Sometimes, when I look at the price tag on a piece of gear, I think, “Really? It’s made in some factory in Asia, there’s not that much material to it, and really? REALLY?” Other times, I’m lucky to get to try out something super nice and my reaction is different. It’s more along the lines of, “Yeah, it’s expensive and I totally get why. And I really don’t want to send it back now that I’ve seen it.”
Bergan’s of Norway’s Osen jacket fits that category. The wool and down, water resistant jacket (available in both a men’s and a women’s cut) is one of the nicest things to pass through my hands for some time.
This isn’t your typical “poof” layer – it’s a combination of a wool and polyester blend on the sleeves, shoulders and waist with a down torso and collar. It looks great – the women’s cut makes sense; it’s got a bit of shape to it and the bright, contrasting zipper pulls are in a cool neon green on the jacket’s dark blue. Add a rain shell to this and you are set for just about any weather.
Everything about the way this jacket is made speaks of attention to detail. The collar is lined with microfleece so it’s not itchy or cold on your chin when it’s zipped up all the way. The pockets are big and they zip the right way (you’d be surprised how often this is not the case). The finish work is immaculate; the seams are all folded over and sealed and there are no loose edges or threads. And the sizing is right – something that’s increasingly rare in women’s outdoor gear.
The jacket was missing two things I’ve come to appreciate in this kind of gear – pit zips and a two way front zipper – but it’s still nicer than many a jacket that’s been in my test queue.
The wool/poly mix is a nice alternative to the usual slippery nylon shell you get with your typical down jacket. It gives the jacket some alpine formal style. I wore the Osen jacket out and about a few times and always got compliments on it.
The Osen jacket will set you back $329. The line doesn’t seem to have wide distribution in the U.S. yet, but check with your local mountaineering store or use the Bergan’s “Find a Dealer” link provided on the site.
[Image courtesy of Bergan's of Norway]