23 November 2017
+ This is an impressively protective and well-built jacket, with a tough 70-denier fabric used throughout and reinforced panels at the elbows and hem. The two external pockets are the best we’ve seen on an outdoor jacket, with innovative two-way zips for easy access even with a rucksack on. They can easily accommodate an OS map but also have stretch inserts to stop essentials getting lost in their cavernous depths. A soft, brushed neck collar and chin guard enhance comfort levels. If you’ve ever struggled with sticky zips in the pouring rain, you’ll also appreciate the smooth action of both the pit zips and the main zip, which glide like a knife through butter.
- The hood, while perfectly serviceable, does not move particularly well with the head, and overall fit could be refined – a shame, as the hood design doesn’t match up to the high levels of the rest of the jacket. There is no inner pocket either, and we would have liked reinforced shoulders to prevent abrasion from pack straps. Although the breathability wasn’t an issue during testing, on paper the moisture vapour transmission specs of Helly Hansen’s own 3-layer membrane are not quite as high as Gore-Tex Pro, eVent or Polartec Neoshell.
VERDICT: In Norse mythology, Odin was known to travel throughout the nine worlds – hence the unusual name of this new premium mountaineering jacket from Norwegian brand Helly Hansen. It’s a durable, heavy-duty jacket with innovative features, like the practical pockets with their two-way zips, which is the stand-out feature of this shell. Hood design could be refined, but other than that and a couple of very minor missing details, there is little to fault.