Over the course of the last couple years, I have steadily emptied my closet of long time favorite garments and started replacing them with offerings from Helly Hansen. This didn’t happen as a conscious decision, I’ve just slowly come to realize how much I like their products. The Helly Hansen Ask Weather Jacket might be one of my favorite pieces of all time. I also have to admit, I’m a bit of a technical apparel snob. Because good gear can often mean the difference between being comfortable and perhaps a little dead, I’m okay with spending a bit extra. That said, my pockets are far from bottomless which means I also appreciate a bargain when I see it. For the last many months I have practically lived in the Helly Hansen Svalbard Thermo Jacket, a fact recently pointed out to me by my wife when she said, “that jacket…again?” Yes, again.
The Svalbard Thermo Jacket is a light, synthetic-filled jacket using modern materials within a classic design. The ripstop nylon outer fabric is quilted in a diamond pattern, harkening to jackets of another era. Looking closely though, that quilting is not achieved with traditional stitching, but rather lines of welded dots. It makes for an attractive aesthetic and I can only imagine it is a much more durable alternative to sewn seams. The knit cuffs and collar are comfortable against my skin and the length falls just below my waist to shut out cold drafts. The oversized warming pockets are big enough to stash gloves, hats, and other daily carry items, and the deep chest pocket is perfect for my phone or shades.
What I love most about the Svalbard is that while it’s light and comfortable, it also feels solid and sturdy like a work jacket. My down pieces are often too delicate for my daily activities, but not the Svalbard. With its DWR coated ripstop exterior and synthetic fill, it shrugs off everyday indignities, as well as the occasional bit of mild moisture. Because it’s windproof, it obviously works well as an outer layer, but the trim shape and slick exterior makes the Svalbard an ideal mid-layer. At only $140, it’s hard to find a better value.