The Helly Hansen Verglas Hooded Down Insulator jacket is a great jacket no matter the situation. Thanks to the down insulation I am able to wear this jacket comfortably in almost any temperature, while doing almost any activity. I have absolutely no complaints about this jacket. It performs just as I would expect a down jacket to perform. Warm, breathable, lightweight, comfortable. It is a great all-arounder.
For those of you that have never owned a down jacket I really recommend trying one out. The thing about down is it is such a good insulator. This means you can wear a very small jacket and still have plenty of warmth. Yet, even with its excellent warmth, I am left never sweating because of how breathable down is. Down is rated using classifications like “600 fill” or “700 fill” to indicate the insulation capabilities of the down. I won’t go into the nitty gritty details of how these numbers are determined, but just know that the higher the number, the better the insulation will be. However, as the fill number gets higher that also means the cost does too. This particular jacket is made using 700+ fill. I guess that means that all the down used is 700 fill or better. In my opinion 700 fill is a good level because it provides great warmth without a totally ridiculous price tag. I am able to wear this jacket comfortably in temperatures ranging from 20 – 70 degrees (this range will certainly vary depending on your personal preferences). Around 20 degrees I start to get a little bit cold, but can easily fix that by layering up. Around 70 degrees it starts to get a bit warm, but it is definitely still bearable.
So what’s the catch? Why doesn’t everyone wear down jackets all the time? There are 2 main reasons in my opinion. First, the cost. These jackets are pricey. Second, down is not good in wet conditions.
This jacket will cost you $280 if you buy directly from Helly Hansen. That’s not bad, though, when you consider the versatility of the Helly Hansen Verglas Hooded Down Insulator. Like I said before, I can comfortably wear this jacket in temperatures ranging from 20 – 70 degrees. For me, that means that this is essentially the only jacket that I wear. I wear this thing to work every day, I wear it on dates, I wear it to church, I wear it snowshoeing. I wear it everywhere. In my mind, the cost is justified by how often I find myself using this jacket.
The kryptonite of down is water. As down gets wet it is no longer able to provide insulation/warmth. When down gets wet it can take a long time to dry out, especially in humid locations. A little bit of water isn’t a problem, but if you are in an area that is constantly raining then you may want to consider a synthetic insulation alternative like the Helly Hansen LIFALOFT Hooded Insulator. The other option is to throw a rain shell on top of the down jacket. That is what I do typically, but I live in Utah where rain doesn’t happen too frequently.
Pockets Are Cool
This may sound weird, but one of the things I really like about the Helly Hansen Verglas Hooded Down Insulator is the pockets. The pockets are made using a thin piece of material on one side of the pocket (between your hand and your body) and fleece on the other side (between your hand and the down insulation). The thin material on the inner side is pretty typical on down jackets, but the fleece is new to me. This allows the pocket to have a soft, yet warm feeling. The thin material allows the pockets to be directly warmed by your body, resulting in the pockets never getting cold after not being used. The fleece provides a bit of extra insulation for extra warmth, and let’s be honest… Who doesn’t like a soft pocket?
The Helly Hansen Verglas Hooded Down Insulator is a great fitting jacket. It is a nice slim fit, but is long enough to cover the bottom of most shirts. The bottom seam of the jacket has a draw string that can be used to tighten up the bottom of the jacket to keep warmth in or snow out.
If you’re at all considering getting a new jacket, and it doesn’t need to be waterproof, then I suggest taking a look at this one. It is built by a great company, with a long track record of great quality. You can read more about it, or get your own, at Helly Hansen.