Helly Hansen LIFA Merino ½ zip


Helly Hansen are relentless in their development of new fabrics and the LIFA merino is a fantastic example, it combines the best technical man-made yarns with all natural merino wool, to deliver outstanding warmth with wicking ability, keeping you comfortable whatever you do to keep fit and active.


A base which combines technical man-made yarns with all natural merino wool, to deliver outstanding warmth with wicking ability


The Helly Hansen LIFA Merino ½ zip base layer brings together Helly Hansen’s tried and tested LIFA Stay Warm fabric with our favourite material; glorious, warm and all natural Merino wool, in a long sleeved base layer that offers serious warmth, as well as impressive moisture management.  It has quickly become our favourite winter base layer and we have been using it on the bike, in the gym and any time we need a bit of extra warmth, be that a brisk walk or a stretch session.


Whatever you do to keep fit and active, you need a base layer which is both insulating and able to move moisture away from the body, and that is what the Helly Hansen Lifa Merino ½ zip does so perfectly.  Which means you may have to buy more than one and given that there are six colour options in the Graphic range, seven in the colour block range, two classic and a Canada Ski inspired  version available, we think you will agree there is something for everyone, every day of the week!


Helly Hansen Lifa Merino ½ zip


The HH LIFA Merino is the warmest base layer in their range and we have found it perfect on the bike, because it allows us to train using it alone under a good winter jacket.  We really don’t enjoy piling on the layers to keep warm, so we have loved that this lets us to go easy on the bulky clothes, even in sub-zero temperatures.  From experience it also works really well for running, skiing and walking too.


The key to the awesome performance of this base layer is in the fabrics Helly Hansen have used, which combine so perfectly to produce a base layer that keeps you warm and which has truly excellent wicking abilities, moving moisture away from the body very effectively.  Layering for winter rides is always more difficult than for any other season, because initially it is about keeping warm but you don’t want to over-do the layers, because if you over-heat even the most technical garments will struggle to move massive amounts of sweat away from the body and the result can be the wind chill which will leave you feeling really cold and miserable. 


It is however wholly possible to ride in cold weather without getting cold if you are smart about your layers and, of course, that is all about having the right gear.  So when we say the Helly Hansen LIFA Merino ½ zip is tried, tested and highly recommended, you can be sure we have worn it over and over again, in all conditions and it has never once let us down.


With the Helly Hansen LIFA Merino ½ zip, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole; the inner layer of Helly Hansen LIFA Stay Warm fabric is wonderfully soft against the skin and incredibly hard working when it comes to moving sweat away from the body.  This Polypropylene fabric retains 40 times less water than polyester, is 40% lighter and with a 60% better insulation to weight ratio.  It is also naturally anti-bacterial, 100% hypo-allergenic and 100% recyclable. 


Some impressive numbers but that is only half of the story, because added to that is the outer layer of Merino wool which is particularly good at regulating body temperature and when you do break out in a sweat, it wicks moisture away efficiently too.  Merino is also slightly water-repellent and in common with most wools, contains lanolin, which has natural antibacterial properties and so it does not get smelly with use.


The design of the Helly Hansen LIFA Merino ½ zip is body skimming, which is important to optimise the wicking properties, and it is also generous in length, so there is plenty to tuck in and protect the lower back.  The arm length is great too, so you can stretch and never feel the fabric pulling or tugging.  Add to this a slightly raised neck line, secured with a half zip, which ensures the perfect snug fit and great protection for the neck against the cold and it is a design which leaves us wanting for nothing and it has been said we are pretty demanding!


So if you want to keep active whatever the weather, the Helly Hansen LIFA Merino ½ zip will quickly become your go to base, boasting two “super-fabrics” which deliver warmth and the ability to wick away sweat like nothing you will have experienced before.  Wearing is believing ...


Sizes: XS – XL

Colour: too many glorious options to mention

Price: £75 to £80

Website:  Graphic www.hellyhansen.com lifa-merino-graphic 

Classic www.hellyhansen.com lifa-merino-classic

Colour block www.hellyhansen.com lifa-merino-1-2-zip


Performance: 9.5/10      

Value for money: 9/10


Tested by Jan Birkmyre



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