Helly Hansen, the leading technical outdoor brand trusted by professionals, has partnered with five of the UK and Ireland’s dedicated Mountain Rescue teams, and this week sees the start of their bespoke kit rollout.
This comes as part of Helly Hansen’s ongoing commitment to working with search and rescue organisations to help save lives in the mountains.
During the weekend of 8 – 11 July 2022, Helly Hansen will also be donating 5% of all online sales in the UK to Scottish Mountain Rescue and Mountain Rescue England & Wales. These funds will help provide the volunteer teams with the equipment, necessary training and education resources needed to keep people safe in the mountains.
Over the past two years, Helly Hansen has been working closely with the Mountain Rescue Teams and their volunteers to gain a true understanding of the incredible work they do to keep the public safe in the outdoors. In the development of the bespoke Responder Kit, the Helly Hansen product development team spent long days in the mountains, attending simulated rescues and field testing, carefully monitoring all the specific needs of Mountain Rescue volunteers.
These dedicated volunteers have played an integral part in the development of the new Helly Hansen Mountain Rescue Responder Kit. Each team conducted their own rigorous, field testing through all weather conditions over a six-month period.
Mountain Rescue Teams from Scotland (Assynt and Arrochar), England (North of Tyne), Wales (Western Beacons) and Ireland (Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue) are now being presented with their new kit, featuring a three-layer system. Helly Hansen introduced the three-layer system in the 1970s which includes a LIFA® base layer for warmth, comfort and moisture management, a PrimaLoft® mid-layer for added warmth when needed, and a HELLY TECH® Professional 3 layer outer jacket for extreme waterproof/breathable protection.
All elements of the Responder Kit have been developed and tested to ensure the volunteers can stay focused on their job, knowing they are protected – no matter what the time of year, landscape, or weather conditions.
The new Responder Kit is based on Helly Hansen’s renowned Odin collection which delivers professional-grade waterproofness, wind resistance, and breathability. The new kit includes a bespoke 3L jacket (the Squad Jacket), 3L pant (the Action Pant), PrimaLoft® insulator, quick-dry trousers, and beanie, along with a choice of Helly Hansen’s iconic LIFA® base layers. All mid-layers and base layers are available in both women’s and men’s specific fit, and features of the Squad Jacket have been developed in response to specific feedback from the volunteers. The jacket can be adjusted for the perfect fit and features a 360 degree hi-vis design, ensuring volunteers are easily visible at a distance, even from the air, along with helmet compatibility, reinforced shoulder cuffs and hem, hand warmer pockets, map-compatible chest pockets and underarm venting. The Action Pant is also available in a wide range of sizes and leg lengths.
Piers Barnes, Helly Hansen UK & Ireland General Manager, said: “We work with over 55,000 professionals around the globe and respect the important and life-saving jobs they do every day. We are very proud to be able to deliver this kit to the Mountain Rescue volunteers and know it will protect them against the UK and Ireland’s temperate weather conditions, enabling them to do their life-saving jobs out on the varied landscapes.”
Damon Powell, Chair at Scottish Mountain Rescue, said: “Our volunteer Mountain Rescue Teams are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and with the nature, the terrain and the unpredictable weather in the Scottish Mountains, having bespoke clothing is vital to ensure that the individuals are able to safely and efficiently conduct rescues.”
Paul Smith, National Equipment Officer for Mountain Rescue England & Wales, said: “The bespoke Responder Kit is the perfect balance between weight and breathability, performing brilliantly in all weather conditions. It includes multiple well thought out features to enable our teams of volunteers to perform at their very best. We are confident the new kit will fully support us to fulfil our roles, as well as ensure we look professional when in the mountains. When we are called out in an emergency, we need to be able to focus on getting to the casualty and saving lives, and the new kit ensures we can fulfil our roles to the best of our ability, with no compromises.”
Tim Hamlet, from Assynt Mountain Rescue Team, said: “When it comes to all the specialised kit we use, from stretchers to radios, arguably the most important are the clothes we wear out on the mountain. Working with Helly Hansen has meant that this new kit has everything we need, keeping us safe, as we keep the public safe.”
Gavin Findlay, from Arrochar Mountain Rescue Team, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Helly Hansen who has developed a clothing system to cope with the fickle nature of Scotland’s weather – all four seasons in a day! We look forward to using the flexible system to keep us warm, dry and comfortable.”
Helena Sansum, from North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team, said: “Working in mountain rescue requires a huge amount of trust, whether that be in your fellow volunteers or in your kit. Having tried and tested kit specifically designed for constant use on the mountains means we can trust it to help us keep people safe.”
Neil Butcher, from Western Beacons Mountain Rescue Team, said: “It’s fair to say we will put this kit through its paces. We need to know that any equipment we use is appropriate whether it’s blazing sunshine or torrential rain. The new kit will do that and provide us with the necessary functionality to perform at our best – which ultimately gives us the best chance to save lives.”
Mark Flynn, of Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Teams, added: “It’s the first time in our long history we have been included in the development of bespoke Mountain Rescue Kit. The time spent and the attention to detail from the Helly Hansen product development team have gone way beyond any expectations, resulting in providing us with the very best kit. The service we have received from the Helly Hansen team on the ground has been nothing short of incredible too. Even the most trivial requests were treated with the utmost of courtesy, and the attention to detail received was second to none”.
As the partnerships continue, the life-saving teams will be instrumental in providing additional feedback and insights to further develop and evolve Helly Hansen’s outdoor collections.