I tested the Helly Hansen Odin Insulator Jacket for a 22-day backpacking and climbing trip in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming this summer, and found it to be a great choice for the variety of conditions and activities on the trip. I felt lucky to have it with me on the trail as my go-to warm layer.
The Helly Hansen Odin Insulator is a synthetic-fill, mid-weight insulation jacket that is both warm and packable. It was the only insulated piece that I had with me on my multi-week crossing of the Wind River Range, which took us from the eastern high desert, up over the Continental Divide, and back down the west side of the range. I wore the Odin Insulator on all 22 nights of the trip, several mornings, and a few colder days, with temperatures dipping into the 20s and 30s at night and mornings taking their time to warm up.
One morning, I woke up with the sunrise to do some early morning flyfishing on a crystal-clear alpine lake. With frost on the ground, I wore the Odin Insulator over a thin midlayer, and stayed cozy in the chilly morning air along the shoreline. The Durable Water Repellent-treated fabric easily beaded off water when I accidently splashed the sleeves while in the middle of the action, and I knew I didn’t have to worry too much anyway because the Primaloft-filled jacket would keep me warm even when wet. When the time came to pack up for the day of hiking ahead, I buried the Odin Insulator into the depths of my bag knowing I wouldn’t need it until that night. I was struck by how light and compressible it was compared to the ample warmth and insulation it supplied.
The Helly Hansen Odin Insulator Jacket fit easily over my mid-layers and under my rain jacket, the lightweight Helly Hansen Loke Jacket. I’m 6’ 2” and 185 lbs., either an L or XL in jackets, and thought the size XL was just right. I took note of the fit one evening as our group was preparing dinner in the shadow of Lizard Head Peak and the Cirque of the Towers. The lengthening shadows and patches of spring snowpack stood as obvious reminders of the below-freezing temps that were rapidly approaching. That evening, I wore all of my layers, with the Odin Insulator on top, and was glad to have the “duck tail” back and hemline cinch cord to protect my back while leaning over to prepare our dinner. It kept both the cold and the prolific mosquito horde from invading my waist line. I also noticed that the sleeves and shoulders were well proportioned and did not ride up my wrists when reaching across the kitchen. The pockets have a fun zebra-striped lining made of a fuzzy, hand-warming fabric. The inner lining of the sleeves took some getting used to–while it is also fuzzy and cozy, the fabric felt a little grabby. I did wish I had a hooded version of the Odin Insulator at times on the trip, but worked around this by wearing my rain jacket over the Odin Insulator.
While the Helly Hansen Odin Insulator Jacket has a solid design and stylish good looks, it also scores well in the details. I found the pockets and zippers easy to handle with gloved hands, the cinches easy to pull, and liked the way the jacket packs away into its own inverted pocket. What’s more, the jacket is made with bluesign approved fabrics, which indicates a high level of social responsibility and safety in the manufacturing process and a minimum of negative impact on environment. I was also pleased to note that it was made in USA.
The Helly Hansen Odin Insulator Jacket is available for men in Alert Red, Evening Blue, and Ebony in S-2XL, and for women in Raspberry Red and Ebony in S-M.
Bottom Line: The Helly Hanson Odin Insulator Jacket is a well-made, stylish and high-performing midweight puffy jacket.
Manufacturer’s Site: www.hellyhansen.com