Norrona Fjora 10 MTB Backpack

Product Review

By Colin

Is there anyone out there pining for the fjords who’s in need of a Good looking Scandinavian that’s oozing quality and style? … Well, in a bag anyway.


Designed for mountain biking, but with obvious potential for trail running too, Norrona’s beautifully constructed Fjora 10L backpack is about as near to perfection as you’ll get in a backpack.

Norrona make some of the finest outdoor clothing that is available anywhere on the planet and are really choosy as to who sells it too; you won’t find stockists playing the price-war game either. Reassuringly expensive it maybe – but boy is it great kit!

Ok, a great piece of kit it may be, but banging the Fjora Backpack on the ground probably won’t suddenly turn you into a chiselled, hammer wielding demi-god of thunder, but what the Fjora 10 does give you, in bucket-loads, is attention to detail … and the devil’s in the detail, of course.


Take something simple and functional like zips for instance, zips don’t just work on the Fjora 10; they glide – and effortlessly too. Even with the pack strapped to my back, and a little manual dexterity, it’s easy to reach around and open up the little side pocket, but the point I’m making is it’s the little difference that makes the big difference, this is typical Norrona attention to detailing; make something good, and then look at how you can make it better than all the rest. Wouldn’t you rather this than pulling your pack off from frustration, just to get your car keys out when your hands are freeing cold?

The Fjora 10L contours to your back, sitting securely and comfortable without feeling restrictive in anyway, inside there’s a compartment for everything: pump, tubes, tools and spares, mesh pockets for personal items, although the Fjora 10 clearly isn’t Doctor Who’s Tardis, there’s easily enough room for a lightweight waterproof top and a Danish (pastry that is).

The two small compression straps seem almost redundant at first glance, everything tucks away as neatly as it is; all the compartments have a ‘raison d’etre’ and don’t allow any breathing space for loose items to slide around. Having said that, the compression straps are still a welcome addition, it’s great that the Fjora holds everything securely in place as you go bouncing off down the trails.


Access into the main compartment pack is dead easy thanks to the 2-way zipper that extends almost all the way around, and the hydration compartment is straight forward too; you’ll struggle to get a three litre bladder in there comfortably, but otherwise life couldn’t be simpler. There’s also a couple of extra straps that are secreted away almost un-noticed; we felt these straps were a little unnecessary, but the compartments looked like they’d hold a few extra energy gels though.

There’s no alloy framework to the Fjora and this reflects in its lightness, at a tad under 545g it sits comfortably in the featherweight division; a bit like Barry McGuigan – except you wouldn’t want him on your back. The shoulder straps have a huge range of adjustment to them thanks to Norrona’s rider-rail system, this means you can slide the straps up or down until your hears content, the pack is always going to sit comfortably on your back. The ventilation mesh isn’t just on the back either, it’s carried across onto the shoulder straps and hip belt; seems someone at Norrona remembered that every part of the body sweats – not just the back, again, great attention to detail.

If there was one little negative to the Fjora 10 (and I’m struggling to find one) it would be that I’d like to see the inclusion of a slightly heavier fabric or double-skin protective layer around the base; I could easily put up with the few extra grams for that added durability. The Fjora 10 is such a polished item I didn’t want to just chuck it on the ground, if it had a slightly reinforced base I think I’d feel a little less precious about it.


Peerless In design, construction and detailing, the Fjora 10 backpack morphs to your back like a Ninja Turtles Shell and will go the rounds with the gnarliest of conditions and trails; question is: would I fork out £69.00 for a 10 litre backpack? Yes, definitely, but I’m holding my breath in the hope that Norrona don’t want the Fjora back any time this century; bottom line – If you want the best little backpack around … this is it.



Excellent compartment layout

Super-comfy to wear

Highest quality fabrics, design, detailing and construction




Give us a call at if you have any questions or visit the Norrona website:

Haglofs Ardent MTB Shorts

Haglofs Ardent Shorts

By Colin Dennis


Haglofs Ardent Shorts are super-tough, comfortable and beautifully constructed All-Mountain Shorts that’ll stretch your wallet for sure, but provide you with acres of unrestricted movement and protection from the elements – no matter how gnarly the trails get.

Never Heard of Haglofs? Well, Haglofs are a Swedish outdoor clothing company that’s been kitting out hardy mountaineering types since Victor Haglof stitched together his first rucksack back in 1914; and like Abba is to pop music, Saab is to fighter jets and sturdy cars, Haglofs are a seriously big player in the Scandinavian outdoor market – but unlike Abba, they know a thing or two about clothing and dress sense.

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Mountain biking in Scandinavia is big business and they’re ardently passionate about their sport; let’s face it, they’ve got the hills and the space. Scandinavia is pretty uncompromising when it comes to terrain, weather and trails; and like I said, it’s full of mountains – big, unforgiving mountains, plus there are the seemingly endless tracts of forestry and wild, open plateaus, all which are capable of reducing you to tears, both in their stark beauty and their toughness. There’s also the underlying fact that with hardly a soul living in the hinterland you need kit and equipment that isn’t going to let you down.

This brings us to Haglofs foray into mountain biking apparel and the wonderfully constructed Ardent Shorts. The first thing you have to understand is that Haglofs don’t do anything by halves, not necessarily over engineered or anything, but the thought process, design, materials, and most definitely the construction quality, are as good as you will find anywhere – which is reflected in the price.

What materials are involved?

Haglofs use their proprietary FlexAble fabric throughout the construction of the Ardent Shorts, but then they back-up the seat and inside leg areas with laminated Soft Shell panels for further protection from the mud and grit.


As  mentioned earlier, the Ardent Shorts are super stretchy thanks’ to the FlexAble fabric used so there is no pull against your legs when pedalling hard, this makes them extremely comfortable when riding; especially as these shorts are over-shorts and so a normal pair of lycra or liner shorts are required for practical purposes and padding.


Plenty of neat features are included with the Ardent Shorts: the flat, high rear element of the waistband offers a degree of added comfort and security to you back; which is really nice, and it certainly aids the shorts to remain where they should be – around your waist – and not hanging halfway down your backside.

Velcro side pull tabs add further adjustment and security while the fly zip is backed up by a wind baffle. Although the Ardent Shorts aren’t waterproof, they are given a full Durable Water Repellent coating (DWR) and in conjunction with a tight fabric weave, they really do offer a great deal of protection from the elements; and with several wet weekends on Exmoor behind them they’ve become a welcome addition to my ever-increasing armoury of all-mountain clothing.

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Weighing in at well under 1lb (370g) for a size L the Ardent Shorts aren’t much to carry and when rolled up tight, don’t take up much room in your weekend bag either. They dry extremely quickly too, which is great should the need arise to rinse them out overnight in either barn, Bothy or B&B.

One of the nicest features on the Ardent Shorts is the meshed zippered vents that run all the way across both thighs; this was a real boon when climbing and helped keep the legs from burning out too soon – to be honest I found it quite refreshing having the wind whistle through your shorts when the temperature’s up regardless of whether you’re riding up or down the hill.

The two-way zips on the vents never faltered in any situation, their action was reassuringly smooth for a stress-free operation; just what you need when the sweat is running down your back and dripping off your nose.

So what were they like in action then?

In a word (or two) very comfortable; probably the most comfortable over-shorts I’ve ever worn. Even when dropping way back off the saddle there’s endless amounts of give in them.You really can push yourself to the limits without wondering if your kit is going to restrict you’re ability. Bags of confidence too, they are such a good fit around the waist, especially at the back where the deep waistband feels like a mini back support – which it’s not, of course.


A further bye-product of the high waistband is that it helps keep the lower back warm and prevents your base layer from riding up too much – neat!

The two bellowed zippered thigh pockets opened and closed smoothly enough and look to be able to hold plenty of loose change and other valuable items – like jelly babies. I tend not to carry anything more than paper spending notes (waterproofed of course) in side pockets though; things rattle and feel cumbersome to me in external pockets and therefore I tend to stash everything away into my backpack where it won’t annoy me.

The pre-shaped knees of the Ardent Shorts are knee-pad friendly, where again the stretchy FlexAble fabric proved to be tough but unobtrusive when fitting around knee-pads.

Endless amounts of river and stream crossings, steep climbs and rocky descents on two very wet weekend visits to Exmoor (Flora’s Ride and Horner Woods in general are still the best playground) were the perfect test ground for the Ardent Shorts where they came up trumps every time.

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One little point that might be explored though is that when riding normal cross-country routes (pads not required etc.) I felt that the hems could be tucked away, a Velcro tab on each hem would have been handy just to slim the knee area down a notch or two; but this never hindered my riding in anyway – just an observation really, and it might make the Ardent Shorts more appealing to cross-country riders.


Tough as old boots, super-stylish, quick drying, and incredibly comfortable and supportive; build quality cannot be faulted – also available in black.


Some kind of Velcro adjustment combined with a soft-dart insert would be useful to stop the hems billowing when not using knee-pads.

£125 without a liner – eek!


UK office: 01539 822595

What the Manufacturers say

The Ardent shorts are made of a hardwearing material with laminated Soft Shell rear panels for weather and mud protection and S – shaped construction for better articulation when biking.

FlexAble™ fabric provides the optimum balance of wind and water resistance together with excellent breathability

Laminated Soft Shell rear panels for weather and mud protection

DWR treated surfaces

Gusseted crotch offset side and inner leg seams for a chafe-free comfortable fit

Comfortable flat waist band with integrated Velcro waist adjustment

Zippered fly with rear wind baffle and hook plus closure

Raised rear elasticated waist panels

2 long length leg zips for ventilation

2 bellowed zippered thigh pockets

Pre-bent knees with space for knee protection pads if needed

2 bellowed zippered thigh pockets

Reflective detailing front and rear

OS Mapping – A Brief History

Did you know? 

The Ordnance Survey has its origins firmly entrenched in British Military History

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Yep! – you can thank your luck compass bearings that through fear of invasion during the 1800’s the British Military decided that it would jump on the booming survey bandwagon to record the lay of the land – so they could  accurately blast the bad guys.

It was the artillery types who were given this onerous task – hence the name, ‘ordnance’ derived naturally enough from the Royal Ordnance, i.e. the military department that dealt with exploding cannon shells for the big guns.

Funny how they ended up in Southampton, though Woolwich Arsenal would have been more appropriate perhaps?.

Outdoor clothing and camping equipment. Brands include Rab, Haglofs, Mountain Equipment, Lowe Alpine, OMM, Petzl, MSR, Thermarest, Ruff Wear, Optimus, Primus, Exped and Lifesystems.