Technical midlayers add versatility to your skiing wardrobe and an extra layer protecting you from the elements. In this Sogn Insulator Jacket review, we will look at how this Helly Hansen technical midlayer performs for skiing and snowboarding.
Why wear a technical midlayer?
If you’ve noticed an ski instructor or guide with a jacket on under his main jacket, then you have seen a technical midlayer in action. A technical midlayer is essentially a second wind and waterproof jacket that also provides extra insulation on the slopes.
They are normally lightweight, easy to pack away and soft rather than hardshell like an outer later. Essentially technical midlayers replace the midlayer fleece and the need for an insulated outer layer.
This gives you more versatility. In cold conditions you wear outer jacket, technical mid and baselayer – and can even chuck an extra layer on beneath it. In warm conditions you can just wear the outer jacket with a base layer.
The technical midlayer can also be worn as a stand alone jacket either on the slopes in good weather, or in the evenings around town. This means you have suitable gear for more weather conditions, ultimately saving you money and gear you have to carry around.
Finally tec-mids pack up small, so they are great if you ski tour or hike for lines. On the ascents you can pop it in your rucksack, and then put it back on when you cool down. Now you know why you need one, let’s find out if this Helly Hansen technical midlayer is any good.
Sogn Insulator Jacket review
The Sogn jacket is essentially a water resistant jacket using a Durable Water Repellency treatment (DWR). On it’s own this should keep the wind at bay and keep you dry in light showers. Worn as a midlayer, it should stop any pesky snow or moisture that gets passed your outer layer from reaching your core.
The Sogn uses Primaloft® Silver Insulation 60g to keep you warm. It is a relatively thin layer of insulation designed to be easily packed and not to bulky, whilst providing warmth suited to skiing and snowboarding. It is also migration resistance in both the body and sleeves, to ensure the insulation stays in place.
I wore it under the Helly Hansen Ridge Shell Jacket for two days snowboarding in Tignes. Temperatures varied from around zero to minus ten and it was dry. I found at around 0°C I was warm enough to open the vents on my outer jacket. Conversely at -10°C with strong wind I was a comfortable temperature.
I also got caught in light rain and found this Helly Hansen technical midlayer kept me dry as the water just beads off. However, I wouldn’t want to wear it in heavy rain or prolonged rain as it is not a substitute for a proper waterproof.
However, the Primaloft ® Silver insulation is waterproof. So unlike down or some other synthetic fibres it will not hold moisture. This means if you do get caught in a downpour, it will dry very quickly moving moisture away from your body.
This Sogn Insulator Jacket review would not be complete without discussing breathability. Combining a soft breathable mesh lining with highly breathable Primaloft ® Silver insulation, this Helly Hansen technical midlayer should provide better breathability than most insulated ski jackets.
In my experience, despite getting hot and sweaty whilst snowboarding I stayed dry inside.
But to really test breathability I went for run in the Sogn on a cold day of around 2 °C. I ran 10km and despite being a sweaty mess at the end, most of the moisture had escaped. The inside of the Sogn was only very slightly damp, which considering how much I sweat was a great result.
Comfort and fit
The Sogn Insulator jacket is very comfortable. The stretch cuffs feel comfortable on the wrists, and the lining is soft to touch. It has two zipped hand warmer pockets which are conveniently large. The collar is small, and there is no hood, so there is nothing to get in the way when doing up your outer jacket.
For this Sogn Insulator Jacket review I went for a medium as it is advertised as being a relaxed fit. I tend to wear either medium or large with tops, mainly because although I am short I am also quite stocky. I found the fit to be good although if anything slightly too small.
The only downside of this Helly Hansen technical midlayer is its slightly too short. Although it comes to the top of my ski trousers there is not enough to tuck in. This is fine most of them time, but when I link my Helly Hansen Elevate pants to the powder skirt on the HH Ridge jacket the midlayer becomes a bit rucked up.
Helly Hansen technical midlayer: Conclusion
The Sogn Insulator Jacket is very thin and light – great for stuffing in a pack – but deceptively warm. In all conditions experienced so far, the Primaloft ® 60g insulation has done alone great job in keeping me at a comfortable temperature.
The breathability is excellent transporting sweat away even when I went running in it. Plus the DWR kept light rain at bay. It doesn’t restrict movement in any way and is comfortable to wear.
To conclude this Sogn Insulator Jacket review, I’d say overall it is a fantastic jacket. It looks great and is versatile enough to wear both on the mountains or around town. Plus it’s suitable for any activity from skiing to skateboarding, running to riding and trekking to touring.
The Sogn comes in five colour options (Orange, Cinnamon, Green, Blue or Graphite) and costs £120. You can buy it here: www.hellyhansen.com/sogn-insulator-jacket