Helly Hansen

From Sea to Shore 

Fishing is a prehistoric practice dating back at least 40,000 years. Since the 16th century men have been taking small boats onto the salty waters of the oceans in pursuit of these sometimes-elusive creatures.


Techniques to begin with included spearing and hand gathering but as with most things through time, progression occurred and fishing boats got larger and the techniques more adequate for the job but clothing did not keep pace.

Around 1880 Norway owned the world’s third largest merchant marine according to tonnage and yet still its fishermen wore knitted clothing their wife, sister or mother had made to go out on the treacherous waters.

Helly Juell Hansen was a sea Captain from Moss, Norway. After years of being out in the harsh Norwegian elements he realised that he could produce better clothing for his crew and comrades if he soaked coarse linen in linseed oil and made it into wearable garments.

Helly Hansen

Over 140 years later his clothing is worn and trusted by professionals on oceans, mountains, and worksites across the world. Over 55,000 ski professionals choose to wear the Helly Hansen brand.

Helly Hansen sailing gear is a proud partner to some of the sport’s most iconic regattas and sailing associations and is worn by sailors across all five oceans.

In 1878 Helly and his wife Maran Margarethe won a diploma in excellence at the Paris Expo. They had tapped into a vein in the market and over their first five years sold approximately 10,000 pieces of oilskin jackets, trousers, sou’westers, and tarpaulins.

Helly Hansens wife


Through the years Helly Hansen continued to grow successfully. Its main key to growth was its innovation.

In 1947 it evolved again with the introduction of Helox. This new waterproof fabric featured a thin layer of translucent PVC plastic that was sewn into the coats to make them waterproof.

In the 1940’s this was revolutionary and was the must have technology of the day. Production rose to 30,000 coats per month and the Norwegian delegation of the 1952 Olympics used it as part of their team uniform.

In 1961 Helly Hansen were again the leaders in the field. Teaming up with Norwegian Fiber Pile Inc to develop the first fleece. This soon became a lumberjacks and outdoor enthusiast favourite as it featured a high warmth to weight ration and maintained its thermal quality even when wet.

In 1970 Helly Hansen introduced another new technology - Lifa. This revolutionary new system is fabric which is based on yarn technology that moves moisture away from the skin and transports it to the surface of the fabric where it evaporates, leaving the wearer warm, dry, and comfortable.

Lifa was first introduced as a base layer and professionals on every level have worn them to perform. Whether that be on the ocean or up a mountain and everywhere in between.

In the 1980’s Helly Tech was introduced. This is the waterproof and breathable outer layer between you and the elements. It is a unique membrane that keeps water molecules out but at the same time allows any moisture build up such as sweat to get out. Therefore, keeping you dry on the outside and dry and comfortable on the inside too.

It is tough and durable and has been specifically designed to combat the harshest conditions. A combination of DWR treated outer fabric, a highly breathable and waterproof membrane and often a highly breathable inner fabric, mesh, or lining.

As well as being waterproof this tech is also breathable and windproof.

In 1990 there was the introduction of Prowool, later renamed Lifa Merino. A combination of Lifa Stay Dry Technology and Merino wool. Designed with the professional facing the toughest of challenges in the coldest conditions.

2004 saw the introduction of a range of footwear in response from a growing call from sport enthusiasts around the world. One of the first shoes designed became an award-winning sailing boot. Now they have a very wide range of footwear available.

Odin gear appeared in 2008 and was designed for serious mountaineers and athletes, materialising out of the 3-Layer System this is a complete technically evolved checklist for all high-altitude environments and conditions. This collection won the Red Dot Design Award the year it was brought to market.

In 2012 Helly Hansen again stepped up to the mark with their H2Flow technology. This engineering allowed temperature regulation whist wearing the garment. The technology keeps you warm by storing hot air from your body temperature in uniquely designed air pockets and retaining the heat to keep you warm.

Should you become too warm the strategically placed ventilation zips can be opened to let the warm air out and allow cool air in. Constructed from a variety of weather resistant fabrics, the waterproof, windproof and ripstop outer shell will keep you protected whatever the climate.

In 2015 Magni, a set of clothing inspired by the son of Thor, set new standards for work-based clothing.

In 2016 The Elevation jacket became Helly Hansens most award winning jacket ever. Combining the HellyTech and the H2 Flow systems this durable shell jacket was designed alongside professionals in their sports.

In 2018 came LIFALOFT a collaboration between LIFA and Primaloft technologies. Combining the two produced a lighter yet warmer feel. Lifaloft is 20% lighter than the standard insulation and creates more air pockets giving more warmth at a lower weight compared to standard insulation.

Environmental impact is a concern for most companies now and with consumer awareness it is imperative that companies do their utmost to protect the environment.

In 2020 sustainability and environmental awareness were at the front of Helly Hansen’s minds. Using the LIFA fibers which is lightweight and hydrophobic, fully waterproof/breathable membranes and durable water repellent performance are achieved without the use of chemicals.

Adding the LIFA INFINITY membrane with 100% LIFA hydrophobic face fabric, LIFA INFINITY PRO is born. Ground-breaking technology meets extreme waterproofness and breathability of HELLY TECH Professional construction.

LIFA INFINITY PRO has an everlasting water repellent protection and never needs to be reproofed with any chemical treatment.

Over the last 140 years Helly Hansen has come a long way through technology but the ethos has stayed the same and that is to supply clothing that is up to the quality of its wearer so it can take you from sea to shore however big the ocean or how high the mountain.

Visit our Helly Hansen Collection here.

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