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We love a good down puffy. Who doesn’t? Living in Colorado, a down jacket isn’t something that gets stowed away for the summer; on the contrary, it comes camping, on evening dog walks, and gets stashed in the car in case of ever-changing weather during kids’ sporting events. On all occasions, it was a joy testing the Icefall Down Jacket. This is a timeless piece from Helly Hansen. Though it has undergone some minor tweaks over the years, the core mission and resulting performance of this versatile piece hasn’t changed: To offer maximum warmth to weight when you need it.
So what does that really mean? Well, it depends. This is a piece that can be used as a belay jacket for climbers, a packable layer for backcountry skiers, or just an around-town puffy. We tested the Icefall Down Jacket for a few weeks during early season in Colorado’s Front Range. While this isn’t a jacket we would use for downhill skiing at the resort, it sure was nice to slip into during breaks back at the car during this pandemic winter. After several chilly mornings lapping the corduroy at Loveland Ski Area and Arapahoe Basin, returning to the car to warm up with cocoa was enhanced by shrugging off the ski shell and sliding into the Icefall.
So now, the technology. The Icefall isn’t actually a 100-percent down jacket and that works to its advantage—and yours. Down is super warm, which is a huge boon, but it’s also not the most durable, especially in high-wear areas. That’s why HH has bolstered the Icefall with PrimaLoft Silver synthetic insulation in the hood, shoulder, side panels, underarms, and sleeve ends, which tend to be the spots to shed down feathers the most. It’s a nice combination—the warmth of ethically sourced and highly sustainable Allied down with the durability of the PrimaLoft, complemented by a burly 20-denier DWR-treated Ripstop outer fabric that will withstand the elements. What’s more, this substantial insulation layer scrunches down easily into a day pack.
The Icefall jacket is a solid insulation choice for people looking to add a packable—yet truly warm—layer to their backcountry or ice-climbing kit, or just for the person who wants a durable down jacket to weather their winter comings-and-goings. With its full features yet lighter weight, it straddles the recreation/performance category with ease, which is a plus for most winter recreationalists and beyond.