Are you environmentally conscious? Want to make responsible purchases for your outdoor gear? Well, if you are in the market for an eco-friendly ski jacket have a read of this Helly Hansen Elevation Infinity Shell review.
Tested on a ski-touring expedition to the Lyngen Alps in northern Norway it was put through all conditions. From sunshine to rain to whiteout the Helly Hansen Elevation Infinity Shell Jacket is an exceptional piece of kit. It also comes with the right to be a little sanctimonious about making an environmentally friendly decision.
This jacket comes in both women’s and men’s versions with a RRP of £650. Currently the colour options are light grey or orange. Both come with bright orange detailing. Lets deal with the featured of this eco-friendly ski jacket one by one.
Let’s start with the zips. There is nothing more annoying with grappling with zips when your hands are freezing cold and you need to open or close zips. All the zips on this jacket are waterproof, robust with a tag that is easy to grip even with gloves and yet still slide easily.
Pockets are a key feature on any jacket and the design of them on this jacket are excellent. The side pockets are large and deep, no danger of anything accidently falling out and high enough to access above the waist belt of a rucksack.
Thanks to Aerogel insulation, the Life Pocket on the left chest side is supposed to preserves your phone’s battery in cold mountain temps. My phone whose battery life is somewhat short these days, so I was rather sceptical about how effective this pocket would be. I have no scientific facts or figures to back my gut feeling up, but the battery lasted longer than it usually does. Which is particularly useful when I am using GPS while touring.
For use on the piste there is a convenient lift pass pocket on the left arm. Furthermore, there is another deep pocket on the outside of the right chest. During this Helly Hansen Elevation Infinity Shell review I found all the outer pockets were robust and stayed waterproof.
The large inside mesh pocket is perfect for my skins as it gives them a chance to dry a little from body heat. This is especially important in the spring snow where they get so wet that if a tour has more than one transition, the second uphill can be challenging.
Being able to whip the skins out and put them away quickly also allowed for a somewhat speedier transition. The other obvious use for this pocket is goggles.
There is also a smaller inside pocket that could be used for an electronic device or money and keys etc.
The waterproof qualities of the jacket were put to the test while touring up a glacier in pouring rain. But thanks to the LIFA INFINITY PRO™ (pronounced Leefa) fabric I stayed dry. It is a lightweight and hydrophobic textile with a durable water-repellency that is achieved without any chemicals.
As promised, the material not only proved itself as waterproof, but also breathable. Despite the warm temperature and me working up a bit of a sweat in the pouring rain, at no point did I feel damp inside.
The added bonus of this ground-breaking technology is that the material never needs to be re-waterproofed with chemical treatments. So it is truly responsible as no environmentally harmful chemicals are shed into the environment during its construction, wear, washing or maintenance.
This responsible ski jacket also has underarm zippers. They can be opened from either direction to help you regulate your temperature. These are particularly useful when touring in torrential rain but warm temperatures. Normally I’d take the shell jacket off, but thanks to the pit zips I could keep it on and avoid overheating.
Whilst the material is lightweight, I did find it rather stiff. This jacket certainly doesn’t scrunch down like other shell jackets I have owned. So rather than put it in my backpack I strapped it over the top of my rucksack whilst touring. This was fine and a compromise I was more than happy to make for an eco-friendly ski jacket.
I don’t tend to wear hoods, but I tested this jacket in some pretty horrific conditions and making use of the hood was a no-brainer. I was initially rather frustrated with the size of this hood as I had vision like a horse with blinkers on as it engulfed my entire head.
This was until someone pointed out the adjustable side straps with their hidden pullies, which allowed the volume to be reduced around the face. The strap at the back meant the fit could be adjusted to pull the front of the hood up, so that no vision was blocked but the face was still protected.
The stiff peak also provides protection from the snow building up on the top of your goggles. Thanks it its large volume and adjustability you could have a snug fitting hood that allowed movement and vision when wearing a helmet or not.
This environmentally friendly ski jacket has a very high collar, which had both positive and negative sides to it. In bad weather it offered excellent protection from oncoming wind as combined with the hood it was possible to achieve a close fit with only my goggles peaking out (goggles that don’t fog up easily are key).
The downside was that in better conditions when I had the zipper open, the corners of the collar chaffed my chin. The rather stiff material doesn’t easily fold down so maintains its rigidity which was a bit annoying.
Despite having a women’s version of this jacket, the cut is only slightly tailored – I’d say more “articulated”. This meant I found the fit from the chest down quite wide. This was not an issue whilst out on the mountain.
But I appreciated the elastic hem around the bottom of the jacket that could be tightened. This gives is a bit more shape when I was feeling more conscious of my look while off the mountain.
Other jackets I own seem to have a token gesture velcro cuff. They are practically of no use as there is not enough velcro to hold any adjustment firm. Not the case with this jacket! The wide velcro band and tightening of the cuffs, which fitted comfortably over even my warmest ski mitts, stayed in place and were easily manageable with ski gloves on.
Note from editor: I have used the men’s version if this jacket for snowboarding and found that even at their widest the cuffs would not go over my Dainese gloves with incorporated wrist guards.
The stretchy wrist gaiters with thumb holes are a nice touch and were big enough to cover the majority of my hand. I really like this feature when wearing the jacket casually. But I don’t find much use for them whilst out on the mountain. Although they do provide extra warmth when standing around in the cold.
The final feature that I will mention is the snow-skirt. Whilst I wasn’t lucky enough to test this jacket in waist deep powder, I look forward making use of the snow-skirt. It can be adjusted in two positions for an optimal fit and can also be attached to ski pants to hopefully avoid any pesky powder getting where is shouldn’t.
With an RRP of £650 this certainly isn’t the cheapest jacket on the mountain. But given the durability of the fabrics waterproofness and the quality of the design I can imagine that it would last most people a good number of seasons.
To conclude this Helly Hansen Elevation Infinity Shell review, I’d say it’s expected lifespan and the environmentally friendly bragging rights, certainly justify the cost to me. Plus the jacket has many useful featured that improve your comfort on the mountain.
We hope you found this review of the Elevation Infinity Shell by Helly Hansen useful. You can purchase this eco-friendly ski jacket direct from Helly Hansen by visiting: www.hellyhansen.com/w-elevation-infinity-shell-jkt for the Men’s version go to www.hellyhansen.com/elevation-infinity-20-jacket