Product test: some Helly Hansen “Norviz” stuff 

Hey, remember this thing I posted last year?  We all shared a little laugh about how I’m completely incapable of writing product reviews in anything that vaguely resembles a timely fashion, and how I’m basically kryptonite to any sensible marketing campaign. Well, it’s almost Spring, and I’ve had the bloody thing since October, so it’s about time I shared my musings on some of the kit from Helly Hansen’s Autumn range…

Helly Hansen aren’t one of the brands I’d automatically associate with running, except maybe at this time of year. The typical HH runner is a grizzled adventurer, legging it around craggy wastelands with all bits of frost stuck to his beard and the faraway expression only seen on those who know that their next meal will either be:

A: More bloody roast penguin, or

B: Kevin.

Let’s just get one thing straight. I am not one of those types. The craggiest place I’ve been is Reading, and the only thing I got stuck in my beard was spaghetti hoops.

But the chaps at HH do make some mighty fine running kit. No real bells and whistles1, just warm, dependable gear. It does the job without fannying about (which would make a great company slogan). Anyway, I’ve been trying out a couple of bits from their Norviz range: the “Pace tights” and the “Pace jacket of ultimate wonder and splendidness”. I may have embellished the name a bit there, but it’s well-deserved.

The last couple of years has seen a rise in more and more fashionable running kit, with patterns and designs finally stepping away from the traditional “black, bright pink or nothing at all”. But I’ve found that the vast majority of the more interesting designs are still aimed at women’s running kit. It’s as if the design teams of all the sportswear companies got together and decided “Blokes don’t care what their kit looks like. They’re only interested in sheds”2. I think it’s about time we blurred the gender lines in running kit, mainly because I totally have the thighs to pull off skorts.
Anyway, this all brings me back to the jacket.

I could write a proper review3 and tell you about all the technical features. I could go on about special seams as though they were handcrafted by NASA, and I’d probably get a little bit excited about some sort of revolutionary ventilation flap. But I don’t need to bore you with any of that stuff, because LOOK AT IT!

 Seriously. Look at it. Is this not a thing of rare beauty? When I got the email from HH asking if I wanted to trial it, it took me less than half a second to go from “idly nonchalant to “gushing fanboy”. I bashed out a reply, and then went and sat by the letterbox.So let’s have a look at the design (because, quite frankly, the grown up technical stuff leaves me feeling frightened and alone). The pastelly camouflage pattern is a bold statement, and arguably not to everyone’s taste. I’ve worn it around work a few times, and although there have been plenty of positive comments, there have been a few not so good. One of my bosses asked if I was returning from a fishing trip, and someone else made the observation that “it looks like someone has thrown up over a murderer”. When it comes to a question of personal taste, there’s no such thing as right and wrong. Although, having said that, anyone who doesn’t like this jacket is wrong.

Take a closer look at the wonderful salmon-tinged camouflage (salmoflage!) and you’ll notice loads of teeny little sparkly flecks that look a bit like broken glass (but probably aren’t, although I’m no expert). The overall effect is that somebody has vajazzled a commando.

 I’m a bit of a magnet for shit weather, and I’ve worn the jacket out on a few wet runs. Although not waterproof, it does hold up pretty well against a light shower. I’m not sure whether the water beaded on the surface of the material, or if it just cowered from it’s bad-assery. I love the contradiction of putting a shitload of sparkly reflectiveness on a camouflage jacket. It’s like hanging a disco mirror-ball in the rear-view mirror of a stealth bomber.

(And stealth bombers do have rear view mirrors. Don’t bother checking or writing in with “facts”).

It’s ridiculously lightweight, while satisfyingly wind-resistant, and doesn’t tend to get all sweatified. Also, it has a pocket.

See? I’m actually amazing at writing incisive product reviews after all.

The Noviz pace running tights are… well, they’re running tights. They do the job perfectly well, but the only thing that really stood out for me was the magical reflective panels on the rear of the calf. They just look black, like the rest of the tights, but as soon as a light shines on them, a glowing pattern appears and it suddenly looks as though someone has been pelting you with chalky blackboard rubbers. 

 So to summarise…

Jacket: OhmygodIbloodyLOVESit!

Tights: S’alright I suppose.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this review, and agree that it was worth the four months it took me to finish. It’s not my fault I’m easily distra




Hey, still here?

This is the bit at the end of a product review where I make it clear that no money has changed hands, and I’ve been put under no pressure to write nice things in return for free stuff. They certainly didn’t threaten to throw a cute little St Bernard puppy off a bridge like those bastards at [COMPANY NAME REMOVED UNDER LEGAL ADVICE, AND BECAUSE I’M WORRIED THEY MIGHT THROW ME OFF A BRIDGE] unless I promised to say their products are the bestest. If you’re from a marketing agency and have a product that you’d like reviewed sometime in the next 10-12 years, why not drop me a line?


1 Probably a wise move. It’s well-known fact that polar bears can hear a whistle from up to 50 miles away, and will gladly punch the shit out of you for little or no reason.


2 Which might explain the ill-fated Asics 6×4 shiplap running shorts with optional stable door.
Okay, we both know I couldn’t.





2 thoughts on “Product test: some Helly Hansen “Norviz” stuff 

  1. Love how fun the design of the jacket is and it actually really does look like a good effective camouflage! It would make me giggle quite a lot while wearing it on a run though so I could look a bit nuts!

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