Helly Hansen Verglas Icefall review: Lightweight down insulator jacket

Jun 16, 2021 BY Cara Rees

Looking for a lightweight down insulator jacket? Then read this Helly Hansen Verglas Icefall review to find out how it performed in the wind and chill of a British winter.

Lightweight down insulator jacket Helly Hansen Verglas Icefall

You might be thinking why would you need a down insulated jacket in the UK. From December to February the average temperature ranges from 0°C to 7°C (32° – 45°F). However the wind chill, especially when it blows from the North, can be brutal on a frosty morning walking the dog.

Also, I chose the Verglas Icefall jacket in preparation for a round the world trip I am planning. I need an insulator that will keep me warm in freezing temperatures and is both lightweight and compact for backpacking. In this review I will detail the functionality of the Verglas Icefall and how it performed.

Why chose a lightweight down insulator jacket

Down is the fluffy underlayer below duck or goose feathers, it creates high-loft clusters that trap air and body heat. It is lighter, less bulky and warmer than synthetic insulation. When it comes to clothing it is generally considered to be the best insulating material in the world.

The high-end products use goose down because it is capable of reaching a higher fill-power rating than duck down. With 700+ fill power the Verglas Icefall jacket should easily keep me warm in temperatures below -10°C. Plus the goose down is from ‘Allied Feather’, meaning it’s responsibly sourced and tracked.

There is one limitation of down insulation, if it gets wet it’s insulating performance is reduced. Helly Hansen have addressed this problem by using PrimaLoft® Silver water resistant insulation for the hood, shoulders, sides and cuffs. The use of this synthetic insulation in these areas is worth the slight reduction in compressibility and additional weight.

Weighing in under 600g for the medium men’s, the Verglas Icefall jacket isn’t the lightest insulator jacket on the market. However it packs away into a stuff bag of less than 4L. For so much insulating power this still meets my backpacking requirements, so I decided to get it.

Helly Hansen Verglas Icefall review at Beachy Head UK

Helly Hansen Verglas Icefall review

My first impression of the Verglas Icefall was how lightweight the jacket is for such inviting puffiness. The fabric is beautifully soft and I wanted to try it out right away. I was not disappointed, it was wonderfully cosy like wearing a sleeping bag.

Fit and feel

The Vergas Icefall was designed for use with active sports like ski touring and mountaineering. The relaxed fit means that despite it’s puffy insulation it allows easy unrestricted movement. I think it will be perfect for really cold days snowboarding, layered with a shell waterproof if needed.

How warm is the Verglas Icefall?

This lightweight down insulator jacket has a 85/15 fill. This means it has 85% down and only 15% feathers. This coupled with the 700+ fill power indicates it has a high quantity of insulation that will keep you warm. During this Helly Hansen Verglas Icefall review I found it was perfectly cosy!

It coped exceptionally in a variety of conditions and temperatures. From frosty mornings, to crisp winter sunshine and blustery grey days. Most often I wore it with only a t-shirt underneath, I was trying it out in the UK after all.

I was amazed by how free I felt not wearing lots of heavy layers and how this reduced my tendency to overheat and sweat too. I didn’t even get cold standing or sitting still for long periods.

Helly Hansen Verglas Icefall review Lightweight down insulator jacket at beachy head, Sussex

Is the Vergall Icefall waterproof?

To protect you and the down from damp weather this Helly Hansen lightweight down insulator jacket is water repellent. This means it will keep you dry in drizzle, or a short shower. But it is not recommended for use in heavy rain, or prolonged exposure to wet conditions, but then I have the Helly Hansen Odin 9 Worlds 2.0 Shell Jacket to wear over the top.

The Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment used is PFC free. Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) are commonly used in DWR and they can affect both the wearer of the garment and the environment when they wash or rub off jackets. I want to enjoy nature without impacting it so I really appreciate that Helly Hansen have sourced a PFC free water repellent.

Durability of this lightweight down insulator jacket

The Verglas Icefall features 20D Nano ripstop fabric, which really works. Everyday I walk the dog, pushing past branches and thorns. My jacket has not snagged or ripped despite the many opportunities for damage. The fabric feels lovely and soft but has demonstrated good durability in the short time I have owned it.

Pockets and other features

This Helly Hansen Verglas Icefall review would not be complete without talking about its pockets and other features.

The two hand pockets have soft lining on the front and are big enough to accommodate hands with gloves on for those really chilly days. There is an inside chest pocket perfect for keeping your phone out of the cold.

Helly Hansen Verglas Icefall down jacket

I like that all these pockets can be secured closed so any valuables won’t be lost during my adventures. Also there are two very large internal pockets that you can easily fit a bottle of water and map in.

This lightweight down insulator jacket has a great combination of features to keep cold air away from your warm body. I found the full front storm flap blocked any wind from entering via the zip. The inner hem wind skirt prevented chill entering from the bottom even when I was climbing over rocks.

The Verglas Icefall jacket zips right up to the chin, which I love. It also has pull cord adjusters to prevent air entering at the collar. Finally the cuffs have Velcro closures so they fit perfectly and are easy to use when wearing ski gloves.

The hood has three way adjustment for that perfect snug to the face fit. The fabric at the neck is soft which is really nice. All the zips feel robust with a good size pull that you can use when wearing gloves.

Conclusion: Excellent lightweight down insulator jacket

The Verglas Icefall is a pleasure to wear. As lightweight down insulator jackets go it has a very satisfying puffiness but feels so light, like wearing a warm cloud. It packs away to a really good size for a jacket that offers so much warmth even in freezing temperatures, perfect for my backpacking adventures!

Helly Hansen Verglas Icefall review Lightweight down insulator jacket

To conclude this Verglas Icefall review it is everything I was looking for. I love wearing it and it has become my everyday winter jacket. If you are looking for an insulating jacket that is not too heavy and packs up small then the Verglas Icefall is a great choice.

I hope you found this Helly Hansen Verglas Icefall review useful. It comes in blue, slate or black with a RRP of £240. You can buy it here: www.hellyhansen.com/verglas-icefall-down-jacket 


Camping, Dogsledding, Heli Ski / Board, Hiking, Mountaineering, Multi Activity, Overlanding, Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowmobiling, Trekking, Walking
Helly Hansen, Insulator, Jacket Coat and Anorak, Midlayer, Technical Midlayer

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