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Reviews > Clothing > Pants and Shorts > Helly Hansen Verglas Tur Pant > Test Report by Richard Lyon
Helly Hansen Verglas Tur Pants
Test Report by Richard Lyon
Initial Report November 9, 2020
Field Report January 12, 2021
Long Term Report March 6, 2021
PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND
Male, 74 years old
Height: 6' 3" [1.91 m]
Weight: 205 lb [91 kg)
Waist: 38 in [97 cm]
Inseam: 34 in [86 cm]
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Outside Bozeman, Montana USA, in the Bridger Mountains
I've been backpacking for half a century, most often in the Rockies. I do at least one weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips. I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 10000 ft (1500 - 3000 m). I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp. Though always looking for ways to reduce my pack weight, I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences. I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Backcountry trips are often planned around skiing or ski touring in the winter or fishing opportunities in warmer weather.
INITIAL REPORT - November 9, 2020
Helly Hansen describes these pants as "A classic, everyday outdoor pant with 4-way stretch and durable main fabrics" that are intended for hiking and camping, mountaineering, and trekking.
Manufacturer: Helly Hansen AS, Oslo, Norway
Website: hellyhansen.com A person who accesses this site from North America is directed to a website in English.
Size: XL; Men's version available in S-XXL, Women's in XS-XL. Helly Hansen provides a helpful sizing link on its website.
Color: Lav green [see photos]. Also available in Slate. Women's version available in Pinot Rose and Slate.
Waist, measured: 38 in [97 cm]
Inseam, measured: 33 in [84 cm]
Outseam, measured: 43 in [109 cm]
Weight, measured: 21.8 oz [618 g]
MSRP: $250 US
Fiber Content: Shell, 67% cotton, 33% polyester; main fabric; 94% Polyamide, 6% Elastane
Country of manufacture: Vietnam
Warranty: 90-day free return policy if unused and in original condition
Listed features: 4-way stretch softshell panels at knees, seat and crotch gusset, Oekotex certified fabric, flexible hem boot lock construction with hook and ladder system, 7/8 side zip with 2-way zip for ventilation, four zipped secure pockets, boot hooks at front leg hem, reinforced insteps at hem, integrated adjustable waist with fastener, YKK® zippers, articulated pattern that preshapes pants into an active fit.
Comparing a hangtag that came with the pants against Helly Hansen's website has left me confused over one feature. The hangtag says the pants have been treated with DWR and are water repellent; the website gives them a Waterproofness [sic] rating of only 2 of 6. [The other ratings are 3/6 for Windproof and 6/6 for Weight and Durability.] I understand that water repellent does not mean waterproof, but I expected a better grade than what was given. This will be an obvious and important subject of testing this fall and winter.
Otherwise the pants are impressive - a slim, athletic fit; well-placed and roomy pockets; long side zips with two-way zippers; stout zippers; easy to adjust at the waist and cuffs; and a fabric whose hand radiates durability. Nothing fancy - these trousers look to be all business. I tend to use elastic suspenders on winter athletic pants, but there are belt loops if I change my mind. All stitching is faultless. I especially like the side zips, for all intents and purposes full-length, that allow opening at the top for ventilation on climbs or at the bottom for changing footwear without having to remove the pants. The top of the zipper has a small fabric garage to keep the zipper pull from slashing sleeve or glove. Another functional feature of the zippers [all of them] is the tab. As can be seen in the photo the tab has a metal frame with a large hole - large enough to permit me to grip it easily with gloved thumb and forefinger, avoiding the need for a fabric pull. Terrific idea!
Fit is great with one minor reservation. The rise and length of size XL suit me just about perfectly. The waist cinches easily with three snaps. My only concern is that the fit of the waist is a bit cozy, with little room to tuck in a heavy midlayer. I'm hoping that I can use the hook-and-loop panels on the outside of the waistband [the "integrated adjustable waist"] if necessary.
TRYING THEM OUT
Yesterday provided perfect testing conditions - the Northern Rockies' third winter storm of this autumn. Eight inches [20 cm] of new snow, 14 F/-10 C, and blustery winds most of the day. I donned the pants for several dog walks, a firewood-splitting session in the morning, and a day hike up the draw behind my home in the afternoon. I wore my standard winter hiking outfit, lightweight merino long johns and long-sleeved tee, heavy wool socks, a Windstopper sweater, and on the hike a WPB unlined jacket. The sweater wasn't tucked inside the pants.
I started out with no belt or suspenders. Big mistake. The fabric at the waist has enough "mechanical stretch" [Helly Hansen's term] so that the pants began to slip down off my waist rather quickly. A prompt affixing of elastic suspenders and all was well; better, in fact, as I could tuck in my sweater. As noted I normally wear suspenders with winter athletic trousers and I appreciate a flexible waistline, so I don't consider this a defect. The pants did well. They blocked the wind and powdery snow nicely and provided enough insulation that I didn't get chilled when just standing around. The same held true this morning at a crisp 5 F [-15 C].
Each leg has two pockets on the front, one just below the waistband the other mid-thigh. All four pockets are large and easy to access, and all are zippered and therefore safe for wallet, car keys, cell phone, and anything else I really don't want to lose. I made use of the lower end of the side zips to change from snow boots to indoor shoes. Overall a fine start.
FIELD REPORT - January 12, 2021
I've worn these pants often over the past two months, with excellent results.
After a promising start [see my Initial Report - three blizzards before mid-November], Mother Nature has disappointed those of us who relish snow sports. Both downhill ski resorts delayed their openings and as I write this have yet to open fully. The weather has been all too consistent - high temperatures 35-40 F [2 to 4 C], lows about 20 F [-7 C]. A few teasing snow flurries but mostly sunny.
I've worn the pants for laps at a couple of local Nordic ski areas, one pre-opening hike up Bridger Bowl, our local ski hill, for a quick downhill run, and regular short day hikes on snowshoes or cleated hiking boots two or three times a week. As with the trial run described in my Initial Report, complementing the pants were merino long underwear, a midweight sweater, and a windbreaker.
Fit is great now that I wear the pants with suspenders. The waist is a bit tight at the beginning of the day if I wear a heavy sweater, but after a half-hour or so of kicking and gliding or uphill hiking the stretch in the waistband relaxes any scrunch. The suspenders hold the waist about an inch [2.5 cm] above my true waistline, my point of widest diameter. At this point the cuffs are just right, a couple of inches [4-5 cm] or so up from my heel, with no break. With no powder to keep out I haven't needed to cinch up the cuffs. The fit is so comfortable that I often wear them after exercise or other activity rather than change into jeans.
The pants block the wind very well and have been completely waterproof. The mild weather hasn't allowed an opportunity to test for warmth in truly wintry conditions. The pants receive high marks for weatherworthiness from me.
All features that I've used have performed as advertised. My favorites are the pockets. Any of the four is large enough for my mobile phone or wallet, though I tend to use the upper pockets for these hard items, reserving the lower ones for neck gaiter, bandana, cleaning cloth, and other soft stuff that won't rub against the top of the knee pads I wear when on my telemark skis. Visible in the photo are a bulge on my right hip and smaller bulge just above the knee - my wallet and neck gaiter, respectively. As noted in my Initial Report, all pockets are easily accessible, and thanks to the nifty zipper pulls all are easy to open and close without removing my gloves. That last goes for the side zips too; those have come in handy in the springlike conditions. I'm hoping that 2021 will bring some storms big enough to see if the cuff closures work well enough so that I needn't add gaiters.
Durability has been excellent these first two months. Nary a stitch is out of place and on close inspection I cannot find any scratches, rips, or holes. Perhaps my only complaint, and it's a little one, is that the pants seem prone to minor stains from dirt, food, and forest detritus. All the stains vanished after a trip through the washing machine.
Helly Hansen doesn't provide much guidance on care. I couldn't find any help on its website and hangtag instructions [in sixteen languages] advise only to close the zippers and to turn the pants inside out before machine washing, which is standard operating procedure for me when washing WPB garments. I washed the pants with zippers closed in my no-agitator top-loading washer on the cold cycle using non-detergent soap. Given the high cotton content I air-dried them, a process that took only a few hours in Montana's dry air. I lost the stains and there was no shrinkage or other impact on fit or performance. I've only done this once.
Overall I'm very pleased with these functional, comfortable, and versatile trousers.
LONG TERM REPORT - March 6, 2021
In my Field Report I wished for true winter weather. I'm old enough to know that I should be careful what I wish for. After one of the mildest winters among the ten since my moving to the mountains, in early February Old Man Winter descended with brutal ferocity. Thirty inches of snow in the first three days, followed by six days during which the high temperature was -1 F [-18 C]. After the snowstorms there wasn't much wind, but those temperatures were enough to deter extended outdoor activities. A couple of laps at the local Nordic ski area, one 3-mile [5 km] day hike on snowshoes, and considerable time sipping whiskey in front of the woodstove. But the dog needed to be walked, steps needed to be shoveled, and firewood needed to be split whatever the conditions. [The woodstove is my home's principal source of heat.] Often I wore the pants during these daily chores, over a pair of lightweight merino long johns. On one occasion, at 5 am at -21 F [-29 C], I pulled the pants over a pair of wool sweatpants.
Gentler winter weather returned later in February, allowing more frequent and longer cross-country skis and day hikes. A typical ski is 1-2 hours, either at the local Nordic center on groomed trails or in the backcountry in the nearby Bridger or Bangtail Mountains, sometimes on trails made by other skiers and sometimes breaking trail. A local 90-acre dog park is a standard venue for day hikes, and a number of hiking trails are used enough to permit hiking without skis or snowshoes. These hikes are usually 2-5 miles [3-8 km], in fair or lightly overcast weather. Either the pandemic or sloth has deterred hut or Forest Service cabin overnights.
I don't have much to add to what I wrote two months ago. The pants continue to perform admirably in every respect, and they remain in almost-new condition after considerable use and two more trips through the washing machine. Certainly functionality hasn't been compromised. The bitter weather gave me a chance to test their weather-worthiness at colder temperatures. When standing around at sub-zero F [-17 C] temperatures even a slight breeze can give a chill, not a surprising result and no worse than what I have experienced when wearing other unlined WPB pants over long johns. As I dislike heavyweight base layers, the only solutions for me are to don lined trousers or limit rest breaks. Which is the long way of saying that I do not consider this a fault or shortcoming of the Helly Hansen pants. I don't expect miracles.
The fit was tight over the sweatpants, as I expected. Again, no knock on the pants; in fact the athletic fit is one of their strong points. I did get a chance to adjust the zippers at the cuffs, with good results. When carefully zipped up they work well at keeping out the powder snow, though I may use gaiters should I wear them for serious downhill powder skiing. Another minor adjustment prompted by the cold was wearing a heavyweight sweater as my mid- or outer layer. My heaviest is too bulky to fit inside the pants and still allow me to zip the pants up, so I must wear it over the suspenders, complicating one particular bodily function.
The more I wear these pants the more I like the size, location, and easy access of the pockets. As the temperatures have climbed I've more and more not needed a jacket when cross-country skiing. All I need to carry, except water, fit inside easily without limiting motion or otherwise making me uncomfortable. This helps me when ski touring in other ways too. Instead of having to remove a pack for a snack or substituting gear [gloves, balaclava, gaiter] I can simply reach into a pocket. And each pocket has a full zipper so there's no risk of losing essentials [car keys, cell phone, wallet] from a fall or inadvertent movement.
I've made more use of the side zips, especially when skiing. They are easy to open and close with mittened hands and raise the upper temperature comfort limit of the pants, to the point that I'm planning to use them as hiking pants in the spring.
Two more machine washings and air drying have been uneventful, removing most smudges and all the surface dirt and grime that have accumulated. Most of the latter come from contact with the rear of my car. With ski area building closed during the pandemic the cargo area of my sport utility vehicle has become my equipment locker this winter. That means even more brushing the bumper and rear edge of the cargo section. A few faint stains from salad oil that dripped during lunch remain, fainter than when the pants entered the washer.
The Verglas Tur pants are a genuine winner! I hope it's apparent from the foregoing text that I've found these trousers to be well-nigh ideal for winter activities. My maiden voyage with Helly Hansen has been entirely successful.
WHAT I LIKE
Great fit makes them really comfortable
Pocket size and placement
Stylish enough to wear to town
Durable and easy to care for
An elastic powder cuff would help keep the snow out and make the pants even more versatile in colder weather. But that would disqualify them as three-season hiking pants, a role I look forward to seeing them play when it warms up.
My Test Report ends here. I thank Helly Hansen and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.
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