Helly Hansen Verglas Jacket
- Size women’s medium—670 grams
- Size men’s large—750 grams
Fabric: Helly Tech’ Professional 3L Laminate fabric
- Full-stretch construction
- 3Ply laminate construction
- Harness and pack compatible
- RECCO reflector
- Zip-out softshell snowskirt
- Adjustable cuffs and bottom hem elastic adjustment
Reviewer Measurements: 5’6”, 125 lbs
- Arm: 29.5” (Shoulder to Fingertips: 29.5”); 22” (Shoulder to Wrist)
Days Worn: 17
Test Locations: Canterbury Club Fields, New Zealand
The Verglas Jacket is Helly Hansen’s toughest men’s and women’s hardshell. And while it was designed with the mountain guiding and backcountry skiing in mind, the Verglas has features that make it a good option for both touring and resort days—especially in harsh conditions.
It is definitely geared toward winter use—it’s not a light shell that can be worn year-round. The heavy shell fabric and zip-off powder skirt keep you warm and dry on the descents, but they do add some extra weight and bulk.
And again, while I tested the women’s Verglas, the jacket also comes in a men’s version that shares the same features.
I found the fit of the Verglas to be a bit odd. The jacket is pretty boxy, a cut that’s accentuated by the thick fabric and the horizontal seam that runs across the front panels of the jacket under the chest pockets.
While I don’t mind a baggier cut (similar to the design of the Trew Cosmic), the Verglas does flare out at that horizontal seam. The Scott Explorair Jacket, on the other hand, has a slightly slimmer cut, and without that front seam it falls straighter on the waist.
I liked the fact that the Verglas is long (26.25” from the top of the collar to the front hem). It also features a drop hem, which is nice in deep snow, or when I have to sit on a wet surface.
I also appreciated the length of the Verglas’ sleeves, which fall just to my knuckles. But the sleeves are very wide. There’s also a lot of extra material in the shoulder / armpit area, which makes for some weird bunching even when I’m wearing layers underneath.
So if you’re looking for a more alpine cut, the Verglas may be baggier than you want. And although I tend to like a looser, freeride style, the Verglas is being marketed primarily as a backcountry jacket. And it’s not super light. If Helly Hansen wanted to make the Verglas even more ascent-friendly, they could cut weight by refining the design around the shoulders and armpits.
At 5’6” and 125 lbs, I always debate between a small and a medium for women’s jackets. And almost every time, I end up with a medium, with the exception of Patagonia (small), and Trew, (men’s extra small)—so that (a) I have plenty of room for layering and (b) my movements aren’t restricted.
I considered whether I should have chosen a small Verglas, which may have cut down on the extra material in the sleeves, shoulders, and waist. But that means both the sleeves and the torso would have been shorter than I would want to go, and I didn’t want to sacrifice any space in the body of the jacket for when I added layers.
There’s plenty of room in the medium to fit a heavy mid-layer, and the Helly Hansen Verglas Down Hooded Insulator (review to come), but the thick fabric makes the Verglas feel stiff. I didn’t notice this when I wore just a mid-layer, but once I added the puffy on those colder days, the Verglas was a little restrictive. Given all that, I don’t think the small would have worked for me.
The Verglas has four pockets—two on the chest and two large hand pockets just above my waist. I like the two chest pockets since they’re easy to access when I have my pack’s waist and chest straps fastened. These pockets are big enough to fit a big sandwich, burrito, or gloves, but too small to fit skins.
The Scott Explorair jacket doesn’t have hand pockets, and I was always trying to stick my hands in non-existent ones. I definitely appreciated the Verglas’ hand pockets, which are even larger than the chest pockets.
Even though I left it attached, I didn’t use the powder skirt while wearing the Verglas (granted, I wasn’t skiing waist-deep pow). The skirt never bothered me when it wasn’t in use, but since I don’t usually wear powder skirts, I’ll most likely remove it for the season. But it is a nice option to have for those really deep days.
Other features to mention: the zippers are well sealed and look bomber, and since the pit zips measure almost a foot in length, they offer plenty of airflow while hiking.
The hood easily accommodates a ski or climbing helmet, but when worn over just my head, the brim is long enough that it’s hard to see.
The chin zips up high for wind and snow protection, and I can also push it down lower so it sits comfortably around my neck.
There is a small section of fleece on the back of the zipper flap, but I sometimes found myself wishing for a larger fleece panel across the interior of the collar where it touches the skin.
NEXT PAGE: Fabric