Early this year, Altitude Sports sent me a brand new Helly Hansen Lifaloft Insulator Jacket (note that mine is the hoodless version, although I’d definitely recommend getting one with a hood) to test out during the end of winter and spring. It was so new that it wouldn’t even be for sale until this fall, which is why I’m posting my review now. Aside from making me feel super badass, this meant that I was able to wear it for quite a long time.
The Helly Hansen Lifaloft Insulator is a super lightweight and packable “puffy” jacket. The one I received has a shiny black, water-resistant/windproof exterior.
Lifaloft is Helly Hansen’s newest insulation which combines their LIFA® technology with Primaloft® insulation. According to their website, Lifaloft is 20% lighter than standard insulation due to lighter fibres and increased air pockets.
Before we get into the details, I’m a huge fan of puffy jackets. They are the BEST and if you EVER go outside, you should definitely have one. I bring at least one with me everywhere (except in the hottest of summer months). If I’m not wearing it or packing it, it’s waiting in my car for my return. It’s a piece of heaven after a long, cold, soaking wet, typical Vancouver trail run.
I wore this jacket everywhere. From the ocean to the mountains and around the city. On rainy runs around the park, on snowy hikes with elevation gain, and on walks to the store with a 17 lb baby strapped to my front and a pack of groceries on by back. Looking back, I probably should have washed it more often, oops!
One of the main reasons I wore this jacket everywhere is that it packs up nicely. It’s so easy to stash in a hiking pack or larger running pack (or even a diaper bag). My only suggestion for Helly Hansen is to add a little pocket for packing the jacket into itself.
Often with technical gear, the lighter you go the less durable it is. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with the Lifaloft Insulator jacket. I was a little concerned I’d tear it before getting good photos for my review but it has proven to be quite durable. I wore this with both a baby in a carrier and a backpack and there are no signs of wear from the straps.
While it’s definitely not a rain jacket, I found the water resistance was adequate for a short time out in light rain.
I have a hard time quantifying the warmth of a jacket. But in the interest of trying, I’d say it’s a good level of warmth for walking and hiking in cool to cold weather or running in quite cold weather or light snow. For me, it’s not warm enough on its own for standing still outside in the freezing cold, but then again I’ve been known to layer puffy jackets (you can never have too many). It’s also perfect for layering under a waterproof shell.
Fit & fashion
I’m 5’7 and 150 lbs and the medium fits me perfectly. It has a flattering tailored fit with elastic wrists and an adjustable drawstring at the bottom to help keep the heat in. It fits long, which is a must for me, and has a curved hem in the back providing some bum coverage.
There is lots of storage with two decently-sized, zippered pockets on the outside and as well as two non-zippered pockets on the inside.
After a heatwave and oodles of wildfires across our province and the associated smokiness, I’m super ready for the fall and excited by the prospect of cooler temperatures. I’ll be breaking this jacket out again soon to go on some cool, wet, and muddy Vancouver area adventures. And rewarding myself with a pumpkin spice latte after, of course!