It was dumping snow for 24 hours with no sign of letting up. The valley was completely socked in. It was the kind of day that skiers and riders wait for all year. It was going to be a cold one, an extra-wet one, and there wouldn’t be time for warm-up breaks.
These are the days that I reach for my Norrøna Tamok Jacket and bib. Together, they’re an impenetrable fortress outerwear kit. I’ve charged and bounced through powder for hours on end with nary a snowflake of intrusion. Even with the occasional tomahawk, the duo keeps the snow out of my pants.
It turns out, the Norwegians know a thing or two about keeping the elements at bay, and the Tamok kit is a testament. It’s purpose-built for freeriders in the absolute worst conditions. I’ve been sporting the Tamok kit for four seasons, and that’s why I was thrilled to test out the newly redesigned jacket and bib, now with GORE-TEX ePE.
In short: There isn’t much else on the market that can match the fortress-like weatherproofing of Norrøna’s Tamok Performance Jacket and Bib combo without being a one-piece. Aside from snow just not getting in there, the whole thing utilizes GORE-TEX’s new environmentally friendly ePE membrane. Though the bib isn’t my first choice for longer tours, massive venting throughout adds versatility for all-season resort, side-country, and backcountry freeride use if you’ve got the moves to pull off this ultra-stylish freeride look. It’s my go-to kit for powder day resort romping and side-country laps, hands down.
- Sizes S, M, L, XL
- Jacket weight 754 g (Size L)
- Bib weight 816 g (Size L)
- Face fabric Recycled/repurposed, Bluesign-approved
- Membrane/laminate GORE-TEX (3-layer) 100% recycled, Bluesign-approved nylon, PFC-free DWR treatment
- Waterproof rating 28,000mm
- Fit Regular
- Seams Fully tape sealed
- Excellent coverage for powder and storm days
- New GORE-TEX ePE fabric slashes environmental footprint
- Top tier fit and articulation
- Exceptional durability and build quality
- Generous venting options
- Bib is warm for longer tours
- Narrow cut may not fit all body types
Norrøna Tamok GORE-TEX Performance Jacket and Bib Review
Norrøna Tamok GORE-TEX ePE Performance Jacket
Tamok Jacket Design
The Tamok GORE-TEX Performance jacket ($699) is built for freeride, and it’s got the styling to match. By that I mean it’s bold, slim, aesthetic, and on the sharp end of Nordic fashion. In other words, it’s super long (like, longer than you think). The asymmetric drop tail falls somewhere in my mid-thigh region, which is much longer than any other jacket I own.
That distinct look won’t tickle everyone’s fancy, but it will turn heads regardless. I’ve gotten more intrigued looks and questions in the lift line than with other outerwear.
This storm bunker of a jacket wouldn’t be complete without an ultra-functional storm hood, and the Norrøna Tamok has it. The generous hood can fully engulf my ski helmet and zip to the chin. And it gets extra points because you can still look around without it feeling like you’re wearing a neck brace. The face hole is cut so as not to limit peripheral vision.
Other features that reject the elements before they creep in are the excellent low-profile hand gaiters hidden below extra-long asymmetrical cuffs and a fairly standard removable powder skirt. Because I’ve always run the jacket and bib together, I zipped out the powder skirt and never looked back. It felt unnecessary but some folks will appreciate it, especially those who don’t ride in bibs.
Tamok Jacket Materials
The whole package is massively waterproof, as you’d expect. It sports GORE-TEX’s highest-rated breathable 28,000mm waterproofing. The seams are taped with GORE-TEX 13mm tape, and it sports a Vislon water-resistant front zipper, which I’ve found to have both impressive water resistance and durability.
The main fabric is a three-layer 70D x 160D GORE-TEX ePE with a fully recycled nylon face fabric. The colored patches on the shoulders and elbows are heavy-duty three-layer 200D GORE-TEX reinforcements, and the whole thing has a soft C-KNIT nylon backer on the inside, which is now recycled thanks to innovation at GORE-TEX. In plain English, this jacket is burly. It feels tough because it is tough.
Tamok Jacket Features
There’s no shortage of pockets on the Norrøna Tamok jacket. The one I use most is the massive front Napoleon pocket. The other zipper on the chest? Not a pocket — it’s actually a creative mesh-backed vent. The jacket also has two generous lower waterproof hand pockets that can easily hold a sandwich or your favorite canned beverage.
I’ve also found the previous version to be a stellar companion for wet-weather camping trips. The new version has the same characteristics to make it shine here as well. It’s also stylish enough for stormy days in the city, from Seattle to Oslo.
The length comes with a plus and a minus. The benefit is that it adds significant protection from snow intrusion even with massive powder tumbles (I checked). Even if you aren’t wearing a bib underneath, the long jacket keeps snow out.
The two cons that come with the length are touring mobility and mountaineering versatility. You can’t get a full stride without slight restriction from the bottom of the jacket. Fortunately, a two-way zipper stationed at the bottom can be opened up to allow for more freedom of movement, so the issue is essentially solved. The length also makes wearing a harness over the jacket awkward, so it’s not a great fit for glacier travel or ski mountaineering.
Norrøna Tamok GORE-TEX ePE Performance Bib
The Tamok GORE-TEX Performance Shell Bib ($599) sports a real Goldilocks fit. They’re not too baggy, not too tight, but relaxed. And for a full GORE-TEX bib from ankle to chest without much stretch built in, they move and articulate remarkably well. They’re some of the best-fitting hardshell bibs I’ve ever worn.
At 6’1” and 185 pounds, I’m right between a medium (pictured) and large. I’ve tested both: The large accommodates more insulating upper body layers. But I liked the medium better for touring since I only wear my Woolf Merino Performance Base Layer underneath.
Neither one was restrictive while skinning. A lot of that comes from the curvature built in at the knees and seat. Both are designed to accommodate a natural bend without restricting or bunching. And when you do sit on a chairlift, the suspenders don’t tug on your shoulders.
Tamok Bib Design
Getting into this bib is a dream. The left-side thigh vent zipper goes all the way to the armpit. Zipper sliders stationed at both the bottom and top of the track mean it can open up wide. That means it’s equally as easy to get out of when you’re in a hurry. That’s great news, as there isn’t any kind of drop-seat configuration.
The cuffs are wide to accommodate ski boots but not overly so. I love how there isn’t too much excess fabric swishing around down there getting snagged on buckles and things. They’re a good length, and the internal gaiters are simply well-thought-out and do what they’re meant to do. They fit my Dalbello Cabrio LV 130 alpine boot about perfectly, and they don’t look baggy over my La Sportiva Vanguard touring boot.
Tamok Bib Features
Like the jacket, the bib’s pockets are generous. Two big thigh pockets hold the bulk of the stuff that I carry around on the resort. A bunch of bars, my phone, liner gloves, keys, etc., all fit in there without any issues. They’re roomy without being baggy and vulnerable to snags.
There’s also one smaller pocket above the left thigh pocket right below the waistline that I’ve found is great for an avalanche beacon.
And of course, there are two big pockets on the front of the bib. One is secured with a waterproof zipper, and the other on the outside is secured with two snap buttons. I kept my phone in there when it was really cold to keep it a little bit warmer. But I also used these pockets for other odds and ends. Between the jacket and the pants, I had more pockets than I had junk to fill them with.
When I first started rocking the Tamok bib a few years ago, I was annoyed that it didn’t have belt loops, which is how I feel with almost all outdoor pants. But I quickly changed my mind — this bib didn’t need loops. The new bib is the same. Its shape matches my body’s shape and it stays in the right place when the shoulder straps are adjusted correctly. It doesn’t fall down and the articulation points don’t migrate away from where they’re supposed to be.
Being uninsulated, this bib is dependent on your base and/or midlayer choice. When the lifts were spinning, I always grabbed my luxuriously warm Fjallraven Keb Fleece Trousers, which kept my legs toasty warm even in the coldest conditions. I reached for my Woolf Roni ¾ bottoms to keep my temperatures regulated while touring. Those two setups had me covered for anything.
Norrøna was one of the first outerwear brands to utilize GORE-TEX back in 1977. But the Tamok is Norrøna’s first kit utilizing GORE-TEX’s new ePE (Expanded Polyethylene) waterproof membrane. It makes sense for a brand that has environmental ambitions far exceeding most others.
GORE-TEX has been working on the new GORE-TEX ePE membrane for 10 years. 2023 is the first season major brands are incorporating it, like Patagonia and Arc’teryx. This new membrane is still the same breathable microporous polyethylene that we all love. But GORE-TEX “inflates” it using a special treatment to use half the material of its predecessor. I noticed right away that it’s lighter and thinner-feeling than GORE-TEX Pro.
The process also allows them to punt highly toxic, environmentally problematic, and nearly indelible PFC chemicals out of the picture. The C-KNIT backer also got an upgrade this year thanks to innovation at GORE-TEX — it’s both sourced from recycled material and solution-dyed.
But I was curious how the new membrane would perform compared to the longstanding membrane that has been the core of GORE-TEX Pro products for over a decade. After testing the new Tamok back to back with the old one on the skin track, I couldn’t tell the difference in breathability or waterproofing. And that’s a good thing. GORE-TEX has cut its environmental footprint with virtually no performance tradeoffs with ePE. If anything, the GORE-TEX ePE is slightly better on the uphill because it’s noticeably lighter.
The Norrøna Tamok Performance Jacket and Bib kit is my go-to for the vast majority of skiing at the resort. With the right insulating layers underneath, it can help seal in the warmth. Or I can drop down to something light, open the vents, and cruise on warmer days. There aren’t many conditions where this jacket and bib combo won’t excel when the lifts are spinning. The same is true for side-country and hike-to terrain.
Norrøna claims the Tamok kit is designed for backcountry freeride. I’m fully on board with the freeride part of that claim. But these bibs aren’t my first choice for longer backcountry tours.
No hardshell bibs are my first choice for longer tours. I’m a softshell guy. I run particularly hot and the front of the bib is just too dang warm for me. I end up sweating profusely with no real escape route.
So I end up running this bib full-time at the resort and in the side-country. But I’ll continue opting for my Norrøna Lyngen softshell pants for ski touring.
That said, freeriders do all kinds of wild things. If slowing down on the skin track, sessioning cliffs, building jumps, or ripping hitchhike laps is your jam, this bib will be a perfect match. Those who run on the colder side would also be happy with this bib for longer tours.
While the jacket is a little bit bulky for stuffing into a backpack, it’s a solid option for backcountry skiing in harsh conditions. That extra coverage below the hip strap can really put a dent in the windchill. It has massive venting capability between the two-way front zipper, front vent, and mega underarm X-Open vents, which are each over 20 inches long.
Norrøna’s Tamok Freeride Jacket and Bib: Conclusion
Norrøna’s updated 2023-24 Tamok GORE-TEX Performance Jacket and Shell bib take a real “belt and suspenders” approach to keeping the elements out. Together they are a weatherproof fortress of an outerwear kit that’s designed for skiing or snowboarding in challenging conditions.
This jacket and bib pants are clearly built to last. They’re manufactured with the high quality I’ve come to expect from Norrøna. All signs point to a higher-than-average price tag paying off over an extended lifespan. I also love that Norrøna has a robust repair service to keep their gear out of landfills.
While this duo isn’t quite as versatile for a wide range of outdoor endeavors as, say, Norrøna’s Lofoten line, they’re purpose-built for hard-charging resort and side-country freeriders, and they perform phenomenally for that use. They’ve also got you covered for ski touring (especially the jacket) thanks to generous venting options. It’s tough for me to imagine choosing a different kit on a nasty storm day when the powder is ripe for harvest.