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Gear Review

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Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

The original OR Helium Jacket made me change my mind about hard shells... I tend to run hot, especially from the waist up, and so I could never justify the cost, weight or bulk of garment that I seldom would wear--the exception being, of course, in the event of a storm. If I'm cragging and it starts to pour, we're probably bailing, and so one need only to stay dry enough to reach the car at the trailhead. On bigger routes, a quick getaway's not as easy, and so staying dry may mean the difference between waiting out the weather and eventually topping out, or the worst case scenario--a cold, wet and potentially epic descent. At about 6 ounces (men's medium), the size of a navel orange--the Helium II packs neatly into its own pouch with a clip-loop--and at a fraction of the price of most other shells, you'll not only want one, you'll insist that your wall partner buy one, too!