Helly Hansen is one of those unique brands equally familiar to country club dwelling CEOs and street savvy urban hipsters. While originally designed to protect sailors from stormy seas, lashing winds, and brutal weather, this Norwegian brand has also conquered style-conscious devotes from Manhattan to Marylebone.
In many ways, Helly Hansen has done for sailing gear what The North Face and Patagonia have done for climbing and mountaineering clothing 20 years ago. Exotic brands that had been the purview of a relatively elite core of sports enthusiasts – then hard core trail hikers and now competitive sailors – are now trending streetwear among urban taste makers.
We have been honored to work with Helly Hansen to review a number of great products that easily fit into an active lifestyle, on land or water.
SALT POWER JACKET
One of Helly Hansen’s most iconic pieces, the Salt Power sailing jacket, is a great three-season outer layer that looks as stylish on the street as it does functional on the water. With its bold graphic “HH” branding and a decidedly purpose-built look, the Salt Power embodies the Helly Hansen aesthetic. Being constructed from HellyTech, the jacket easily sheds water and keeps cold winds at bay. The fabric’s breathable yet waterproof attributes make it a practical choice for everyday life.
Helly Hansen sailing team coach Ian Andrews provides a casual but fun-to-watch review of the Salt Power jacket from the dual perspectives of an on-the-water professional and land side everyday guy. We like the Polartec fleece-lined hand warmer pockets and collar, Solas reflective panels on the sleeves, and massive fully adjustable hood.
PANORAMA 2.0 BACKPACK
The 23L Panorama is a midsize backpack that is compact yet chock full of useful features. With adjustable shoulder straps, chest strap and belt, multiple compartments, and dedicated laptop and tablet sleeves, it’s a great everyday bag. It is not, however, designed to be an office backpack. While there are small zip pockets, the Panorama has no pen loops or mobile phone pockets. The front external zip pocket is more of a full length vertical sleeve.
While these design choices may bother some, we are fine with the more functional design of this bag. Frankly, it’s nice to have at least one compact, sharp looking backpack that’s not just a briefcase with straps. It can easily handle stowing extra layers, a pair of shoes, or just your lunch.
TRYSAIL BOAT SHOE
While we love a good pair of classic docksiders, sometimes you want your nautical footwear to be a bit more modern. The Trysail boat shoes are exactly what we have been looking for. Somewhere between a boat shoe and a street-friendly slip-in, the breathable mesh upper is actually comfortable in slight cooler weather and the while the flexible, decoupled outersole offers great comfort and traction in many different settings.
For us, the solid navy blue was an easy choice as it looks good with just about anything, from short to khakis. And, while they look good for sure, these should are meant to take abuse and hit the salt water hard.