With the help of Jeremie Blais, Maarten van Haeren of Mountain Moxie reviews the Heli Gravity Jacket by Peak Performance. Mountain Moxie is an online magazine dedicated to mountain sports and the alpine lifestyle. Passionate about climbing and skiing? Highline is partnering with the Mountain Moxie team to bring you in-depth gear reviews and trip reports, written just for you.
The Peak Performance Heli Gravity Jacket is a refreshing look at a do-it-all ski jacket. A suitable choice for the ski hill, touring or heli skiing, the jacket performed well throughout our testing. It is equipped with several unique features that our testers loved.
The bright colour scheme might not be for everyone, but the Euro-inspired styling is to be expected from a Swedish company that has been designing bright clothing since 1986.
One of the first things that stands out when putting the jacket on are the stretchy cuffs. This smooth fleece fabric cuff inside the main cuff helped keep snow from coming up the arms very well. Everyone who tested the jacket agreed the cuffs were comfortable to wear inside their gloves, properly sealing the sleeves from any snow coming in.
The hood is very well designed, rivaling some of the nicer hoods out there. It was adjustable enough to fit a bulky ski helmet or cinched down when not wearing the helmet. The wire brim was still functional over top of the helmet. When wearing the hood (with the jacket fully done up), the main zipper ends just below your goggles, allowing for a storm-and-snow proof fit. Some testers commented this can result in your goggles subsequently fogging up, so your mileage may vary. Suffice to say we loved the hood design, with or without a helmet!
The pocket layout is fairly simple with one large chest pocket on the outside and a matching mesh one inside. Both of these pockets were large enough to hold a Nalgene bottle or a set of bulky gloves. Our testers found these pockets more usable than the hand pockets. While there is nothing wrong with these pockets, they sit poorly underneath a backpack or harness. An additional small sleeve pocket completes the jacket. All external zippers (including the main zipper) are AquaGuard water-repellent zippers.
The main zipper was slightly sticky on our review jacket. At times, it caught on the internal storm flap. Though water-repellant zippers usually become smoother over time, a slightly smaller storm flap might have avoided the catching issues we had. (This was more an issue for Jeremy than it was for Maarten. Jeremy is rather broad through the chest and shoulders and that seemed to contribute to more issues with the storm flap.)
In order to dump heat, Peak Performance designed the jacket with two generous pit zips. Regardless of the breathability of the fabrics used, being able to cool down on the skin up is crucial. The snow skirt is designed to snap into matching Peak Performance pants. If you don’t own such pants, the extra snaps become unfortunate dead-weight. To our disappointment, there is no size adjustment for the snow skirt, which made for either a loose or an uncomfortably tight fit. When clipped into the compatible pants, it adds another layer of protection for those blower powder days!
The Heli Gravity uses 3 layer Gore-Tex throughout the jacket. The stretchy cuffs appear to be a smooth-faced fleece. Perhaps a stretchy soft shell fabric would have been more applicable here, but when inside the gloves there is no issue.
We were delighted to find a modern, semi-athletic fit on the Heli jacket. When receiving the jacket, we were briefly worried about yet another “free-ride” (read: extraneously bulky) jacket, but not so! The size Large jacket that we tested fitted most of our (normally large-wearing) testers well. We found the outer cuffs slightly roomy, with bulky Velcro closures that could have been smaller. That being said, when wearing the jacket over top of your gloves (with the stretchy cuff inside your glove), the main cuff fits over all but the bulkiest gloves. The articulated arms were comfortable when hiking or skinning up. There was plenty of room to move around without being bulky.
- Well-fitting, full Gore-Tex, all-terrain ski jacket
- Stretchy cuffs seal off your wrists from the elements
- Exceptional hood design
- Big chest pockets keep items close at hand
- Snow skirt snaps into compatible pants
- No adjustment on the powder skirt
- Hand pockets work poorly with a pack or harness
- Sticky main zipper that sometimes gets caught on the storm flap
The Heli Gravity jacket performed well in both resort skiing days and ski touring.
A true do-it-all big mountain jacket for any condition. Its main distinguishing features were a well fitting hood and stretchy cuffs, which allowed our testers to seal themselves from the elements when the conditions became full-on.
Though the Heli Gravity Jacket was sent to Highline/Mountain Moxie for reviewing purposes, this has not influenced our opinion on the jacket. Mountain Moxie aims to use multiple testers for each review, to get you reviews on the most thoroughly tested gear.