For hikers caught between the desire to take a break and the fear of turning into an icicle while standing around, the Odin Veor is just the ticket. Helly Hansen cut half-inch slots in the material on the back of this jacket (hidden under loose, shingle-like insulated baffles, but always open) to disperse heat and moisture without leaving the wearer at the mercy of the cold. “It was perfect on freezing mornings, when I would work hard to get into position to take photos and then sit quietly hoping to not disturb the wildlife,” says our Virginia-based birder. “When I sat down, sweat would escape quickly, but I wouldn’t get cold after my heartrate returned to normal.” Fleece panels under the arms and two vents on the sides up the breathability even more. Drawback: Wearing a pack covers most of the ventilation holes.
This jacket mixes 800-fill down for core warmth with synthetic PrimaLoft Gold in the areas most likely to get wet (mouth, cuffs, shoulders). Ding: Some testers wanted a slimmer cut.
“The back slots are unique, but the side vents are the feature I appreciated most on sunny, warmer days while wearing a pack,” one tester says. hellyhansen.com