The Snowshoe Experience : Get Out and Do It
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Helly Hansen Leah Jacket : Tough Enough

Helly Hansen's Leah jacket is an excellent choise for a winter jacket. It's perfect for skiing, boarding, and hiking in cold, miserable conditions.

Most important, the Leah is ready for the weather, whatever comes. Made out of a tough, waterproof material, with fully taped seams, this hard working jacket also has a breathable lining and pit zips with a nylon mesh air panel (bonus-double zippers so I can perfectly adjust how much air I let in). I've been wearing it a lot in the rain, even hiking in a downfall, and I've stayed dry every time.

Helly Hansen has designed a jacket with a lot of thoughtful touches. For example, the two front zippered pockets are hidden under a flap of material, so if I fall in the snow or spend a lot of time in the rain, whatever I have in my pocket stays dry and my zippered doesn't get caked with snow. I like the adjustable wrist flaps and the glove loops, which are hidden inside each sleeve about 1-2 inches from the hem. Of course no winter jacket would be complete without a zippered pocket (also protected under a firm flap of weatherproof material) on the left forearm. A perfect place to stow a cell phone, small digital camera, or a nutrition bar.

The hood is fully adjustable (it even has a stretch panel on each side for my comfort), with toggles on the back and sides. The jacket's main zipper is covered by a rain flap that also attaches with velcro. Toggles in the hem and a built-in snow skirt also help keep the elements out. The inner lining, which is actually a track suit style jacket with a fleecey soft inside, zips out easily if I want to wear the jacket alone or wear a different mid-layer. This liner jacket also has mesh panels in the armpits, so I have more breathability.

Finally, HH thoughtfully covers with soft, fleece hoods, the zippered attachments where liner and jacket meet. Nice.

Bottom Line: I'm very impressed by this jacket. I hope I can live up to it. It's so rugged I feel like I need to find some much bigger adventures and much nastier weather. I don't want it to get bored.--E.D. (Jan 06)

Price: $249.99 (on sale for $229.99 at Sports Authority and at on link below)

Manufacturer's Site:

BUY ONLINE : Helly Hansen Leah Jacket,

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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.

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