There’s a limit to how much most people would spend on an all weather waterproof jacket and in this Helly Hansen Vanir Baldur review we find a model which is probably right on it. While there’s a need for high-end technical gear to deliver the latest innovations and iterations, realistically much of this is wasted on regular folk who are more likely to climb Snowdon than Everest.
Buying an all weather waterproof jacket
When choosing an all weather waterproof jacket you always worry that as the price and spec fall, the chance of you getting soaked rises. Generally, this is true. Cheaper jackets typically have simpler fabrics with fewer layers and cheaper ways of keeping water out. That’s not to say they won’t keep you dry. They will. It’s just that breathability suffers: As soon as you get active your worry won’t be about water coming in, it will be that your heat is building up a sticky film of cooling sweat on the inside. If you’re new to buying a jacket of this sort, it’s maybe worth reading up on how waterproof breathable fabrics work.
What I’m looking for in this Helly Hansen Vanir Baldur review is a jacket that gives you pretty much everything you’d need from an all weather waterproof jacket without expecting it to match alpine or mountaineering standards, and at a reasonable price.
Helly Hansen Vanir Baldur review
Good, just underwhelmed with the colour. Initially I’m looking at the finish and attention to detail – for me it’s the best sign that a manufacturer cares about quality. The Vanir Baldur is neat, from the clinically tidy inside seams to the detailing, it’s a quality product. Priced at £270 it’s not cheap, but for the performance ratings and quality, it’s fairly priced.
What I like about the Vanir Baldur
- Finish and attention to detail are excellent
- Interior panels are neatly taped and protected
- It’s a no-frills, no-fuss waterproof with excellent performance ratings
- Easy to adjust hood
- Long back to help drop water
- Most importantly, it works and is priced appropriately
What I don’t like about it
- As I’m right handed, I’d prefer the chest pocket to be on the left side.
- Just two colour choices and while the bright detailing lifts it, it’s going to be too plain for some.
- For me the cut is just a little too casual and I found the arms just too long in my size.
(To be fair most of these are subjective and could be remedied by first trying it in store. I tend to whinge at plain colours, but can forgive them as the fashion show ends when the heavy rain starts).
Vanir Baldur material and tech-spec
The Vanir Baldur on review here uses the company’s ‘Performance’ fabric. Helly Hansen has 3 levels of protection and this is the middle one in terms of how waterproof and breathable it is. The jacket sits happily between entry level and the top range of technical wear. At this point you may be worried that you are compromising. Don’t be. A look at the technical specs below should reassure you that this all weather waterproof jacket will be up to the task, if the task is extended time in the rain while walking hard.
- Material: Helly Tech® Performance 3 layer rip stop
- Waterproof: 20,000gm WP
- Breathability: 20,000gm moisture vapor permeability
- Pit zips: protected YKK® venting zippers
- Pockets: 2 lower and 1 chest pocket both with protected YKK® venting zippers
- Hood: fully adjustable for a helmet
Testing the Vanir Baldur
To find out if the Vanir Baldur waterproof jacket works in all weather I wore it over many miles, through downpours, snowfalls and with a rucksack when building up a steam.
Initially, I was faffing and fussing with the fit: It feels a more casual cut, which leaves a little spare fabric hanging around. Past this – and into the hills – the jacket started to justify its price tag under heavy rain. I now have real confidence I can take this jacket out for an all-day session and it will hold off all the bad weather I’d ever want to be in.
Some people keep their waterproof stashed, pulling it out only when needed. On inclement days I often keep mine on, dropping mid-layers when needed. This also helped me get a better idea of the jacket’s breathability. Heating up I vented from the velcro on the sleeves, the long pit zips and the main zipper. With rain falling and my temperature rising, the Vanir Baldur started to earn its keep and it’s at this point I appreciated that £270 is money well spent for a jacket rated 20,000 for both waterproofing and breathability.
The double fabric over the pockets and zips added welcome protection of an obvious weak point for all weather waterproof jackets. The fit around the neck was snug without being restrictive. I popped the hood several times and it’s also well fitted.
Ok, I’d prefer another pocket, so there’s perhaps two chest pockets not just one, and in ‘Graphite Blue’ it’s a little plain but it does everything you need from an all weather waterproof jacket and does it well.
Helly Hansen Vanir Baldur review: Summary
The Vanir Baldur is an all weather waterproof jacket ideal for most trekking, hill walking activities. Only the mountain goats amongst you will probably need the extra breathability and performance found in more expensive jackets. Yes it will feel bulky and unsuitable if you’re a climber or you are looking for ultra-light solutions, otherwise it fits the bill, at a reasonable price.
I hope you found this Helly Hansen Vanir Baldur review useful. If you’d like to get your hands on this jacket it’s available in Graphite Blue and the Sharp Green shown here. It retails at £270 and you can find out more from Helly Hansen.