Review: Norrona Lyngen Flex1 Pants
I’ve been wearing various hard shells as my main ski pants for years, but I’ve been a little soft shell curious for at least the last two. This past winter I had the chance to test out the Norrona Lyngen Flex1 for the entire season. I found these slim-fitting softshell pants excelled at touring just as well as they did putting in hot laps on the resort.
- Material: Flex1
- Size Tested: XL
- Weight: 602 grams (sz. L)
- Country of Origin: Vietnam
Lyngen, as in Berries?
These pants aren’t named for Sweden’s favorite berry, the Lingon. They’re named after the Lyngen Alps, found in the Lyngen Fjord. The Lyngen Alps are a 90km long chain of mountains along the North-Eastern coast of Norway that is home to spectacular alpine-style skiing that leads right down to the ocean. The municipality of Lyngen lies within the arctic circle. Fun fact, the capital of the Lyngen municipality is Tromsø, home to 77,000 people and the great Mack Brewery.
What Are The Norrona Lyngen Flex1 Pants For?
The Norrona Lyngen Flex1 pants are designed for high-output activities like ski touring and ski mountaineering, especially in the spring when the mercury starts to rise and blizzards become less of a concern. The Flex1 material has great stretch allowing for dynamic movement on the mountain, waterproof knees, reinforced material in high-wear areas, and functional pockets to allow you to carry almost anything you’d need. I wore the Lyngen Flex1 pants a lot last winter and I was exceptionally happy with them. The only conditions I did not get to test them in were full-on PNW blizzards or heliboarding, though they are not designed for either.
What Are The Pants Made Of?
Like most Norrona products, the Lyngen Flex1 pants take the environment and workers’ rights into account. They’re Oeko-Tex certified and use PFC-free DWR and Bluesign Certified fabrics. Additionally, more than 50% of the fabric used being recycled.
The main fabric used in the Norrona Lyngen Flex1 pants is, well, Flex1. This is a proprietary softshell fabric with four-way stretch that blocks wind, is water repellent, and breathes much better than any hardshell pants.
Laminated inside the exterior softshell fabric is a Gore-Tex membrane. This 2-Layer fabric adds weather protection while being more breathable than a 3-layer Gore-Tex material. It is waterproof to a minimum of 20,000mm.
They are reinforced with a recycled polyamide/polyester/elastane mix on exposed areas to provide extra durability where needed. To prevent wet snow from soaking up, the bottom hem is reinforced with 200D recycled GORE-TEX.
At no point did the pants wet-out on me, but then, I never got the chance to test them in super moist conditions that 3L Gore or similar would generally be better suited for.
Like all Norrona gear, there are a lot of good functional details added to the Lyngen Flex1 pants. Starting at the top is the Custom-Fit waist system. The system comprises, for lack of a better word, a Velcro wing on both sides of the pants that when pulled tight tightens the pants. This worked very well for the first two months but eventually became less effective as the Velcro started to stretch out a little. That’s why I ended up purchasing a zip-in bib (more on that later).
On the legs of the pants are two hand pockets and two thigh pockets. The upper hand pockets are smaller, designed obviously for smaller things such as hands. The lower thigh pockets easily swallow a phone or notebook. The thigh pockets lack a transceiver loop so you’ll have to continue to wear your transceiver in its harness. Of note is that the hand pocket zippers close inwards whilst the thigh pocket zippers close outwards.
The knees of the Lyngen Flex1 pants are reinforced as is the instep of each leg. On the bottom outside of each leg are two buttons to help tighten the bottoms for when you are wearing crampons. I’ve yet to wear crampons with these pants, yet but found the closure handy while wearing the pants with street shoes so I do not prematurely wear out the bottom of the pant cuff.
On the side of both legs are Norrona’s X-Open Side Vents. These are large, mesh-covered vents that zip in both directions. They add a lot of airflow to already breathable ski pants.
Norrona has four classifications of Fit. Starting from the tightest to loosest, they are slim, technical, regular, and relaxed. The Lyngen Flex1 pants come in the technical fit that Norrona deems ideal for mountain biking, climbing, and mountaineering. As we’ll be ski touring, aka climbing a mountain on skis, this fit makes sense for these pants.
I found them to be neither too loose nor too tight. I typically struggle with pants that are too tight in the thighs. The Norrona Lyngen Flex1 was just right. I could tour with all the zips up, and pockets loaded, and still not feel too tight.
The bottom of the pant was the exact size to fit over Dynafit TLT6 boots without any issue. There are two snap buttons on the side to tighten the pant bottom that I only ever needed when walking with regular shoes on. The boot gaitor has a slide adjuster for smaller boots but I cannot imagine you would ever need to go tighter. When wearing these pants with snowboard boots, in this case, K2 Aspect boots, the bottom was almost too tight.
To Bib or Not to Bib, that is the Question
After two months of use, the Velcro of the Custom-fit waist system was not performing as well as it should. If I loaded the pockets up with a radio and logbook, they would start to sag a little. Now, I may be a child of 90’s hip hop but I’ve grown out of the sagging pants phase and I’m no fan of a cold butt.
Norrona has two available zip-in bib options, the Lyngen Mountaineering Bib and the Lofoten Ski/Snowboard Bib. To fit perfectly, the Lyngen Flex1 pants need the matching Lyngen Mountaineering bib. Unfortunately, that bib was hard to find in the Sea-to-Sky area when I needed it. So, I bought the Lofoten Ski/Snowboard Bib in XL. It zipped right in but has about 6cm extra length than it needs. This is, in reality, not a problem.
The suspenders take a fair amount of stress off the waistband and are quite comfortable. With the suspenders on, the pants are perfect. No more sag, and an added bonus, there is a transceiver loop in the bibs! Had I thought of it, I would have bought the Lyngen Mountaineering bib long before I ever needed it, just to have the ability to put the transceiver in a pocket. The Mammut harness causes me no end in shoulder pain and the bib has entirely relieved this.
I have to admit, when I received these pants I thought I would not be using them until April. They are ski touring pants after all and are intended to be used on intense Spring missions. On one sunny day in December, I decided to give them a swing and I continued to use them all winter long.
After 6 weeks of riding the resort and touring in them, I decided to wear a pair of 3 layer gore-tex pants on a ski tour and I was surprised at how much I noticed they didn’t breathe nearly as well as the Lyngen Flex 1 pants.
I’ve found the Norrona Lyngen Flex1 pants to be exceptional ski pants that have made me rethink the softshell pant. I wore them more often than not. Their fit was great loose enough to be comfortable but not so baggy that I felt I should be riding rails. They breathe very well, and thanks to Norrona’s X-Zip air flow is never a problem.
Who they’re for: Backcountry riders who want breathable pants with great stretch that are at home on the resort. The pocket placement is perfect.
Who they’re not: Fans of belt loops or haters of bibs.
If you are interested in checking out the Norrona Lyngen Flex1 pants, head on over to Norrona and check ‘em out!
Want to see what other Norrona gear we’ve reviewed, head on over here: Norrona on BSAS
Black Sheep Adventure sports was provided with a free sample of the Norrona Lyngen Flex1 Pants. We purchased the bibs on our own. This in no way affected our opinion and review of the pants.