What makes Helly Hansen Base layers different from anything else?
While most base layers are made from either polyester or wool, Helly Hansen is the only company that makes their base layers from LIFA. In fact, we've been using LIFA since we invented the first performance base layer, back in the late 1960's. Even through our production processes and technologies have evolved over the past 35 years, we still use our proprietary LIFA Stay Dry Technology and that is what makes our base layers outperform all of our competitors.
Why does Helly Hansen use LIFA?
There are many reasons why Helly Hansen uses our own proprietary LIFA fabrication. LIFA is:
If LIFA doesn't absorb moisture, how does it "wick"?
- Hydrophobic: LIFA retains 40 TIMES less moisture than polyester. Simply put, LIFA moves moisture through the garment instead of absorbing it - and since the fabric won't absorb water, it will always be dry against your skin.
- Lightweight: LIFA is 50% lighter than polyester and 70% lighter than wool.
- Anti-bacterial: LIFA has a natural resistance to bacteria. Because of this, it has NO ODOR retention
- Hypo-Allergenic: Even when combined with wool, having LIFA next to your skin provides a zero itch factor.
Most baselayers work on the principle of "wicking". The fabric absorbs moisture and spreads (or wicks) it across a greater surface area so it can evaporate more quickly. The problem with this is that you'll still have wet fabric against your skin and as we've learned, wet fabric steals body heat 25 times faster than dry fabric.
Since LIFA can't absorb water, it can't wick moisture. Instead, LIFA uses your own body heat as a catalyst to push sweat vapor THROUGH the garment to your second layer (ie: fleece) where it is then absorbed and wicked for evaporation. However, the LIFA fabric will always stay dry next to your skin.
I've been told wool will retain warmth even when wet. Is this true?
While no garment will retain all of it's warmth when wet, wool does a very good job at retaining MOST of it's warmth. Still, that begs the question: if you had a choice, would you rather be warm and wet or warm and dry? Helly Hansen's philosophy is to keep you dry and by doing this, you're going to stay warm.
What if I need extra insulation to keep me warm?
If you need extra insulation, try our HH Warm base layer. It is made from superfine Merino wool to provide added warmth. However, like all Helly Hansen base layers, it has LIFA next to your skin so you are always dry, warm and comfortable.