November 2019

    LIFA® Merino: The “Best of Both Worlds” Base Layer

    When you combine two high-quality ingredients and apply the right treatment, you can end up with 1+1 being much greater than the sum of its parts. LIFA® Merino is a fine example of this in the specialized world of thermal base layers.

    With two highly effective base layer materials — LIFA® and Merino — we created a base layer with a unique 2-in-1 construction. Together, these two technologies work in a fine-tuned balance. The hydrophobic LIFA® moves moisture away from your skin while the outer layer of hydrophilic Merino Wool pulls up the moisture and wicks it away.

    The result is a high performing, thermoregulating base layer that makes it easier to stay in the zone during high-intensity activities.

    A classic is born

    The dual construction was launched in the late 1990s as Prowool, and it quickly became the preferred choice for professionals looking for performance, warmth and comfort in extreme environments. As we continued to improve the technology, it was renamed HH®Warm™ before landing on its current name — LIFA® Merino.

    Today, LIFA® Merino is indeed the best of both worlds. The inner side of the base layer is built with technical LIFA® that pushes moisture away from the skin while transporting perspiration to the surface of the fabric. The outer side of the base layer is made of 100% Merino Wool that wicks the moisture while generating extra warmth, even when wet. In other words: Warm, dry and balanced.

    But what makes this combination much more effective and comfortable than a regular wool base layer? A closer look at the two ingredients helps clarify.

    A base layer icon

    Since its inception in 1970, LIFA® has become a base layer icon. Helly Hansen has continuously strived to improve its invention, and just over the last 10 years alone, LIFA® has been modified over 50 times, evolving into the most effective stay-dry technology. In fact, it is the fastest mover of moisture in the world of base layers.

    LIFA® hates moisture. It is a hydrophobic fiber that prohibits the absorption of liquid. The fibers are used on the inner layer nearest the skin, where they move moisture away from the skin to the surface of the fabric, where it evaporates. This function has made it into a complete and effective stand-alone base layer material, with LIFA® Active, LIFA® Active Light and regular LIFA® as popular choices for activities that require lighter insulation.

    The evolution of LIFA® involves many elements. Softness, thread, smell, stretch, moisture management, to name a few. But, one of the key aspects that has put Helly Hansen at the forefront of base layers is the fact that we have mastered Polypropylene, a feat that no other outdoor company has managed to replicate.

    Even though the technology has developed continuously, the classic LIFA® signature has remained the same: The angled stripes along the sleeves continue to represent the benchmark of high-performance base layers for athletes.

    Warm when wet

    The Merino is considered the oldest breed of sheep in the world. They are famous for their fine, soft wool and their ability to thrive in extreme climates, like the high country of New Zealand. Their wool has evolved to protect them against freezing winters or scorching summers. This has made Merino Wool into a natural technical fiber that is also a smart choice for humans.

    Merino Wool’s thermoregulating properties make sure it warms or cools you according to the conditions. The fibers are hydrophilic and work in a way that wicks moisture away from your skin, letting the moisture evaporate and keeping you comfortable through any winter activity.

    One of the most important properties of Merino Wool is its ability to stay warm when wet, for sheep and humans alike. An additional bonus for us humans is that Merino prevents stink and requires less washing.

    Helly Hansen’s Merino Wool is grown by ZQ certified growers, that comply with the ZQ Grower Standard. The standards demand the best in animal welfare and environmental practice.

    The inside LIFA® layer repels moisture and keeps you dry — the outer layer of pure Merino Wool keeps you warm and comfortable, even when wet. LIFA® Merino

    The challenge from within

    Combining these two ingredients doesn’t make an improved version of one of them, it makes a new and different product. Because of its properties, LIFA® works best when layered under another fabric that absorbs the moisture and moves it even further away from your skin.

    LIFA® Merino is a unique, interconnected 2-in-1 base layer that combines lightweight LIFA® fibers next to skin with a thin outer layer of Merino Wool. The hydrophobic LIFA® fabric moves moisture away from the skin to the hydrophilic and insulating Merino Wool that wicks the moisture away while maintaining warmth.

    As a brand we have made professional grade gear to protect people in the harshest environments since 1877. Through insights drawn from living and working in these conditions, we know that the LIFA® Merino combination solves a challenge for everyone who spends time in the outdoors: While many people’s instinct is to protect themselves from rain and snow, it is often the moisture from within — our sweat — that can be most problematic.

    Our LIFA® Merino base layers take care of that.

    Recommended for any type of outdoor activity in colder climates.