Back in 1877, Norway-based Helly Hansen started making clothing to protect sailors from some of the worst weather on the planet. It didn't take long for skiers—a group that also battles extreme elements—to take notice. Soon, the company began applying what it knew about weather and temperature regulation at sea to gear fit for the mountains. Helly Hansen claims its new Hollow Heat (H2) Flow, a mid-layer or a stand-alone jacket, can adjust to a broad range of conditions, from sailboat to the slopes.
Here's how it works: On the outside, a layer of waterproof ripstop fabric sheds water or snow and stands up to abrasion. Inside, a hanging mesh liner pulls perspiration moisture away from your body. Sandwiched in the middle is a sheet of 200-gram insulation with various-sized holes punched in it. Those holes are like tunnels that pull your body heat into the insulation, where it's trapped.
That’s great for the lift ride, when you need the extra warmth, but when you’re bouncing through a mogul run, it’s going to be too hot. So Helly added strategic zipped vents on the outter shell that you can open—a lot or just a little—to release the trapped air and dump excess heat.
You control the air flow, so you can regulate the temperature and humidity around your core. It eliminates one of the main sources of skier suffering—the sweaty-hot/freezing-cold cycle
Where other jackets are best for a specific climate or environment, the H2Flow can handle an extreme spectrum of climates, environments and uses. A warm day can turn suddenly cold, and blue skies can quickly turn steely gray. Your body’s climate can fluctuate at an even faster rate as your internal temperature and perspiration levels vary—particularly poignant when you’re going from inactive on the lift to fully engaged skiing down. The versatile, micro-climate regulating H2Flow means you can adapt at a moment's notice, and you’ll never have to shed layers again. And for spring skiing, wear it as an outer layer. The breathable, protective shell acts as a wind and water barrier.
The tech is pretty new, so we haven't had a chance to ski in the H2Flow, but we've hiked on windy Alaskan peaks, sailed in biting winds, and ice climed in it, and it's earned two thumbs up. We can't wait to get it out on the slopes.