Helly Hansen Barrier Stretch 3L XP Jacket Review
A few years ago, the words waterproof-breathable-and stretchy, were not listed as features in one single jacket. Rather, the jacket was waterproof OR breathable, not both. These days, manufacturers, such as Helly Hansen, have found a way to make a jacket that touts all three qualities. Helly Hansen’s Barrier Stretch 3L XP utilizes Helly Tech®XP construction: a 3 layer that has extreme stretch thanks to high gauge knitting within the fabric, a 15,000 g breathability rating, and 15,000 mm waterproof rating. These qualities make an awesome jacket that brings out the best features of a hard and soft-shell.
For those of you that are not familiar with breathability ratings here is a quick rundown: A fabrics breathability rating is given in the units of g/24hrs/meters squared and tells us how many grams of water vapor pass through the fabric in a day of laboratory testing. The higher the rating, the better the jacket breathes. For instance, a rating of 15,000 g is better than a rating of 10,000 grams because more water vapor is moved from the inside of the jacket to the outside, where it will then evaporate.
The Barrier Stretch 3L XP has a great combo of features, but the breathability and stretchiness of this jacket is where it really shined. I used this jacket for spring skiing, including skinning, and hiking. The Barrier Stretch moves with you better than any jacket tested this spring; the jacket has a slimmer fit, yet the stretch provided the room I needed for all of my activities. I am 5’9” and 138 lbs and tested the medium. The tighter cut meant that layering wasn’t quite as easy. I managed to get a mid-weight fleece underneath, but wearing a base layer with the jacket allows the breathability of this jacket to shine through during high intensity exercises. The jacket features pit zips and hip pockets that can be opened up to dissipate additional heat.
Just minute’s prior to writing this review, I took the Barrier Stretch for an hour-long walk in the rain with the dogs. The jacket kept me dry and I felt I could keep walking for a few more hours, unfortunately the ActiveGearReview dogs were not as keen to continue. The hood was easy to cinch down with one hand using the cord pulls on either side of the collar. The hood has a rear adjustment as well. The brim of the hood is pretty flimsy and I wish that it had a tad more structure to keep the rain off my face a bit more. The hem of the coat has a hidden cord adjustment to cinch out the elements; I haven’t needed to use this feature because the jacket is pretty slim through the hips on me. The cuffs have velcro closures that helps seal out the rain; the cuffs are stretchy which allowed me to wrap the cuff over my gloves. I was unable to find the weight for this jacket. However, it feels relatively lightweight. The front zipper is water resistant and features a beefy storm flap. There seams of the jacket are also taped to prevent water entry.
In addition to all the great weather protection the Barrier Stretch provides, the jacket also looks great. I have gotten more compliments and questions about this jacket than previously reviewed spring jackets. Maybe it’s the red color and white contrasting pull cords? Or maybe it is the floral pattern over the right hip? The jacket has raised many questions, which I have been more than happy to answer. The photo above does not do the jacket justice; the red really pops!
I would not select this as my go to rain jacket because there are other jackets with higher waterproof ratings and DWR finishes. However, this jacket will be my go to piece for high intensity exercises out in the woods, where the weather can always change. The Barrier Stretch 3L XP will keep you warm and protected if rain and snow move in.
• Extreme stretch high guage knit 3-layer Helly Tech® XP construction
• Water-resistant front zip Chest pocket with water-resistant zip (men’ only)
• Hand pockets
• Full storm hood
• Single hand cord adjustments
• Hidden bottom hem cord adjustment.