Helly Hansen has been a major name in the snow industry for decades, and they show their experience with the Powderqueen 3.0. This model is our favorite insulated jacket we've tested to date. We love how light and lofty the insulation feels and how warm it keeps us on frigid resort days. This jacket felt like a soft silky pillow with excellent weather resistance. It's also very breathable—even when working hard, this jacket wicks away moisture immediately, a rare find in insulated jackets. If you're someone who prefers insulation built into your ski jacket but without excess bulk, we strongly recommend the Powderqueen 3.0.Editor's Note: We updated this review for the Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 on March 23, 2022, with a closer look at value and a comparison of similar jackets that may better meet your budget and needs.
Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 Review
Cons: Lackluster ventilation
Manufacturer: Helly Hansen
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Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0
$450.00 at REI
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|Pros||Warm, lofty insulation, soft, very mobile despite insulation, excellent comfort and fit||Relatively inexpensive yet high-quality, breathable, great mobility, great ventilation||Warm, three jackets in one, well-constructed with thoughtful features, versatile||Stylish, good hood and neckline, no frills, inexpensive||Inexpensive, three jackets in one, warm, comfortable|
|Cons||Lackluster ventilation||Non-insulating, thin shell material, not for most casual skiers||Slim fit, heavy, poor ventilation when both layers are worn||Feels cheap, not many ski-specific features, lacking in weather resistance||Not very stylish, hood not helmet compatible, two layers don't work well when zipped together|
|Bottom Line||A super warm and soft resort jacket with a cool utilitarian look, this is perfect for someone who runs a little colder||An excellent value for a high performing technical shell that serves inbounds or in the backcountry||This jacket is versatile and has all the necessary ski features for a long day on the hill, all at a reasonable price||We got lots of compliments on this jacket's looks, but found it lacking in durability and full functionality on the slopes||A decent deal for two jackets that can be worn in three combinations, this is a great intro ski jacket|
|Rating Categories||Helly Hansen Powder...||Outdoor Research Ca...||The North Face Ther...||Burton Jet Set||Columbia Whirlibird...|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Specs||Helly Hansen Powder...||Outdoor Research Ca...||The North Face Ther...||Burton Jet Set||Columbia Whirlibird...|
|Main Fabric||70% nylon, 30% polyester||100% Nylon||100% Nylon||Polyester, nylon||Legacy Dobby 72% Nylon/ 28% Polyester.|
|Insulation||Body: 60g PrimaLoft Sleeves: 40g PrimaLoft||None||100% Postconsumer recycled polyester||80g Thermolite||Thermarator|
|Waterproofing||PFC free DWR||3-layer Pertex Shield||2-layer DryVent||DryRide 2L||Omni-Tech|
|Pockets||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered sleeve, 2 internal drop-in||2 zippered chest, 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered arm, 1 internal mesh, 1 internal zippered chest||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest, 1 zippered sleeve, 1 internal goggle Liner: 2 zippered hand||2 zippered hand, 1 mesh, 1 media||Shell: 5, Liner: 3|
|Weight||2.2 lbs||1.2 lbs||2.0 lbs||1.6 lbs||2.4 lbs|
|Cuff construction||Velcro with wrist gaiters||Velcro||Velcro||Velcro||Velcro|
|Powder skirt||Yes||Yes||Yes, behind insulating layer||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
As our overall choice for an insulated jacket, it's no surprise that the Powderqueen 3.0 kept us very warm during testing. What stands out in its design is the overwhelmingly silky feel of the jacket and the level of mobility it offers despite its thicker, insulated construction. On top of all this, it makes a statement with bright neon accents and a relaxed utilitarian construction. This insulated option is our selection for a skier who trends a little on the cold side.
The Powderqueen 3.0 is treated with a PFC-free DWR coating that beads water extremely well. Water-resistant zips are also on the center zip and hand pockets, a key feature for exposed zippers. We didn't feel any wind or drafts through these zippers on windy days on the ski hill. The wide velcro on the cuffs did an excellent job locking out snow and wind.
Appropriately, the powder skirt on the Powderqueen 3.0 is very effective. It has a stretchy, silicone-lined elastic and DWR-treated material below it. This treatment wicks snow away from the jacket and keeps us dry all day. Also, the powder skirt is equipped with a button and loop closure to attach to compatible Helly Hansen pants, creating a fully powder resistant package. There is also an additional layer of mesh in the pit zips, which keeps snow out on really deep days. This jacket feels like a weather-resistant shield.
Comfort and Fit
The Powderqueen 3.0 feels like being wrapped in a silky, soft sleeping bag. The lofty insulation coupled with a smooth synthetic liner manages to feel plentiful and light at the same time. The soft, two-way stretch of the shell material enables easy arm and shoulder movement. The slightly roomy fit of this jacket allowed room for movement and additional layers.
We also love how the tall collar is abundantly lined with fleece. We also find fleece lining in the front hand pockets for when you need to warm up your bare hands. The additional wrist gaiters are soft and amply stretchy, keeping wrists dry without cutting off circulation to the thumbs. For a jacket that will fully envelop you in comfort, look no further than the Powderqueen 3.0.
Upon first inspection, the Powderqueen 3.0 doesn't feel like it would be incredibly warm. This is due to the lightweight and lofty nature of the synthetic insulation used. With 60g of Primaloft insulation in the body and 40g in the sleeves, this jacket is surprisingly warm for its weight. This synthetic insulation will also retain more warmth when wet than down, although we didn't experience any wetting through with this jacket. When you need to bundle up, there is a little bit of insulation in the helmet-compatible hood, too.
What stood out to us the most about the warmth of this jacket is how it manages to maintain body heat without retaining internal moisture. Even when we were working hard hiking or skiing moguls, this jacket never felt clammy because of its superior wicking ability. This ability was incredibly impressive and combined with the jacket's insulation to keep us dry and warm all day.
This metric is frequently challenging for insulated jackets, and the Powderqueen 3.0 is no different. We think the pit zips on this jacket compromise ventilation in the name of keeping snow out. While the mesh and size of these work well against precipitation, they would be more effective on perspiration if they were larger or unlined.
On the other hand, we found the breathability of this shell to be impressive. The back panel is lined with mesh and perforated foam insulation to escape a lot of moisture. This is the most effective ventilation feature on this jacket and strongly contributes to regulating temperature and moisture.
We love the contrast of styles in this jacket. The pastel blue and purple color options for this jacket contrast with bright neon accents. Not only do these look cool, but they'll also help you stand out on those white-out storm days. The contrasting taped center and hand pocket zippers add a polished finish. These accents soften the ultra-feminine color palette without removing personality.
The cut of this jacket offers another contrast. The color schemes combine for a cool practical design with a freeride style. The longer hem and oversize nature of this jacket are effortlessly stylish. We like the look of the Powderqueen 3.0.
The Powderqueen 3.0 is packed with ski-specific features. Along with standard double hand and single internal mesh dump pockets, this jacket features a "lifesaver" chest pocket for your phone or battery-powered items. This pocket is lined with Primaloft Gold and thermal resistant materials and purportedly stays two times warmer than a regular ski jacket pocket. We have too often had our cold phones lose battery life quickly on the ski hill, and we like that Helly Hansen has implemented a feature to fight back against this.
The central zipper of this jacket is also a two-way zipper. This design allows the flexibility to accommodate a harness or a belay off of said harness worn under this bulkier layer. Unfortunately, the location of the hand pockets contradicts this technical feature; they are too low to allow access while wearing a harness or a backpack, as a hip strap covers them. However, this function still allows for adjustment of the powder skirt without unzipping the jacket. This jacket is also equipped with RECCO. Overall, we think this jacket has all the extra features you want and none that you don't.
Should You Buy the Powderqueen 3.0?
We love and recommend the Powderqueen 3.0 for anyone who tends to get a little cold at the resort or knows that they prefer an insulated option. The combination of the ultra-comfortable material and stylish design creates an award-winning package. Insulated jackets can begin to creep up in cost very quickly, but the Powderqueen 3.0 remains at a reasonable price point. Considering its extra features and how well its insulation performs, it looks like an even better value. If you like to stay warm and comfortable while charging and having fun at the resort, then this jacket is an excellent option.
What Other Women's Ski Jackets Should You Consider?
If you tend to ski at the resort and prefer an insulated jacket, we believe the Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 is an excellent value. However, it is still a bit pricey, especially compared to our choice for value, The North Face Thermoball Eco Snow Triclimate 3-in-1. If you like to hike or backcountry ski, then a shell jacket like the Outdoor Research Carbide, or even a softshell like the Black Diamond Recon Stretch Shell is a better option.
— Jacqueline Kearney
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