Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Waterproof Jackets

Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell | Review

An eco-friendly jacket made to withstand the harsh weather of the Norwegian Fjords

Why We Chose It: Eco-friendly, innovative membrane, very protective

The Verglas jacket has been around for nearly a decade now and it’s been a popular offering from Swedish brand Helly Hansen. Now, however, it’s been re-launched, with new recycled fabrics, a non-chemical based membrane and a PFC-free outer fabric.

Photo: Chris Johnson

Who Is The Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell Jacket For?

This is one of those waterproof jackets that will suit a range of outdoor activities, from simple day hikes, through to backpacking and even backcountry skiing and climbing. Made using a super tough three-layer fabric that feels much like Gore-tex Pro, it’s the kind of jacket that’ll help you see out some very rough conditions. At 471g, it is a little on the heavy side, however, so it probably won’t be that ideal for most ultralight hikers or trail runners.

Materials

The Verglas now uses Helly Hansen’s Lifa Infinity membrane which is made out of the same polypropylene hydrophobic fibres that Helly Hansen make their famous baselayers out of. It’s microporous, meaning that moisture can escape through the jacket from the inside when it’s in vapour form, but nothing in liquid form can seep through from the outside.

Not only is the membrane free from any eco-hazardous chemicals but so too is the face fabric. This is treated with a PFC-free DWR for water repellency.

As is the case with just about all jackets that are PFC-free, over time we did see some degradation to that DWR so you’ll want to top up the treatment to the Verglas after periods of heavy use by washing the jacket with a tech wash like Nikwax TX Direct.

Features

This jacket might have a smart and simple look to it, but there are still plenty of features here. These include large pit zip vents, a three-way adjustable hood, a hem cinch and Velcro tabs on the cuff. You also get two huge pockets on the torso that can be used as handwarmers or for storing a bunch of stuff. You could easily get an OS map, or a pair of gloves into them, and they’re nicely located so you can access them even when you’re wearing a climbing harness or a backpack with a hipbelt.

Also, Helly Hansen don’t mention this on their website, but this jacket also has a RECCO reflector. Obviously that’s something that you’d obviously hope would never come of use, but it’s somewhat reassuring to have.

Photo: Chris Johnson
Photo: Chris Johnson

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, editor of Outdoors Magic

“This has a very dependable feel to it. If I looked at the weather forecast ahead of a trip and saw some rough stuff on the way, I’d be reaching for this. I think I’d also turn to it for any trips that might involve a bit of scrambling over abrasive rock. 

“The breathability is good, offering a similar performance, I’d say to Gore-tex Pro in that regard. You’ve also got those handy zipped vents for dumping heat during any particularly strenuous moments, though it’s a bit of a shame that the zips aren’t two-way.

 “It’s an expensive, but pretty darn impressive jacket.”

“I really like the size of the pockets on the torso, in particular the fact that they can easily swallow a map and more. These aren’t fully waterproof but they’re certainly highly water resistant. I found myself happy to store my phone inside one of them during a walk through some heavy rain. 

“As for the fit, I’m 5 foot 10 and about 11 stone and found the size M (my usual size) fitted me nicely, with room underneath for a thick 60gsm PrimaLoft jacket. It’s cut quite short at the hem, reaching just about halfway down my trouser pockets.

Photo: Chris Johnson

“The hood is excellent, offering good protection, moving with the head and giving room for a helmet underneath. It has a very slight peak to keep the rain off your face.

“After using this pretty much right through two weeks of continuous rain in Wales (wouldn’t expect anything less from my home country) I was happy with the Verglas’s performance, though I’d say it’s due a bit of tech washing now as the shell fabric has started to wet out in places. If you want a jacket that gets round that problem, it’s worth considering the next option up in the range, which is the Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity Pro Shell. That jacket not only uses Helly Hansen’s Lifa fibres in the membrane but in the outer shell fabric too, and the result is something that, from what I’ve seen, is slightly more water repellent thanks to the hydrophobic yarns and their incredibly tight weave construction. It’s an expensive, but pretty darn impressive jacket.”

Ash Routen, expedition writer and photographer

“Helly Hansen pitch the Verglas as an all-round shell for all outdoor adventures, but it seems particularly well-suited for mountain and ski activities. One of the first things I noticed when putting the Verglas on is the chunky zipper pull – finally, a premium hard shell with a decent zipper pull that isn’t fiddly and is easy to grab with gloves on.

“The Verglas features these huge hand pockets with two-way zippers, which are nice and roomy and can easily store a map, food, head torch and more. They’re also at a good height to allow access when wearing a rucksack.”

Photo: Chris Johnson

Helly Hansen Verglas Infinity Shell

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