Helly Hansen Zeta 2L HT CIS Jacket

Guest Editor- Matt LeDoux

Helly Hansen is thought to be one of the best brands for outdoor gear. This jacket had a lot to live up to with such a heritage.

A little background: my first ski jacket was a Helly Hansen. My dad bought my brother and I matching ones for Christmas long ago. It was a shell, a new concept back in the 80’s. It was fluorescent colored, water resistant and did it’s job well.  I skied many years with it, from powder days in Austria to icy, finger numbing days in the northeast. Another reason I was eager to see how this jacket would stack up.

The Zeta 2L HT CIS (Component Insulation System) has many pros and a few cons.

Pros:
-Thin (minimal bulk) yet warm. The perfect combo as it’s easy to maneuver in yet warm on the bone chilling days with the Primaloft inner jacket.
-Welcoming pockets. The Pockets are lined with a soft felt-like material, it’s a little detail but it’s nice when you need a quick hand warm up.
-Ample pockets. I always have my iphone on me, and I dont want it in the lower pockets because it rubs against my keys and scratches the glass face plate. This Helly has two upper pockets on either side for safe, convenient cell storage.
-Pit vents. This is a nice feature. Plus, dual zippers are provided to zip open the vent from either side. Good if you’re wearing a pack.
-Inner Primaloft jacket and Helly Tech 2L waterproof breathable outer shell. This 3-1 jacket makes it a great all season multi-use jacket. Wear the shell in the rainy seasons for breathable protection and the inner jacket alone in the colder months when not needing waterproof protection from the outer shell.
-Solid helmet compatible hoody fit. A lot of ski jacket hoods are too baggy. I pull the chords but can never get it right. Or they hang too far over my face, like a flappy baseball cap. This one is dialed in in terms of proper fit. Nice to see.
-Weather proof zippers. Nothing new, but good to have. Velcro cuffs. I thought the cuff length was too long when I first put the jacket on but with the adjustable Velcro cuff it fits my short arms perfectly.
Cons:
-the hood doesn’t detach. I don’t always want the hood, it’d be nice to have the option.
-missing an inside pocket. Lots of outside pocket options, but no inside pockets. I like putting my wallet, iphone or camera there when skiing.
Overall: Helly Hansen has once again made a solid jacket for outdoor adventures. Only a few minor things were missing. The most important features, like being thin, warm and cut well overshadow those. This is a jacket I’ll ski many days in, and a product that once again lives up to the HH heritage.One warning, this jacket runs small in the shoulders (athletic cut). The large size fits like a medium. Keep that in mind if making an online purchase.
Thank you to HH for providing the jacket for review.

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