Staying warm is an art form when it comes to winter hiking and backpacking. Staying dry is often a huge part in that struggle. The Dry Charger from Helly Hansen is designed to keep you warm, while keeping you dry as well.
About the base layer
The Charger is a fully synthetic base, composed of Lifa stay dry materials. There is a full collar, with a half zip running down the chest for regulating temperature with fluctuating activity levels. It’s a close-fitting, stretchy garment with gently snugging wrist cuffs. It comes in a variety of sizes and colors, and retails for about $60.
What I liked
The Charger takes all of the itch away from layering up. The materials are soft and silky, and generally just feel great against the skin. The design does a great job of molding to the body for that comfortable, close to skin fit you want when using a base along with other layers. This allowed it to always stay in place, without bunching or becoming wadded up under my shirts or jackets.
The bare layer provides a substantial boost in warmth, without becoming overwhelming when the temperatures start to rise a bit. This means you can shed your jacket, and leave on your base and shirt and hike for a bit of warmth, without overheating. The half zip does a great job of adding a regulatory function to the jacket, allowing you to vent your neck and part of your chest when needed. When zipped, the collar fits close to the neck, trapping warm air that normally works its way up and leaks out.
The fit is great, covering the full length of my back and extending just below the belt, for the overlapping seal that’s desired so much. No drafts here. Initially, I had some issues with the fit. It was a little short and a little tight around the neck. This was corrected by moving up a size. pair this with your typical t-shirt size and you should be good to go.
The synthetic materials dry very quickly. Working up a sweat assaulting those gruesome climbs usually results in a long drying period and a chilling affect but it’s not been an issue here. The base always dried in minutes, still keeping me warm while doing it.
What I didn’t like
After getting the sizing right, I can’t find anything to complain about. It fits great, it’s warm, and it dries fast.
When choosing a base layer, you want one that’s above all going to be warm, but you also want to be comfortable while wearing it. The 1/2 zip Charger for Helly Hansen provides a great balance of comfortable materials, and all day comfort that really makes the garment stand out. It’s silky, synthetic build makes for an itch free, fast drying, light weight base layer that adds just the right amount of warmth for the active hiker or backpacker. It’s just about perfect.
Highest of recommendations
Thanks to HH for providing this base layer!