Helly Hansen Women’s LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator Jacket


The Helly Hansen Women’s LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator Jacket is full of surprises.  It is a high performance top layer that is lightweight, warm and breathable but without the bulk.  Which means that HH have been able to make it flattering and feminine too. 


Helly Hansen Women’s LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator Jacket


We knew that the Helly Hansen Women’s LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator Jacket was going to be something special just by the way the lovely people at Helly Hansen talked about it and they practically insisted that we try it.  Not that we put up any resistance to trying Helly Hansen kit but there was an excitement about this that was different and now that we have had a chance to wear it we understand completely!


The Helly Hansen Women’s LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator Jacket is incredibly lightweight but packs a serious punch when it comes to warmth.  We have always loved down jackets but they do tend to be bulky and in addition to that, while they are great for warmth, they can result in overheating if you are doing anything strenuous.  With the development LIFALOFT it seems that Helly Hansen has redefined what is possible but, it seems, that did not come easy.  They worked with the Swedish Ski Team for four years to come up with a solution that uses PrimaLoft’s expertise in synthetic insulation, which they the combined with their LIFA fibre technology.  The result is a jacket that is quite unlike anything we have worn before; water repellent, warm without being bulky and with enough breathability to allow moisture to move away from the body. 


In case you haven’t heard the name before, PrimaLoft refers to both the company and their brand of synthetic microfiber thermal insulation material, which was first developed for the United States Army in the 1980s.  Helly Hansen have included Primaloft’s insulation in quilted panels and combined with their own LIFA fabric and LIFALOFT is born – see what they did there?  They tell us that it has a lighter fibre structure and traps more air to give greater warmth than standard insulation – a 20% lighter warmth to weight ratio than comparable products apparently.  What we know is that you don’t feel like you are wearing a duvet and that lack of bulk also allows the design to be flattering to the figure, while still being seriously warm, with the LIFA element adding a level of breathability that was quite unexpected. 


Helly Hansen Women’s LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator Jacket


In fact the Helly Hansen Women’s LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator Jacket is so slim we were able to layer it under a waterproof shell when the weather turned wet, but other than when we needed to keep the rain out, this jacket was plenty warm enough as a top layer on its own, over a Helly Hansen base of course.  We’ve been wearing it for winter hikes and on the coldest of days for runs too and we found it kept us dry when we got caught in a light shower.  If you do get badly caught out though, you can take comfort in the fact that the hydrophobic properties of the LIFA fabric means you stay warm even when it is wet


The “hybrid” nature of the Helly Hansen Women’s LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator is what makes this jacket so perfect for outdoor activity and adventures.  It refers to the use of insulated fabric, where you need warmth most, alongside highly breathable, fleece backed, soft shell panels which have been incorporated into the design to allow for optimum body temperature management and for moisture to wick away from the body.  These lighter, breathable panels run up the sides of the body, under the arms and around the lower body and lower arms – simple and highly effective.  And it is worth noting that if you need more warmth, there is a fully insulated, non-hybrid version available too LIFALOFT insulator.


Helly Hansen Women’s LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator Jacket


There are some really nice touches that demonstrate the love that has gone into designing this jacket.  First of all it is worth a mention that the insulated panels are made from a down proof fabric and certainly we have not seen even a hint of the down poking through the jacket we have had on test, despite some heavy wear.  In addition to that Helly Hansen have included an insulated strip of material which runs behind the zip and this works very effectively to keep out cold air that might sneak in through the zip.  And there are two deep zipped pockets.  We loved that these pockets are windproof, so even when they are unzipped hands are kept warm and cold air is prevented from reaching your core.  To that end, there is an adjustable elasticated drawstring around the bottom of the jacket for when you really need to keep the elements at bay and we found the insulated hood works really well too.


Overall the Helly Hansen Women’s LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator Jacket is beautifully designed and finished.  The length of the body and arms were perfect to allow for movement without any riding up and seams are taped, even the zips are top quality YKK.  All this and it is PFC free too so there is no environmental cost from nasty pollutants either.


We love everything about the Helly Hansen Women’s LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator Jacket, it is a stunning top layer; light, warm and breathable, whilst also being flattering and feminine.  Functional clothing never looked or felt this good before and it is a jacket that will keep you active right through winter.


Sizes: XS – XL

Colours: Blue Haze, Graphite, Wild Rose, Black

Price: £160.00

Website:  Hellyhansen.com LIFALOFT Hybrid Insulator


Performance: 10/10       

Value for money: 9/10


Tested by Jan Birkmyre



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