In my mind, Helly Hansen conjures up images of rubber-clad Scandinavian fisherman. Burly, weatherproof and worn for years by someone named Hans, Sven or Olaf. The reality is that my mind should have a completely new image of Helly Hansen and with the waterproof/breathable Verglas 3L hardshell jacket in for review, I’m beginning to forget about Sven and Olaf already.

Helly Hansen Verglas 3L Jacket Features:

  • Helly Tech®O2
  • Polymer reinforcement prints
  • Removable snow skirt
  • Pit-zip ventilation
  • Attached hood
  • One hand hood adjustments
  • Adjustable cuffs
  • Weight: 640 grams (size L)
  • Colors: Arctic (tested), Black
  • MSRP: $425

Verglas is as trusty as a Scandinavian fisherman

Truly impressive overall, the Verglas 3L is one solid hardshell jacket for skiing, climbing or other technical backcountry needs. Slipping this jacket on, the fit is spot-on for efficient outdoor pursuits. Without much extra material, the Verglas 3L has enough size to accommodate a fleece or light puffy insulation layer, but not much else. For me, the cut and fit of the Verglas 3L is a huge plus. The size Large fits my 5’11”, 170 lb frame perfectly, so keep in mind that this trim jacket has an athletic cut.

The quality construction is evident in every detail of the Verglas 3L. Everything is as expected — from the adjustable hood to the grippable zipper pulls. Some of the other nice features include the vented collar to expel moisture when fully-zipped and prevent your breath from condensing inside. It actually does seem to expel moisture a bit better than a solid collar does.

The Verglas 3L does fit comfortably under a pack and wears well. It has grippy rubber patches on the tops of the shoulders and on both hips to keep your shoulder straps and waistbelt in place on the jacket — a nice little touch. Chest pocket access is great with a pack on, but the handwarmer pockets are essentially put off limits.

The waterproof zippers reduce bulk and keep out the elements quite well. Speaking of elements, even a solid 34-degree wet, sloppy snowfall couldn’t penetrate the shell. I spent a good hour in solid, wet snow and it was impenetrable. Durability has been great thus far, but I’ll report back after a few car wash ski exits (scrub oak, aspen and fir variety).

I’ve stashed this jacket in my ski pack and it compacts down pretty well — about what you’d expect from a 3-layer hardshell. It’s my hardshell of choice as I roll it up and toss it into the bottom of my Osprey Kode 30 backpack for the downhill. The articulated fit is nice and efficient without excess bulk, which is perfect for backcountry adventures. The zip off powder skirt is a nice touch and can be removed to lighten the load a bit. I kept it in place and appreciated the extra protection it provided.

The articulated sleeves feature an angled cuff to better match your natural arm movement. It does help keep the cuffs in place, but not as well as it would if Helly Hansen had chosen to add some grippy patches ton the inside cuff. Mated with my Swany X-Claim gloves, the cuff did work its way off the midsize glove over time… again, some lightweight grippy on the interior of the cuff would minimize this — a small change that hopefully can be made.

Unfortunately, my jacket has a sizeable crease in the visor (likely my fault for not packing it so well) and it now doesn’t sit quite right. I’m trying to work that out so it doesn’t interfere with my vision but for now, it still insists on folding down right in the middle where a crease has been set. I just need to be more careful when packing it away in my ski pack.

The Good

  • Tough as nails
  • Excellent waterproof capabilities
  • Breathes well for this type of material
  • Great athletic fit
  • Love the tall collar and breathing ports
  • Articulated sleeves with angle-cut cuffs add to the overall comfort
  • Zip-off powder skirt is great to have

The Bad 

  • Sleeve cuffs could use some grippy material to keep in place
  • A bit spendy at $425

Bottom Line: Helly Hansen Verglas 3L Jacket

The Helly Hansen Verglas 3L jacket has impressed me from the get-go with its efficient fit, smart function and overall quality construction. When considering a bulletproof hardshell, the Verglas 3L stands up there with the best jackets on the market with a few added touches (breathing ports in collar, zip-off powder skirt, grippy shoulders and waist, etc.) that are unavailable elsewhere.

Buy Now: Find Helly Hansen at REI

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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