Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket | Tested and reviewed

Armed with Helly Hansen's proprietary waterproof membrane and a host of features, we test this mountain hardshell in the Scottish Cairngorms.

from Helly Hansen
RRP  £400.00
Hiker climbing rocks wearing Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket with LFTO star rating

by Chris Williams |
Updated on

Backcountry skiing, hiking, and mountaineering – Helly Hansen makes no bones about the fact its Verglas Infinity Shell is a high-end waterproof jacket for alpine exploits.

One of the most notable aspects of the Verglas Infinity Shell – along with Helly Hansen’s other waterproof jackets – is the use of the brand’s own waterproof membrane technology, shunning the arguably conventional use of Gore-Tex.

That is no weak point – Helly Hansen’s own membranes are very good, with one of its other Infinity hardshells picking up a Gear of the Year award from us in 2023. But there is substantial competition in the alpine/winter waterproof jacket market, with other established brands such as Rab and Mountain Equipment producing impressive jackets employing tried and trusted Gore-Tex.

In our never-ending quest to find the best waterproof jackets currently available, we tested out the Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket in Scotland to find out where it sits in the pecking order.

Pros

  • Very comfortable for a technical hardshell
  • Excellent fit and mobility
  • Loaded with practical features for mountain use
  • Suitable for hiking, mountaineering, and skiing

Cons

  • Some rivals feel even tougher

Design and features

Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket HELLY TECH Professional logo
©LFTO

Technical and high performance waterproof jackets use a 3-layer construction (a backer, the waterproof membrane in the middle, and an outer face fabric), and the Verglas Infinity Shell is no different. It’s made with partially recycled polyester and consists of a tricot backer, the Lifa Infinity membrane, and outer fabric and sits as part of the HELLY TECH Professional range.

HELLY TECH Professional (there are also HELLY TECH Protection and Performance) is the brand’s gear that is ‘extremely waterproof and breathable…for highly aerobic, extremely wet or unusually long-lasting activities in extremely harsh conditions’. Lifa Infinity is its proprietary membrane that stands out from some rivals for being a high-performance material that is inherently PFC-free.

Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket side pockets
©LFTO

The Verglas Infinity Shell comes heavily armed to handle arduous and demanding outings. It has two-way zips, even on the side pockets – those pockets are positioned to not be obstructed by a harness or backpack hipbelt. The hood is fully adjustable, and there is a high chinguard that zips all the way up to the nose for extra protection; there is a dropped rear hem for the same reason.

It has a RECCO reflector as well. This is useful in many of the world’s mountainous nations, including much of Europe, the US, Canada, Australasia, and South America, but less so in the UK.

Performance and comfort

Hiker climbing rocks wearing Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket
©LFTO

We tested the women’s version of the Verglas Infinity Shell in the Cairngorms and were very impressed by this jacket for several reasons.

Firstly, the fit is excellent, which isn’t always the case with female hiking clothing. It’s a hardshell designed to be layered with so it’s not a slim, athletic fit – yet it avoids being boxy. At about 500g, it’s reasonably lightweight as well, and doesn’t feel like a burden to wear. We liked the shape of the articulated sleeves, and freedom of movement is unrestricted, which is crucial for challenging climbs and descents.

Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket underarm zip vent
©LFTO

Breathability is impressive too for a mountain hardshell. The inclusion of underarm vents is a welcome boost, but the fabric itself manages to allow plenty of vapour to escape. Overall, the construction is on par with what you’d expect of a £400 jacket, with one exception. The zip pullers feel like the weaker link. We’re not going to say they feel flimsy but we’d happily trade them for heavy duty ones in return for a tad extra weight.

Up the mountains, the Verglas Infinity Shell was a superb outer layer. It zips up to create a highly weatherproof cocoon.

Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket two-way main zip
©LFTO

Sustainability

As far as we can tell, Helly Hansen is quite innovative and proactive when it comes to using more eco-friendly materials in its gear – particularly in its high end products. However, there is room for improvement – or at least clarity – in other areas such as responsible labour practices.

Our research, which appears to have drawn to a similar conclusion as industry watchdogs such as Good On You and Fashion Revolution, can’t find a lot of specifics around transparency and policing of policies.

Price and competition

Hiker crossing a bridge Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket
©LFTO

On the whole, and despite costing £400, we think the Verglas Infinity Shell stacks up reasonably well against competitors in terms of value. If you’re in the market for a top-end waterproof, models that use Gore-Tex Pro from brands such as Rab cost closer to £500.

That said, one rival that we adore (it won a Gear of the Year award from us in 2024) is the Mountain Equipment Makalu jacket. Like the Verglas Infinity Shell, the Makalu is a proper winter/alpine hardshell stacked with features but costs £300.

Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket Velcro cuff
©LFTO

In comparing the two, performance and protection are very similar. But they do differ in other areas. We think the Verglas Infinity Shell is more comfortable (it feels lighter and with better mobility), but the Makalu is tougher and has the peace of mind Gore-Tex provides.

Verdict

Hiker climbing rocks wearing Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket with LFTO star rating
©LFTO

The Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell is a great waterproof jacket for those in need of a protective outer layer to use in demanding conditions. One of standout aspects it has over many of its rivals is greater comfort – this is a trait common in many of Helly Hansen’s top-end jackets.

How we tested

Hikers in Cairngorms, wearing Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket
©LFTO

This Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket review was written by Chris Williams (our Senior Writer on LFTO), based on the feedback provided by his partner who wore the female version of the jacket. Testing primarily took place in the Scottish Cairngorms in mid spring in a range of conditions.

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