Helly Hansen Odin Flow Jacket ReviewMarch 10, 2017
- Stiff collar keeps the user’s neck protected
- Dual chest ventilation
- Comfortable cuffs
- Better water resistance than other jackets in this set
- Heaviest jacket in this test set
- High price tag
- No interior or chest pockets
The Helly Hansen Odin Flow Jacket is more cumbersome than other jackets in this set, but it is seriously warm. The dual chest ventilation stood out, which allows the user to dump heat and avoid sweating. This jacket is limited on weight-conscious backpack forays by its bulky construction.
This is a well-built jacket. It’s clear that thought went into each detail, from the ventilation cutouts on the back to the three parallel ribs that keeps the collar upright to shield the neck. This is a detail that doesn’t seem important until you’re on the ski lift and wind is driving snow down your back. One potential problem is the zipper pull, which is plastic and could break if you yank at it in very cold temperatures. The jacket’s stitching is strong and consistent.
To this tester, this jacket seems to have the potential for bunching and angular laying, which lost it some points in this category. The interior is lined with a mesh that is fastened only at the edges, so it can sometimes lay differently than the rest of the jacket, leading to creases and ridges. It’s a well balanced fit, likely to accommodate most body shapes.
The designers of this jacket included a lot of insulation to make it very warm but that also makes it heavier. The shoulder panels don’t have insulation under them, but they are thick enough to be just as warm as the rest of the body. The mesh lining the interior keeps the insulation away from the moisture of the user’s body, which increases its ability to stay warm. The face fabric also adds warmth, increasing the jacket’s ability to shed wind and its commensurate heat-loss.
The shoulders of this jacket have some synthetic paneling with a relatively high degree of water resistance. The dual ventilation zippers on the chest and the stiff collar are features that no other jackets in this test set have, which give it a top score in this category. The main zipper also has a pull that is bigger than other jackets, making it easier to handle with gloves or frozen fingers.
The Helly Hansen Odin Flow Jacket is the least packable jacket in this test set, owing mainly to the abundance of features that score it well in other categories. Another packability limitation is the interior netting, which helps in the comfort department but hinders when you’re trying to stuff it. The jacket packs down to just bigger than a 1 liter water bottle.
Scott Morris guides backpacking expeditions and hiking trips for Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. He is a writer, traveler, and runner. Scott tests backpacking equipment.