This is a cosy down jacket for general cold-weather wear, with a versatile design, hybrid fill and super-soft fabrics that feel luxurious and inviting.
- Zoned-down and synthetic fill for improved moisture resistance
- Excellent hood (though not climbing helmet-compatible)
- Plenty of practical pockets
- Mid-range fill power down
- Down fill not hydrophobic
- Slightly baggy cuffs
Helly Hansen Verglas Glacier Down Jacket: first impressions
The Helly Hansen Verglas Glacier Down Jacket is a stylish but functional-looking puffy, with a sculpted fit that still allows plenty of room for layers. The midi baffles allow for good mobility and give a fairly trim silhouette, whilst still providing plenty of space for the 700 fill power down to loft, delivering welcome warmth.
As with all the best down Jackets and puffers the Verglas Glacier is intelligently constructed for damp conditions too. Though the down fill itself has no hydrophobic treatment to improve resistance to moisture, the fill is zoned, so that areas such as the hood, shoulders, chest panel, armpits and sleeve ends all use Primaloft Silver synthetic fill, in a 133gsm weight (see also: down vs synthetic insulation: which is best for keeping warm?). These are all areas that are prone to getting damp, so these measures ensure continued insulating performance in poor conditions.
It’s well-specced when it comes to features. The well-designed, close-fitting hood has three-point adjustment to ensure a close, snug fit. It’s well-insulated with that Primaloft fill and the chin zips up almost to the nose for excellent face protection. Admittedly, the low-profile hood design is not helmet-compatible, but then this is an all-rounder of a jacket, not a dedicated climbing/mountaineering piece for technical use.
Despite that, it’s reasonably light and packable, with a handy stuff sack included for easier compressibility. This is also attached to the jacket itself, with a handy tab inside the right-hand pocket to prevent loss.
You get plenty of practical pockets too, consisting of two mesh stretch inner dump pockets, a roomy zippered inner security pocket and two snug outer handwarmer pockets, both zippered.
• RRP: $340 (US) / £260 (UK)
• Sizes: Men’s XS / S / M / L / XL / XXL Women’s XS / S / M / L / XL
• Weight (men's medium): 561g / 1lb 3.8oz
• Fill: 700FP 850/15 Allied Down RDS-certified and bluesign-approved European goose down with PrimaLoft Silver (133gsm) synthetic fill in hood, shoulder and chest panel, underarm and sleeve ends
• Colors: Sparrow Grey / Bright Orange / Black
Helly Hansen Verglas Glacier Down Jacket: on the trails
Although the nature of a down jacket means that most are soft and comfortable, the Verglas Glacier is exceedingly so. In fact, it feels positively luxurious, which we attributed partly to the generous down and Primaloft fill, but also to the super soft fabric. It’s a 20-denier ripstop nylon, so is reasonably tough, but it also has an extremely soft handle that just feels great to wear. That makes it a superb all-day jacket as well as a very welcome extra layer to pull out of your pack on cold-weather hikes.
The relatively generous fit offers plenty of length in the torso to provide full protection and coverage. It also allows room for layers underneath, though in turn that makes it less useful as a mid layer to wear under a waterproof shell. Then again, as its chunkier baffle design suggests, this isn’t really intended as a layering piece – instead it’s best utilized as an all-round insulator for general outdoor use.
We really liked the functionality. It’s got a great hood, plenty of practical pockets, and some nice little added extras too – like a soft chin guard, a full-length baffle behind the two-way main zip, plus top and bottom press studs for added security. The pockets are also half-lined with microfleece for added plushness, and the hem drawcord can be cinched in via a hidden toggle inside the left-hand pocket – a very neat piece of design. Our only niggle was with the cuffs, which despite being elastic-bound, are still ever so slightly baggy and therefore occasionally leak a little heat, especially if you’re moving your arms around. Wearing this jacket with gloves eliminated this issue altogether, though.
The Helly Hansen Verglas Glacier Down Jacket is reasonably light and packable – and the only way to really boost its warmth would be to employ a higher fill power down, and possibly to upgrade the Primaloft Silver synthetic fill to a Gold fill. Then again, the jacket is cosy enough as it is, and to improve it would push up the price. It certainly isn’t the cheapest jacket around even at this price point, but it is a solid performer, whilst also being well-designed and well-made.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.
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