Helly Hansen has been making professional gear for almost 140 years. It all started when sea captain Helly Juell Hansen found a better way to stay protected in the harsh Norwegian elements. It is a well-known brand for Ski Professionals and world-class sailors across all five oceans. I gather it’s built for the snow and sea, but I wanted to find out if it’s built to last on site.
Helly Hansen have nine workwear collections, with each one focusing on a key element. My primary focus was on the Kensington Collection, which is the range of premium uppers. I wanted to see if they really got this collection down to a T. So first up was the Kensington Polo and Tech Polo Shirts which are lightweight and figure hugging. The Tech Polo is made from Tactel fabric which feels so soft next to the skin and although it’s thin it’s still durable. Another benefit is that it has a fast-drying time so if you put it in the wash last minute, there’s no need to sweat.
If a Polo shirt is not enough to keep you warm Helly Hansen also have a long sleeve in the Kensington collection. Usually with workwear I sometimes find that no matter what size you choose they are big in size, stereotypically thinking that builders are usually big. That’s not the case with Helly Hansen because again the long sleeve fits perfectly around all area. It’s not too thick nor too thin making it ideal to work in range of weather conditions.
Next up was the Kensington Shirt. I’ll be honest the tartan pattern is not usually my style, as well as being concerned about doing each individual buttons. However, they look like buttons but in fact they are quality snap buttons which makes it quick and easy to put on and take off. When I did put it on, I didn’t want to take it off as it grew on me. It also has a chest pocket with fastener closure. The flannel shirt is extremely comfortable, warm and you can immediately tell that the fabric is durable. Although it’s a thick material it still feels great to work in even if the job requires some elbow grease. That reminds me about its reinforced elbows making it long lasting.
On colder days I like to stay warm, and they have you covered with a range of jackets. There’s not one reason to have the Kensington Fleece Jacket but four as its four times more wind resistant compared to a regular fleece. It’s made from a tight knitted Polartec Wind Pro fabric which is wind and water resistant. It also has collars which keeps the neck warm and prevents the wind from travelling through the top. As expected, it has a few pockets which are zipped, for me that’s obligatory in workwear especially when having to carry valuables.
Helly Hansen have other jackets in the Kensington collection including the hooded lifaloft insulated winter jacket and the waterproof shell jacket. The insulated winter jacket is a great all year-round piece in any condition including the wet. It has advanced technology called Lifaloft and Primaloft. Lifaloft is a technical base layer which helps moves the moisture away from the skin and transports it to the surface of the skin, thus keeping you warm. Primaloft also has insulating properties and weighs little. It’s interestingly used in pillows and mattresses, so having it in workwear is a dream.
If the heavens have opened but you still need to be outside for whatever reason the Kensington Waterproof Shell Jacket is more suited to these conditions as it has waterproof and windproof fabric combined with fully taped construction ensuring you stay dry. That kind of weather is not only perfect for the ducks but also you when you’ve got this jacket on.
Although the Kensington collection focuses on the uppers, they’ve produced a new Kensington construction pant. As expected, the quality of the product is amazing and with it being a 4 way stretch fabric, they are extremely comfortable. They have knee pad pockets accessible from the inside which I prefer as it gives a clean finish from the outside, in addition this prevents the accumulation of dust collecting in the pockets.
It has plenty of pockets for your tools including the hanging pockets which are constructed from Cordura to ensure extra durability. The bonus is that these can be zipped off so at the end of the day you can take the weight of your hips and leave the pockets in the van. I was surprised to find out that the leg length can be increased by 5cm, so you won’t have to worry about growing out of them.
I was surprised to find a Kensington Trolly that’s also available in the collection. It’s 45 litres in size which is perfect for travelling for business but even fits most overhead compartments on airlines for pleasure. It’s flying high with many great features from compartments, 2-stage telescoping anodized aluminium handle, large wheels for easy transportation even on uneven terrain. Helly Hansen have plenty of other products in the bag which aren’t in the Kensington collection.
Saving the best till the last is Helly Hansens Bifrost Winter Insulated Parka. I have warmed to this jacket as it’s unbelievably warm. This is not your average jacket as it’s designed and tested alongside polar scientists. It has technology that will blow your mind and designed to be windproof, waterproof and breathable with incorporating sustainable materials. It’s virtually like a heated jacket with the H2Flow technology which regulates the body temperature. As the body temperature rises, the uniquely designed air pockets store and retain the heat you produce to keep you warm. Whereas to cool you down, the strategically placed ventilation zippers are used to release the warm air and allow a flow of cool to enter the jacket. Now that is some cool technology, and this jacket is available in black and camo!
Finally to wrap things up I’m impressed, to say the least, with the innovative technology Helly Hansen uses in their workwear. They first established workwear for the sea then snow and now site, I’m sure it’s not been plane sailing but the snowball effect it’s had after 140 years is clearly a heart-warming site to see. That’s a wrap!
Tibby Singh – www.TibbySingh.com