If you grew up skiing, or anywhere near cold temps as a kid, the thought of Helly Hansen likely conjures up images—maybe even a smell—of a certain synthetic base layer with angled black and white stripes down the sleeves. For many, this writer included, the iconic long sleeve was an initial introduction into how to dress properly when partaking in outdoor activities. Which, when you boil it down, is the very essence of the Norwegian outfitter. For 140 years Helly Hansen has been making reliable outerwear and base layers for every segment from sailing and skiing to general outdoor adventuring. Their new 140-Year Collection celebrates this heritage with a TK piece line designed with city use in mind.
We recently had the opportunity to test the collection’s front runner, the Sailing Jacket, during an afternoon of sailing around New York City in the Hudson. Yep, you read that right. The rare treat allowed us the opportunity to not only get cozy in a giant new jacket, but also learn how to yank some lines and set some sails (obviously the lesson didn’t turn us into sailors). Either way, the sturdy, slightly oversized jacket kept the wind and ocean (river?) spray at bay.
We also put the Pile Fleece, another standout from the collection, to the test during a few days in Jackson, WY late last month. Originally designed in 1961 as a breathable layer with impressive warmth to weight ratio, the classic mid layer proved more than capable in the surprising below freezing temps we encountered both in town and in Grand Teton National Park. The fleece is definitely the most attractive, versatile piece in the collection, but be warned, the sleeves are cut very narrow, so don’t expect to wear much more than a T-shirt under this fleece.
Other standouts of the collection include an update on the previously mentioned unisex Lifa base layer, of course. And some hecken cool mittens.
Each piece is designed with urban use in mind, but don’t let that dissuade you—this collection will surely keeping you protected from most all elements you’re likely to encounter this fall and winter. After all, the 140-year-old brand is hanging its reputation on it.