There’s no bulk or puffiness to the sleek, dynamic and breathable Helly Hansen Odin Stretch Insulator, making it ideal as a sporty mid-layer or a good outer in mostly dry conditions.
Great for layering
Not as stretchy as its name attests
No zip garage
Not as packable as some others
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If you hate the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man/Woman puffy looks of most insulated puffer jackets, you will love the Helly Hansen Odin Stretch Insulator. Popular with hill hikers and ice climbers alike, this light synthetic jacket has insulation but no quilting, allowing for easy layering without any added bulk or restriction of movement.
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Made from four-way stretch fabric, backed by a stretch lining, Helly Hansen make much of how dynamic this jacket is, allowing plenty of movement during outdoor activities. The outer has been given the Durable Water Repellency (DWR) treatment, so it can handle light showers when worn as an outer layer. It has a hood, and other notable features include a large inside pocket.
• RRP: £200 (UK) / $277 (US) / €230 (EU)
• Fill: PrimaLoft Gold Active+ synthetic insulation
• Sizes: XS–XL
• Weight: 460g / 16.2oz
• Colors: Skagen Blue / Ice Blue / Raspberry / Melon / Royal Blue / Nightshade / Blue Tint / Black
In the field
We tested out the black version of the Odin, which has neutral looks that make it easy to wear everywhere from city streets to hillside trails.
We’re not sure the Helly Hansen Odin Stretch Insulator is quite stretchy enough to warrant a mention of that property in its name, as the only real give is in the small panels under the arms. That said, these insulation-free sections do allow for better unimpeded movement of the arms when you’re climbing or scrambling around on the crag.
On test we rated the soft fleecy inner lining, which feels comforting in the cold, plus the easily adjustable waist and protective high neck. The outer material is waterproof enough to repel light rain and snowfall, and the jacket also works well when worn with a backpack or a climbing harness – a good choice for climbers and mountaineers.
There is a great warmth-to-weight ratio at play here, especially for an entirely synthetic jacket with no down fill, but – somewhat surprisingly, given the low profile of the jacket – the Odin isn’t particularly packable. The other minor niggle we had on test was the lack of zip garage; because the zip isn’t covered at the top, it does scratch against your chin when done up.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.