There once was a time when down was the only option for light weight winter insulation. This is no longer the case. High performance synthetics like Primaloft have changed the game, and even offer benefits over down fill. The Odin Insulator from Helly Hansen is tangible proof of this.
The Odin Jacket outer and inner body are both built from a water resistant ripstop nylon. The full length front zipper provides effortless entrance, while two zippered raised hand pockets are accessible while carrying a pack with a hip belt thanks to their higher elevation. A built in hood provides head protection during extreme cold or wind, and can be tightened down both in the back and the front to keep it in place when the wind kicks up. A draft stop inner skirt allows the jacket to be cinched down around the hips, preventing heat loss and unwanted breeziness. Stretchy lycra cuffs expand to fit around the wrists or gloves without the need for Velcro adjustments. The jacket weighs just under 15 oz, and retails for $250, available now in deep blue or black.
What I liked
Helly Hansen has been producing and improving the Odin insulator for years. This being the case, the fit has evolved into something that is practically perfect. It stays close to the body but still manages to have plenty of room inside to move unrestricted, even with additional layers underneath. I’ve tested many jackets, and this is probably the best fit I’ve ever come across. It provides full mobility, and never feels tight around the shoulders or baggy around the stomach.
Party due to the wonderful fit, the jacket is also immensely comfortable. Being synthetic, it doesn’t require the use of constant small baffles that create lumps and protrusions throughout. Instead, the inner and outer body are smooth and consistent, which falls across the natural body contours and slides without friction while in motion. The inner fabric has a soft satiny feel, which helps prevent clamminess and eliminates internal friction against the skin. Primaloft Silver is very soft and flexible, which creates a snugly, staying in bed type of sensation when worn. It’s very nice.
The wrists cuffs cannot be under-appreciated. They’re built from a soft, stretchy lycra material. Extending slightly up the arm, this allows the jacket to expand around the wrist, which protects from wind and snow, but also extends without adjustment to fit most gloves. This I like.
An extended length back runs down past the waist line, which helps eliminate breezing and drafts when bending over. This is immensely helpful when setting up tents and digging through backpacks. It creates a nice seal that improves overall efficiency without getting in the way.
Warmth is amply provided here. Staying warm well below freezing, I’m yet to get cold inside this jacket even when not moving. The nylon body does an excellent job of blocking wind, while the cuffs and inner skirt stop any malicious breezing that pass through. The Primaloft insulation not only traps warmth, but it breathes well too. This helps by self regulating body heat and prevents overheating. I can wear this jacket around town, camp, or even when doing some light hiking. The added benefit being that Primaloft doesn’t fail when it gets wet makes for a more versatile jacket that excels even in humid conditions. I’ve found the jacket paired with only a t-shirt to be warm to about 35 degrees without producing body heat, into the teens while moving, and when paired with a base layer it’s good to about 25 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Per usual with H/H, the Odin is built to survive the harshest of conditions. Soft, yet durably built, it’s shown no signs of wear or tear after a month or so of use. Dragging the jacket through the tight, prickly overgrown trails of late, the jacket has resisted getting pricked or torn. The outer body is built from a tougher nylon than the inner, which helps with abbrasion and scuffs. The zippers slide amazing well, not once hanging up and are easy to use with gloves on. The stitch quality is some of the best I’ve seen without a single stray thread.
Weighing just under 15 oz, the Odin weighs as little and packs down as small as most down jackets. That’s quite impressive for a synthetic. I’ve been able to pack it down to about a 6 inch sphere with little effort. It also makes a solid pillow.
What I didn’t like
The only organization or storage options are the two hand pockets. No chest or inner pockets are present for keeping smaller items close by.
Years of experience and testing has certainly paid off. One of my favorite jackets for several years now, the Odin has only improved with time. The exceptional build quality, unparalleled comfort and ample warmth all wrapped inside a light weight construction puts the Odin at the top of my list for winter insulation. The fact that it still performs when wet only strengthens my affection. You cannot beat the Odin.
The Highest of Recommendations
For more information on Helly Hansen and their exceptional line up of outerwear and clothing, check out www.hellyhansen.com
For information on our rating system and our testing procedures, check out our About us/ Contact us page.
I want to extend a huge thanks to Helly Hansen for their continued support and for providing us this great jacket for review. We couldn’t do this alone, and we certainly appreciate the help. Our full disclosure can be found here.
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