Think of Helly Hansen’s H2Flow technology as an interactive way to control temperatures inside your coat. Developed by Kristoffer Ulriksen and upgraded for the Oslo-based company’s 2014 line, the hollow heat flow technology has punched holes in traditional insulation ideas and added “air flow ports” strategically on coats’ exteriors to let individuals decide just how hot they want to get.
“It started as a discussion with our professional sailors,” Ulriksen tells Edge. “They wanted a warmer, lighter fleece, but wanted to be able to regulate the temperature based on if they felt too hot or too cold.”
Since insulation can come in the form of air not moving and warmed by the body and insulation fabrics only prove good at trapping that air, Ulriksen wanted to trap even more air while allowing it an escape path, if needed.
Cue the holes. A bunch of them. The H2Flow idea adds articulated holes to the mid-layer fleece insulation in the coat. Not only did removing insulating fabric lighten the load—in some cases 30 percent less weight than comparable coats—but it allowed the warm air caught inside to flow on both sides of the insulating layer. Then, through zipper-regulated ports on the exterior, the wearer has the ability to release warm air at opportune locations, dumping humid air from the entirety of the coat, not just the layer of air outside the fleece. Plus, as warm air vacates, the coolness of the outside can slide on back in.
New for 2014, the addition of hollow “sausages” within the interior of the Helly Hansen coats run vertically, also filling with hot air.
“It allows hot air to rise through the tunnels and easily bleed out,” Ulriksen says. “It is good not only because it works, but because the consumer can [understand] what it is. We have products with great functionality and as a consumer they don’t get it. Now they see it and believe it.”
Helly Hansen has integrated the new technology throughout its line of jackets, from its basic mid-layer jackets and intensely waterproofed sailing options to ski coats. Combined with differing insulation layers, Helly Hansen uses the heat flow technology now in over a dozen products for 2014, including new products coming in the fall, such as the Mission Stoke Shell Jacket and Spectrum Jacket that feature PrimaLoft insulation that works when wet, two-way stretch fabric, articulated seams and a host of skiing-specific bells and whistles.
From the slopes to the deck of a boat, Ulriksen says instead of opening the front of your jacket and losing all shape and warmth, you can get a bit more interactive and personalize your air flow.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.