Racing Mid Layer Jacket by Helly Hansen

This is the perfect insulating layer for cold-weather racing; it's also the perfect outer layer for schlepping around town. "Gear Up" from our April 14, 2010, SW eNewsletter

Sailing World

GUHelly368

With WarmCore insulation and a fleece-lined collar, Helly Hansen's Racing Mid Layer jacket can take the chill out of spring race days.Courtesy Helly Hansen

Helly Hansen designed its Racing Mid Layer jacket with a specific purpose in mind. The lightweight, insulated jacket slips easily between a protective outer layer and a moisture-wicking base layer, filling a key role in the wardrobe of the properly dressed cold-weather sailor. Like blue jeans and bomber jackets, however, this purpose-built garment has serious crossover potential. Put it this way: You'll want to write your name on the inside tag, just to clear up the confusion when your spouse/offspring/roommate tries to sneak off with the jacket.

First and foremost, the Racing Mid Layer jacket performs its intended task very well. In conditions where you've got your foul-weather jacket buttoned up against the elements, the Racing Mid Layer keeps your core warm without restricting movement. The jacket has a roomy fit through the shoulders, articulated arms, and a slim profile. The WarmCore insulation distributed throughout the body and arms is not bulky. A snug collar and the absence of extraneous pockets and zippers let the jacket slide freely beneath your outer layer. In general, the jacket's no-frills design helps it integrate easily with the other layers you're wearing. For instance, the simple, low-rise collar won't interfere with the various flaps and zippers that make up the collar of your foul-weather jacket.

In milder conditions, worn as an outer layer, the Racing Mid Layer jacket becomes your new favorite inshore jacket, something you'll wear year round, to places where the only sailboats are on the wallpaper in the bathroom. A DWR coating gives the polyamide fabric just enough water resistance to fend off light drizzle or spray. Taped seams and adjustable cuffs keep seepage at bay. Fleece-lined handwarmer pockets invite cold hands on a brisk day. In fact, if all you did was wear the Racing Mid Layer jacket beneath your foul-weather jacket, you'd never enjoy all its features. The easy-access chest pocket, for instance: great place to stash your house keys when you're running out to the grocery store in the April showers.