Helly Hansen - First Kit Test & Review

Typically, just when I need to try out winter kit, we have a spell of mild weather: not ideal.

I chose the following items and a did a 20 mile run up at Loch Katrine:

Pace Sports Bra

Racing Light Suit

Pace Winter Training Jacket

I also took along the Warm Beanie and Polartec glove but these were quickly stashed away in my back pack to be tested on another less clement day.

The Pace Sports bra was a bit of a revelation, and exceeded my expectation. It is a compression style crop top suitable for high impact sports, constructed using the HH Lifa Stay dry, and HH Cool technology. The fit was good and comfortable and it provided superior wicking. The support was excellent also, although I might be tempted to try a smaller size for comparison (medium rather than large). The only minor niggle was a tiny amount of chafing caused by the round chest band after just under 4 hours of running. This is not an uncommon issue with sports bras and I have yet to find a completely chafe free bra.  These will definitely going into my Antarctic kit bag.

The Racing Light Suit is very lightweight and very close fitted and first impression does not suggest winter kit. It could almost be described as being like a skin layer. As someone who does not particularly like close fitting garments I found it far more comfortable than I was expecting. The wicking properties were again excellent. It had a better level of insulation than I anticipated and in 8 – 9 degrees C was a little too warm at times. This is a nice piece of kit that will perform well on its own on milder winter days or with a shell layer on colder days. Unfortunately it is not a candidate for my Antarctic kit bag, but will definitely be in my UK winter kit bag for the forthcoming D33 and the Highland Fling.

The Pace Winter Training Jacket, is a winter shell layer constructed to protect against the wind and at the same time provide breathability and free movement. This fit is good and movement easy. As someone with long arms I found the generous sleeve length to be a great bonus. It is certainly cosy, and did a thorough job keeping the breeze out. I also got the feeling that it would cope well in much windier conditions. Further testing will be needed as I got too warm and had to take it off during my run. The polyester panels which provide the breathability are efficient and well placed, and whilst I enjoyed the benefits of them on my run, I suspect that they might be an area of concern in very extreme conditions. I think that with the relevant base layers, it would stand up well in calm Antarctic conditions, but that if the wind were to be more than a breeze the polyester panels would be an area of vulnerability. Further testing pending, this will probably be in the Antarctic kit bag.

Further kit testing and reviews will follow.