LIFALOFT™ – The Ultimate Insulator and the Reason We Made It
Watch an Olympic downhill and you’ll see athletes zoom by in speed suits and minimal gear. But of course, that’s not the only clothing they need. Cold training conditions, long travel days, and diverse events call for a wide variety of equipment and clothing. When we partnered with Ski Team Sweden Alpine, we asked them for the one jacket that they were missing. If they could add one dream piece to their kit, what would it be? A warm, lightweight, and versatile insulator . . . with an emphasis on warm.
Now, after four years of development and thanks to collaboration with Primaloft®, we’ve got the answer they were looking for: LIFALOFT™.
I never thought a jacket so thin could be so warm.
Versatile and Good for Travel
World Cup skiers live out of a bag. When 80% of the year is spent on the road, every square inch and every ounce counts. Olympians Emelie Wikstrom and Mattias Hargin told Philip Tavell, Category Managing Director at Helly Hansen, that they wanted a lightweight jacket that they could use on the mountain and then pack into a small space.
These racers wanted a jacket to wear on travel days, between runs, on the slopes, and to and from the mountain. What would the components of this do-everything jacket be? It would have to be warm, lightweight, versatile, and compact. Standard insulators, whether they’re made from down or synthetic materials, typically lose their warmth the thinner and more lightweight they become. But elite level skiers cannot sacrifice warmth when they need to perform in freezing environments.
Therefore, when we worked to make something lightweight and compact, we wanted it to stay warm, too. Our solution, LIFALOFT™, does just that. LIFALOFT™ is 20% lighter yet warmer than standard insulation.
High Performing in Every Arena
For us, versatility didn’t just mean functional in many ways, but also high-performing during every activity. Developer Kristine Jopperud wanted to create a design “that was timeless, with a focus on fit and construction.” Therefore, the LIFALOFT™ Hybrid Insulator features fleece side panels and sleeves that allow it to move with the athletes during high-exertion activities. The construction feels custom and breathable. In addition, LIFALOFT™ looks good in urban settings, so it’s a great jacket to wear for nights out to dinner or travelling through an airport.
Another requirement for a high performing jacket is how it behaves when it gets damp or wet. Thanks to the hydrophobic properties of LIFA® combined with the smart solution from Primaloft®, LIFALOFT™ is great for an active day on the mountain, and it’ll be dry and comfortable when you wear it on the flight home the next day.
The Professional’s Choice
Olympian Mattias Hargin said that LIFALOFT™ is one of his favorite jackets since “I never thought a jacket so thin could be so warm.” Hargin’s reasoning sounds simple, but the development of LIFALOFT™ was anything but. Ultimately, we see it as a sign that we’re doing something right. Tavell said, “we are developing in the right direction to create authentic and innovative products that satisfy professional skiers’ needs.” Because chances are, if it works for them, it’ll probably work for you, too.