The Helly Hansen Loke jacket is a small, lightweight, windproof, waterproof jacket.
There really isn’t a whole lot more to it. No bells and whistles. But it does what it says it does, and it does it very well.
I’ve been using the Loke jacket for about four months now, so a review is overdue.
The jacket’s made of a 2.5 ply Helly Tech performance fabric, which is a waterproof, breathable fabric that isn’t particularly stiff. The outside also has a DWR (durable water repellent) treatment.
The jacket features an adjustable hood and cuffs, as well as a front storm flap the length of the main zip, and large pit zips.
There’s no point in wearing a waterproof jacket that stops all water from the outside, only to have you soaking wet from your own sweat on the inside anyway. However, it’s important to note that “breathability” in a waterproof garment does nor mean you’re going to be bone dry underneath it. The idea is to allow excess water vapour to escape, allowing you to be as dry as possible.
The Loke does this quite well. The first time I tested the jacket I went for a run in some light rain. depending on how much you’re sweating you will have some dampness inside the jacket, but for the most part I was dry. I was also able to open the large pit zips for extra ventilation without letting in any of the rain.
The Loke is an incredibly lightweight jacket that stuffs into its own pocket. For the last four months, whenever I haven’t actually been wearing the jacket it’s lived in the front mesh pocket of my back-pack taking up practically no room.
I’ve also been able to stuff it into one of the kidney pockets on a bicycle jersey for a long cycle without issue.
A jacket that packs down to just over the size of your fist and adds almost no weight to your pack? Definitely full marks for packability.
It doesn’t matter how small and light a rain jacket is if it isn’t waterproof.
I’ve used this jacket running in the rain, through sleet showers on a bike ride, and been caught in downpours both in Dublin city and the Wicklow mountains. It hasn’t let me down.
In fact I’ve even stood in the shower to test it and there were only two places I ended up wet. One on my side because I hadn’t fully closed one of the zips, and one on my arm as water rolled down the inside of the sleeve when I reached up to adjust the hood.
The hood is the one thing I’d mention at this point though: I’ve seen other reviewers mention that the hood is a little too shallow front-to-back. I would be inclined to agree. I think a little more hood with a wired peak would have really made this jacket. Yes, it would have added a few grams in weight, but without it, on a long hike or in a race where you’re expecting rain, the wearer is probably going to need to add something like a waterproof baseball cap to keep rain off the face and top of the head.
Overall I love this jacket. It fits well and looks good. I bought it to use as a commuter jacket or a light waterproof jacket to have with me for adventure racing and I think it fits the bill quite well.
The final great thing about this jacket is the price. At €110 it costs a fraction of what other, heavier Gore-Tex jackets cost.
I don’t think it would be my go-to jacket for standing on the top of a mountain in a storm (for that I’d probably opt for something more like the Mountain Equipment Rupal that Richie wore during the Art O’Neill Challenge), but that said it served me well in Wicklow when I experienced all four seasons in the space of a couple of hours; so I wouldn’t entirely write it off in that scenario either.
The shower test: