized mesh pockets that can accommodate your gloves or an extra hat. In addition, the hood has multiple adjustments to get the fit just right and can expand to be worn over a helmet.
One complaint I’ve had about other jackets I’ve used in the past are cuffs that don’t work with my gloves and arms that ride up when outstretched. The Nordwand solves both of these issues with longer forward-articulated swept arms and a switchback-style sleeve hem adjustment that allows for a tight seal over or under your gloves.
In a market segment as competitive as outerwear, it’s the small details and features that separate the Mammut Nordwand Pro from the pack. All zippers are waterproof to keep the elements out. A textured anti-slip pattern on the shoulders keeps your pack from sliding around. Reflective logos help your climbing partners locate you while using headlamps. Additional soft-touch material around the opening of the hood and an extra flap to cover the zipper on the inside protect your chin and face. Plus, every piece that bears the Eiger Extreme logo is individually serial numbered and has a scan tag to guarantee its authenticity with Mammut.
At $749.95, you’re making a significant investment in your gear. But rest assured, in true Swiss fashion, Mammut has left no stone unturned in the design of this jacket, and they include a lifetime warranty for peace of mind. It will hold up under the most extreme environments and will get you safely off the mountain. I’ve been very pleased with the Mammut gear and now own most of the Eiger Extreme collection as well as a ski pack and various safety gear. It’s refreshing to find a company that still focuses on providing functional garments for various mountain activities, unlike some of its competitors that have become more fashion-oriented.
- Material: [membrane/laminate] Gore-Tex Pro (3-layer), [face fabric] 84 percent polyamide, 16 percent elastane, [lining] polyamide
- Waterproof rating: Guaranteed waterproof
- Breathability rating: Guaranteed breathable
- Colors: Cyan, Black, Orange
- Fit: Athletic and articulated
Hood: Fully adjustable, helmet compatible, roll-up
Pockets: [external] two pack-compatible hand, [internal] one stash, two hand warmer
Venting: Front-access underarm zips
Powder skirt: Yes, removable