Helly Hansen SOGN Cargo Review
Cons: Boxy, unremarkable style, poor ventilation
Manufacturer: Helly Hansen
Our Analysis and Test Results
Across the board, we were neither inspired by nor disappointed with the performance of the SOGN Cargo. It reminds us of the run-of-the-mill ski pants that we see on most people at the ski resort.
The Helly Hansen SOGN Cargo features a proprietary waterproof membrane that performed fairly well in our testing. After 5 minutes in the shower, our legs were dry, but we could tell that the DWR coating was starting to wear off. We didn't experience any rain during our test period, but during long, wet days on the hill, we would expect these pants to wet out by the end of the day. While this isn't a big deal, don't expect the same level of weather resistance as pants that use Gore-tex.
Fit and Comfort
These pants feature a neutral fit, similar to most other ski pants. They have a straight cut without articulation and are relatively baggy through the thighs and knees. This allows for a wide range of motion, but sometimes they feel like they have too much extra fabric that gets in the way. They are comfortable to wear and feature elastic waist adjustment straps, in addition to belt loops, to get the waist fit perfect. The sizing is a tad on the large side, so if you are on the fence about which size to order, go small. The interior material is comfortable, and the insulation makes them feel cozy. The external shell fabric is relatively soft and supple compared to hardshell fabrics.
The SOGN features small, internal thigh leg vents, which don't provide that much ventilation. The length of these vents is shorter than average, and inner leg vents generally provide less airflow than outer leg vents, in our experience. Combined with the insulation, these pants don't offer as much opportunity for ventilation as many other pants on the market. If you live in a warm winter climate, or do a lot of bootpacking or aerobic mogul skiing, you may find yourself wishing for a more ventilated pant.
The Helly Hansen SOGN Cargo is a decently warm pair of pants. It contains plenty of synthetic insulation to keep you warm during cold ski days, and synthetic insulation retains its warming properties even when wet. Other pants are warmer, but in general, we don't prefer too much insulation on our lower bodies, which are more resistant to cold weather than our torsos. In our opinion, this amount of insulation is about right for ski pants. If they were any warmer, they would become less versatile.
The SOGN Cargo has relatively limited features, despite what its name suggests. There are two zippered waist pockets and one zippered thigh pocket. On the rear of the pant, there are two "cargo" flaps, but only one flap has a pocket underneath, and this pocket is closed with velcro, making it almost useless. We don't use rear rockets that much on the ski hill anyhow because they interfere with our comfort on chairlift rides. They have an adjustable waist and internal elastic powder cuffs to keep snow out of your boots, but they don't have a scuff guard. We anticipate that the pants will wear out around the inside of the cuffs before too long.
These pants are neutrally styled and don't stick out in a crowd. All of the color options are some variation of grey or black, with the exception of a solid orange option. These aren't terribly inspiring, and the straight, loose cut of the pants won't win any fashion shows. Most skiers aren't looking to turn heads on the ski slopes or in chairlift lines, and if you want to blend into a crowd, these are a good option. But if you are looking for more of a fashion statement in your ski pants, look elsewhere.
These pants are fairly priced and fall into the middle of the pack for affordability in ski pants. They provide all you need in a pair of resort skiing pants, and while they won't turn heads for style or fit, they get the basic job done in providing a warm and dry environment for the lower body. We aren't amazed by the construction of the pants, but we don't have any serious concerns about durability either, other than the inside of the pant cuffs, which don't have a stiff fabric scuff guard and are likely to wear out ahead of the rest of the pant.
In general, the Helly Hansen SOGN Cargo pants are good yet unremarkable. They get the basic job done of keeping us warm and dry all day on the ski hill. In wet conditions, they will probably wet-out and become uncomfortable to wear, but otherwise, they do just fine on most resort days. If you like the unremarkable style and color options of this pair and are looking for a daily driver for use at the ski area, these aren't a bad choice. But if you are looking for high-end pants that will stand up to all conditions and levels of aerobic output, you can do better.
— Jeff Dobronyi
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