Who knew anoraks could be this cool? Clearly Napapijri did – the Italian brand’s classic jackets, inspired by adventures on Mont Blanc, are popular with both adventurers and city types. The Northfarer Winter Anorak is an insulated version of their Northfarer shell anorak, launched in 2021, with added insulation and fleece designed to help you tackle the cold. But how does it compare to the best waterproof jackets (opens in new tab) out there? Read on to find out how it performed on test.
Napapijri Northfarer Winter Anorak: Design and features
Napapijri’s eyecatching anoraks have been around since the 1990s, when they were first designed to tackle conditions on Mont Blanc. These pullover-style coats have since become cult favourite coats in recent years, and you’re likely to see them on city streets as often as country hikes, but they still have solid adventure chops, and are weatherproof and comfortable to wear in the great outdoors. The brand’s classic anorak has now been made winter adventure-ready in the Northfarer Winter, thanks to a warm lining of synthetic insulation made from recycled materials. The outer material of the coat is tough, waterproof Cordura, further treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish to repel rain and snow.
The Northfarer is a unisex jacket – we like seeing outdoor kit that has no need to be gendered simply sold by sizes. Our size 12 female tester tried the M for size, and found it fit really nicely, but this might be a good jacket to try on in person rather than order online that make sure you get the right fit for you.
The Northfarer Winter comes in a range of neutral colourways (namely, black, dark blue, brown and khaki) as well as a bright yellow that’s useful for making sure you’re seen in gloomy conditions. The boxy fit is comfortable on most body shapes and allows for layers underneath. The adjustable hem and cuffs help to trap in warmth, and the adjustable hood is easy to adjust.
The Northfarer differs from Napapijri’s traditional anoraks in that it’s insulated – the padding is fully synthetic, so there’s no need to worry about the provenance of animal down (none of the brand’s collections have used down since 2017). The hood and pocket are also lined with a lovely soft fleece.
Napapijri Northfarer Winter Anorak: Performance and comfort
We tested the Northfarer Winter Anorak out in both light rain and snowfall, and found its water-resistant shell repelled both efficiently. The Northfarer’s insulation did a good job of trapping in heat as we hiked and skied, and offered welcome warmth as soon as we popped it on, but it’s not as warm as some animal down jackets, and we’d still add a fleece or insulated mid layer underneath for winter adventures in the mountains. The zip on the neck and one side of the jacket make it easy to pull on, and double up as added ventilation so it’s easy to cool off on the go. The wide pocket on the front of the jacket is handy for storing a phone, and we found we could still access it while wearing a backpack sternum strap.
We thought the Napapijri Northfarer was ideal for skiing – the zipless front traps in more heat than a zippered jacket would do, and sits nicely over salopettes and mid layers. The only downside is that it’s more of a faff to take off than a jacket when you stop for a breather, although the generous neck and side zips make it surprisingly quick and easy to shrug on and off as you heat up or cool down. There really isn’t much to criticise here – our only niggle with the Northfarer is that the Cordura outer material makes an audible swishing sound as you move, which could be irritating on multi-day expeditions when you’re moving for long periods of time.
Napapijri Northfarer Winter Anorak: final verdict
Napapiri call this ‘the ultimate anorak experience’ and we’d have to agree - if you fancy swapping your winter jacket to an anorak, we don’t think you’ll find a better choice available than Napapijri’s Northfarer. The Winter version of the brand’s popular coat traps in heat nicely thanks to its zipless, insulated design, sports a good hood and a warm high neck and looks rather smart, too. The easy ventilation makes this coat ideal for cold hikes, snow sports and everyday use in the cold.