The Alpha 3.0 by Helly Hansen is one of the best ski jackets that exist in 2020. It is made from premium materials, it is lightweight, breathable, and very comfortable to wear. But is it the right jacket for you? That’s what we’ll try to answer in this detailed review!
I will tell you about all the features of this jacket, from the type of insulation to the exact amount of internal pockets. And by the time you’re done with our review, you’ll be more than certain whether or not the Alpha 3.0 is the right ski jacket for you!
We’ll kick things off with a really quick overview of the things we loved and didn’t love about this Helly Hansen jacket:
Insulation And Warmth
A good ski jacket needs to be insulated, but it shouldn’t be too warm. And it’s really simple why; when you’re skiing, you’re moving around a lot and producing quite a lot of heat. The best ski jackets are able to trap that heat so that you stay warm even in extreme colds, but not so warm that you’ll start sweating like crazy.
The insulation in the Alpha 3.0 jacket is spot on. It features two types of synthetic Primaloft insulation – Primaloft Black in the jacket body, and Primaloft Black Hi-Loft in the sleeves and hood.
If you want to know more about Primaloft insulation, you can check out a post I did a while back. It has all the details about Primaloft, including everything you should know about the different versions of the insulation, as well as how it works and why it is the best.
The key things you should know about Primaloft Black insulation is that it is breathable, packable, lightweight, and water-resistant. This makes it the perfect option for ski jackets – it can keep you sufficiently warm without the extra bulk. But not so warm that you will get the urge to take your jacket off just the cool down a bit.
Shell Materials And Hardware Quality
The materials a jacket is made from play a big role in its quality and durability. Nylon and polyester are the two options that most mid-range brands use, but the best brands usually have some sort of proprietary fabric that’s a mix of the two.
That’s true for Helly Hansen – the brand uses their own Helly Tech Performance fabric in the vast majority of their jackets. That is a four-way full stretch fabric, which features two-ply seam-sealed construction. The shell exterior if coated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) for excellent waterproofing, while the internal technologies keep that jacket breathable.
But the quality of the jacket isn’t just about its shell. The metal hardware also plays a big role – what good is a weatherproof shell, if you can’t zip it up because the zipper broke on the first day?
Well, the good news is you won’t have that issue with this Helly Hansen jacket. It is equipped with durable YKK zippers, which are currently the best on the market. And they are Aqua Guard Vislon water-resistant zippers, which are not only durable but also able to keep the water out. This is true for the zippers of the pockets as well, and not just for the main jacket zipper.
What About Wind Resistance?
I’ve already mentioned that the Alpha 3.0 jacket is weatherproof, which means that it has great wind resistance. The jacket materials are very dense, so there’s zero drafts through them, even in some really windy weather.
But that’s not even that important – all good ski jackets are made from thick materials that don’t let any wind in. The features that are important for the wind resistance of this Alpha 3.0 jacket include elastic cuffs with gaiters, an adjustable hem as well as an adjustable hood.
All of those features are there to ensure that the wind stays out, and the warmth stays in so that you are protected even in extra harsh weather.
Is It Breathable?
The short answer is yes, the Alpha 3.0 jacket is very breathable.
This Helly Hansen ski jacket has several features that help with body temperature regulation. The most important one is H2Flow – the brand’s proprietary temperature regulation system. It includes air pockets that are designed to trap the body heat you produce, which then keep you warm for hours on end. In case you ever get too hot, the jacket has underarm ventilation zippers that let you release some of that hot air, and let some cool air in.
Additionally, this technology is designed so that it allows moisture to evaporate, ensuring that you’re not going to get really sweaty. But, at the same time, it won’t let anything wet get inside the jacket, since H2Flow is entirely waterproof.
The insulation inside the jacket is also very breathable, and the overall ventilation of this ski jacket is really great. Which is one of the reasons why this particular jacket is so popular with frequent skiers.
Size Range And Fit
It’s important that your ski jacket fits you properly. This means that it should be roomy enough that you can wear it over a hoodie or a sweater, but not so roomy that it will start letting out the warm air.
On top of that, the length of a ski jacket is another really important thing to look at. You want something that isn’t going to restrict your movements a lot; that’s why shorter jackets are more popular with avid skiers. Jackets with longer silhouettes are also okay, as long as they are not too tight or restrictive.
The Alpha 3.0 is somewhere in between – it’s not a short ski jacket, but it is also not very long. It’s actually the perfect length for keeping your lower torso warm while allowing for maximum freedom of movement at the same time.
And it is available in a great variety of sizes. The size range starts with S and goes up to XXL, which is quite standard for Helly Hansen. There is an obvious lack of petite and plus sizes, but that’s just how the brand operates; they mostly do sizes for the average person, especially with their pricier jackets.
All The Alpha Pockets
The Alpha 3.0 jacket has four external and two internal pockets. All of the external pockets are zippered and feature waterproof YKK zippers for best performance. The internal pockets are actually designed for goggles and a ski pass, which is pretty convenient.
But there is one pocket on this jacket that deserves an honorary mention, and it is the Life Pocket. This is an insulated zippered pocket on the exterior of the jacket, which is designed specifically for your phone. The Primaloft insulation will keep your smartphone toasty warm, which in turn helps prolong its battery life.
If you’ve ever had your phone die on the slopes, then I don’t think I have to tell you anything else – that feature alone might be reason enough to shell out so much money for this ski jacket.
If you don’t get what I’m talking about, hear me out – you’re having a great time skiing, maybe you were even racing with your friend. But when you get to the end of the track you realize that they are nowhere to be found. You take out your phone to call your friend, only to be faced with the devastating fact that the battery drained because of the cold. And now you can’t call them, you can’t text them and you can’t even update your Instagram story. Ugh!
But even more than that – what if there’s an emergency? Maybe you take a nasty fall and need help to get up. Maybe you’ll come across someone who is seriously injured or even unconscious. An insulated phone pocket plays a much bigger role than it initially seems, right?
When you look for a ski jacket, you don’t just examine the materials and fit. Most people usually look for ski-friendly features – stuff that will make your time on the slopes more enjoyable. So, how many ski-friendly features does this Helly Hansen jacket have?
A lot. The first one is the helmet-compatible hood. It is both adjustable and detachable, so you’re able to do whatever you want with it. If you decide to keep the hood on, you’ll be glad to know that it has a foldaway high visibility brim.
I’ve already told you about the pockets that can hold all your skiing necessities – those count as awesome ski-friendly features as well. In case you missed it, this jacket has a dedicated pocket for ski goggles, another for a ski pass and an insulated pocket for your smartphone.
On top of that, there’s also a snap-away powder skirt, which will ensure that you don’t accidentally wind up with snow in your pants. Or in your jacket!
And honestly, all of the other features of the jacket are ski-friendly. The wrist gaiters with thumbholes that keep the wind out also ensure that the jacket stays put on your arms, even if you take a nasty fall.
The ventilation zippers are really easy to use, and let you cool down without having to stop in your tracks. And the high visibility fabric helps you stay visible so that other skiers will notice you more easily – a feature that is going to prove essential on those low visibility days.
This Helly Hansen jacket is equipped with another awesome feature I want to talk about, which is the Recco Advanced Rescue System reflectors. Essentially, these are reflectors that are incorporated into the fabric, which allow rescue teams to find you more easily in case you are buried by an avalanche. It’s not exactly a ski-friendly feature, but it is something that might just save your life in the case of a catastrophe, so it’s worth pointing out.
Pricing And Value For Money
I’ve talked you through all of the features of this jacket, and it’s pretty clear that they really are top of the line. And that is more than obvious when you look at the price point of the jacket since it is pretty expensive.
But, if you want the best ski jacket that exists, then that’s the price you’ll have to pay. Yes, the Alpha 3.0 is a pricey jacket, but it more than makes up for it with the excellent quality, durability, and abundance of features. If you spend a lot of time on the slopes in the winter and you want the absolute best jacket, then this is the one to get.
On the other hand, if you’re not such an avid skier and you’re willing to settle for an excellent or great jacket, then you should definitely check out some other options. There are lots of amazing ski jackets out there, and a lot of them are much cheaper than the Alpha 3.0.
And they are made by other respected brands, like Patagonia and The North Face – just because they’re not as expensive as this one and don’t have all the same features, doesn’t mean that they’re not good enough. In fact, some of the other ski jackets might actually be a better fit for you, because of all the unique features they have.
- Weatherproof exterior
- Insulted smartphone pocket preserves battery life
- Recco Advanced Rescue System reflectors
- Internal pockets for goggles and ski pass
- No petite or plus sizes
- An expensive jacket
- No version for women or children
Helly Hansen Alpha 3.0: Worth It Or Not?
The Alpha 3.0 is an amazing ski jacket for men, that’s for sure. It is made from premium materials, which are so durable that you’ll wind up wearing this jacket for years. That includes proprietary fabrics and sturdy YKK zippers.
It’s a waterproof and windproof jacket, so it will protect you even from really harsh weather conditions. And it is insulated with Primaloft Black, which is one of the best synthetic insulations that exist in our day and age.
The jacket has plenty of pockets for all your must-have items on the slopes, including an insulated phone pocket that will help preserve its battery life. And it has a detachable hood, a snap-away powder skirt, as well as thumb holes on the wrist gaiters.
But, is it actually worth so much money? If you’re hitting the slopes every other day, then yes – it’s definitely worth it to splurge on this awesome jacket. You will be glad that you decided to go for it since it will make your ski trips much more enjoyable.
If you’re not an avid skier, then you’re better off checking out some more affordable alternatives. It doesn’t make sense to spend so much money on a ski jacket if you’re only going to wear it a handful of times a year.
Head over to Amazon if you decided to get yourself the Helly Hansen Alpha 3.0 jacket – you can see all the color options, sizes, and price points there.
And be sure to check out our related posts, if you’re still looking for the perfect ski jacket for you!