I take two of the new items from the Outdoors and Fjord til Fjell ranges out for review: Phantom Mesh midlayer and Movatn wool vest. I use both items in some mixed conditions with the last grasps of Winter, Spring and in to Summer.
What Helly Hansen say:
PHANTOM MESH ½ ZIP MIDLAYER
The Phantom Mesh ½ Zip Midlayer exudes comfort in a clean design that delivers ample warmth, wind protection and breathability for all-season use during high-intensity activities. The lightweight, slick-face, ultra-stretchy design features mesh in the underarm and back panels for ultimate temperature regulation.
- Light slick face stretch tricot
- Low friction smooth construction
- Flatlock stitching for low bulk
- Photoprint color blocking
- Brushed inside
- 1/2 zip construction
- Lycra edge at cuffs
- Contrast flatlock seams
- HH® logo on chest
MOVATN WOOL INS VEST
A versatile, multisport vest - insulated with 100% Norwegian Lavalan wool and featuring technical shoulder and chest panels for added weather protection.
Movatn is an area in Oslo that is frequently used as a starting point for many excursions in the Oslomarka. You can jump on the train from Oslo and it will take you directly to your adventure. Grab your Movatn vest and be prepared for a day of roaming. Insulated with Lavalan 100% Norwegian wool you`ll get super soft warmth and comfort. Technical waterproof-by-construction fabric panels will keep you dry in case of unforeseen weather and it conveniently packs together when not in use.
- 20D lightweight nylon quilted main fabric
- Lavalan 100% Norwegian wool insulation
- Bluesign®approved fabric
- Technical shoulder and chest panels with DWR for extra weather protection
- YKK® center front zipper closure with additional exposed snaps
Helly Hansen Phantom Mesh and Movatn Vest on test:
This review was initially delayed. It’s difficult to review a Spring/Summer clothing set up when the winter conditions and snow returns. So, for the fairness and providing a review using the clothing in the conditions and seasons it was designed for was opted for.
Starting with the midlayer. The Phantom half zip, I personally found this to be the most useful and widely used item of clothing between the two. Firstly, the Phantom half zip could be used on its own with a base layer on chiller days and suitable for running in the early Spring mornings when it was a little chillier but also worked really well as a general midlayer with down jackets and waterproofs in mountainous regions and hiking. Even in the cold snaps we had which continued to bring the snow and frost in to April.
More recently when it’s been hotter, the Phantom mesh half zip has been packed and suited as a layer to keep the chill off when stopping for coffee breaks but whilst walking it was a little too warm in the Summer heat. Certainly when climbing around Snowdonia and Glen Coe.
When the half zip wasn’t needed it was easy enough to take off and pack away. Although only a midlayer it is surprisingly larger when rolled up and not as compact as preferred but this is a small compromise and I would rather have it packed during these months for the early mornings or evenings sat around where a down jacket would perhaps be too much.
The Phantom half zip was a good comfortable fit but not an athletic fit, leaving plenty of air to circulate which with the mesh back where the midlayer gets its core feature and name from, is where the benefits really come. Before the midday sun of Summer and climbing in Spring the mesh back helped reduce heat and sweat when using a rucksack. Despite this mesh in the wintry weather and snow, the mesh was no issue in keeping the cold out and continued to allow cooler air to circulate whilst wearing a thicker down jacket above, waterproof and rucksack.
In general the midlayer was very comfortable to wear and soft to the touch and after use and several washes later the top continues to remain soft and comfortable. Having used it to a long weekend around Snowdonia and Glen Coe recently the top didn’t smell despite all the climbing. Another testament to the mesh backing and allowing cooler air to circulate which ultimately reduced the sweat and heat.
Other nice features for the Phantom mesh half zip were the small rear zipper pocket and thumb holes makes it a great all round midlayer, not just for walking and hiking but running and colder conditions. Between the two tops I would pick this up every time and it became a core part of my kit when walking and camping now.
I rarely used the small pocket, but it was plenty big enough to fit a small mp3 player, keys and some loose change. It was a little to tight to fit a 6” phone inside so for running its a case of leave the phone behind or use a running band on your arm. A shame it couldn’t fit but not a deal breaker as I know many runners, like myself who don’t carry phones and use wireless headphones synced to a smart watch.
The thumb loops on the other hand were used a lot, especially on chilly mornings or covering my hands more recently to provide some protection from the dreaded Scottish midges! The thumb loops didn’t feel to tight that my thumbs were being restricted or feeling like they were being cut plus the length provided good coverage across my knuckles, not just tickling the knuckle as some tops do.
For a midlayer the Phantom mesh isn’t the most compact nor lightest, it comes in weighing approximately 300g and when rolled up takes up some space. It shows how much thicker and dense the material used is which is why I could personally, happily use it in Winter as a layer for warmth. It’s incredibly comfortable and has been great to use.
It’s a shame I can’t say the same for the Movatn insulated vest (gilet). Not that there was anything wrong with the Movatn vest just the Phantom mesh has more versatility and use in comparison but both have their strengthens and weaknesses.
The Movatn vest is a great over layer to accompany the Phantom mesh midlayer or to be used with jackets as a midlayer, but the obvious point is the vest lacks sleeves so in the wind or chilly conditions the vest can only offer so much cover and warmth. Out of the wind and bringing the vest in to the conditions it was designed for being Spring/Summer the vest is a good lightweight option for adding some warmth to your body and some weatherproofing from light showers in the warmer months.
Despite the lack of sleeves and conditions we faced in Scotland which was just wet but very warm the vest was a good option as a midlayer or initial cover before getting the heavyweight waterproof on or when used in the last snap of winter. Between a base layer, midlayer, the Movatn vest and an outer down jacket I was very cosy and comfortable walking up the Brecon Beacons mountains.
When stood still on the summits the down jacket provided the most protection from the wind chill but the layers below kept me warm enough to enjoy the snow and views.
As we all know the snow didn’t stay to the summits and the cold snapped spread across the UK. The vest was a nice option to keep some level of warmth when wearing casual clothing for to and from work. Helly Hansen in the styling have aimed the range and personally have achieved the look that suits those who enjoy and spend time in the outdoors but want to use the kit in their everyday lives.
Now, you can do the same with the Phantom mesh but it’s obvious it is an outdoors top with its styling and apperance, but the vest doesn’t immediately look obvious its an outdoors vest top/gilet. So, this obviously brings great benefits in that its not just an application for the outdoors. I have often worn this as a simple overlay on dry days where it can get a little cooler in the evenings. It’s comfortable and fits well. The fleeced pockets are also a great benefit and plenty big to fit phone, wallet, glasses and even a few camera lens at times.
Overall both the Movatn vest and Phantom mesh have their obvious benefits and weaknesses but combined together are a great combo for any outdoor enthusiast or lover of walking/hiking. My personal favourite out of the two is the Phantom mesh, in terms of practicality and use, it was far more versatile. Walking, hiking, mountaineering and cycling, it’s been a good option and comfortable to wear. I can see it as a general lightweight layer heading in to the colder months but in the height of summer however, this midlayer will have limited use until the evenings and cooler mornings. Even with the mesh back but this on the cooler days has been beneficially in reducing sweat and heat on my back with a large rucksack.
Helly Hansen Phantom mesh Half Zip midlayer
Heat performance 20/25
Helly Hansen Movatn Wool Insulated Vest
Wet performance 18/25
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