SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Stay Warm and Dry On the Move with the Lightweight Lifaloft Insulator Jacket by Helly Hansen

Call me seriously impressed with a new offering by Helly Hansen.

For about the last month, I’ve been trying out the Lifaloft Insulator Jacket, and it’s been a bit of a revelation.

This jacket is amazingly light and thin, yet amazingly warm as a piece of active wear. It’s made with fiber and down proof fabrics, along with the Lifaloft lightweight insulation. It’s been so awesome it’s pretty much blown me away.

“Feel lighter yet warmer with our revolutionary new insulation jacket,” Helly Hansen proclaims on its website. “An exclusive collaboration combining our unique LIFA® technology with Primaloft® insulation and extensive expertise in synthetic insulation. The new LIFALOFT™ insulation retains more heat while remaining lightweight and comfortable during even the most intensive activities.”

I haven’t had quite enough snow to go snowshoeing as yet, but as a winter hiking jacket and for shoveling my 300-foot driveway, it’s been incredibly useful.

Lightweight, Warm, and Dry On The Move

The hooded version of the jacket is what I’ve been trying out. It’s as light as a windbreaker but remarkably warm while moving around. It’s definitely not a “standing-around” piece of apparel. This jacket is designed to keep you warm while you’re moving, and it might be one of the ultimate items of apparel for that I’ve ever encountered.

Since it’s so lightweight (0.84 lbs for a size large), it will also easily double as a mid-layer as occasion demands, in truly cold weather. On its own, I’ve worn it in temperatures down to -13 Celsius, and I’ve been completely comfortable while on the move.

Even better, it’s treated with a durable water repellent finish, and the insulation itself rejects moisture and is wicking. I’ve had some wet snow and rain simply slide off this jacket, which is very helpful.

It doubles up as a great car coat too. The lack of bulk makes it perfect for driving.

Keep A Look Out For Fit and Accessories

There are a few minor shortcomings in the jacket, though. The fit is a bit questionable, especially through the torso, where I found it runs tight… and that’s after I’ve dropped nearly 50 pounds and several inches due to some ongoing medical problems. A looser fit would definitely help, as would the double zipper I always look for in a longer winter jacket.

The hood is quite functional and the size is about right for me, although it lacks any adjustment if needed.

There are two hand-warmer pockets, and two interior pockets at the bottom. An addition of a chest pocket, whether internal or external, would be welcome.

It also lacks a carrying pouch, which would be a highly-useful addition.

Those aren’t much more than minor quibbles, though. All in all, this is a jacket I wouldn’t want to be without, and I’m using it far more than anything else I have in my closet currently.

The Helly Hansen Lifaloft Insulator Jacket is available in 5 colors: graphite black, grenadine, black matte, Olympian blue, and black. The jacket can be purchased at hellyhansen.com.

Helly Hansen provided the Lifaloft Insulator Jacket for testing by Snowshoe Magazine. The opinions expressed in this article, however, are the writer’s own honest opinion of the product. 

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