Expert Review: Helly Hansen Men's Ridge Infinity Shell Jacket

This review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in August of 2020.

A man skiing in the Helly Hansen Ridge Infinity Shell Jacket.

All photos courtesy of Ethan Y.

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About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in August of 2020.

My take

The Helly Hansen Ridge Infinity Shell Jacket is a durable, high-quality, fully weatherproof shell with a comfortable utilitarian design. It is an ideal layer for harsh conditions skiing on the resort or in the backcountry.

A skier kneels taking the skins off his skis while wearing the Helly Hansen Men's Ridge Infinity Shell Jacket.

About the jacket I own

  • Model: 2021 Helly Hansen Men's Ridge Infinity Shell Jacket
  • Size: Medium
  • Fit: Runs large

About me

  • Height: 5’9”
  • Weight: 165lbs
  • Experience: 20 years of skiing

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: February 2020
  • Days tested: 80
  • Where I’ve used it: Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Montana
  • Conditions I’ve used it in: Powder, freezing rain, spring slush, rain, wet snow, bluebird sunny days

How it performs


What I was looking for

I wanted a bombproof, fully weatherproof, non-insulated jacket that could stand up to a variety of conditions while still being comfortable. I prioritize function over form, and I look for specific technical features that will offer increased versatility in both resort and backcountry settings (pit zippers, interior pockets, etc).

A man skiing down a snowy mountain.

Why I chose this gear

I chose this product because of its high weatherproofing, its loose and comfortable fit, and the many technical features it includes. I also love that Helly Hansen has made this jacket with 50 percent recycled materials and PVC-free waterproofing chemicals. I considered a few other options, such as the Odin 9 Worlds Infinity Shell and the Patagonia Snow Drifter.

A man turning down a snowy mountain.

What I love about it

  • Fit: I am not a big person but I like my gear to fit loosely as it allows me to add layers underneath without affecting mobility. This jacket has a larger, looser fit that could be described as “boxy.” I like my jackets to have a little extra length in the arms and torso, and this definitely provides that without being excessive. The only drawback is when wearing a backpack with chest or hip straps, the extra material can feel bunched up when compressed under the straps.
  • Range of Motion: This jacket has an amazing range of motion given the looser fit. I have never felt restrained by the jacket while skiing in the park, hiking up a steep chute, or digging out my car. I want to point out that most weatherproof shells are made of a stiffer three-layer design (often times GORE-TEX) that can feel rigid; this jacket is far more flexible and is equally weatherproof (even more so for wind). This quality alone makes the jacket stand out among its peers and is definitely noteworthy, as it dramatically improves the comfort and feel when moving.
  • Design: This jacket is designed with functionality in mind and is not minimalist at all. It has heavy-duty zippers, seven large, easy-to-use pockets (even with mittens on), including a large internal mesh pocket and a Helly Hansen Lifa Tech insulated chest pocket. For someone who uses one jacket for a wide variety of activities, I have been very impressed by the design choices made here. One thing to note: the main zipper can be hard to line up and use with gloves on. I added a zip-tie to it to improve the grip.
  • Style: While style is not a top priority for me, it is still a consideration, and this jacket looks pretty cool. The color options are fun and offer both subtle (gray / blue) and not so subtle (bright yellow / orange). I like to stand out, and the bright orange was a selling point for me. I also found the looser fit not only was more comfortable but also had a cool style to it—reminiscent of park-inspired long T-shirts and hoodies without looking too goofy.
  • Quality of Materials: Honestly one of the best-made jackets I have ever used. Not only is it durable, breathable, comfortable, weatherproof, and flexible, but it also does not require re-waterproofing and is made with almost 50 percent recycled materials.
  • Durability: I will admit I am rough on my gear. I don’t always land on my feet or avoid tree branches; that being said, I have had no durability issues. After two years of use this jacket has no rips or stains, the waterproofing is still 100 percent, the zippers zip, and the seams are fully sealed. The fit and stretch of the material is still holding strong as well; I expect it to continue to do so for many more seasons.
  • Pockets: There are seven well-designed pockets with a variety of uses, including a left upper-arm pocket ideal for trail maps, RFID ski passes, and snack bars; an interior mesh pocket that is great for climbing skins or holding gloves; two very large, mid-torso pockets that are slanted and are great for warming up hands; two large waist pockets; and lastly an insulated chest pocket. I want to touch on this chest pocket specifically: it uses Helly Hansens Lifa insulation technology, which provides a lot of warmth for so little material and it's hydrophobic. It is perfect for a phone, and while I was doubtful, it has always kept my phone warm and protected it from losing battery due to the cold.
  • Waterproofing: Ice, rain, wet/dry snow, slush, sleet—you name it. This jacket has no-joke weather protection. I have sat in the snow for up to twenty minutes and rained on chair lifts and still have not gotten wet. I am truly impressed by the materials used here, and this is a standout feature of the jacket especially given the soft and stretchy nature of the material.
  • Breathability: This jacket offers above-average breathability for a fully weatherproof shell. The stretchy material outperforms other materials like GORE-TEX while still providing the same weather resistance. I run very hot and I appreciate the large pit zippers and even the large torso pockets that add additional breathability during warmer days. While this does have good breathability, if that is the top priority, this jacket is not the best in that category. The heavy weight and many features are noticeably warmer when doing high-intensity activities (backcountry use). I usually opt to take off the jacket during these times; or if it is snowing, open all my pockets and zippers.
  • Features: One of the best and most subtle features is the hood; it fits over a helmet without being too restrictive and has a built in neck gaiter allowing the jacket to zip all the way up to my nose. This feature is incredibly useful on windy chair lifts or when hunkering down on a peak to wait out a weather system. The neck also has a separate zipper that allows me to adjust how close it fits. There are built-in wrist gaskets with thumb holes so I can fully seal off the arms when the snow gets deep or I need a boost of warmth.
  • Other: This jacket features RECCO technology; while this is a cool addition to a jacket that has potentially life saving applications, it is by no means a replacement for training and proper avalanche equipment. Please seek professional advice and training before venturing into the backcountry. Many search and rescue services do not carry RECCO locating devices.
Close up of a skier wearing the Helly Hansen Men's Ridge Infinity Shell Jacket.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Warmth: The jacket offers warmth so far as it protects me from being exposed to cold things (wind, water, ice). It has no insulation, but is still a thicker jacket as far as a pure shell layer goes. I run hot, so I chose this jacket knowing it had no additional insulation, and given it has plenty of room to add extra layers underneath. For those colder people, there may be better options available.
  • Weight: The heavy-duty design, many pockets, and thick materials make this a heavier-than-usual jacket. This can be a plus for many people who want top-tier protection, but those also looking for a light, packable shell for backcountry use or a jacket for snow sports and every-day life use will want to find another option. I don't mind the extra weight in the backcountry because I like the protection and features it offers. It is worth noting that Helly Hansen offers a similar jacket in a slimmed down, more minimal design specifically for backcountry and mountaineering uses that is significantly lighter.
The Helly Hansen Men's Ridge Infinity Shell Jacket lying on a floor.

Favorite moment with this gear

I live and ski in the Pacific Northwest—primarily at Mt. Hood Meadows. It rains here about six months out of the year, and the rain sometimes creeps up in elevation to include the ski resorts. Last year I got trapped on a stopped lift for about 20 minutes during a time when the rain was oscillating between frozen and liquid. Unfortunately for me, this particular lift has a particular section that is notoriously windy, so one can guess where I stopped. Lucky for me I was wearing this jacket, and while I have suffered similar situations in the past, I have never escaped as dry and warm as I did this time. I flipped up the hood over my helmet, cinched the waist, wrist, and helmet cuffs, zipped my pockets and pit zippers, and fully zipped the main zipper. This allowed me to scoot down into my jacket so only my goggles were exposed to the wind, I could fit my whole face below the highest point on the main zipper. I waited out that storm in this bunker of a jacket. The heavy weight of the jacket provides a bonus wind resistance and my music never died despite the frigid temps. I just about fell asleep on that lift.

Value for the money vs. other options

I will start this out by saying this is a top-of-the-line jacket and it is priced as such. It is one of the more expensive jackets on the market, and the quality certainly reflects the price. Given the amount of use and conditions I use this jacket in, I feel justified in the price, but for those who are looking for a more approachable price, there are certainly other high-quality options available. When compared to other jackets of similar price such as the Mountain Hardware Boundary Ridge and Arc'teryx Beta AR, this one shines due to its versatility and durability, making it a top contender in the price range. I find that most jackets in this price range are either a slim, minimalist, less comfortable shell or a more bulk, fully insulated jacket. For a truly top-tier, fully featured weatherproof jacket that is non-insulated and very comfortable, this is a hard-to-beat option.

Final verdict

An amazingly versatile jacket that spares nothing to achieve its goal. Helly Hansen crushed it on this one. This is one of the best shell jackets for mixed use activities and stands out among a group of jackets that all commonly look and feel the same.

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Written By
Hey ya'll! My name is Ethan (He/Him) i'm 26 and I live in Portland Oregon. I grew up on the east coast where I learned to love the mountains. I learned skiing and snowboarding in the Green Mountains of Vermont and havent stopped doing it since. I have lived all over the country and gotten to ski, ba...

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