Helly Hansen is one of the most highly regarded makers of outdoor clothing. The Norwegian company has a great reputation among those who spend time in extreme conditions. Sailors are well acquainted with the brand and many orienteers won’t go to any other maker for their base layer.
Such people know how rough the wind can be. Out on the open sea or tanking across windswept moorland, and of course cycling down hills at speed, the wind can be cruel. In such conditions you might not always need waterproofing from an outer layer, but wind protection is a must.
The Helly Hansen W Feather jacket provides wind protection in an extremely lightweight jacket which is easy to stow. So you can pop it on when you need it, take it off when you don’t, and easily stuff it into a pocket or light backpack or bumbag.
As someone who has orienteered on some of the bleakest landscapes in the UK, I know the value of a jacket like this. Testing for the Helly Hansen W Feather Jacket was done in part on the Norfolk Broads where the jacket protected me nicely against some whippy winds even on the sunniest of days.
There are separate designs for men and women designs, and I was sent a salmon pink women’s version to review. Yellow, blue, white and black are also available in the womens range while the mens range includes two blues, black, yellow and a green.
The material is slinky, shiny, extremely thin and pliable. It is machine washable and you can even iron it, though why you would want to is beyond me.
The design is minimalist but everything you need is here. A small pocket sits on the right hip and you can use this to carry a few odds and ends, though it primary function is to be the packing pouch. There are air vents under the arms and in the back shoulder seams.
The cuffs and bottom are slightly elasticated. There’s a hood. It does not stow away. The absence of any stow flap around the neck reduces the bulk of the jacket. The hood is generous and drawstrings let you pull it tight around your head. You can tighten it so that the sides of your face are well protected, and importantly there’s no feeling of tightness in the jacket around the neck or upper back when you do this.
I found the fit a little snug – sailors and runners may want to go a size up to ensure there’s plenty of room for manoeuvre, cyclists may be happier with a fairly body hugging design.
The lack of waterproofing will put some people off the Helly Hansen W Feather jacket, and if you like a lot of fancy features, multiple pockets, or a stowable hood then you will be disappointed here. But the windproofing is not to be argued with, and the jacket packs down to almost nothing and is a true featherweight. For those who like the great outdoor this could be a very sound investment.
- A good hood
- Elasticated wrists and bottom
- Integrated pack pocket
- Venting under arms
- Not waterproof
Manufacturer: Helly Hansen