If you live somewhere that “enjoys” cold temperatures, you’re probably aware of the relative crudeness of the standard jacket when it comes to temperature control. They’re built to keep you from dying of hypothermia, not comfort. Helly Hansen, which has been working on this problem since, oh, the nineteenth century, has a new and innovative approach to the problem: Filling your jacket with holes.
Keep in mind, if anybody knows about cold, it’s Helly Hansen: They make outdoor gear for crab fishermen and other industries where freezing to death is a real possibility. Thus the jacket is fairly straightforward, using three layers. The first layer is a mesh which pretty much exists to pull humidity out of the air surrounding your body. The middle layer is made of Polartec fleece with holes in it; warm air collects in these holes, creating individual air pockets all over the jacket and helping to regulate the temperature without getting too warm. And the polyester outer layer is designed to block the elements while being breathable and allowing moisture to escape.
So where does the temperature control come in? You unzip various points on the jacket, such as either side on the chest, to control how you feel in the coat. Too warm? Pop open an area where you feel warmest. Too cold? Just zip up the ports.
It beats the common strategy of unzipping your jacket and rezipping it repeatedly, a tactic all too familiar to those of us who have to shovel snow. The one downside is that it’s not that stylish: You’ve got your choice of blue or black.
While it may not be the ideal solution, which would be to just move somewhere with weather that isn’t freezing, this jacket will at least keep you comfortable. It’s available now, in both men’s and women’s sizes, from outerwear stores or Helly Hansen’s site.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.