This Helly Hansen EQ Black Midlayer Jacket review was conducted by adventurer Sarah Hannibal while on a three week ski-touring expedition in Kyrgyzstan. She needed a warm comfy fleece for the cold nights camping at altitude in the central Asian mountains. Find out how she got on below.
When I received the EQ Black Midlayer Jacket, it did not strike me as something I wanted to use for physical exertion. It is quite chunky and doesn’t pack up particularly small.
However Helly Hansen didn’t design this midlayer as a light technical piece of clothing. They designed it for warmth and comfort and these are two promises the Helly Hansen EQ Black Midlayer Jacket really delivers on.
If I had to describe this midlayer in one word, it would be supercosy (yes, I know…). The brushed fleece interior is soft and pleasant on the skin, providing not only physical warmth, but also a pseudo effect through the feeling of being snug.
In fact the warmth and cosiness of this jacket, has led to it doubling up its uses. It has been used as an extra layer whilst sleeping, a blanket in a baby’s pram and a travel pillow.
I was a little skeptical about how long the HH sign on the left breast would last when I first unpacked the top. It looks a little out of place due to the difference in the material between the brushed fleece and the more solid material of the sign, and dare I say it: “cheap”. A word I wouldn’t associate with Helly Hansen at all.
However, I have slowly come round to the design. From a bit further away, the contrasting colours of the jacket and sign really make the “HH” stand out. I am not sure what the alternative would be, and in fairness it has yet to start peeling at the edges, proving that however the HH is stuck on, it is staying in place.
Although it does not pack up small, this warm comfy fleece has been away on several trips with me. Although due to its size and weight, I haven’t taken it on any active adventures like hikes or ski tours.
I have worn this midlayer in varying degrees of coldness, and depending on the temperature, it has either been the only warm jacket I have worn or it has served, as its name describes, as a midlayer. It works well and looks great as a stand-alone jacket and has even strutted its stuff during outside Àpres-ski!
Whilst ski touring in Kyrgyzstan this warm comfy fleece was my go to warmth layer at base camp, where we camped for three weeks at 2800m. Whether it was after changing out of touring clothing and getting into warm comfortable clothes for the evening, or relaxing on rest days, there was a daily use for this jacket.
On rest days, I always had the Helly Hansen EQ Black Midlayer Jacket either on, or near me, ready to go over my base layer when the sun disappeared or the wind picked up. On cold days and in the evenings the slick face exterior made it easy to pull on my beloved HH Verglas Down Insulator on top of it to provide all the warmth that I needed.
The Helly Hansen EQ Black Midlayer Jacket looks great, with a great cut and flattering design, including plenty of length in the body. The cut also dips down slightly around the back, really ensuring that the jacket stays over the waistband of your trousers whilst bending and sitting.
Around the shoulders the jacket is cut in a way that allows unrestricted movement and the stretchy fleece material complements the fit in this respect. The arms, at least on me, are just the right length. I am able to curl my hands up inside the sleeves but they don’t feel too long when they are pulled up off the hands.
With deep pockets that fit a phone and a small wallet, it is possible to get away without a bag when wearing the Helly Hansen EQ Black Midlayer as a standalone jacket. The pocket zips are embedded in the material, which allows the fleece material to close without a gap when the pockets are shut. This gives the impression of durability, but only the test of time will tell…
The collar comes up to mid neck height, allowing it to either sit under the chin or for the chin to be tucked behind it. As with all Helly Hansen products, it is the small details that count.
One of the features I loved about this jacket, was the extra fleece behind the zip on one side from shoulder height upward. This completely eliminates sore chin from tucking your chin behind the zip. It also makes it more comfy if zipped up and worn under the chin.
It is always a worry with fleece jackets, that they will lose fluffiness when they are washed. After a multitude of washes, the EQ Black Midlayer Jacket shows no signs of deteriorating.
In conclusion, this warm comfy fleece is another great quality product from Helly Hansen.