Helly Hansen produce gear for fishermen made out of hard-wearing linen, soaked in linseed oil. Well, at least they used to back in 1877 when the company was started by Norwegian ship’s captain Helly Juell Hansen and his wife Maren Margarethe. There was obviously something special about their oil-soaked sou’westers though, because they sold 10,000 of them in the first five years and won a diploma for excellence at the Paris Expo in 1878.
Helly Hansen continued to grow as a brand, making a series of technological breakthroughs during the 20th century which contribute to their trademark 3-Layer System. They developed the Helox system, which replaced all that linseed oil with a layer of PVC, in 1949. The fiberpile fleece came a little later in 1961 and the LIFA moisture-wicking baselayer fabric at the start of the 1970s. The Helly Tech breathable, waterproof fabric was launched in 1980. Today Helly Hansen is known as one of the global market leaders in technical waterproof outerwear.
The vast majority of Helly Hansen clothing and accessories is designed for general outdoor pursuits, such as walking, mountaineering, sailing and more general keep fit activities. However, the company do produce a range of technical clothing for cyclists. The items include bib shorts, ¾ tights, bike shorts and a few different varieties of bike shirt. They also produce a back pack hydration system for long-distance cyclists. Also of interest to commuter cyclists is the Odin range of fastpack jackets as these are lightweight, reflective and brightly coloured, as well as featuring all the outerwear technology you expect from Helly Hansen.