Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Gear Closet: Fjällräven Bergtagen Insulation Parka Review

On my recent trip to Arctic Europe I was outfitted for the journey by Swedish brand Fjällräven, who hooked me up with some incredible gear to keep me warm, dry, and comfortable in the cold conditions. Over the course to this entire week, I'll be sharing my thoughts and reviews of the majority of that gear and letting you know why it should be in your gear closet as well. Most of the products I tested fell into the company's new Bergtagen line, which is a complete system built specifically with mountaineers in mind. That makes this gear a bit on the pricy side for the average consumer, but for the mountain professional, the guide, the avid adventurer, or explorer, this is the equipment you're going to want to have at your disposal, as it delivers amazing performance in the absolute worst of conditions.

Fjällräven week continues here at The Adventure Blog, this time with a look at the company's Bergtagen Insulation Parka, which quite possibly might be the warmest jacket I've ever worn. The jacket uses Fjällräven's proprietary G-Loft synthetic insulation, which manages to provide plenty of warmth and comfort without piling on the bulk. In fact, the Insulation Parka is relatively lightweight and thin, while still managing to keep both wind and cold temperatures at bay.

As with the other products in the Bergtagen line, the parka is environmentally friendly. It is made from 100% recycled polyester and features a PFC-free coating to assist with wind proofing. It also comes with a large, helmet-compatible hood, Velcro adjustable cuffs, drawcords to adjust the fit in both the waist, and hem, as well as a two-way zipper on the front. Dual zippered chest pockets provide ample storage while an interior button flap provides an extra layer of protection from the cold and snow. The jacket even comes with Recco reflectors to aid in search and rescue operations too.


While in the Arctic, where temperatures were often well below zero, the Insulated Parka became my go-to jacket for most of our excursions. On its own, it provided plenty of warmth for short durations outdoors, but when paired with a layering system underneath, I managed to stay warm even when windchills hit -40ºF/C. In fact, while wearing this with the Bergtagen Eco-Shell Trousers, I felt like I could pretty much stay outside indefinitely, no matter the conditions. If it weren't for the fact that my fingers and toes tended to get cold, I was completely comfortable even in blowing winds, deep snow, and crazy cold weather. This included activities such as snowmobiling and dogsledding when the speed at which we were moving only compounded the frigid temps.

The fit of the parka is a bit larger than the athletic cut we've seen in the Bergtagen apparel that I've reviewed so far, but of that's by design. The jacket is made to fit over just about anything else you wear, and it stretches well below the waist to provide extra coverage. That is exactly the kind of fit you need when traveling in Arctic conditions, although you can adjust the fit using the drawcords located in the waist and lower hem. This helps to dial in a more form fitting look and further seal out any cold air that might try to sneak in.

I've mentioned in my previous Bergtagen reviews that this gear doesn't come cheap, but I have also been quick to point out that its high level of performance makes it well worth the cost. The same can be said about the Insulation Parka, which runs $600 but will keep you warm in all but the harshest of environments. That said however, I have seen far more expensive parkas from other companies that haven't performed at this level, making this jacket an absolute steal for those who need its level of performance. $600 is still far more than the average consumer will pay for a parka, but then again those individuals probably aren't venturing to high altitude in cold conditions, nor are they traveling above the Arctic Circle. If you're someone who might find yourself in those conditions however, this jacket will be perfect for you.

Again, like with the other Bergtagen garments that I've tested, this is a parka designed for guides, mountain professionals, explorers, and serious adventurers. For them, the price tag makes it well worth the investment. But, if you're someone who lives in a cold climate, and has to deal with frigid conditions for extended periods of the year, it is hard to put a price tag on warmth and comfort. This is a jacket that will set you back a considerable sum, but it is also one that you'll be able to use for many years to come too. It is durable enough to survive just about anything you throw at it, which makes it stand out in a crowded field.

For more information visit the Fjällräven website.

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