I’m a huge fan of Helly Hansen base layers. They’ve seen me through many a sub zero orienteering competition, and I’ve also worn them to keep warm on long walks in rough terrain, and when doing less strenuous activity like gardening. They’re reliable, durable and excellent value for money.
The latest line in Helly Hansen base layers is the Active Flow. It includes tops and leggings, and the tops come in a range of styles and designs. They all incorporate Helly’s new Lifa Flow technology – designed to wick moisture away from your body as quickly as possible.
There are two styles of Active Flow torso base layer – with and without a zip neck with the former costing £45 and the latter £40. Within those two styles you can go for a standard colour based option or the ‘graphic’ design. I was sent the zipped version in the brightest of the graphic designs. It is very loud indeed and won’t be to every taste, but I loved it.
Helly says the fit is ‘relaxed’ – certainly I found it comfortable to wear, not hugging the body or arms too much, and with plenty of under arm room for movement. The arms are plenty long enough too.
The crewneck of the version I was not sent doesn’t provide any neck protection, but on the zip version you get coverage into the neck. I really like that as a feature. You can leave the zip slightly down, then pull it up if you start to feel chill for that little extra bit of comfort.
The Lifa Flow technology seems very efficient. My main testing of this garment was while doing gentle kayaking, and that involves a lot of water splash. No, it is not waterproof, but when I stopped splashing about it dried out relatively quickly. The key to that is a dual layer system with the outer layer – in this case made from polyester – pulling moisture from the inner one to wick it away from the body. When working up a sweat this is important as it helps the sweat find a route away from your body so that you don’t get cold and wet, and in that respect the garment also did a great job on some long, high intensity hiking.
There’s a lot of body movement in kayaking, and plenty of potential for chafing to be caused by seams as they rub against wet skin. If you’ve ever suffered from that you’ll know it is not pleasant. Fortunately it was not the case here. The seams are flat and smooth giving a superbly comfortable wearing experience.
There are lots of good points about the Helly Hansen Active Flow half zip. It is well made, wicks well, and the zipped version I tried was a very good fit. It comes in designs to suit lots of tastes, and is perfectly good enough to wear as the only layer on occasions.
- Good wicking
- Lots of design choices
- Soft seams
- Good fit
- I didn’t experience any
Manufacturer: Helly Hansen