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Helly Hansen Hilton Jacket : Urban Style, Mountain Savvy

The Helly Hansen Women's Hilton Jacket has been my go-to jacket for weeks. Its waterproof, breathable fabric makes it ideal for crisp fall temperatures and early signs of winter. It's luxurious faux fur-trimmed hood make me feel pretty when I'm knocking about town.

The Hilton Jacket is a lightly insulated long jacket (i.e., short parka) that hangs just below the hips with a flattering cut (the back of the jacket is cut longer than the front for full coverage). I first I wore the Hilton Jacket over a light sweater on a bike ride in the 29-degree cold. I left the removable hood behind so I could get my messenger bag on and off more easily, and sunk my chin into the soft fleece collar. I was cozy in just a few minutes, and warm but not overheated when I arrived at my destination.

Another day I was out in drizzly rain and snow flurries and the moisture just beaded and rolled away. I was impressed with how well the Helly Tech soft shell fabric shed the precipitation while I stayed nice and dry inside. The fabric is durable, and has just enough stretch that the jacket moves with me without crinkling. Style-wise, I like the Grey Melange color that has a tweed-like pattern and the fabric's matte finish.

I also really like the jacket's gunmetal snap buttons, sleek pockets, and stretchy thumbhole cuffs. I think the Norwegian design team at Helly Hansen was on their A-game when they put this number together.

I haven't felt this fashion forward since I bought a designer puffy coat a few years ago that let in too much snow and later died in a tragic ironing accident. After I saw its cheap innards exposed, I opted for more sensible outdoorsy puffies. Now that I have the Hilton Jacket, I have the best of both worlds.

The Hilton jacket fit true to size. It seemed to have a slender fit, especially through the shoulders (but I also have big climber shoulders). It's best for the fall and early winter here in Montana; good for the whole winter if you have less frigid winters and/or wear a thin mid layer. Available in Blackberry, Grey Melange, and Black for Women in XS-XL. (Men, check out Helly Hansen's Chill Jacket .)

Bottom Line: Look as adorable-and stay as cozy-as an Inuit princess in this fashion-meets-function insulated jacket by Helly Hansen. I'll be wearing it fall and winter as my every day jacket and to the slopes for après skiing.--L.B. (Nov '10)

BUY ONLINE: $225, Click to shop.

Manufacturer's Site: www.hellyhansen.com

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.