Helly Hansen Kit Review (Part 2) - Outer Layers

Over the last few weeks I have managed to test more of my HH kit. This review will look at the outer layers.

The Quebec down jacketis exactly as described: a lightweight 700+ fill power jacket that highly compressible. With adjustable cuffs, hem and hood it is a practical and snug. The sleeve and body length are generous which is good for someone like myself who is tall and has long arms. This will be perfect for my non running days. There is no doubt that this will be in the Antarctic Kit bag. 

Next: the Odin Isolator jacket. This is a very lightweight and thin, fitted jacket with primaloft filling. It is a curious garment for the uninitiated, looking like something that would not go amiss on a Charlie’s Angel. It also has a bit of a biker jacket look to it. But, boy, does it pack a punch in terms of insulation. Layered with an HH warm crew it kept me snug and warm for almost 9 hours in icy temperatures at the Loch Katrine Running Festival. The sleeve length was again generous. The body length is adequate and appropriate for the type/style of jacket. As with the Quebec jacket this will be in the Antarctic Kit bag to provide a thin, light extra layer of insulation.

The next two garments have left me with mixed emotions. The pace winter training jacket and the pro winter training pant have proved to be excellent pieces of winter training kit. The fit is good: long sleeves and leg length that I have come to expect from HH and well constructed to allow freedom of movement and flexibility. The lightweight nature and the construction of the pant is a particularly good design for a runner. The high quality shell material provides excellent wind proofing and an unexpectedly good level of water resistance. Both garments have polyester panels to provide breathability, and there lies the problem. The breathability is good and required in the climate and temperatures that I have so far tested them in, but in -20C and Katabatic winds those panels are going to leave me too vulnerable, and I can’t take the risk. They would probably fail the kit inspection also.

So, regrettably, whilst these have become staples in my UK winter training kit and I can wholeheartedly recommend them, they will probably not be in my Antarctic kit bag.

To conclude, an impressive collection of technical kit that is appropriate to my activities; but we will need to look to other kit and solutions to provide my outer shell to ensure that the risk of wind chill and frost nip are greatly reduced. Hopefully the work HH has done with the Walking With The Wounded team for their Antarctic Challenge will provide the solution.