Icebreaker Helix Hooded MerinoLoft Jacket - Men's

You'll never need another midlayer.

Stop messing around with midlayers that end up feeling too bulky halfway into a winter workout and simplify your routine with the Icebreaker Helix Hooded MerinoLoft Jacket. MerinoLoft insulation helps this lightweight layer feel like a lofty puffy, helping hikers, backpackers, runners, and anyone else trying to stay active in the cold stay warm without the weight. Unlike down, merino wool comes with the ability to regulate body temperature, so whether you're hitting your split goals on a winter run or exploring a faraway city, this MerinoLoft insulated jacket will balance warmth with breathability to keep you comfortable. Icebreaker crafted its shell out of a recycled polyester that's water-resistant for extra protection in wet weather, and the adjustable hem works with the elastically bound hood and cuffs to seal out cold drafts.

  • Grab before your next run, ski, or hike to stay warm and dry
  • Lofted merino insulation regulates temperature while you sweat
  • Regular fit moves with you and accommodates a baselayer
  • Wealth of pockets to keep your essentials safe
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

Small shoulders, poor movement

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Size Bought: Large

I'll start with the crib notes.
MY BODY TYPE: aging, semi-athletic (soft mid-section), 6'0, neutral ape index, small-to-medium frame, 180 lbs.
wool (warm when wet, antimicrobial, etc.)
possibly better warmth-to-weight ratio over other wool products (though I have a hard time judging this with confidence)
recycled polyester (responsible)
stylish (cool contrast hem and active-looking hybrid design)
restricting shoulders/arms (no articulation in elbows, no underarm gussets, small shoulders, short arms)
useless thumbholes (arms way too short)
useless hood (unless your head is immobilized in a neck brace, you'll stare at fabric whenever looking left or right)

NOTE: This would be a 4-star casual jacket, with one star reduced solely for the tight shoulders and short arms.

I like the look of the jacket, and so would recommend it for casual street-wear. In particular, I like the color options and the contrast trim (I got the dark blue with red trim ). As a bald-headed all-weather jogger, I also like the idea of thumbholes and the hood, though I did not find the implementation of either of these features to be practical for active use (see below). I also love that it's responsibly made from wool and recycled plastics. The fact that there is wool in the liner as well as the stretch panels under the arms and through the torso also means that it fights stench.

On the negative, I've found the shoulders to be very tight and the sleeves to be fairly short. Thus, with no articulation in the elbows, no mechanical stretch, and no gussets in the underarm, it's a very constricting jacket. Indeed, I would say that physical activity (aside perhaps from city walking) in the Helix is difficult, even without my thumbs in the thumbholes (which I cannot use). In fact, I am not a broad shouldered man (I would describe my frame as smallish for a 6 footer), but the shoulders in the new version forced me to size up to a large, which has room on me everywhere except the shoulders and arms. This is actually the first article of clothing in my life that almost seems to necessitate an extra large. (Owners of the old version of the Helix -- which I own in a very comfortable medium -- should note that the stretchy wool/polyester/elastane panels no longer cover the elbows, effectively removing the mechanical stretch from the arms.)

Also, I found the hood to be utterly useless (even while walking, or sitting): it looks nice, but its size and very mild elastic trim cause it to sort of orbit the head at a slight distance from the scalp so it retains its forward position when I turn my head, which means that I am staring at fabric every time I look left or right. The lack of hood adjustments also means that nothing can be done to counter this.

I’ve worn it through much of this last 2016-2017 winter in the Pacific Northwest, where it’s been subjected to city walking, rain, one 40-degree day-hike, one jog, and a couple of 45-degree bike rides. I made it about a mile on the jog before returning home to switch jackets due to restricting arms. Surprisingly, I found that it worked well on the bike rides: it blocked wind well and still breathed as I worked up a sweat, though the constricting arms and shoulders forced the hem up fairly high while leaning forward (this was mitigated by a lengthy hem on the large). The DWR-treated shell sloughed off rain as well as any other newish DWR-treated polyester.

In short, the Helix is a stylish active-looking casual jacket, but its description on Backcountry as a jacket to “grab before your next run, ski, or hike to stay warm and dry” is off the mark.

Wool Over Puffy Coat?

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: M

This jacket is killer! I'll start off with the sizing.

Sizing: I am 5'10.5" (that half matters!) 175lbs athletic build slightly on the slender side. This jacket fit awesome for me and also looked very stylish. I have had lots of coats that just felt boxy in their design and that is not the case with this jacket. I wear it around town, in the mountains and it did its job! another great thing about its "true t size fit" is that it was great for layering. sometimes you feel like your cramming your mid layers under a shell or another insulated jacket but with this jacket even a coat of the same size fits over it nicely and you don't lose warmth. Its a jacket for the streets and mountains.

Usage:As you can see in the picture I shared I have really given this jacket a test. What stood out most about this jacket is while touring in the backcountry wind had a much harder time getting through. Even though this jacket has ventilation under the arms and down the sides (life saver if you are the type that runs hot) it kept my core safe from the cold by keeping the wind out! I have used this coat around town,chilly days, climbing and in the middle of a snow storm while digging an avi pit. More durable than expected and is my go too as a mid layer.

Quality: The materials for this jacket are durable, reliable and comfortable. not only is it stylish but functional. When I am rocking a puffy coat while climbing I am constantly afraid of a total blow out and feathers flying because I brush up against the rock. While squeezing a short section of off-width in Little Cottonwood Canyon I had not fear of putting my back into it. I feel much less cautious with this jacked than a regular puffy coat (for example, The Northface Catalyst jacket)

Uses: Like I said I have used this jacket for a number of things and have not been disappointed. It is great for

Around town

Fall climbing

Ski touring

Mid layer

Small pillow ;-)

Some Cons:

Wish the sleeves were a little longer, but keep in mind I have a positive ape index of 1 1/2" on either side. It still makes it to my wrists, the thumb loops just don't have much use to me.

Not your prime jacket for fast and light (little heavy)


Awesome jacket, I would be happy suggesting this to anyone looking for something on the tougher side that also looks good enough to wear around town. Its warm, fits great and covers lots of activity uses.


Wool Over Puffy Coat?