Fjallraven is perhaps best known for its backpacks and cold-weather clothing, with an “Own the Cold” campaign that has longer legs than a giraffe. The company’s Kyl Parka won one of our Hot Shot Awards coming out of Outdoor Retailer – Winter Market this January, and I gave it high marks in my winter jacket roundup on OregonLive. But the funny thing about Scandinavia, much like the Northwest, is that Fjallraven’s birthplace has four seasons. The company has to consider more than sub-freezing temps. And with the Abisko Eco-Shell jacket, Fjallraven’s shown it can “own the shoulder season” as well.
The Abisko Eco-Shell jacket is the polar opposite of the Kyl Parka and other winter-busting gear. Weighing 13.4 ounces, the Abisko Eco-Shell is lightweight enough to be worn in temperatures up to 64 degrees Fahrenheit yet has a windproof and water-resistant shell to take the bite out of temps down to 42 degrees. Those aren’t just technical specs; I tested it on multiple hikes and found the jacket worked great within that range.
One testing session with the Abisko Eco-Shell jacket involved a strenuous hike along several miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. The conditions were perfect for reviewing: a chilly morning, steeply inclined switchbacks, a mix of shaded forest and sunny rock outcroppings, and afternoon temps approaching 68 degrees. The Abisko Eco-Shell performed incredibly well, though I did remove it about three-fourths of the way through the hike.
I didn’t remove the jacket due to a damp interior or physical discomfort. On the contrary, the four-way stretch material moved with me like a second skin as I climbed hills and clambered over creek-side rocks. The partially recycled polyester shell is also quite breathable and never caused moisture to pool inside the sleeves. This may have been helped by long mesh pockets that double as pit zips. Instead, I removed the jacket simply due to the temperature: 68 degrees is the point where even I have to say “OK, jacket off.”
The windproofing was especially nice on the portion of the PCT I was hiking, as the wind tends to blast down the Columbia River Gorge. The forested sections offered protection from the breeze, but on those rockier outcroppings I appreciated the protection. Yet while windproofing stops the chill of the wind, it doesn’t stop the jacket’s shell from pushing against un-sleeved arms. I love the sustainability-minded use of recycled polyester, but it’s not the warmest material. So while the wind was kept at bay, I did think “hey, that’s a bit chilly” a few times when the sleeves brushed against my arms.
In previous hikes I had noticed that the jacket is better described as water-resistant than waterproof. The Abisko Eco-Shell jacket has a fluorocarbon-free DWR treatment, and in several heavier showers it did a great job keeping me dry. Upon taking the jacket off, though, I noticed some areas on the shoulders by my backpack straps where the moisture was starting to seep onto my midlayer. The moisture was small enough that it never soaked through my midlayer, but the water’s presence did surprise me.
Still, as you get later into spring and even into summer, the Abisko Eco-Shell jacket is perfectly suited to handle any outing before mid-day temperatures start to rise. It’s also light enough that when you take it off mid-hike you can pack the jacket into its right pocket and store it with little concern for extra weight. It doesn’t offer quite enough warmth if the temperature’s lower than 42, but it definitely became my go-to jacket for spring outings.
The Abisko Eco-Shell jacket was provided for review. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and the article contains no affiliate links.
Fjallraven Abisko Eco-Shell Jacket
- Partially recycled polyester is a great nod to sustainability
- Incredibly lightweight
- Great breathability for more-strenuous hikes
- Four-way stretch material makes the jacket move with you
- Ribbed brim on hood keeps rain off your face
- Pocket capacity is low considering their height
- Zipper on the left takes some getting used to
- Neck material gets really tight when zipped-up all the way