Helly Hansen: Best Designs of 2014

by Kara Hugglestone

Every woman has a few pieces of clothing she loves. It’s the way they fit, look and feel, but especially how she feels while wearing them.

For me, one of those pieces is a Helly Hansen foul weather jacket I purchased years ago. I fell in love with the design, but more importantly it’s proven itself over and over again over time. It’s a perfect blend of form and function and I’m not the only one to notice. I get at least one compliment each time I wear it.

Being such a fan, I was thrilled when Helly Hansen sent me clothing to review. More than any other sailing brand they understand sailing gear can be stylish as well as practical. I love how they employ cutting-edge technology in the most beautiful forms.

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A perfect example is the Crew H2 Flow, a lightweight racing jacket with award-winning H2 Flow Temperature Regulation Technology. The H2 incorporates Primaloft insulation which provides excellent temperature regulation even when wet.

The Helly website says it’s shape and construction allows hot air to easily circulate in the jacket while at the same time minimizing uncomfortable moisture – and it works like a charm! My sailor guy tested it out while energetically working foredeck.

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He reports opening the H2 channels allows warm air to escape keeping you cool and when they are closed it retains heat well. He’s a fan of the tube technology as it creates a separation of the inner and the outer liner for lots of heat retention. It’s aptly named, H2 refers to “heat and hollow.” Moisture was not an issue, a very good thing when you are working hard.

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The key to Helly’s fabulous design has always been the cut, and the H2 is a perfect example. The men’s jacket has an elegant simplicity, the diagonal zippers creating a clever functional design element that along with the understated accent color is so chic. It flatters without sacrificing comfort.

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It’s available in seven colors, including some bold ones. Bright colors are always a good option – just in case you need to be spotted in the water.

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The women’s version is particularly clever. Its sports a bold color block design with navy fabric on the arms and in a scalloped V shape on the chest. Strategically placed diagonal red zippers point inwards on the contrasting fabric below. The overall effect creates an abstract hourglass – accentuating the female waist that is often lost in bulky sailing gear.

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I also love that Helly is so supportive of women’s sailing. They sponsor Team SCA, the all female team in the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race. I can’t imagine a better partnership.

The Crew H2 Flow Jacket won the German Design Award and it’s easy to see why.

HH midlayer jacket

Helly Hansen also understands sometimes you just want a warm jacket – and that’s actually pretty often here in San Francisco. The Crew Midlayer Jacket is ideal. It’s water-resistant and breathable and keeps you snug and warm with soft fleece lining. I love mine.

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It has a flattering fitted form featuring contrasting zippers with a pop of color on the pulls. The simple and elegant design is a winner on and off the water. It’s a global best seller and is available in six colors.

Given how stylish Helly gear is, it’s easy to forget this is the brand favored by all sorts of aquatic professionals: sailors, fisherman and particularly those in survival and rescue. When you watch those daring sea rescue videos there is a very good chance the hero is wearing Helly.

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The Crew Coastal Trouser has a reminder inside, “Since 1877 we’ve been supporting professionals who have chosen to make their living in some of the world’s harshest environments. They trust us to make the gear that enables them to achieve their best – with confidence.”

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The trousers, which are bib style, have all the features you would expect; they are waterproof, windproof and breathable, have two-ply construction, are fully seam sealed etc., but there is something else… Something less tangible, it’s in the touch. Something I feel with each Helly piece. It’s quality. Its knowing you bought the right thing.


Sail Couture is a San Francisco-based online magazine celebrating the sailing lifestyle! Covering sailing, fashion, travel, food & wine and more. Sign up for our newsletter to be in the know!

  1. Chris

    18 July

    I like the ladies’ two-tone red Crew H2 Flow, and I like seeing a range of color choice including bright colors.

  2. Great info, here. And, now I want to buy 3/4 of their products — they all sound so ideal, for both fit/comfort and keeping one warm out on the Bay!

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