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Helly Hansen Blaze Hooded Softshell Review

Helly Hansen Blaze
Overall
4.4
  • Wind protection
    (5)
  • Waterproofing
    (3)
  • Breathability
    (4.5)
  • Weight and dimensions
    (4)
  • Wearability and freedom of movement
    (5)
  • Design and functionality
    (5)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Summary

Lightweight softshell jacket with multiple functions. Designed for hiking, it offers excellent fit and comfort. Thanks to its pleasant, understated design, it can also be used as a casual garment for everyday outings. Ideal for the summer and mid-season.

Pros

  • Great freedom of movement
  • Excellent body temperature regulation
  • Ergonomic, adjustable hood
  • Sliding and robust zips

Cons

  • None in particular

Helly Hansen Blaze is the lightweight, hooded softshell jacket for hiking and trekking in the mountains in mild or cool temperatures.

The company also recommends it for ski mountaineering (I would say spring). Ideal as a last protective layer in windy or changeable weather.

helly hansen blaze review

Technical features of the Helly Hansen Blaze Hooded

  • Fabric: 88% Polyamide (of which 47% recycled) and 12% Elastane
  • DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment that increases water repellency, without the use of PFCs (chemicals harmful to humans and the environment)
  • 4-way stretch fabric
  • Polyamide and Elastane seams
  • Adjustable hood with brim
  • Adjustable waistband
  • Cuffs with elastic inserts
  • Two outside zipped pockets
  • Front zip fastener with inner fabric flap
  • Bluesign certified product
  • Weight: 450 g
  • Manufacturer country: Vietnam
  • Manufacturer link
helly hansen softshell

Test mode

The product was tested in all weather conditions (sun, variable, rain, wind) and terrain, except snow.

The reference period was spring and early summer, for about 10 outings including hiking , trekking and simple walks with one outing in mountain running mode.

It was used on altitudes from the sea up to 2200 m altitude and temperatures from 5 to 25°C, with even strong wind conditions, over 50 km/h.

testing the helly hansen blaze on a trek

Helly Hansen Blaze Hooded Softshell on-site test

Design and construction

The first use of this jacket was for going out in the evening in the city. This is because the understated design makes it very combinable with any casual garment, and it looks great with a simple T-shirt or shirt underneath.

HH apparel

It was then tested for its specific use and I could immediately notice a remarkable adaptability to the body’s movements. An advantage offered by the 4-way stretch fabric.

back of the hh jacket

The initial sensation is one of good comfort and it feels like wearing only a veil. In addition, the great softness of the fabric gives no small added value.

Wind and water protection

The Helly Hansen Blaze Hooded Softshell is a jacket that protects above all against wind, and in this respect it is remarkable.

It creates a true barrier because, in addition to allowing very little air to pass through, it optimises the temperature exchange between the body and the external environment, a great characteristic of softshell fabric.

The additional DWR treatment, on the other hand, serves to guarantee water repellency.

On the sloping parts, the droplets slide off at great speed, while on the flat areas (shoulders, hood) the water holds out for a fair amount of time before being absorbed and thus wetting the fabric.

water test
Testing the jacket with rain

Unfortunately, as happens to all garments with these characteristics, this water-repellent treatment tends to lose performance over time and must be reactivated with a special treatment. On this jacket this process seems to occur slowly.

In any case, the general degree of water repellency of the garment can be considered good, at least in the first phase, also considering that it is not a shell with waterproof characteristics.

Thermal insulation and breathability of the Helly Hansen Blaze Hoodes Softshell

Breathability is, as always, a much-debated aspect, due to the fact that everyone perspires differently and has a different ability to develop heat. Personally, I sweat a lot and feel hot even at the start of an activity, even if it is a hike at a leisurely pace.

I must say that this jacket gave me avery good feeling in terms of regulating the temperature between the body (warm and sweating) and the outside environment (sometimes cold or at least well below body temperature).

During more intense activity this aspect improves further, confirming the good breathability. The downside, normal in a lightweight garment like this, is that you get cold within seconds.

breathability of the helly hansen blaze

Mainly, I used the Helly Hansen Blaze Hooded Softshell with a synthetic T-shirt underneath and in mild temperatures. The fabric in direct contact with sweaty skin does not stick, but rather seems to stay dry, a symptom of good breathability.

If, on the other hand, temperatures are cooler (8-10°C), simply add a light microfleece as an inner layer and you stay warm.

The speed of drying at the end of an intensive activity, with the garment worn, was good. The lightness of the fabric certainly helps a lot in this too.

Features

The hood, which includes a brim, offers an interesting adjustment system without the classic plastic catch, which ruins the elastic in the long run.

A rigid, variable-size insert is used in this cap, which allows the elastic to be locked in place once it has been adjusted. The closure of the hood is good, well sized to the position of the face in relation to the shoulders.

The classic adjustment system, on the other hand, is found at the waist with a single plastic catch that remains hidden inside the jacket without being annoying.

Waist adjustment of the Helly Hansen Blaze Hooded Softshell.
Waist adjustment of the Helly Hansen Blaze Hooded Softshell

The Helly Hansen Blaze Hooded Softshell has a very smooth and sturdy front zip, closes up to chin height to give total protection at the neck and create the classic ‘porthole’ when the hood is put on.

The Helly Hansen Blaze Hooded Softshell in the wind
The Helly Hansen Blaze Hooded Softshell in the wind

If a helmet is worn, the use of the hood is still possible thanks to the elastic fabric, although it is not very comfortable and tends to pull a little on the neck and shoulders.

The sofsthell with helmet and harness
The sofsthell with helmet and harness

The front zipped pockets have a mesh interior, are well placed and roomy and remain above the harness, should you need to wear it. There are no inside pockets, which is a pity, in my opinion one more would not have hurt.

The sleeve narrows slightly at the wrist and has an elastic insert that fits very well without being uncomfortable; on the contrary, it gives a pleasant wrap-around feeling.

Durability and odour resistance

This aspect also varies greatly from person to person. I have a tendency to ‘smell’ and with this kind of garment, washing is a must after a couple of outings in which sweat develops. Let’s say normal when dealing with softshell fabrics.

As for the durability of the materials, the impression was good even though the test period was limited to a few months of use. After a few washes, the fabric remained almost intact, as when new.

The Blaze Hooded Softshell is not a garment designed for uses with a high risk of abrasion, such as climbing or mountaineering. However, I would recommend taking care not to ‘snag’ the fabric on sharp objects (branches, rock spikes, etc.) because stretch fabric is generally more delicate and tends to puncture more.

testing the helly hansen blaze

Weight and dimensions

The single layer of this jacket is very thin, so its 450 g make it a lightweight softshell, and thebulk is very small. Once compressed it fits little more than in one hand.

Fit of the Helly Hansen Blaze Hooded Softshell

The size used for the test was M, and for my build, height and weight (180 cm and 73 kg) I found no differences with other similar garments I normally use. The size fits like a glove.

fit of the jacket

Recommended for

Helly Hansen Blaze Hooded Softshell is a hooded softshell jacket ideal for hikers and trekkers, from the sea to the mountains, in summer and in between seasons.

I recommend it to hikers looking for a garment that provides effective protection from the wind but at the same time allows good breathability. Precisely because of the latter feature, as well as its high elasticity, I also recommend it for those who enjoy fast climbs at a high pace, bordering on running.

In addition, its sober design makes it also suitable off the trail, in leisure time and in the city.

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