Home Gear Reviews Stay warm and dry on the trails with Helly Hansen hiking gear

Stay warm and dry on the trails with Helly Hansen hiking gear

by Karen Ung

Stay warm and dry on the trails with Helly Hansen hiking gear including the Verglas 3L Shell Jacket, Lifaloft Hooded Insulator Jacket, and Vanir Hybrid Pants

Good hiking gear is essential to keeping warm (or cool) and dry on the trails no matter the season. We recommend carrying a shell and puffy jacket year-round, and wearing a breathable, moisture-wicking top and abrasion-resistant hiking pants so you will be prepared for sudden weather changes. Recently, we have been testing Helly Hansen’s Verglas 3L Shell Jacket, Lifaloft Hooded Insulator Jacket, and Vanir Hybrid Pants. Here’s how they measured up! (Spoiler: Their hiking gear is just as amazing as their ski wear!)

Disclosures: 1. Helly Hansen provided jackets for review purposes and a discount on the hiking pants, but all words and opinions are my own. 2. This story contains affiliate links through which I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting our website!



Helly Hansen Verglas 3L Shell Jacket

Helly Hansen Verglas 3L Shell Jacket in Skagen Blue (also available in Forest Green)

We love that the Helly Hansen Verglas 3L Shell Jacket is waterproof, windproof, and breathable and has all thoughtful details you’d expect of a high-quality shell jacket:

  • Helly Tech® Professional 3-layer fabric construction with DWR C6 + hydrophilic lamination is Helly’s equivalent to Goretex. After purchasing many Helly Hansen jackets over the years, I can confirm they are waterproof and durable!
  • Fully-taped seams ensure no moisture leaks in, while pit zips provide ventilation to prevent condensation build-up. Pro tip: leave vents partly/completely open on ascents so you don’t overheat.
  • A generously sized, adjustable hood fits over your climbing/bike helmet but also fits well without a helmet thanks to handy toggles at the front and back. The brim keeps rain off your face and high neck keeps cold air out.
  • Adjustable wrist cuffs allow a perfect fit over gloves to keep warmth in and cold out. The velcro tabs are also helpful if you’re vertically challenged like me and find the sleeves a wee bit long.
  • The shock corded lower hem may be adjusted from the cords in your pockets once you’ve put the jacket on! In seconds, the lower hem can be cinched up to keep drafts out. So convenient!
  • Two large pockets easily fit your phone and wallet.
  • Longer length for rain protection (see more below)
  • Light weight

Since it is a shell, the Verglas 3L jacket allows room for layering, but fits well. At 5’3″ and 120 pounds, I take size Small and can easily fit a fleece or down jacket underneath, as well as a thermal long-sleeved top. Despite its stormproof material and bells and whistles, the jacket isn’t heavy. It packs down into its hood – and only 460 grams / 1 lb 0.2 oz (size Small).



The Verglas’s longer length provides great protection from the elements. I like that the back covers my butt so I don’t have to hike with a soggy bottom when it rains. 😉 While rain pants are awesome for camping, it’s oftern too hot to hike with in them. Long jacket for the win!

The Helly Hansen Verglas 3L Shell Jacket is an attractive technical jacket I will wear year round! It’s available in two colors, Skagen Blue (two tone, shown in photos) and Forest Green (solid color), at Helly Hansen.

Helly Hansen Lifaloft Hooded Insulator Jacket

The Helly Hansen Lifaloft Hooded Insulator Jacket is an ultralight (320 gram / 0.7 pounds) midlayer that can be layered with a shell or worn on its own. With a windproof and water resistant outer layer, and LIFALOFT™ 80 g insulation that is warm for its weight and maintains warmth when wet, it’s a great little jacket to pack on every adventure!



What we love:

  • I love the slim fit of the HH Lifaloft Hooded Insulator Jacket so I can layer it. In early spring, I wore this jacket with a thermal shirt underneath, and the HH Verglas 3L Shell on top but had excellent range of motion; the jacket is designed to move with you.
  • PFC-free water-resistant fabric: no petroflourinated compounds were used in the Durable Water Repellent aka DWR coating
  • Brushed lining of the hand pockets
  • Large inner pockets are handy for keeping your cell phone warm.
  • Hood for when I forget a toque (happens all the time in summer so I appreciate a hoody on windy summits)
  • Shock corded lower hem to keep drafts out
  • Stretchy hems on cuffs and hood
  • The quilted pattern and color are so appealing, the jacket can easily go from mountain trail to café!

For extra warmth, keep the Helly Hansen Lifaloft Hooded Insulator Jacket in your backpack – or on you! It looks great and doubles as a midlayer on chilly days or outer layer. I recommend this jacket for late spring, summer, and early fall in Alberta (or year round in milder climates).

Find the Helly Hansen Lifaloft Hooded Insulator Jacket in Misty Rose or Navy at Helly Hansen, or get the hoodless version in Black, Nightshade, or Dragonfruit at Sport Chek.

Helly Hansen Vanir Hybrid Pants

Helly Hansen’s Vanir Hybrid Pants are light, but durable softshell pants with thicker material where you’re most likely to wear the pants out (light blue panels in photo above, and seat of the pants). They’re super comfy because the fabric is so soft, stretchy, and breathable.

What we love:

  • So stretchy: Whether you’re scrambling or climbing, these pants won’t limit your movement or slow you down.
  • Water repellent, windproof, breathable fabric
  • Flattering fit
  • Thicker abrasion-resistant material on the front to below the knees, and on the bum means your pants will last longer
  • Drawstring at waist
  • Shock corded cuffs to keep ticks and debris out (so you have two options: normal hem, or use the toggles to tighten the hem for a sweatpants look)
  • Low-profile pockets (one on left hip and one on right leg) for a more streamlined silhouette

Know before you buy:

  • These pants fit big in the waist compared to other Helly Hansen pants I’ve purchased, so try before you buy. Fortunately, there’s a drawstring to keep them up!

The HH Vanir Hybrid Soft Shell Pants are amazing trekking pants that offer stretch and comfort as well as durability and abrasion resistance. Try before you buy to make sure there isn’t any gaping at the waist (in which case you should try a size smaller or different style).

Purchase the Helly Hansen Vanir Soft Shell Pants in Plum/Black, Navy, and Ebony from Helly Hansen; or Grey Fog, Ebony, and Navy from Sport Chek.

More Hiking Essentials

Complete your hiking kit with the following items:

  • Breathable, quick-drying, moisture-wicking shirt: Synthetic fabrics wick moisture and dry quickly so you won’t get a chill at the top of the mountain. We recommend the super light Helly Hansen Life Active Solen T-Shirt. Available from Helly Hansen and Sport Chek.
  • Wool / wool-blend socks: Wool is naturally anti-odor, and wicks moisture to prevent blisters.
  • Waterproof hiking boots: Look for midheight hiking boots with Vibram soles.
  • Backpack: Get the one that fits you best and that can hold all your safety gear (see below). 28 L is suitable for a dayhike but I carry a 33 L-expandable to 40 L pack when hiking with my kids.
  • The Ten Essential Systems: Pack everything you need to overnight it in case you get injured, lost, or delayed due to weather / natural disaster. Includes headlamp, sunscreen, bug spray, bear spray, first aid kit, and more!
  • Trekking poles: optional but highly recommended for steep and long hikes
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