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We test Helly Hansen's Womens Nova Parka on both the frozen Swedish sea and wet winter hills of the UK
helly hansen womens nova parka jacket
Overall Score
Arctic-beating insulation in street styling

Often with bright, in-your-face colours, serious outdoor clothing is worn for a couple of weeks a year on that big, extreme trip and then banished to a cupboard where the light of day can't bounce of their blinding synthetic yarns.

So it's a joy when you invest in a coat like Helly Hansen's Womens Parka for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Swedish Arctic - and then enjoy wearing it day-in-day-out through the rest of the British winter.

Stuffed with ethically sourced goose down the Nova Parka kept us toasty warm even out on the wind-blown ice of the frozen sea in December.

Helly Hansen has used a 75/25 550 fill power down here, which means 75 percent white goose down and 25 percent white goose feathers. This is certainly not the highest proportion of down to feather insulation but with a decent 550 fill power it did an excellent job of keeping out the cold.

The back length is 86cm in the medium size, which proved long enough to keep out draughts, as did the wrist gaitors and the detachable faux fur hood surround.

The outer is DWR treated and water beads up and runs off efficiently, with taping across the most critical seams to keep the water. Although tough enough to shrug off stick and ice snags, the outer is still soft to the touch with a degree of stretch to add to comfort.

The styling is subtle and stylish, with a discrete metal HH logo and internal waist syncing cords and articulated sleeves to improve the comfortable fit. The fold up reflectives for lowlight visibility on the inside of the sleeve cuffs and the reflective details on the back of the hood are an excellent feature on this otherwise dark coat.

Pockets include two side-accessed, chest pockets so you can keep your hands warm by your core, as well as an internal chest pocket for valuables and a pair of deep poppered lower hand pockets. It would have been nice to seal off these pockets with zips to keep snow out but in the event the flaps and poppers did an admirable job anyway.

All round, a wonderfully warm jacket for extreme cold that will be as happy on the ski resort cafe terrace as it will be in a frozen wilderness.

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