Base Layer Workwear
The King of Base Layer:
Helly Hansen is the original Base Layer Workwear base layer specialist for both sport leisure work and survival. They say mother is
the necessity of all invention. Helly Hansen base layer roots can be
found in the harsh cold mountains forests and coastlines of Norway. Man
has to learn quickly how to survive in such conditions, which is why
only the best base layer will do. We learnt from experience what works
and what doesn’t, to be trusted by the world’s most intrepid sportsmen
and outdoor workwear professionals only underlines the high level of
protection and performance Helly Hansen base layer has to offer.
To be the best at what you do or at least give your best, always
depends on wearing the right gear. The key to performance in our
experience is how dry you are able to keep your skin, no matter how
demanding the working environment, sport or pastime. Aside from all the
marketing hype, branding and fancy packaging, simply only two things
matter, what your base layer is made from and how that fabrication is
applied to give the best performance result. The garment care label
sewn into the inside seam will immediately give away all the secrets
that your base layer has to offer, but first you need a little insider
knowledge as to what to look for.
If we ask the question what would be your first choice of fabric to
wear next to your skin - 95% of people would answer cotton. If asked
why, most would say because it feels nice, it looks nice; it’s very
comfortable and it can be bought in most clothing stores. Holding that
thought of cotton in your mind promotes a feeling of satisfaction and
comfort. Here however we make the assumption that the cotton shirt or T
shirt worn next to our skin is dry.
If we asked how you would feel about the same shirt if it was wet
next to your skin, then that would be another story, horror and
loathing and an immediate feeling of discomfort and disgust, all we
added was a little water. Holding that thought of discomfort for a
moment we now have a common base line to work from in your mind, we
have established the concept and the feeling of discomfort.
Don’t get me wrong, cotton is great when its dry but when we play
sport or work hard we get wet, it’s a simple fact of life, finding a
fabric that will absorb less moisture than cotton is the main aim of
technical base layer. The less fibre moisture absorption the dryer our
bodies will remain, the more comfortable we will feel, the better we
will be able to perform. So what are we looking for? A fabric as
comfortable as cotton but that will not absorb so much water, that’s
exactly what you get from technical base layer.
Now its time to look at that care label, most base layer will
advertise the use of 100% polyester as its fabric fibre content. This
is good, as polyester will absorb 60 times less moisture in it is fibre
than cotton, but retains a "cotton like" feel. You can see that with
such a big absorption difference polyester garments are bound to keep
you far more comfortable than cotton when wet. But that’s not the whole
story because as you start to push to your personal limit even
polyester will become saturated, which is why Helly Hansen had to look
further to find a better fabric solution.
Polypropylene is polyesters big brother, a hardcore stay dry fibre
that has a much lower moisture gain, some 40 times less than even
polyester. You can just imagine what a massive difference that would
make in comparison with cotton. Better still polypropylene can be used
as a dry fabric on its own or can be knitted with Merino wool to
increase its thermal values in really cold conditions.
Football, Rugby, Cricket, Hockey, Athletics, Triathlon, Walking,
Hiking, Cycling, Mountain Biking, Sailing, Skiing, Snowboarding
Canoeing, Running, Mountaineering, Caving are just some of the
traditional and non-traditional sports that benefit from technical base
layer. These benefits can also extend into peoples working lives when
there is no option but to go to work, Building and Construction
Industries, Oil & Gas workers, Fishing & Farming Industries,
Snow-patrol, Search and Rescue crews covering remote work locations
trust the "Pro grade" performance Helly Hansen base layers offer its
Now its not a question of throwing away what base layer you already
have, because undoubtedly if you have made it to the bottom of this
article you most probably own one or more pieces of polyester base
layer, at the very least your going to have a look at the care label to
see what you currently have, that’s OK, buying into the dry skin
concept will improve both your comfort and performance. Polypropylene
will immediately improve overall performance even when worn underneath
your existing much loved Base Layer Workwear base layer workwear, wear Helly Hansen polypropylene next to your skin and feel the big difference straight away and you will never go back.
Helly Hansen Workwear Brand History
comfort and safety for workers has been Helly Hansen´s business since
1877. This was the year Captain Helly Juell Hansen stepped ashore after
working as a seaman for over 20 years, from his vast experience he then
started making durable waterproof clothing for seafarers and fishermen.
His objective was simple, to keep workers dry and warm; his concept
quickly became a resounding international success story.
As a true pioneer the brand has continued to innovate in the field
of functional clothing. Helly Hansen Workwear is credited with the
development of oil skin canvas garments in the late 1870´s, as we moved
into the 1930´s so came the Kapok life preserver which saved many lives
in the first and second world wars, then to the more recognisable
lightweight PVC waterproofs developed in the 1950´s, at the time a
truly monumental achievement.
In the early 1960´s the brand can take credit for the invention of Fibre Pile
what today is commonly called Fleece and more often than not taken for
granted in many fashion as well as practical garment applications. In
the mid 1970´s Helly Hansen created revolutionary stay dry insulating
underwear, which still, to this day has little or no equal. Also in the
same decade the development of Offshore Survival suits became pivotal
to the companies business success.
In the 1980´s came the development of our very own Helly Tech®
waterproof breathable proofing system. This greatly improved working
comfort and performance for all our Workwear. Latterly the development
of new Crafter Fleece
collections to sit along side our Fibre Pile garments proved to be very
successful. High Visibility collections as well as design improvements
to our traditional Cotton & Poly/Cotton & PVC Waterproof collections complete the story so far. All in all, a very sound pedigree.
1877 - The Original Oil Skin Waterproofs
1930´s - Kapok Life preservers
1950´s - PVC took the oil skin to another level of waterproof.
1960´s - Helly Hansen developed a product called Fibre Pile. With superior insulating ability that out performed all contemporary garments of the day keeping the wearer warmer longer.
1970´s - Helly Hansen expanded into producing Survival Suits for the offshore industries.
1970s - Helly Hansen´s Bodywear underwear / baselayer
range was also launched with properties that kept the users skin dry by
moving perspiration away from the body. This kept users warmer and was
a break through in functional clothing and also paved the way for our
original 123 system of dress.
1980´s - This decade saw Helly Hansen develop HellyTech® an outstanding Waterproof & Breathable fabric keeping users protected from the Hellyments as well as letting perspiration out in order to help keep the wearer dry.
2000´s - Crafter Fleece The introduction of trade specific design fleece garments to improve insulation and performance across a range of trades.
Helly Hansen is using all the knowledge gained from years of working
with fabric technology and exceptional designs to bring the world truly
exceptional Sports & Workwear Garments.