Helly Hansen LifaLoft Jacket

By Robert Robillard on Weekend warrior

Kensington LifaLoft Jacket Review 73230

As a New England mobile contractors, our Jobsite weather is constantly changing. Working outdoors means you tend to choose tools and clothing that can stand up to harsh environments. Once you find a brand, tool or clothing that fits that mold you tend to hold on tight! So let’s talk about the Helly Hansen LifaLoft Jacket.

Looking for A Winter Jacket

I’ve never been a fan of heavy jackets, they weight me down and restrict movement. It doesn’t matter if I’m winter camping, kayaking or working on a job site. I’m always on the quest for quality clothing that allows me flexibility in movement.

A few months back, I started wearing the Helly Hansen Lifloft jacket and have become a fast fan. Helly Hansen has been making professional-grade gear for more than 140 years.

The Helly Hansen Story

The companies history dates back to  1877 when sea captain Helly Juell Hansen found a better way to stay protected from the harsh Norwegian weather. Soon thereafter, Captain Hansen and his wife Margrethe launched a business producing waterproof oilskin jackets, trousers, sou’westers and tarpaulins made from coarse linen soaked in linseed oil – and the rest is Helly Hanson history.

What is the Lifa in Kensington LifaLot

In 1970, Helly Hansen’s Lifa® technology was introduced. It was the first technical base layer is based on a yarn technology that moves moisture away from the skin and transports it to the surface of the fabric, where it evaporates.

Light Weight and Freedom of Movement

The Kensington Lifa fabric is the secret sauce in this jacket and the reason it’s so light. The Helly Hansen LifaLoft Jacket is one of the lightest winter jackets I’ve owned. We test a lot of different brands of clothing on the job site and are always putting them to the test.

Like many most folks in the trades, we feel the following are decent criteria on how to choose quality work clothing.

  • Durable construction
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Fit and Feel – designed for freedom of movement
  • Performance in elements
  • Quality Zippers

Durability and Abrasion

If you asked me what I want in a work jacket I’d want durability, and range of motion.

Durable job site clothing should not wear out quickly, be designed to reduce stress on seams, and allow full range of motion.

Part of wearing fabric wear and tear is due abrasion and also tear resistance. Abrasion refers to the wearing away of any part of material when rubbed against another surface. When surface abrasion happens to a garment, its inner protective properties are compromised. Tearing just happens on job sites due to rubbing up against sharp items.

The Helly Hansen LifaLoft Jacket has a soft nylon shell that will tear easily, so it will not be an outer layer on an active job site. Where this jacket shines is in its freedom of movement. This jacket has is so light you don’t notice you’re wearing it.

Fit and Feel

The Helly Hansen LifaLoft Jacket gives you the ability to perform your work, move freely and unrestricted while still offering you comfort and protection is the goal. This is due to the Kensington’s thin but warm design and flexible fabric behind at the shoulder blades, and in the elbows. [mentioned below]


The Lifaloft insulation in the Helly Hansen jacket is based on a yarn technology that traps more air vs polyester at a lighter weight.  [Air pockets trap more heat] This technology allows the jacket to be 20% lighter and warmer than standard insulations.  It also makes for a great water-resistant and windproof jacket.

This and a few other features make this jacket a high performer:

  • Large soft-fabric lined hood
  • Elastic cuff
  • Bottom hem adjustment system inside pockets
  • 2 zippered and 2 large inner pockets
  • Fast Drying

I like the Kensingtons oversized hood, as it fits well over a hard hat and a winter hat.  The elastic cuffs and bottom hem resist stretching and keep the breeze out and the inner pockets are large enough for me to store my winter hat. The shoulder blade area and elbow also have a flexible fabric that allows for stretching for flexible movement.

Fast-drying is important when working in the elements. The quick-drying nature of the Lifa fiber insulation is due to its hydrophobic properties. The fiber doesn’t absorb water and has inherent water repellency.

YKK Quality Zippers

Don’t overlook the zippers, a zipper does not make a garment but it sure can break it. The problem is that teeth can break, misalign, and seize up. Replacement zippers cost $50 depending on the garment.

The Helly Hansen Lifalift jacket has three YKK zippers. We feel that the best performing zippers are the YKK zippers. YKK stands for Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaishaare, a Japanese company, and currently the benchmark for strength and durability.


The saying you get what you pay for applies here. The Helly Hansen Lifaloft Jacket costs approximately $280 online here: Helly-Hansen-LIFALOFT-Insulator-Jacket

Overall Impression

This Helly Hansen LifaLoft Jacket is a keeper. While not an outer layer when doing construction I find it makes a great layer jacket as well as an outer jacket when doing estimates and other activities. As an outdoor enthusiast and an industrial athlete [contractor] wearing quality clothing can make or break your outdoor experience.

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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