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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Helly Hansen Odin Fastpack Jacket > Test Report by Shane Williams

Helly Hanson Odin Fastpack Jacket

Test Series by Shane Williams

Initial Review: April 10th, 2013

Field Report: June, 2013

Long Term Report: August, 2013

Tester Information:

Name: Shane Williams
Email: sherpa[dot]colorado[at]gmail.com
Age: 39
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 0" (1.83 m)
Weight: 175 lb (79 kg)

Bio:

As a child I lived in the last house on a dead end street. Just beyond my house was a wilderness area. I started hiking and exploring there, and I've never stopped. I started backpacking in the South Eastern Appalachian Mountains, including portions of the Appalachian Trail. Today I primarily hike in the Colorado Rockies. My pack weight is approximately 30 (13.61 kg) to 50 lbs (22.68 kg). I often carrying more gear than necessary hoping that I won’t need it. I enjoy weekend excursions into the High Country with friends and lower elevation day trips with my family.

Product Information:

Manufacturer: Helly Hansen
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.hellyhansen.com/
Listed Weight: 8.47 oz (240 g)
Measured Weight: 8.47 oz (240 g)
Test Size: Medium
Test Color: Cobalt Blue
Listed Materials Helly Tech® Professional fabrics
MSRP: 300 USD
Awards: All-Purpose Ultralight Backpacker magazine Gear guide 2012
Sizing Chart:

Product Features:

  • HELLY TECH® Professional
  • Waterproof and breathable fabric
  • Adjustable cuffs
  • Reflective trims
  • One hand cord adjustment
  • Fully adjustable hood
  • 2.5 ply light weight construction
  • Vent through pockets design
  • Helmet compatible

(Courtesy of Helly Hansen)

Initial Observations:

Helly Hansen's Odin Fastpack Jacket is a light weight wind and water proof shell designed to provide protection from the elements. It's constructed from Helly Hansen's proprietary "Helly Tech Professional" material, which is a triple layer fabric. The manufacturer states that this fabric acts as an outer layer membrane that prevents water molecules from getting in, but allows moisture molecules to escape. This triple layer material is comprised of a waterproof breathable fabric between an inner layer of fabric and an outer layer fabric. The inner layer is a 100% polyurethane and the outer layer is 100 % polyamide. This is a diagram of the fabric as stated on the manufacturer's website.

(Courtesy of Helly Hansen)
(Courtesy of Helly Hansen)


As I reviewed the product specifications for this item, I noticed that there seems to be a slight discrepancy between the details listed in the Product Features list and the HellyTech technology page. The product specifications state that this is a 2.5 ply construction, yet by the definition of the HellyTech Professional material, it's stated that this is a 3 ply material. The manufacturer does list the HellyTech Performance material as a 2.5 ply material, but the reflective print along the sleeve of The Odin Fastpack Jacket clearly states that this is a HellyTech Professional material. The Odin appears to be made of all the same material, but I suppose it's possible that there are two types of materials used in its construction. I've contacted the manufacturer requesting clarity as to which material was used and which ply it is. I hope to have an update from the manufacturer in my upcoming filed report in June.

Tailoring The Fit

The Odin has a series of 5 adjustment cords that can be used to tighten down the openings to reduce exposure to the outside elements. The first adjustment point is positioned on the backside of the hood. This hood adjuster has a pinch clip as well as a pull tab for easy adjustments. The second and third adjustment points are on the left and right front just below the hood. These adjusters have a pinch clip that and a pull chord that also has a solid plastic pull tab. The fourth and fifth adjustment points are located on the inside bottom hem and have a left and right adjustment which are offset from the front zipper.
Hood Adjustments
Hem Adjustments


In addition to these shock cord type of adjusters, The Odin is also equipped with a hook and loop adjustable cuffs around the wrists. These cuffs have two separate Velcro type of closures. The first is a round patch which is intended to keep the flap attached to the jacket when the cuff is in its standard configuration. The second is a longer patch that is intended to be used when the cuff needs to be tightened down.

Ventilation and Pockets

A key feature of a reliable shell is keeping wind and more specifically water out. Another key feature is allowing bio-moisture to escape. The Odin Fastpack Jacket does this by providing two rather large ventilation zippers on the left and right front panels. Ideally these can be opened up to allow moisture to escape. These ventilation shafts also serve the dual purpose for creating large pockets on the inside. I will be interesting to see how this functions while trail running in a downpour. Perhaps the fabric is breathable enough to allow the sweat to escape without opening the ventilation zippers. However, if it isn't it would seem like opening these for ventilation would allow water from the outside to leak in.
Front ventiliation zipper
Pocket from the inside view.

Zippers and Seams

All of the zippers on The Odin come equipped with YKK Aquaguard water resistant zippers, which means that there is a polyurethane laminated tape that's used to seal and reinforce the bond to the jacket. The zippers also have stylish pull tabs to make it more functional. The seams are all double stitched and it looks like there is a very thin layer of coating over the seams on the outer layer of the jacket. The inner layer appears to be a standard double stitch.
Front zipper and pull tab
Internal double stitch seam

Points for Style

This jacket also has a few a stylishly placed adorners that are reflective. On the top left panel, just below the collar bone the name "Helly Hansen" has been printed. The upper portion of the left sleeve there is a triangularly shaped design (known in Nordic mythology as Odin's triangle or Odin's knot) and the name "ODIN" is printed just below it. On the lower portion of the left sleeve the same reflective font states "HellyTech Professional", denoting the proprietary material with which the jacket is made. Lastly the back of the jacket has a larger version of the same Nordic mythological symbolism.
Odin Design

General Overview:

Helly Hansen's Odin Fastpack jacket has made a remarkable first impression! The jacket is super light and does indeed compress down to almost nothing. When I put it on, I immediately loved the fit and feel. When ordering I used the sizing chart on the HellyHansen website and purposely sized it to fit snug. The sizing chart was very accurate and it fits like a glove. I look forward to getting out on the trails with this shell and seeing how it performs when stacked against the elements of the Rocky Mountains. This concludes my Initial Report, come back and find out how The Oden performs in the field with my Field Report due in June, 2013

Field Report: July 2nd, 2013;

Field Conditions:

Location: Garden of the Gods
Date: 04/16/2013 - 6 AM
Conditions: Snowy/Windy 21 F (-6.10 C)
Activity: Trail Running

Location: Garden of the Gods
Date: 04/23/2013 - 6 AM
Conditions: Snowy/Windy 21 F (-6.10 C)
Activity: Trail Running

Location: Humboldt Peak Colorado
Date: 05/26/2013
Conditions: Sunny/Cold 25 F (-3.88 C) to 40 F (4.44 C)
Activity: Hiking

Field Report:

During this series of testing I've had the opportunity to utilize The Odin Fastpack Jacket on several outings including trail runs, an ascent up Humboldt Peak, and around town. I've been very impressed with the performance of this shell and have thoroughly enjoyed putting it to good use. During this testing phase I haven't encountered any issues with the jacket and it hasn't faltered in the slightest. Its durable construction has certainly held up to the elements and provided a wearable shelter from the elements.

April is a curious time of year in Colorado and you never know what the weather may bring. During the month of April I encountered several mornings with blowing snow during training runs. These runs were approximately an hour in duration. One of the things about The Odin that really stood out during these runs was the overall fit during cardio activity. I've had several shells that end up feeling bulky, which always feels cumbersome during high cardio activities. The Odin has an atheletic fit that makes helps it to move with the body during activity. Once I put this jacket on, it felt as if it moves with me and didn't constrain my movement. I also found the horizontal ventilation zippers very useful as I progressed through these runs. After a few minutes bio moisture would begin to build up around the torso. Opening the vents allowed almost all of moisture to escape. After a particularly taxing session of high intensity I did find that my forearms were slightly wet from sweat as there was no way for the moisture that builds up on the arms to escape. This wasn't a major issue, but it was noticeable.

During my ascent of Humboldt Peak in the Sangre De Cristo mountain range of southern Colorado I had a great opportunity to test the wind stopping feature of The Odin. From the time I ascended above tree line to about 13000 FT (3962 M) I was hammered with very heavy winds. At times I would estimate the winds to be around 50 MPH (80.47 KPH). I cinched down the draw strings on the waist and hood and I was amazed at the protection that it provided. It made on otherwise brutal climb very enjoyable.

During my initial report I highlighted a discrepancy with seemingly conflicting documentation on the specifications noted on about this product. It was unclear which material The Odin was made of. Some documentation states that this is the HellyTech Professional, which is supposed to be a 3 ply material, but the specifications state that it's a 2.5 ply. I contacted Helly Hansen via their contact form and inquired about the discrepancy. It took them 14 days to reply via email and they stated that "The Professional jackets are 3ply, but not always. It can also depend on the waterproof/breathability. The Odin FastPack Jacket is 13000/33000".

Field Image: Humboldt Peak

Summary:

Helly Hansen has made an excellent piece of equipment in The Odin FastPack Jacket. Its athletic fit and ability to hold off the elements make it an enjoyable to wear. Stylish and durable, this jacket really delivers when stacked against the elements.

Pros:

  • Atheletic fit and feel
  • Superb protection from the elements
  • Lightweight and Compactable
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Slight moisture buildup around the forearms during high intensity cardio workouts.
Field Report: September 10th, 2013;

Field Conditions:

Location: Crestone Needle, Colorado
Date: 07/21/2013
Conditions: Warm/Sunny 50 - 82 F (10 - 27 C)

Location: Maroon Peak, Colorado
Date: 08/24/2013
Conditions: Cool/Cloudy 40 - 77 F (4 - 25 C)

Location: Pyramid Peak, Colorado
Date: 08/25/2013
Conditions: Warm/Sunny 45 - 84 F (7 - 28 C)

Field Report:

During this final phase of testing, which took place during the peak climbing season here in Colorado, I had ample opportunity to put Helly Hansen's Odin FastPack Jacket to good use. This series brought plenty of wind and rain to test the resolve of The Odin, and in none of those situations was I let down. In the back country as well as around town, The Odin has held up well and has yet to rip or tear. All zippers and seams have functioned as expected. The adjustable shock cords have held their elasticity and remain functional. Time and time again, as I've pulled it out to bring protection from the elements, I've been grateful to have had it in my pack.

During my ascents of the Colorado 14ers Crestone Needle and Pyramid Peak, The Odin came in handy as a solid shell that efficiently retained heat while ascending the higher, more arid portions of the climb. With temperatures around 50 degrees (10 C) on both climbs it was reasonably warm, but a fair amount of wind made it difficult to get the right combination of layers to make the climb comfortable. Once I put on the Odin, I was still reasonably warm, and opened both ventilation zippers to let the excess body heat escape. When I was descending and generating less body heat, I zipped the ventilation zippers to keep warm in windy conditions

While ascending the Colorado 14er Maroon Peak, it was a much cloudier and colder day. After several hours of hiking I finally reached the saddle around 13000 ft (3962 M) the temperature was around 42 F (5 C) and there were sustained winds of 20+ MPH (32+ KPH). The combination of the two elements was enough to cause my fingers to go numb even with a pair of light weight gloves on. At the saddle I ducked behind an outcropping of rocks and put on the Odin. Once again, it served to bring adequate protection from the wind and make the elements manageable.

The Odin is a fantastic piece of gear that I love having in my pack. I was especially impressed with its durability to weight ratio. I've carried The Odin in a 14 liter day pack and it compressed down to a single mesh pocket. I also carried it in my 8 liter Ultra Spire Surge hydration vest and still had room for other items like a head lamp, sports bars and other essential items for trail running.

Field Image: Maroon Peak

Summary:

Helly Hansen has brought a great product to the table in The Odin FastPack Jacket. It's light weight, durable and compactable construction make it an essential piece of gear to have in the gear arsenal. Its performance in the field is superb. I'm sure it will be in my pack for many adventures to come.

A special thanks to backpackgeartest.org and Helly Hansen for conducting this test series.



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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Helly Hansen Odin Fastpack Jacket > Test Report by Shane Williams



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