Photo courtesy of Kara DiCamillo.
If any of you have backpacked the Presidential Range and Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, you know that the weather can change in a hot minute. Over the past 20 years, we’ve hiked through hail, lightening storms, and torrential rain up Tuckerman’s Ravine, over Mt. Washington, and down to the High Huts. So when we had a chance to take Helly Hansen’s new Ekolab Jacket for a test run, we knew exactly how to put it through the ringer. The Ekolab collection is Helly’s starting point for the company’s long-term environmental initiative. They’ve been designing gear for more than 130 years and the new collection is based around Helly Hansen's elimination of PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene, a synthetic chemical that’s also used as Teflon) from its waterproof breathable membranes and its introduction of fluorocarbon-free DWR (Durable Water Repellant). The line was launched to try out new ideas, discover ways to address environmental sustainability and reduce its impact on the planet. As an early result, including the elimination of harmful PTFE, they’ve also incorporated recycled fabrics and pursued minimalist design practices that reduce the need for excess resources.
The women’s Ekolab Jacket is super lightweight and packed easily in our backpack. It’s waterproof, making it perfect for a sailing venture, yet it comes with a powder skirt and can be used as a shell on a warm day of skiing. In our case, with the attached hood it provided warmth from the strong winds that were blowing on one of the Presidential peaks. We like how pit zips were incorporated for breathability without adding any unnecessary metal and plastic parts. The hardware that was used is made from 100% recycled materials. Other cool features: made from Econylon which is 100% certified eco-friendly; low impact dying process; and water resistant zips that are also certified eco-friendly.
In summary, we found that the Ekolab Jacket is a great all-around durable shell with clean, minimal design. While it is made in China (the company is Norwegian-based), we’re looking forward to seeing what new products they’ll be adding to the Ekolab line. From Helly's website, it looks as though they’ve already added a few parkas and jackets for the winter season. Helly Hansen
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Almost: EMS ExoTherm Jacket
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