Helly Hansen Odin Guiding Light Jacket ReviewJuly 10, 2012
- Highly breathable.
- Soaked through after prolonged use.
- DWR treatment not very durable.
After a winter and spring of use around the world, the Guiding Light emerged as an excellent shell for aerobic use—think hiking, ski touring and biking. It breathes well, and big pit zips helped dump excess heat on warm days. But when the weather got nasty, Helly Hansen's proprietary membrane failed to deflect prolonged rain and snow, soaking through on several occasions.
When the uphill work got heavy, this jacket got down to business. Ski touring and hiking in moist weather, there was never a problem with condensation inside the shell and it rarely overheated. In fact, on cold, windy days you sometimes needed to wear an extra layer to deal with the Guiding Light’s breezy nature. When it did start to heat up, a quick pull on the large pit zips did the trick, dumping excess warmth quickly. They never snagged and were always easy to open and close.
That said, Helly’s Professional 3Ply membrane failed to stay dry. True, we tested this jacket in some serious nastiness: think melt on impact snow and sleet, 40 mph winds. But other shells managed to bead the worst of it and never soak through. The Guiding Light’s DWR treatment was toast after 20 days of use and testers noticed the jacket soaking up water even after washing and retreating the DWR.
After 50 days of use, we were also starting to notice wear issues, but this may be do to us having a preseason sample jacket that wasn’t built to the same quality standards as a factory built one.
Design wise, the two hand pockets are generous with enough room for ski skins on hot laps. The cut is true to size, falling to just below the belt line and sitting still even when reaching overhead. The sleeves also behaved themselves; a tapered cut kept wrists covered and worked well with gloves. The hood is helmet friendly and easy to adjust.