Gear of the Week: Helly Hansen LifaLoft Hooded Stretch Insulator Jacket

This midlayer won't hold you back when you're on the move.

Our take Bundling up in the winter usually means sacrificing mobility, but this puffy helps mitigate the tradeoff. Its four-way-stretch face fabric (uncommon in an insulated jacket) combines with springy insulation to result in a moves-with-you fit, a trait confirmed by one Utah tester: She never had any trouble reaching down to adjust a faulty binding during ski touring outings, and the Hooded Stretch Insulator never held her back when she reached for pole plants or executed kick turns. Elastic edges around the cuffs and hood seal out wind, but also ensured that the hood stayed in place when she turned to check on other members of her group.

The details The Hooded Stretch Insulator is filled with 80-gram synthetic fill, and it kept one tester warm down to 0°F during a day of cross-country skiing in Vermont. It also vents well during strenuous activities in warmer weather. When you’re not wearing it, this jacket packs down to the size of a loaf of bread. Bonus: A TPU layer in the Napoleon pocket provides insulation for phones, so our Vermont tester was able to track her entire frigid outing on Strava.

Trail cred “I tend to overwear puffies during aerobic activities and end up way too sweaty. But because this one breathes so well, I skinned up Utah’s Grizzly Gulch on a 20°F day and didn’t even have to take it off,” one tester says. “I wouldn’t even think about skinning past the first 10 minutes in my other puffies.”

$280; 1 lb. 2 oz. (m’s M); m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL; Buy the Helly Hansen LifaLoft Hooded Stretch Insulator Jacket now in men’s and women’s