Jöttnar Magni Midlayer Fleece Review

© Dan Bailey

New for 2017, Jöttnar's Magni is a mid-weight fleece that serves either as a cold weather mid-layer or an outer for gentler conditions. It's neither particularly light nor that cheap, but its warm stretchy fabric, technical cut and well-thought-out features make the Magni a great choice for winter hillwalkers and climbers.

Jottnar Magni above Loch Earn  © Dan Bailey
Jottnar Magni above Loch Earn
© Dan Bailey


In the body this fleece has what we'll call a 'regular' fit - neither skin tight nor baggy. Properly long in the hem, with a drop at the rear for a good amount of bum coverage, the Magni has a nice snug insulating feel and keeps out the maximum amount of draught around the midriff. Thanks to its sensible length - something you don't see on all insulating layers, by any means - it sits well under a harness or rucksack hip belt, and it's cut to allow you to lift your arms without danger of the hem riding up. The sleeves are extra long too - a bit too long for me in truth, and best rolled up slightly unless I'm using the thumb loops, at which point the hands are covered so that only the fingers are left exposed. This is nice if you're out battling a blizzard, but personally I'm not generally a fan of thumb loops as they make me feel a bit clumsy when doing anything fiddly. The arms are cut quite tapered, fairly roomy in the upper arm but close fitting at the forearm - but as there's plenty of stretch in the fabric it's not in any way restrictive.

Finding that high collar a bit annoying on The Buachaille  © Alex Berry
Finding that high collar a bit annoying on The Buachaille
© Alex Berry

Appreciating the high collar on Helvellyn  © Dan Bailey
Appreciating the high collar on Helvellyn
© Dan Bailey

With its simple elasticated rim, the hood gives good coverage around the face, moving well as you turn your head and fitting neatly under a helmet with no prominent seams to dig in anywhere. There's enough volume in the cut and stretch in the fabric to fit the hood over the top of a helmet too, and worn like this I've found it comfortable to the point of forgetting it was up.

The collar zips up very high, helping to protect the mouth and chin from the wind and weather. When you're wearing the hood and zipped up fully, this high collar is appreciated; however, with the hood down and the zip still done right up I find the collar rides too high, getting in the way of the mouth or catching oddly under the chin. Because the zip and a double layer of fabric on either side of it make the collar stand up at the front, you tend to get more coverage at the throat that you do at the back of the neck, which to me is a reversal of priorities. Having used the Magni over autumn and into the winter climbing season I have completely mixed feelings about this collar: it's too high, until you really want it - at which point the extra protection is welcome. At least there's a nice soft chin guard to avoid any zip chafing; and yes, you can just unzip a little if you find the collar annoying (I challenge anyone not to).


At 602g (size L - my measure), for my money the Magni sits at the heavier end of the 'midweight fleece' category, which may make it overkill for the summer months or highly aerobic activities, but suits it perfectly to the rigours of winter mountaineering. Designed to wick like a baselayer but protect from the weather almost more like a softshell, the Magni's Polartec Powerstretch Pro fabric is ideal for a technical mid-weight layer, warm yet breathable and quick drying. Its soft brushed inner has a really luxurious feel, while the tightly woven outer resists a bit of breeze. It is durable, with no sign of pilling so far after several months of heavy use. There's tons of stretch too, for full freedom of movement. An odour resistant treatment keeps smells at bay effectively - I've washed it only once, and no one's yet complained. For extra warmth Jöttnar have added a thick lining at the front, where you most need it, but not at the back where it would be sweaty under a rucksack.

Hood stretches over a helmet  © Dave Saunders
Hood stretches over a helmet
© Dave Saunders

Climbing in the Magni  © Dave Saunders
Climbing in the Magni
© Dave Saunders


Opening well above harness or rucksack belt level, the two zipped hand pockets are very generously sized; you can fit an OS map in there, or a pair of bulky ski gloves. A third zipped chest pocket serves as a secure place to keep your smartphone. All these zips, plus the main zip, are YKK, and all feature glove-friendly pull cords with funky little Jöttnar-branded dongles (it's the little things). Behind the main zip you get a draught-excluding baffle which runs up over the top to serve as a soft chin guard. The toggles on the hem elastic are kept neatly out of the way to the sides, while the cord hangs in tails rather than loops to avoid snagging it by mistake. All the workmanship is robust, with broad flat-locked seams that don't chafe.


With its snug long body, technical cut, sensible feature set and superb stretchy Polartec fabric, the Magni may have a premium feel, but in essence it's purely functional. While the extra-high collar can be an irritant in clement weather, all is forgiven when the temperature drops and the wind picks up. Whether you're winter climbing or bagging snowy summits, this is a superb bit of mid-weight insulation for the colder months. Is it a thick midlayer, or more of a fitted fleece jacket? You decide...

Jöttnar say:

New for 2017, the Magni is a multi-functional, mid-weight hooded fleece, constructed from Polartec Power Stretch® Pro™ for use either as an outer or mid layer. As a mid layer, the air-permeable Magni breathes and insulates beneath an outer shell, its 4-way stretch and sleek cut giving comfort and unrestricted movement. As an outer layer, the abrasion-resistant weave is tough and durable. A close-fitting hood worn under or over a helmet, thumb loops, and harness compatible pockets make this a truly versatile technical mountain jacket.

  • Price: £140
  • Sizes: S-XL (men's only - no women's version)
  • Weight: 602g (size L, our measure)
  • Fabric: Polartec® Power Stretch®Pro™
  • Fabric weight: 247g/m²
  • Flatlocked anti-chafe seams
  • Odour-resistant treatment
  • Athletic, streamlined, articulated cut
  • Anti-snag hem draw cords
  • Roll-away thumb loops and back-of-hand protection
  • Chest pocket for valuables storage
  • Harness compatible pockets with YKK® zips
  • YKK® centre front zip with soft brushed chin guard
  • Corded, glove compatible zip pulls
  • One-handed, elastic hem draw cord operation
  • Colours: Petrol Blue, Black

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