Helly Hansen Pace SS review
A good performance tee is a must have in everyone’s gear closet. From spring to fall it’s tough not to reach for that trusted short sleeve shirt for a hike, bike ride or a run on the trail. Moisture wicking ability, great feel and fit, and of course style are all high on the list of priorities, and Helly Hansen has it dialed with their Pace SS shirts. The Pace comes in a standard jersey cut and a half zip style; I’ve been testing them both for the past three months and can report that they are close to, but not quite, the perfect performance shirts.
The athletic fit and comfortable feel of the fabric are the first things you’ll notice when you pull one on. Flat-lock stitching means no bulky seams in the shirt, and when you don your pack you won’t get any annoying contact points on your shoulders or hips. Helly Hansen uses their patented HH Cool and Lifa Stay technologies to give the shirt its sweat stopping powers. HH Cool is described by the company as “on body air conditioning,” and while I wouldn’t go quite that far, I do think it worked wonders in the venting and comfort departments. Lifa Stay dry tech is designed to pull excess heat and sweat away from the skin to keep you dry during even the must lung-busting and heart-pounding summer pursuits. It definitely does the job- on a 90 degree hike in Arches NP I stayed moisture free from start to finish.
The Helly Hansen Pace isn’t just for warm weather activities. I gave it a shot as my base layer during snowboarding season and was pleased as punch. I usually wear a classic cotton tee under my mid layer (old school or old fool?) and suffer the effects of moisture buildup. With the Pace under my mid layer I again stayed dry, but this time instead of cool, I remained warm and toasty. This tee is one that you can put to work all year long.
My number one complaint with the Pace SS is the funk. As with every other synthetic blend jersey, the Pace can brew up some mighty stanky fragrances after a long day on the trail. That might not be much of a concern if you’re going from home to the outdoors and back, but you will need a backup shirt if you’re planning on hitting the local pub for some refreshment. Seems like no amount of research and development is a match for us stinky outdoors folks. Another issue I found was staining: after a backpacking trip I had stained the shirt around my hipbelt line; two washes later and you can still see the dirt. It’s an issue if you can’t stand to be anything less than so fresh and so clean.
Despite the two knocks I’m still giving this shirt the thumbs up. The moisture wicking powers impressed me every time I wore it. On bike rides the Helly Hansen Pace Half Zip was a winner, though I’m sure a few folks are scarred for life after seeing my chest hair blowing in the wind. The style on both versions is simple and eye pleasing. With plenty of color schemes to choose from there is a Pace for everyone out there, and your cool, dry skin will be thanking you for wearing one.