Outdoor Research Men's Helium II Jacket
- 100% Nylon
- 2" high
- 15" wide
- ULTRALIGHT RAINCOAT: Weighing a mere 5.5 ounces, this hooded jacket offers supreme protection. Whether you are cycling, running, camping, hiking, fishing, or just in need of incredible weather protection, choose the Helium II Jacket.
- WATERPROOF AND WIND-PROOF SHELL: If staying dry and comfortable is your top priority, the Helium II Jacket has you covered. Fully seam-taped and built with YKK AquaGuard zippers, this provides maximum storm protection while staying breathable.
- DESIGN FEATURES: Built with you in mind, this coat has reflective logos, front zipper pocket, a carabiner loop, an elastic drawcord hem, elastic cuffs, a single-separating front zipper, and a pocket that doubles as a packable travel stuff sack.
- PERTEX SHIELD PROTECTION: Made from Pertex Shield 2.5 L, 100% Nylon and a 30D ripstop body, Pertex Shield balances waterproofness, breathability and wind resistance all within a flexible and lightweight construction.
- OUTDOOR RESEARCH: We built a company from a feeling: the urge to get out. It's what drives us. Our tribe is devoted to exploring our outdoor passions and challenging ourselves in the mountains, water, and deserts of the planet we love so much.
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No need to seek shelter when the weather turns for the worst. Take your Helium II Jacket out of the packable stuff sack, and zip it up to keep you dry and comfortable while doing what you love. Designed with Pertex Shield material to be both waterproof and windproof. Weighing in at mere ounces, this ultralight coat is perfect for the everyday traveler and the experienced thru-hiker alike.
At Outdoor Research, we think that life gets better the minute we step out the door on a new adventure, no matter how big or small. We learn about ourselves, each other and the environment every time we get out. We come home a little wiser and stronger. We see the world more clearly, and that compels us to treat it better. More than anything, we’re convinced that if we inspire more people to get outside, the world will be a better place.
In 1981, a brilliant scientist and adventurer named Ron Gregg watched his frostbitten partner get airlifted off a glacier on Denali. He'd spent months planning a new route in the purest style, skiing 100 miles from the road to the base of the climb. Barely halfway to the summit, their trip ended with the failure of a simple pair of gaiters. Stubborn to the end, Ron refused a seat on the helicopter and descended alone for two weeks, pondering what had happened. Somewhere along the way, he realized he could both fix the gear problem and devote his life to pursuing his passion for adventure. By the end, he knew one thing for sure: He wasn't going back to his old job.
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 15 x 2 inches
- Item model number: 2429691782006
- Date First Available: January 10, 2020
- ASIN: B083QLVMXZ
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FIT: I ordered my Helium II one size too large with the intention of layering it over a down jacket while hiking. Even with this in mind, the fit is very nice. The jacket doesn't balloon out the way some other lightweight windbreakers / rain jackets do. However, this is really only true when the jacket is zipped at least halfway. Anything less than that, and the fabric is too slick / the jacket too light to stay in place.
COMFORT: With regards to comfort, this jacket is fantastic. It is very lightweight, so you don't really notice it too much when layered over a t-shirt. While the fabric does feel a little clammy, it isn't as bad as other plastic / wax rain jackets I've owned in the past.
ADJUSTABILITY: This is one area where I wouldn't mind a few extra ounces. The Helium II was designed to keep it as lightweight as possible. In this endeavor, Outdoor Research took out the wrist adjustment straps in favor of elastic wrist openings (only half of each opening is elastic). You do still get a waist adjustment strap (hidden on the right hand side), and a hood adjustment bungee (hidden at the back of the hood), but that's about it.
I haven't found that I really need any other adjustments, but they would certainly be nice to have. For instance, the wrist openings are just a little larger than my wrists, so I get water running in if I have my arms angled upwards. This hasn't proved to be too big of an issue so far, but I would much prefer dry(er) arms.
CONSTRUCTION: I have been fairly impressed with the construction of the Helium II so far. It uses Pertex Shield+ 2.5L 30D ripstop nylon and all the seams are well sealed. What this means is a lightweight and thoroughly weatherproofed jacket.
DESIGN: The design of the Helium II includes a lot of nice features. The hood and waistband have adjustable bungee cords. The sleeves include partially elastic wrist openings. There is a zippered pocket on the chest and a velcro pocket inside the left-hand side of the jacket body. The internal pocket also includes a small loop for attaching your keys. All in all, the Helium II is very well outfitted for a minimalist rain jacket.
WATER RESISTANCE: I have worn this jacket a few times on the trail when it started to spit, but nothing too serious. Then, a few weeks ago, we got hit with a rainstorm the likes of which I haven't seen since I left Kansas. Much to the surprise of my coworkers, I grabbed my Helium II and asked if anyone wanted drinks from Starbucks (about .75 miles away). The rain was coming down so far that you could hardly see across the parking lot, so I figured this would be a perfect test!
After walking to Starbucks and back, my torso (with the exception of my forearms — I was carrying a tray of coffee) was perfectly dry. My pants could have been wrung out and used to create a small reservoir, but all told I was very impressed with my new rain jacket's weather resistance abilities.
BREATHABILITY: Unfortunately, the water resistance of the Helium II does come at the cost of breathability. While the Helium II is more breathable than the plastic ponchos I used to use when I first started hiking, it doesn't breath as well as heavier, more feature-rich jackets out there. I don't notice this too much as mine is a size larger than I would normally wear, but it does become apparent while hiking in the rain.
In spite of the fact that the jacket keeps the rain out, I end up getting a little damp from perspiration. In the end, the tradeoff of breathability for weight is worth it in my eyes. I have never found a jacket that allowed me to stay 100% dry while walking in the rain. This one does about as good a job as any, but at a fraction of the weight, which makes it easier to carry and makes me more comfortable when it's packed away.
WIND RESISTANCE: The Helium II has proven itself to be virtually wind-proof. It won't keep you warm (given how thin 30D fabric is), but by cutting out the wind, you can dramatically improve the performance of other layers.
LAYERING: Outdoor Research sizes the Helium II for "normal fit". By ordering mine one size up, I got a jacket that layers perfectly over my down jacket. I went out yesterday in ~40°F weather with 12mph winds. While my down jacket was warm enough by itself, adding the Helium II on top of it really boosted the warmth! When layering, the Helium II's collar zips high under the chin to keep water from getting in and soaking your other layers.
PACKABILITY: The Helium II weighs in at 6.4oz, so it's easy to find a space in your pack for it. If you like keeping everything nice and neat in your pack, you can also stuff the Helium II into its own pocket. To do this, you have to turn the pocket inside out and pull the rest of the jacket into it. The zipper is a little awkward when the pocket is turned inside out, but it works well enough as a storage pouch. Even when packed, the jacket has plenty of room for further compression.
Before you ask - Yes I have a bit of a beer gut, but not massive.
The arms tho were plenty fat, so...?
Otherwise it's very nicely crafted and I'm sure will keep you dry. Nicely lite as advertised, but a shade more heavy than the Patagonia super lite shell like this - Which by the way has the same issue with XXL not quite being big enough.
I mean heck - What if I want/need to layer this over one of the super lite puffy jackets? It's not gunna work.
So, give it a go. If you're big (I'm 6'1" 235lb) but mostly slender around your gut, this may work even if you want to layer. Otherwise expect not to wear much but a shirt underneath.
The L weighs in as advertised at 6.4oz which is probably the lightest on the market if you're wanting to go the ultralight route. It packs down to about the size of a big mac and has a sewn in loop to attach it to a backpack. From what I've read/heard this jacket is the gold standard for ultralight backpackers but it seems like it would be great all around backpack. The only pocket is a chest pocket so I found myself reaching for side pockets out of habit. That won't be an issue for me but it's something to consider if you really need/like pockets in your coat.
I'll update with more details on function (ie. wet weather testing). But the jacket and company have a good reputation so I anticipate this being a staple in my backpacking setup. I'm assuming that the "typhoon/hot sauce" color scheme (blue and red) isn't everyone's first choice but at $90 this is a steal.
Great in a layering system....can take it with you all the time.
Only negative is that there is only a single pocket....but then again that's why it's so light and compact.
Be aware that the fit is a little narrower profile than standard raingear.
That's why it looks so good when traveling.
As others have mentioned, you need to be careful to not crease the visor on the hood,
so I roll it up into the hood, and purchased a small Sea-to-Summit stuff sack that is
just a little larger than the jacket stuff pocket. I just used it on a month long trip to Europe
and it's still in mint condition.