Updated: Mar 7, 2021
File this one into the “Things I am using in quarantine” category Social Distancing Gear As we continue to be somewhat confined here in Ontario due to the pandemic I have been walking and hiking as a way to stay sane. At a certain point I found myself in an uncomfortable spot when it came to jackets. I needed more than a few layers and a hoodie but when I wore my big parka I was overheating, sweating and then getting chilled by the end of the walk (Like Les Stroud says, you sweat, you die lol).
After doing a bit of research I determined I wanted something in between those two options. Common wisdom pointed towards an insulated shell of either real or synthetic down. Being the Cheap Scotsman I am I waited until after Christmas to see if I could find any good deals – and I did!
Through Sportchek I ended up buying a Helly Hansen Synthetic Shell Helly Hansen Lifaloft Hooded Jacket which was on sale at 40% off so I took the plunge,
The jacket is very light bit also warm based on the Lifaloft insulation which is a proprietary technology from Helly Hansen – full specs from Helly Hansen’s site below:
Feel lighter yet warmer with our revolutionary new insulation jacket. 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.
Description of the jacket from Sportchek as well:
Stay warm without the bulk and weight with the new Lifaloft™ insulated hooded jacket. Layer up under a shell or used as a stand alone jacket packed in a lightweight windproof, water resistant and PFC free fabric.
Water resistant and windproof fabric
Fiber and down proof fabric construction
PFC Free DWR
Lifaloft™ unique quilt design
Lycra edge band around hood and cuffs for clean finish
Full inner front zipper placket for wind protection.
HH Lifaloft™ logo at front left chest
Product weight (size L): 340g
Excellent – as promised the jacket is light, warm and does a good job of fighting against wind and snow. For context I primarily wear this jacket over a t shirt and a hoodie and most walks are between 40 minutes to an hour after dark.
Great to excellent! I am going to break this into a few different chunks:
Storage– Great. The jacket has two side pockets, with zippers that are large and keep my gear (mainly a small pocketknife and lighter) snug. The odd time I have also carried a cigar cutter and a nice Dominican Robusto with no issues (I am aware that this probably negates the health benefits of a walk). The only reason I don’t say excellent is I really wish the jacket had an inside pocket – not so much for more room but personally if I have a wallet or something else I really don’t want to drop I prefer it to be in my inside pocket. Now I know you are thinking “Dumbass, put the stuff in your side pocket and zip it” and that could work but in the winter I find myself putting my hands in those side pockets to warm up from time to time and worry about pulling out the item and dropping it. I am a freak you say – you may be right but up yours this is my review!
Warmth – excellent, within reason. On a few websites I found that this jacket was rated for weather as low as - 10 Celsius. I would agree with this assessment. I have actually had it on a few times when it was colder than -10 and once I started walking I was fine. I also really like the hood. When its really windy its nice to pull the hood up over my tuque to keep my ears and face warm. I would point out that if you are looking for a jacket where you will be sitting around, not active then I think there are better choices like a parka etc. This jacket in my opinion really shines for activities where you will be working and generating some internal body heat.
Style and Fit– fine. I say fine because I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To be honest when I first looked at the jackets, I was a bit turned off by how glossy and futuristic they look online. I chose the matt black colour and will say that it is much more muted than it appeared, and I quite like it. I am 6 foot 2 and 220 lbs. I chose XL and it’s a perfect fit with the layers I typically wear when using the jacket. I have included a picture of my jacket (with me in it) as a counterbalance to the images you will see online. Personally, I care much more about fit, warmth and price when I was looking and this jacket has hit the mark so far. Most times I could care less about “style” for my outdoor gear.
Great to Excellent. If you look around for synthetic insulation jackets they are generally pricey, on average I would say over $200 Cdn. Primaloft® seems to be positioned as the gold standard and for jackets with that fill they tend to be even more expensive (note Lifaloft® is a Helly Hansen/Primaloft collaboration) I paid $170 for this jacket with the 40% discount and was very happy – so my advice if you are interested – start watching now (middle of Feb) until end of March as retailers start to clear these out. The jacket I got was still on sale at Sportchek the last time I checked.
Yes – I would totally recommend this jacket. I have been using it almost every day for a few months now and have no complaints. With proper layering it is exactly what I wanted. A jacket that keeps me warm and dry but not so much that I am sweating profusely at the end of an hour walk. I am also excited to take this jacket for around camp on our fly in trips. Even at the end of August when we travel first thing in the morning and sitting around the campfire at night gets quite cool. We have had two trips where it’s gotten as cold as +2 degrees when the sun goes down.
PS - as always, I am not affiliated or motivated in any way with any of the brands reviewed (Open to it though lol)