Last Updated: June 28, 2022

Helly Hansen Lifaloft Insulator Jacket Review (Is It Worth The High Price?)

FEATURED PRODUCT

Helly Hansen Lifaloft Insulator Jacket

Helly Hansen Lifaloft Insulator is a lightweight jacket with synthetic insulation. It's a great layer for dry and cold conditions, particularly for winter sports and other adventures in the cold. View Latest Deal

Thinking about buying the Helly Hansen Lifaloft Insulator jacket? Then you’re definitely in the right place because this detailed review will tell you all you need to know about this winter jacket!

It’s lightweight, breathable, and insulated, for excellent performance on the slopes. If you’re in the market for a high-quality jacket for winter hikes or skiing adventures, the Lifaloft Insulator jacket is certainly worth considering, and you can read all about its features below!

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Very warm
  • Synthetic insulation performs well in wet conditions
  • Adjustable hem
  • Breathable design

Cons

  • Missing a chest pocket
  • No hood
  • Not entirely waterproof

Product Rating

88Overall Rating
Materials And Durability
9/10
Weight And Packability
9/10
Insulation And Breathability
10/10
Pockets And Other Features
8/10
Value For Money
8/10

Product Information

  • Size: S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • Fit: Regular Fit
  • Weight: 450 grams
  • Materials: 100% Polyamide (Shell, Lining); 70% Polypropylene, 30% Polyester (Insulation)
  • Insulation: Lifaloft Synthetic Insulation (By Primaloft)
  • Fabric Treatment: PFC Free, DWR Coating
  • Features: Water-repellant, Windproof, Breathable, Insulated, Extremely Lightweight
  • Hem: Adjustable - Hidden Drawstring
  • Pockets: Two Hand Warmer Pockets, One Internal Drop-In Pocket
  • Hood: None (Hooded version available)
  • Stretch Panels: None
  • Uses: Ski Touring, Mountaineering, Resort Skiing, Trekking, Camping, Hiking

Materials And Durability

Helly Hansen Men's LIFALOFT Insulator Jacket, 991 Black Matte, Medium

The shell and lining of the Helly Hansen Lifaloft Insulator jacket are made entirely from polyamide. This is a type of plastic that offers excellent performance in cold weather conditions. Polyamide has high thermal resistance, abrasion resistance, and it’s even water-resistant to a degree.

The Helly Hansen jacket boasts a DWR coating, further improving its performance in wet weather conditions. It’s worth noting that the jacket is not entirely waterproof, so you shouldn’t wear it in extremely wet conditions. It is water-repellent though, which means it will shed any light rain or snow.

The material of the jacket is also entirely windproof, for the best performance in windy conditions. In general, the Lifaloft Insulator jacket is a great option for the slopes, especially on clear winter days. It will protect you from the wind, it will keep you warm in the cold, and it will even keep you dry if there’s some light snow, but it won’t do much if you get caught in heavy rain.

Durability

Polyamide has excellent wear and abrasion resistance, which means that this jacket should last for a really long time. The fabric is extremely durable and it handles everyday wear and tears very well, for long-lasting performance.

You have to take proper care of the jacket though if you want to be able to wear it for years to come.

Size & Fit

This jacket is available in sizes from S to XXL and it fits true to size. It boasts a regular fit that slightly edges toward a slimmer fit, so it’s not the ideal solution if you want to wear thicker sweaters and hoodies underneath.

The size range is not perfect, but it’s good enough for most people. The jacket is thin and lightweight so it combines with outer layers effortlessly, but thick inner layers will likely feel restrictive unless you size up.

Weight And Packability

The Lifaloft jacket from Helly Hansen is impressively lightweight. The entire jacket weighs just 450 grams (15.9 oz), which is absolutely impressive for a winter jacket that offers this much warmth.

This Helly Hansen jacket is also remarkably thin, largely because of the insulation. Lifaloft insulation is slimmer than basic polyester insulation,  making this Helly Hansen jacket thinner and lighter than most similar options.

Packability

The Lifaloft Insulator Jacket is extremely lightweight and thin so it’s inherently super packable. It’s thinner than most other jackets that offer a similar level of warmth, so it’s even more packable than most other options.

There’s no dedicated pocket that the jacket stows in or anything like that, but it will take up very little space in your backpack once you compress it. You can just throw it in a compression bag or something similar if you want to keep the jacket compressed.

The packability and thin design are also great if you want to layer this jacket with other items. Maybe you want to add a waterproof outer layer or an even warmer inner layer – they’ll both work with the Helly Hansen jacket, which is pretty amazing.

(Lifaloft) Insulation And Breathability

Lifaloft is a type of synthetic insulation developed by Primaloft. This insulation manages to be lighter than standard polyester insulation while offering even more warmth, which is exactly what makes this jacket so great.

Helly Hansen combined their proprietary LIFA technology with Primaloft’s standard insulation. It’s worth noting that Primaloft is the leading brand in synthetic insulation – most high-end brands use them and in some cases, their insulation outperforms even the highest-quality down.

Lifaloft is lighter and takes up less space than other synthetic insulations, which is how this jacket manages to be so thin and lightweight. The warmth comes from air pockets within the insulation material – Lifaloft is capable of creating more air pockets, which in turn trap more heat.

Another thing worth noting is that Lifaloft insulation offers good performance even in wet weather conditions. This is usually the case with synthetic insulation and the reason why every synthetic option outperforms down insulation in wet weather conditions.

Clusters of down clump when wet and they lose all their heating properties – this won’t happen with synthetic insulation, and it certainly won’t happen with Lifaloft.

Breathability

One of the things that make this jacket so great is the fact that it’s extremely breathable despite being incredibly warm. The jacket traps heat very efficiently, but at the same time, it allows moisture inside to evaporate.

So, if you do sweat while you’re wearing this jacket, the moisture will be gone in no time. It’s worth noting that the layers you have underneath this jacket also need to be breathable, in order for the jacket to work. So, pay attention to what kind of fabric you’re wearing, for the absolute best experience.

Pockets And Other Features

The Helly Hansen Lifaloft Jacket features two hand-warming zippered pockets and an internal drop-in pocket. The zippered pockets are both on the front of the jacket, just above the hips, and they’re convenient for any smaller items you might want to keep handy while you’re hitting the slopes.

The drop-in pocket is much bigger and excellent for the bulkier items (like goggles) you don’t want to carry in your hands.

Are three pockets enough? Not for most people. The major complaint most people who own this jacket had is that they wished there was an internal chest pocket. This would be awesome for a smartphone and some other essentials – the items you want to keep just a little extra safer.

The lack of a chest pocket is the biggest downside of the Lifaloft Insulator jacket. If you don’t care that there aren’t more than three pockets on this jacket, this might just be the ideal lightweight winter jacket for you.

(No) Hood

The Lifaloft Insulator jacket does not have a hood, but that is a purposeful design. Helly Hansen also sells a hooded version of the jacket, so in case that’s an essential feature for you, you should definitely check out that model of the Lifaloft Insulator jacket.

The hooded version of this jacket boasts a non-adjustable, non-removable lightweight hood. It’s great for providing that extra bit of warmth on very cold days, but it’s certainly not the most functional jacket hood out of the bunch.

It’s also worth noting that the hooded version of the jacket is more expensive than the basic version. It’s a small price difference and in some cases, the hooded version is even cheaper than the basic one, simply because it’s on sale more often!

Adjustable Hem

Helly Hansen Lifaloft Adjustable Hem

The Lifaloft Insulator Jacket has an adjustable hem, so it should be easy for most people to make it fit them just right. The drawstring is hidden inside the jacket and it won’t interfere with any backpack hip belts or other layers you might want to wear over this Helly Hansen jacket.

It’s a simple drawstring cord that you can loosen/tighten until you get just the right fit. In extremely cold weather, it’s best to make the jacket as snug as possible, so that the heat can’t escape quite as easily.

Value For Money

Is the Helly Hansen Lifaloft Insulator Jacket worth the high price point? If you’re looking for a lightweight insulated jacket for winter sports, it certainly is.

It’s a pricey jacket, but it’s been around long enough that it’s often discounted even during peak season. The jacket also boasts high-quality materials, insulation, and an excellent packable design that’s perfect for the slopes.

It’s one of the best lightweight insulated jackets you can get your hands on, and it’s definitely worth the higher price point if you’re okay with paying a premium for outstanding quality and performance.

Verdict

Helly-Hansen Men's LIFALOFT Insulator Jacket, 964 Charcoal Camo, Small

Should you buy the Helly Hansen Lifaloft Insulator jacket? It depends on what you’re looking for.

If you’re specifically looking for a warm layer to wear during winter hikes or skiing adventures, it’s a great option. It’s lightweight, extremely warm, and water-repellent enough that you won’t get wet in light rain or snow. The jacket is made from premium materials, so it will last you a long time if you take good care of it.

Helly-Hansen Men's LIFAloft Insulator Jacket, 300 Patrol Orange, X-Large
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Helly-Hansen Men's LIFAloft Insulator Jacket, 300 Patrol Orange, X-Large
  • LIFALOFT: An exclusive collaboration combining our unique LIFA technology with Primaloft insulation. LifaLoft insulation is 20% lighter than standard insulation, creating more air pockets giving more warmth at lower weight.
  • FEATURES: Water resistant and windproof fabric, Fiber and down proof fabric construction, Durable Water Repellency (DWR) treatment, Full inner front zipper placket for wind protection, HH LIFALOFT logo at front left chest
Helly-Hansen Mens LIFALOFT Hooded Insulator Jacket, 911 Grenadine Team Canada Edition, Small
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Helly-Hansen Mens LIFALOFT Hooded Insulator Jacket, 911 Grenadine Team Canada Edition, Small
  • LIFALOFT insulation by PrimaLoft with fiber and down proof fabric construction
  • Water resistant and windproof fabric; PFC free DWR

However, it’s certainly not a perfect garment. It lacks chest pockets, it’s pricey, it’s not entirely waterproof, and this version doesn’t even have a hood. A hooded version of the jacket does exist, but as you can imagine it’s pricier than the basic model.

Head over to Amazon to see the prices and more photos of the Helly Hansen Lifaloft Insulator jacket. If you’re not convinced this jacket is the best option for you, check out our related posts for some other great alternatives!

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