This review of Vertex Stretch Fullzip Midlayer by Helly Hansen was carried out Sarah Hannibal. She visited Kyrgyzstan on a mountaineering expedition to bag some first peaks, she has also tested it in the Austrian mountains.
I have lived in Galtür, Austria for the past 10 years and speak German fluently, albeit with a bit of an accent. One of my absolute bugbears is when people ask me if I come from Holland. So I must confess that although I love bright colours, there was a small part of me that worried this bright orange midlayer was going to make people more likely to assume I am Dutch.
During this review of Vertex Stretch Fullzip Midlayer, it was always worn with a baselayer. A good layering system helps keep you warm by trapping air between the layers. To be truly effective whilst doing sport, the layers must also be efficient at wicking the sweat you produce away from your body.
A good midlayer can be used all year round and for just about any outdoor activity. To thoroughly test the Vertex Stretch Fullzip Midlayer by Helly Hansen I used it for a range of activities. I have tested it whilst downhill skiing, ski touring, hiking, mountaineering and camping.
Review of Vertex Stretch Fullzip Midlayer
Both in particularly cold temperatures (combined with the HH LS Base layers) and in warmer summer temperatures (with the HH T-Shirt) this midlayer did a fantastic job. It helped to regulate my body temperature by wicking perspiration away whilst keeping heat near my body.
Fit and feel
The material feels great on your skin. I discovered this when I randomly took it to an outdoor swimming pool in the mountains. When the sun went behind the clouds for prolonged periods, it got a little chilly, but the Vertex Midlayer provided the perfect solution.
There are both men’s and women’s versions of the Vertex. For this review of Vertex Stretch Fullzip Midlayer by Helly Hansen I was testing the women’s which has an extremely feminine cut. It is impressive as it allows space underneath for a baselayer whilst not being bulky under outer layers.
The non-bulkiness is thanks to it being designed as a lightweight jacket. There are obvious advantages to this such as it packing up small and being lightweight when carried in a rucksack.
The length of the midlayer was also well thought about. Firstly the mid-hip length (on my body anyway) enhances the shape. And secondly no one wants a midlayer that rides up with movement or gives a high chance of kidney exposure when sitting down or bending over.
The collar was nice and high, the perfect length to sit just under the chin. Meaning that zipping it up to the top kept my whole neck warm and added a certain “snuggling in” feeling.
Pockets and features
The pockets on the Vertex (one chest pocket and hand pocket on each side) have slim-line zips, which means they are hidden when the pocket is done up. They are deep enough to hold a larger smartphone, although the size of the opening makes it a little trickier to get your hands in when wearing gloves.
I did fall into the trap a few times of storing things in the pockets, then putting on outer layers. Subsequently I’d have a panic that I had lost them or I’d be able to feel them but not work out where they actually were!
I tested the version of this jacket without a hood, despite being a fan of hoods I was glad not to have one. Sometimes they can just add unnecessary bulk, and since when was having two or three hoods on different layers actually practical?
Breathability and waterproofness
Whilst there is no claim from Helly Hansen that this top is wind resistant, I found that it has wind resistant properties. Both ski touring and hiking, the Vertex has served me multiple times as an outer layer. Even when there was a cool breeze, it seemed to hold the chill at bay.
If I claimed in this review of Vertex Stretch Fullzip Midlayer by Helly Hansen that I glowed and didn’t sweat, I think that would count as more than a white lie. So one of the key properties I look for in active clothing is their wicking properties.
The Vertex uses a slick face fleece material with air channels on the inside, this promotes air circulation and leads to improved moisture management. Also thanks to the quick drying honeycomb fabric construction, the Vertex dries extremely quickly. This means when you stop on the mountain, the risk of getting cold due to sweaty layers is minimized.
Vertex Stretch Fullzip Midlayer by Helly Hansen: Conclusion
Finding a midlayer that I am comfortable to do high exertion outdoor activity in has evaded me until now. My choices have always been disappointing, providing either warmth and minimal wicking, or wicking well but not providing much warmth.
Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily reach for the Vertex purely for warmth, when looking for both wicking and warmth it is tough to beat. In conclusion, the Vertex has become my number one choice of midlayer for strenuous activities, regardless of the time of year.