Last updated: 17-Aug-18
Insulated jackets, whether down, synthetic or a combination of both, are a great product for ultra runners. They offer warmth before and after races and while stopping or overnighting during longer events.
Jackets need to be light and packable as well as being warm and wearable.
The Helly Hansen Verglas down jacket comes in a vest or a jacket, with or without a hood. Insulation is European goose down combined with a water-repellent-treated Pertex outer shell for water and wind resistance.
Helly Hansen Verglas – Features
- Pertex microlight ripstop fabric
- Durable Water Repellency treatment (DWR)
- 85/15 European goose down
- 700+ fill
- Full front zip
- Lycra edging on hood and cuffs
- Bottom hem adjustment
- Two zipped hand pockets
- Weight (Size M women’s): 400 g
- CIS compatible
- Male and female designs
- Price: starts at £160
Photo credit: Helly Hansen.
Pros: What’s good about Helly Hansen Verglas down jacket
This lightweight down jacket is one of the warmest I have tried. It might not be as light as the Ghost Whisperer, but in terms of warmth it is hard to beat, unless you buy one of the puffier Michelin-man style ready-for the-Antarctic jackets.
The design and styling is well thought out. The women’s medium size, for example, is a comfortable fit for me and I am usually a UK10/12. The arm and torso length give good coverage and it means I can fit the jacket over thinner mid-layers if I need even more warmth on a very chilly day.
For ultra runners the comfort fit is useful if you are stopping mid-race or need a jacket to pop on at the start or end of a race. Most runners will be wearing various layers and it’s nice to have a jacket with room to fit over everything.
That said, it’s not a baggy jacket. The style, especially the women’s, is flattering. It might be hard to believe that a down jacket can be flattering but when it is designed well it can be. The Helly Hansen is curved in all the right places.
The soft lycra edge to the cuffs and hood is a thoughtful extra and does make a difference to how the jacket feels on the skin.
The inside of the pockets is also a soft fabric, which is a lovely extra touch.
The new and up-dated version of the Verglas hooded has a useful elastic toggle adjustor for the hood, which is a good idea in windy conditions.
In drizzle or slight rainy conditions the outer shell works well to repel the rain. The DWR caused the rain to roll off the jacket. Again, this is useful if you are wearing it in damp conditions.
The fabric is fairly hard-wearing and looks like it would stand some rough and tumble in the outdoors.
The jacket also fits into the Helly Component Insulation System (CIS), which allows the jacket to be fitted into other garments, for example, to make a fully waterproof 3-in-1 jacket.
The range of colours and sizes is also good. I love the colour contrasts of outer and inner fabrics in the women’s range.
Photo credit: Helly Hansen.
Cons: What’s not so good about Helly Hansen Verglas down jacket
The fit is good but a little on the small size. I’d normally (UK size 10/12 wear a small but I ended up with a medium so it fitted across the shoulders and in the length. I would suggest you buy a size up from normal, or try on before buying.
Instead of utilising new styles of treated hydrophobic down, Helly Hansen has chosen to treat the outer shell with DWR for water repellency and use traditional down.
This works well with a new jacket but DWR does wear out – and it always does! It will need to be retreated to stay waterproof. Re-treatments are possible but I think, on balance, I’d prefer a jacket with hydrophobic down.
The jacket is not designed to stuff into a pocket and nor does it come with a stuff bag. You could easily stuff it into a small dry bag for stowing but it would have been a handy extra to have a bag provided.
A zipped inner security pocket would have been useful.
The fully hooded jacket is £200, which is cheaper than the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer but still pricier than other similar jackets with more advanced down technology.
The Helly Hansen Verglas down jacket is fairly lightweight jacket that scores well on warmth and water-repellency.
Other jackets you may want to consider:
Jack Wolfskin Argo jacket
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer jacket
Arc’teryx Cerium LT jacket
Berghaus Furnace hooded jacket
About the writer: Fiona is a keen runner, preferring off-road and hilly to flat and road. She lives in Scotland where the weather is fickle so needs to be prepared for all conditions.
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For more jacket reviews have a look at:
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
Jack Wolfskin Argo
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