Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
Packing for a day of ski touring can be as mind boggling as a Rubik’s Cube. No one wants to carry more weight uphill than necessary. But, it’s definitely a bummer to be the guy who needs to bum snacks off his buddies since he cut his stash of Swedish Fish in order to shave a few ounces from his pack. Rookie mistake.
Goggles versus sunglasses. Beanie versus trucker cap. Softshell versus hard shell. Liner gloves versus mittens. The list of deliberate decisions is practically endless. However, there is one item of gear that none of us forgets, regardless of the weight: a crisis puffy. After all, being cold is the worst and skiing is inherently a frosty sport. Those bitter temps feel chillier during snowy transitions, and there is nothing like a breezy mountain-top lunch break to send you rummaging through your backpack in search of that toasty-warm insulated jacket. But wouldn’t it be awesome if that need-to-have item weighed just a bit less?
As it turns out, it can. Thanks to Helly Hansen’s new LifaLoft technology, insulation just got 20 percent lighter, meaning you can pack both those Swedish Fish and gummy bears without losing any sleep over your decision.
The secret is in the collaboration. First, Helly Hansen took the 48-year-old Lifa yarn technology used in the brand’s baselayers and harnessed its best attributes gleaned from over 50 fabric evolutions: insane warmth-to-weight ratio, breathability, and uber sweat wicking capabilities. Then, they collaborated with Primaloft—a top synthetic insulation known throughout the outdoor world for exceptional warmth—to create an insulation utilizing the Lifa fiber, LifaLoft.
After that, it gets scientific. The overarching principle of insulation is that warmth comes from the air trapped in the tiny pockets of space between the strands of insulation. Air is the great insulator which means the more air pockets insulation has, the more space there is for warmth to gather. Using the Lifa fiber (which is 20% thinner than synthetic insulation), the LifaLoft amalgamation increased the quantity of air pockets, creating a warmer and lighter insulation when compared to standard synthetic insulation. Added bonus: Lifa fiber is naturally hydrophobic which means LifaLoft inherently repels water without the need for treatment. Perhaps you shred in the PNW where a powder day includes a cubic foot of moisture? Not a problem.
How big of a deal is this? You tell us. SKI Magazine recently awarded LifaLoft with our coveted Gear of the Year award, so clearly we’re impressed. We’re planning on packing some chocolate-covered espresso beans with all of the weight we’re saving in our packs. What will you bring?