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Helly Hansen Women’s Svalbard Long Down Jacket : A Delightful, Featherweight Cocoon

In Jackson, WY, winter truly has a bite to it, the kind of bite that steals your breath away, creates insatiable cravings for hot soup and tea, and makes car engines cranky. So I'm happy to have the Helly Hansen Women’s Svalbard Long Down Jacket, which has been enveloping me in a cocoon of downy goodness (and keeping my outlook positive) through our long, oddly snowless winter. 

I'd never worn a long down coat before I tested Helly Hanesen's Svalbard Jacket, and now I wonder why. It's been the most useful jacket in my closet. I’ve noticed a big difference in my comfort level for daily around-town walks. When I get ready for work I can wear normal clothes (rather than layers of outdoor garments) because the Svalbard Jacket is so warm, even in the bitter cold. It's so nice to have that confidence when I leave for work each day, as well as a way to keep my head warm (the hood is lined with microfleece) without getting hat head!

The Svalbard Long Down Jacket has made a big difference for me in my daily dog walks, too. The Cache Creek trail system near my home is a wonderful place for dogs and people to socialize, but because it's shady for the first mile of the trail it can be really cold. If I wear winter boots and warm pants, I’m totally good to go in the Helly Hansen Svalbard Long Down Jacket. I can cruise around comfortably (and am often out for at least an hour) because the jacket has a two-way zipper, enough room around the hips for movement, and falls to a moderate length, several inches above my knees. My only wish is that the Svalbard Long Down Jacket had built-in handwarmer cuffs for those moments when I have to de-glove.

The Helly Hansen Svalbard Long Down Jacket is a good-looking coat, with a modern aesthetic and design that's in style in both mountain towns and cities. The baffle pattern has clean, diagonal lines that are really flattering, giving the coat a feminine silhouette, and the hood forgoes the ubiquitous fur-lined look found on many winter coats. The 700+ fill power down means that for the warmth, the jacket is very lightweight, reasonably breathable, and amazingly low-bulk. While it is the warmest jacket I own and great for around-town adventures, I would imagine that there are warmer, bulkier, longer jackets out there for the burliest of conditions.

The Helly Hansen Women’s Svalbard Long Down Jacket is available for Women in Bright White, Deep Plum, and Black, in XS-XL. I have the Bright White, which is truly a gleaming white that makes me feel like a snow princess every time I venture out in the elements.

Bottom Line: The Helly Hansen Women’s Svalbard Long Down Jacket is a lovely cocoon of a winter coat that keeps me toasty on cold winter days. —L.B.S. (Jan 2012)

BUY ONLINE: $349, some styles on sale for less at Amazon.

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.