Helly Hansen Icefall (2017)

Features

The Helly Hansen Icefall uses 700 fill down, with water-resistant synthetic Primaloft Silver insulation on the shoulders. The outer is a soft Pertex that is not too rustly. The hood gets volume adjustment at the back plus face drawcords, and the cuffs have Velcro tab adjustment. It’s slightly heavier than some at 619g, and others have hydrophobic down or more water-resistant outers; but this still offers good features. 3/5

Fit

This jacket comes in a huge range of sizes: men’s XS-XXXXL and women’s XS-XXXXL. The L fitted me very well. The hood drawcords enabled the hood to sit neatly and move well with my head. The cuffs tended to ride up a little, but this is a minor niggle. The body was a good length. Basically good for sitting and standing around in the cold. 4/5

Comfort

The Helly Hansen Icefall feels very cosy as it is packed full of down, and the soft Pertex shell really hugs the body. You get some soft brushed polyester around the chin to soften this area too. The hood cords do not cut into the face. This is warmer than some lighter jackets too, making it better for colder conditions. The pockets also have a soft fleece lining. 5/5

In use

The Helly Hansen Icefall is warm and practical in many ways, but it is slightly heavier and bulkier than some as it is lacks the higher fill power down. The synthetic insulation on the shoulders means this area stays warmer, as the insulation is less impacted by moisture or compression, but this makes it heavier and bulkier. The down and shell are less water-resistant too. 3/5

Value

Well-priced in terms of how warm it is and its general features, but higher-priced jackets are lighter or have additional benefits. 4/5

Verdict

The Helly Hansen Icefall is a very well-priced warm jacket for colder conditions, but it is slightly heavy and has less water resistance than some. 3.8/5

Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine February 2017

Helly Hansen Challenger 2 (2015)

The Challenger is modelled on a running design, but walkers can benefit from its breathability and ease of movement too. Where the Regatta jacket prioritised weather protection, this  takes a lighter approach. The front is made from standard soft shell polyester, hardy enough to beat off wind and rain, while the back and underarms are made from lighter, stretchier material. All this means you can move with freedom. Cleverest of all is the H2Flow design. This consists of a series of soft, raised discs inside the jacket which trap air to increase insulation without additional weight, while tiny holes in the armpits vent out the heat you don’t want. The result is that I never once felt sweaty in this jacket. But I would only recommend it as your main layer on fine days. If the weather’s closing in, you’ll want your hard shell on hand, with this working as an insulating mid-layer.

Specification

Weight: 388g

Fabric: Polyester & elastane with DWR finish

Colours: Pink, black.

Men’s version: Yes C

ontact: 0800 142 2210

www.hellyhansen.com

Verdict

Lightweight and easy to move in but not snug or secure enough for changeable British weather.

Originally reviewed by Sarah Ryan in Country Walking April 2015

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Helly Hansen Odin Rapide (2013)

A snug fitting jacket that would have felt quite restrictive if it wasn’t for the stretchy fabric. It’s warm for its modest weight and not as breathable as some, making it a better bet for those that feel the cold. But it made a good outer layer, with well-placed, mesh-backed pockets and effective DWR that did a good job of repelling the odd shower. It has a high, snug and very soft collar that really locked the heat in when needed but the cuffs are too tight to pull up easily so it drops a mark here. As a mid-layer it provides a decent amount of insulation and the snug fit means it doesn’t feel too bulky.

Sizes: S-XXL
Fabric: Polyester/spandex
Weight: 425g
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 0115 979 5997; www.hellyhansen.com

Published in Country Walking magazine, April 2013


Helly Hansen Verglas Hybrid (2012)

This is a bulkier affair than many of the soft shells out there, and feels well-suited to colder days thanks to its chunky, insulating material and a fleecy lining to trap heat. The extra-long collar is designed to fit over the face when it’s really cold, with vent holes cut into it too. In an effort to maintain water repellence, stitching has been kept to a minimum across the shoulders, which also bodes well for wearing with a pack, with no seams to rub. The roomy pockets have been built to work with a rucksack waistband; they also double up as vents. There isn’t quite as much stretch in this jacket as in some others, and so it does feel more like an outer layer, and less of a mid.

Sizes: S-L

Fabric: Helly Hansen LIFA

Weight: 544g

Women’s version: Yes

Contact: 0115 960 8797; www.hellyhansen.com

 

*Published in Country Walking magazine, Spring 12


Helly Hansen Cross Insulator (2012)

A classic mid-layer insulator jacket, in a bit of a 1970s ski jacket style. The synthetic fill allows it to work even in the wet and it’s not too thick so it fits under a shell easily enough. The relatively short cut of the body also helps with mid-layer performance. When used as a mid-layer, it can be a bit stuffy, as the fabric used isn’t the most breathable nor particularly soft against the skin. The face fabric offers good wind protection and there is a main zip baffle to help seal out the breeze. The zip has a soft cover to prevent chafing around the neck, but unfortunately this doesn’t extend around the full collar, so rubbing does occur as you walk.

Sizes: XS-XXL

Weight: 487g

Women’s version: Yes

Fabric: Water-resistant Ripstop

Fill: Synthetic 100g Warmcore by PrimaLoft®

Contact: 0800 142 2210 www.hellyhansen.com

Review from Country Walking magazine, February 2012.


Helly Hansen Warm Freeze Half-Zip (2012)

Helly Hansen’s polypropylene Lifa hollow fibres are mixed with merino wool in this top to capture the best elements of both. Lifa fibres are fast-wicking, with some insulation, while the merino gives extra warmth to the top, whilst also providing natural anti-odour. The dimple effect fabric helps draw moisture up and away well. It works well over a range of temperatures too, without being too warm when walking in all but the hottest conditions. The flatlock stitching is quite obvious when you put it on, but it has been kept out of the way of any crucial rub areas. The top does come in an athletic cut which really helps the stretchy fabric to perform at its best, but may not be to everyone’s taste.

Sizes: XS-XXL

Fabric: 43% Lifa polypropylene; 57% merino wool

Weight: 226g

Contact: 0115 960 8797 www.hellyhansen.com

Review from Country Walking magazine, January 2012.


Helly Hansen Ekolab Rapide

Helly Hansen’s Ekolab products are designed to protect you from bad weather without damaging the planet. The Rapide has an athletic cut, so it’s figure-hugging with clean lines, and a flattering fit that reaches down to the top of the hips. The polyester fabric is part-recycled, and with spandex added too, it’s super-stretchy and very easy to swing your arms in. A thin layer of fleece inside adds warmth and comfort without adding too much bulk. It’s a very breathable jacket that repels water easily, and packs down well if you don’t want to wear it. It comes with large fleece-lined hip pockets, although, unfortunately, they’re placed a bit too low for access when wearing a pack. A cord on the bottom hem allows you to fine-tune the fit.

VITAL STATS
Sizes:
XS-SL
Fabric: 47% recycled polyester/45% polyester/ 8% spandex
Weight (tested size): 399g
Men’s version: Yes
Contact: +44 (0)115 979 5997; www.hellyhansen.com 


Helly Hansen Verglas Propile

If you like the soft and cuddly look, this incredibly warm fleece jacket is the one for you. The windproof underarm soft shell panels are a bit of an odd feature, as this is normally where walkers want a bit of extra breathability, but they keep the wind out and they definitely look good. The style is nice and long, covering the hips to trap plenty of warm air; and the arms are a good length too, with elastic cuffs that pull up when needed. Having a hood adds great versatility, although it’s a little on the small side, and unfortunately the collar is too low to lock in warm air around your neck. Because of this, it is best worn with a high-necked base-layer.

Sizes: XS – XL
Fabric: ProPile. 100% Polyester
Weight: 425g
Men’s version available? Yes
Features: Hood, soft shell side panels
Contact: 0115 960 8797;  www.hellyhansen.com


Helly Hansen Verglas Hybrid

Helly’s thick 3-Layer fabric combined with a very high roll-neck make the Verglas Hybrid a very warm base-layer. The sizing feels a bit on the small side, but the fabric relaxes a bit with wear. The hem and cuffs are both quite long, and cover the hips and wrists well, even when reaching forward. And the cuffs are tight-fitting with thumb loops, which do a great job of trapping warm air, but can feel a little constricting if you’re hot and desperate for some venting. The fabric is quick-drying and wicks well, and a thinner panel of fabric across the back helps prevent sweat build-up under a pack. The deep neck zip allows a welcome flow of air when you need it, too. It lost marks for smelling bad after a few wears.

VITAL STATS
Sizes
: XS-XXL
Weight: 200g
Fabric: Lifa/merino
Features: Zip neck, 3-Layer technology
Contact: 0115 960 8797; www.hellyhansen.com


Helly Hanson Verglas Hybrid

Helly’s thick 3-Layer fabric combined with a very high roll-neck make the Verglas Hybrid a very warm base-layer. The sizing feels a bit on the small side, but the fabric relaxes a bit with wear. The hem and cuffs are both quite long, and cover the hips and wrists well, even when reaching forward. And the cuffs are tight-fitting with thumb loops, which do a great job of trapping warm air, but can feel a little constricting if you’re hot and desperate for some venting. The fabric is quick-drying and wicks well, and a thinner panel of fabric across the back helps prevent sweat build-up under a pack. The deep neck zip allows a welcome flow of air when you need it, too. It lost marks for smelling bad after a few wears.

Sizes: XS-XXL
Weight: 200g
Fabric: Lifa/merino
Features: Zip neck, 3-Layer technology
Contact: 0115 960 8797; www.hellyhansen.com


Helly Hansen Verglas Down Jacket 2011

The Helly Hansen Verglas Down Jacket weighs 650g (men’s M); 700+ fill power down insulation; Primaloft insulation in shoulders; internal wind skirt; two zipped hip pockets. But high price tag compared to other options; hood cannot be removed.

The Helly Hansen Verglas Down Jacket offers excellent performance and is light, but the price is a bit too chilling compared to others.

First published in Trail magazine February 2011


Helly Hansen Hybrid base layer

A lovely warm top that also performed really well on moisture management. The test sample (size M) was an incredibly snug fit and also a little short, but this did aid the speed with which the fabric moved perspiration, and there’s enough stretch in the underarm panels to ensure movement is never hampered. The collar is quite high and fitted well, and the zip-neck proved useful in releasing heat when needed. Expensive, but a lot of technology.

VITAL STATS
Sizes:
XS-XXL
Fabric: Lifa/merino/polyester
Features: Hybrid construction
Contact: 0115 960 8797;
www.hellyhansen.com


Helly Hansen Hybrid Top 2009

The Helly Hansen Hybrid Top base layer is very ‘engineered’: it’s one of a new wave of hybrid tops that use a range of materials in various areas for various purposes. This includes Helly’s three systems – Cool, Dry and Warm – in one feature-stacked top. The merino wool component to this base layer (27 per cent) is good at keeping you warm, and the high-wicking synthetic Lifa material which makes up the rest gets shot of moisture. The ‘Coolgrid’ back system allows circulation of air. A low back means it doesn’t ride up when reaching (this top was designed for yachting – not ideal, but with some happy benefits) and it is very comfortable, with thumb loops and warm cuffs. There are other base layers in the range if this is too warm.  But the Helly Hansen Hybrid Top base layer is a warm top: it’s meant for hideous, changing weather as part of a layering system, and has a few foibles that make it more valuable for sailors and skiers and less so for walkers. The zip needs to be longer, ideally, and the sleeves need to be able to be pushed up to facilitate cooling. The fit is very snug indeed, so check sizing carefully, and it’s also only available in black: again, fine for winter, but in sunny weather it’ll get hot. It’s impressive, but also rather expensive – which may sway you considering some of its specialisms belong at sea or on the slopes rather than on the trail. 

 

Fabric 27% merino wool, 66% Lifa (polypropylene), 7% polyester
Colours black (men’s); black and dahlia red (women’s)
Sizes XS-XXL (men’s); XS-XL (women’s)
Weight 190g (men’s size S)
Made in Thailand
Stores in the UK 800

Verdict: The Helly Hansen Hybrid Top base layer is magnificently technical, very warm top that will keep you warm and dry. But some of its features may not agree with you.

 

Review by Simon Ingram
First published in Trail magazine October 2009


HELLY HANSEN ICE CREW

Review: Merino/polypropylene fabric is good and the crew-neck is comfortable and stylish, but it lacks the versatility of zip-neck rivals. It performed well, though, wicking superbly and coping with a reasonably wide range of temperatures. It also offers lots of stretch so it’s easy to move in, too.
VITAL STATS
Colours: Five including arctic blue, olive night, black
Sizes: XS-XXL
Fabric: Lifa T3 (56% merino wool/44% hollow fibre)
Women’s version: Yes
Contact: 0115 960 8797, www.hellyhansen.comVerdict: A cosy, comfortable base-layer that copes well with sweat and is warm.

Helly Hansen Rapide 2008

This soft shell jacket  weighs just 582g; lower in price than last year (2007); very breathable fabric that is also very durable; Velcro adjustable cuffs; two map-sized hip pockets; ideal under a waterproof or as an outer garment.  But the fabric is less water-resistant than some others; rucksack belts easily obscure pockets.

Verdict
Poor pocket access lets down great fabric, which is ideal for abrasion resistance and breathability when scrambling, walking or mountaineering.

First published in Trail magazine September 2008