I am not going to pretend or proclaim that I was able to test and review Helly’s new Mission series in the most extreme conditions, they have people like Inge Solheim to do that and they did on their recent South Pole trip “Walking with the Wounded”.
My job here was to test the Mission series in ways that mere mortals would be using it, in (mostly) resort based situations and (soon) is some back county conditions, which I will as soon as we have some in Tahoe. I have three pieces here that I have reviewed and will add updates to the product pages as I get more time in them.
Helly’s new 3 layer Mission jacket has been an early season hit here in Tahoe. Starting with just putting jacket on, you immediately know the Mission means business and it’s total intent is to protect you from the elements. The relaxed fit with articulating arm and elbow design along with perfect exterior pocket placement (including pass pocket) makes the Mission more than just a garment but a piece of gear that you will value as much as any ski/boot or beacon you might own.
On snow performance was initially tested in a Tahoe crystal clear blue day and I will say the Clementine was as bright as the sun that was shining and the windproof Helly Tech Professional material kept the wind out while skiing at mach speeds. The second day I had the opportunity to use the Mission shell was a single digit powder day in 2 plus feet of fresh. These are the elements that the Mission lives for. The Mission shell with it’s functional shape and extraordinary features like thesnap away powder skirt and the ability to attach the Mission shell to the Mission Cargo pant through Helly’s Fusion system again added to the versatility of the Mission shell. The Mission’s hood also worked very well with my Poc Fornix BC Helmet w/MIPS, I never felt confined or had loss of mobility as I do with some hoods.
Overall: if you are looking for a technical shell that has all the necessary features but still looks and fits great, the H/H Mission MUST be on your shopping list.
Helly has taken their superb Mission shell shape and made it a bit more resort versatile by adding Primaloft insulation and their revolutionaryH2Flow temperature control system. Helly bills the H2Flow system as “Warmer. Cooler. Lighter.”. The first element of the system is the innovative use of negative space in the jacket by creating holes that fill with air, these holes trap and control the body heat and add an additional layer of insulation. which helps you stay warm. The second element is allowing the heat to be controlled through strategically placed zipper which allow the heat to be released so you can cool down quickly without getting cold. The third element of H2Flow is the high warmth to weight ratio, by integrating the H2Flow in a jacket like the mission, Helly is able to reduce the weight by 30% compared to traditional insulating systems.
Thats all well and good and looks great on paper, but does it work? Simply, yes. I was able to compare the this and the Mission Shell Jacket back to back in similar testing conditions, both on 0*-15* temps and warmer 20*-35* temps. I was impressed with the light weight of the Mission w/H2fow and it definitely did not feel like I was wearing a bulky insulated jacket in either of the testing conditions. What impressed me was not the cold temps that the Mission was able to keep out but how comfortable it was on the warmer days where a typical insulated jacket usually feels heavy and cumbersome. Mobility was very good with the relaxed fit, articulated elbows and proper pocket placement. I like the ability to zip the Mission shell into the Mission Cargo Pants (review to follow) with the Fusion design to make a pseudo one-piece for the extreme powder days. The well designed powder skirt with two silicon beads snaps away when not in use. The insulated hood is also removable depending on weather conditions you will be skiing in, a very good feature for Tahoe when we get a few straight weeks of bluebird days but the temps fluctuate from bitter cold to 40’s. I really cannot think of any features that have been missed in the Missions design, and this goes for the shell too.
Overall: The Mission Jacket with H2Flow offers a great balance of insulation, light weight and warmth. A must consideration if you are looking for versatility in a insulated jacket.
The Mission Cargo pant is the ideal pant to go with eitherthe Mission Shell or Mission H2Flow jacket due to Helly’s Fusion attachment system allowing the skier to connect the pant to the jacket for extreme weather conditions when they want minimal to no outside elements to get in to the system. The Mission Cargo pant is really a deceiving name it is not a “cargo” pant as you would expect, it does not have big bulky exposed pockets that you see from other manufactures or like you see on snowboard pants. Helly’s design is much more streamlined with a singular pocket just on the one thigh, a design that is very streamline and clean. Like the Mission H2Flow jacket, the material is a 2L lightweight that stretches with movement combined with the Primaloft insulation makes these very lightweight. I was very impressed with the fit and shape of the pants and using and insulated pant that has many performance and functional features.
Posing with our fine women from Epic's Helly-Hansen test crew