Kit Sent Home

Kit Sent Home

The Helly Hansen Pro-Wool Crew Neck Base-Layer Top.

Will ventured £25 toward this top, because he had worn merino wool blended with plastic before, and it can be a great combination for a garment.

He was struggling to find a merino base-layer that was under £30, when he spotted this offering, the Helly Hansen Pro-Wool crew base layer. We were in a hurry, eager to be dressed and walking, so happily the button was clicked, the garment bought, and then we only had to wait.

When the top came through the post, the initial reaction was troubling. The arms are covered in what Ginger laughingly called ‘Chevrons’, the distinctive Helly Hansen branding that they paint over everything. Well, aesthetics is but one consideration, and the green was nice and olivey.

nasty top, chevroned smelly-hansen

nasty top, chevroned smelly-hansen

But the feeling is crucial; and the merino wool / plastic blend in this top was arranged so that the wool is on the outside, and the plastic inside, so your skin is only ever in contact with the polypropelene wicking layer – the dreadful plastic.

This feels odd, and maintains a cold over-heating, and sense of slow suffocation. The underarms sweated instantly, and felt cold, even though we were in a warm-ish room, sitting still.

Sleeping overnight in this top led to a morning of deep despair about the quality of all Will’s clothing and equipment, which ranges from the high-grade (but third-hand) to the unknown (charity shop chancers). To wake with such a sense of despondent difficulty, emanating from a simple base-layer, is a pretty clear indication that this top is not the right stuff to wear or carry.

Furthermore, Will bought a Large, but the neck was harshly tight. And worst of all, perhaps most crucially, the cuffs of the sleeves are too tight to roll the arms up. This is a ridiculous design flaw. The top is designed to keep you warm, but when you cook, or wash your hands, your sleeves get wet, and your wrists become damp and chafed.

No, no, no, no, no. This Helly Hansen Pro-Wool crew base-layer might be cheap, but is still a waste of money. It is the worst of both merino and synthetic fabrics, pooled to make a new nadir of design and quality.

Will previously wore a merino/synthetic base-layer for 9 straight months, and he found the Ullfrotte (Woolpower) garments to be superb, in terms of materials, function, and comfort. These clothes are also base-layers, but are made of finer wool, they feel great, loose and breathable, with the warmth and comfort of terry-towelling on the inside. The only problem is that they are so damnably expensive (£50+).

Will would be wearing his old top still, for they last well, but a friend long ago found it in their washing basket, and assumed it was unwanted, so adopted it. It is still wearing well, and he sees it every few days.

In the meantime, Will, having wasted his base-layer budget on this Helly Hansen travesty, has fished an old charity-shop woollen thing from storage.

If anyone wants to swap something for a pro-wool top with plastic inside, and silly chevrons outside, please send word.

One Response to “Kit Sent Home”

  1. tara says:

    hello travellers :) we just had great fun and understanding reading this (very old now) post. my man has just jumped up with such sympathy for you over this matter, and seeked out his spare red smartwool merino baselayer, in size large. he says that as he enjoyed your cd so very much, he will post this beloved garment to you if you can put it to use. we hope that one day our paths will cross, but if you want it sooner than that, give us an address to send it to. happy wanderings! xxxxxxxxx

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