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  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Back
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Black/Hydro
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Pewter
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Bengal
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Glacier
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Hot Sauce
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Typhoon/Hot Sauce
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Lemongrass
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Coyote
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Back

Available colors

  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Black/Hydro
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Pewter
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Bengal
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Glacier
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Hot Sauce
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Typhoon/Hot Sauce
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Lemongrass
  • Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's Coyote

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's

$158.95

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    4.5 5 39

    39 Reviews

    Details

    Ultralight storm protection.

    When a flash storm rolls up and the outside temperature drops 10 degrees in 10 minutes, don't call in a chopper; reach in your pack and grab ultralight Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket. Built with weather-resistant Pertex Shield fabric, the Helium II weighs in under seven ounces and packs down to practically nothing.
    • Ultralight Pertex Shield fabric features a waterproof breathable PU membrane and DWR coating for severe weather protection
    • Fully taped seams and water-resistant zips mean water won’t roll down the shell and sneak in through the fabric joints
    • Single-pull hood drawcord so you can adjust coverage without dropping your ice-axe
    • Zippered Napoleon pocket keeps valuable items protected and handy
    • Elastic cuffs keep the ugliness out without added bulk or hassle
    • Stuff pocket with 'biner loop helps keep things simple
    • Item #ODR0881

    Tech Specs

    Material
    [membrane/laminate] Pertex Shield (polyurethane), [shell] nylon ripstop (30D)
    Fabric Waterproof Rating
    not specified
    Fabric Breathability Rating
    not specified
    Hood
    yes, fixed
    Fit
    regular
    Center Back Length
    31 in
    Length
    hip
    Pockets
    (external) 1 napoleon, (internal) 1 stow
    Seams
    fully taped
    Claimed Weight
    6.4 oz
    Recommended Use
    mid-route downpours
    Manufacturer Warranty
    lifetime

    Tech Specs

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    2 5

    Waterproofing is short lived

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Height: 6' 1"
      Weight: 190 lbs
      Size Purchased: XL

    This jacket is a DWR coating away from becoming a wetout mess. I've had it for about 2 and a half years and the original waterproof spray lasted for a full summer (of only light rain). The next year it wetout the first time i used it. I reapplied DWR and that lasted one good soak. I wouldn't recommend this jacket to anyone who's using it for a serious activity. Where your backpack straps touch it you'll also get soaked regardless of the state of the DWR coating.

    Andrew, maybe the description of this jacket needs to be more clear. This jacket really is an emergency shell for light to moderate rain, not your main go-to rain jacket, especially for Backpacking, too.
    It is a great jacket, but more for emergency situations.

    Thank you so much for your feedback,

    Leta
    OR Rep

    4 5

    Nice Little Shell

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
    • Fit: True to size
    • Height: 5' 10"
      Weight: 180 lbs
      Size Purchased: Medium

    The fit was great on my medium. Not a lot of bells and whistles but its good at what it does. Water rolls right off. The zipper quality was great and performed easily.

    Hey Andy, thanks for the review. We have a model just above this with hand pockets, pit zips, etc, called the Helium HD for about $40 more. Take your pick!

    Leta
    OR Rep

    Ripp'n lips in the Helium II

    Ripp'n lips in the Helium II

    I've used my Outdoor Research Helium II on a multitude of outdoor adventures. Anywhere from fly fishing at the local dam to backpacking in the Beaverhead/Deerlodge National Forest. I always bring my Helium II with me because it packs down so small. I whip it out if I need an extra layer or if the wind pics up. I was initially concerned that I might tear the jacket moving through brush while exploring, but the jacket seems plenty durable and OR's infinity return policy is outstanding. I'm 5'6 154lbs and I purchased the size medium so I could put it over other layers ( T-shirt, Long sleeve, 800 fill packable down jacket by FlyLow), The size small was really tight around my chest. I read that the jacket was designed for warm summer explorations and thus is sized small so it fits nicely on top of a t-shirt. I wanted something I could wear 3-4 seasons. The day this picture was taken it rained all day long and the H-II did a fantastic job of keeping me warm. The material is not very breathable which helped keep the heat in and kept me cozy.

    Michael, great review and even better picture! The Helium II is my go to rain shell. You are right about the breathability not being great, but it does have some. Other more expensive membranes like GoreTex do have better breathability ratings, but not at this price point. A trade off, but the Pertex membrane works well enough for me.

    Thank you again for writing!!

    Leta
    OR Rep

    Leta, your suggestion that GoreTex has better breathability than this jacket just raised a huge flag for me!??

    My experiences with breathable waterproof/water resistance materials has in order from least breathable to most breathable:

    GoreTex 3 layer (pro)
    Dry.Q Elite
    GoreTex 2.5 layer (about tied with Dry.Q Elite)
    Dry.Q
    Plethora of other laminated and spray-on DWR products that over time fail, but do breath better for their much shorter usable life.

    I have bought many of the $100-$150 summer rain coats (TNF, Marmot, CloudVail, etc. . . ) and they all breathed okay but did not perform very well in weather protection and had relatively short lived lives.

    Not sure if I have specifically bought a jacket with the Pertex membrane - less breathable than GoreTex with less water proofness - am I reading that right? I am not sure I understand what the selling point of that is?

    To me:
    Cold and very cold: Goretex 3 layer or Dry.Q Elite
    Cool to moderately cold: GoreTex 2.5 layer or Dry.Q
    Hot to warm high activity: Others, but not the above due to over heating too easily - must have pit zips!

    5 5

    Always have your rain coat with you

    • Gender: Male
    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Height: 5' 10"
      Weight: 163 lbs
      Size Purchased: Medium

    I think everyone has had that argument with themselves. What does 20% chance of rain mean? We'll probably be off the wall by the time the storm gets in, who wants to carry a rain coat anyway? Also, you know bringing a coat is going to mean it doesn't rain no matter what the forecast says. With the Helium II, you never have to make that choice again. It weighs nothing, and packs up tiny. Throw it in your pack, clip it to your harness and forget about it. If you do get caught in a downpour it's easy to pull out and the full zip makes it quick to put on. I have walked through torrential downpours and it sheds water like a champ.

    This is not the rain coat you most want if you're doing a 15 mile rain forest hike. It's not the wrong one, but it has a couple drawbacks. The lack of pockets means cold water will be running down your hands, and the hood is a little big and awkward since it's designed to fit over a climbing helmet. But I have worn this for hikes and it performs well enough, but I like to have a heavier shell when I know I'm gonna get dumped on.

    This thing really excells for those 20-30% chance of rain though. You don't regret bringing it with you if it doesn't rain and you'll be damn happy if you did. It also excels in the alpine. Coupled with a fleece hoody or light down jacket turns it into an excellent layer for cold weather or windy climbs. The material is surprisingly durable for how light it is, but take care to avoid abrading it against the rocks. It's not super breathable, but on the other hand it does work great as a wind break. Overall, couldn't be happier with it.

    The sizing is a bit on the slim side, but for me it is perfect over a fleece like the R1. I can fit it over a full down jacket, but I feel a bit like the Michelin man. Also, the first one I bought, the hood pull cord wasn't fastened properly and snapped, but since then, the replacement jacket (thanks backcountry) has been put through it's paces and is still going strong, so must have been a one off.

    Ethan - thank you for the great review. You are right on with this piece! Thank you for taking the time to write!

    Leta
    OR Rep

    4 5

    Worked Well!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Height: 5' 11"
      Weight: 175 lbs
      Size Purchased: Large

    I purchased these for a rafting trip. Needed something that could pack down easily and also lightweight. These definitely did the trick and kept me dry. I paired these up with the helium pant which turned out to work really well.

    Hey Wonka, thank you for taking the time to share your experiences about this shell. It is my go-to! I am glad you paired them with the pant too... did you know the pant and jacket are sub 12oz together?? Phenomenal!

    Thanks again,

    Leta
    OR Rep

    5 5

    Outstanding ultralight shell

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Height: 6' 3"
      Weight: 210 lbs
      Size Purchased: XXL


    I bought this as an ultralight "just in case" rain shell for summer climbing trips in the high mountains. My first outing carrying this coat was an alpine rock adventure in the high Sierra where we got hit by a classic Sierra summer storm complete with rain, sleet, hail and thunder on the hike in. This puppy repelled everything, no problem (although the hail did sting a bit through the lightweight material). It did wet out slightly at the shoulders near my pack straps, but nothing got through. I am one of those hot and sweaty hikers so my biggest problem with most shells is usually the breathability; the Helium did surprisingly well. I did get a little clammy after about an hour but not enough to make me cold while wearing only a T-shirt under the shell.

    Along with being super-light and performing beyond expectations, I love that this thing stuffs into its own pocket and packs down smaller than a water bottle! Be aware when ordering that it does run small. I typically wear XL but I decided to order a XXL based on other reviews - glad I did! I would recommend going a size up, especially if you plan to layer underneath. All in all an outstanding piece of gear, great work OR!

    Great review, Jason! Thanks for sharing about this phenomenal shell.

    Leta
    OR Rep

    5 5

    Ultimate Lightweight Protection

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size

    This jacket is everything I hoped it would be. Super lightweight, compact, good fit, and surprisingly durable too. I've worn this thing through multiple rainstorms here in the southeast, which have last all day for multiple days at a time and it's never let me down. The only way I got somewhat wet on the inside was from my own sweat. It also dries pretty darn fast too which is a plus. I also wear it as a wind shirt in cold conditions and it breaths exceptionally well. I would not wear this as a stand alone piece though as it's very thin and adds zero insulation. Overall a great jacket!

    2 5

    Lightweight Letdown

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Purchased: Large

    I took this jacket hiking with me a few times, I'm glad it never rained on me or I would have been in trouble. I took this on a short hike while in Norway. It began to rain so I put it in. I felt that for about 15 minutes in a LIGHT rain, it did decent. After about 30 minutes and a medium rain, the jacket had become fully saturated and after about 45 minutes, soaked me through to my base-layer. Cold temps rolled in and, while disappointed, I became concerned for my safety.

    I sprinted to the bottom of the mountain with arms numb, and a completely soaked torso. I had my hood up, and fully zipped the whole whole time. There was also a soapy film that was produced on the jacket after a while, is it actually waterproof or is there just a waterproof spray on the jacket? I have never washed it, and has only seen a few rains.

    Let down by Outdoor Research who usually makes good gear.

    Two stars since it dried quite fast once it was off. In the photo below I unzipped the jacket to show how much it soaked through, you can see the soapy residue by the lower left breast.

    Would NOT recommend unless using to protect from a water bottle spill.

    Lightweight Letdown

    Did you return it for a new one? If so any news on how the new one has held up?

    Max, I've had my Helium II for about 2 1/2 years and have experienced the exact same thing. Once the DWR wears off this jacket it wets out and transfers water to the underlayer very quickly. I've had a lot of great OR products, but this one is a dud for me too. I keep re-applying DWR but it only holds up through one good rain and then washes out/off just as the original coating did. This is a borderline dangerous piece of gear if you were to rely on it.

    5 5

    Fantastic light weight rain gear option!

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
    • Fit: True to size
    • Height: 5' 11"
      Weight: 185 lbs
      Size Purchased: xl

    First things first, the best price i could find on the net and fastest service, as usual from the Goat! I purchased this jacket to throw in my day pack and forget about until needed. The jacket packs ridiculously small and is insanely light. I ordered an extra large, so i could fit layers underneath. Have had no problems with zippers and drawstrings. I thought the lack of pockets would be a problem, but am starting to think chest pocket only is the way to go. Plus the reason it is so light is in part due to no pockets. I primarily run around the Rockies and lower foothills here in Colorado and was looking for protection from the sudden rains that usually accompany every summer afternoon. The few times i have tried it around town, it has shed the rain leaving me dry. This includes a moderately heavy rain. I think some confuse this with a hardcore rain shell, which it is not. If you plan to walk in heavy rains days on end you may end up disappointed. More likely than not in these situations the jacket will get over-saturated. What you do get is one of the lightest, most compact rain shells that will repel all, but the heaviest rains. Also, with time the waterproof will wear. With that said it will probably land in my summer gear for my AT thru-hike next year. Until, then it will ride in my day pack.

    Fantastic light weight rain gear option!

    Hey Hooligan - I thru-hiked southbound (Maine to Georgia ) in 2000 and after reading about the Outdoor Research Helium 2 you may want to reconsider getting a more substantial piece of rain gear. The AT is known for rain. When I hiked the trail in 2000 I encountered rain virtually every day through New Hampshire and Vermont in July and early August. I would estimate in a 30 day period it rained 22 of those days and at least 10 of those days was driving all day rain. You may be fine with this awesome ultralight piece of gear or you may not (it all depends on the weather). The year I hike southbound it was the wettest July in New England in 30 years! I'm all for u ltralight as my base pack weight was less than 10 lbs but I do wish I had better rain gear for that month. Ultimately, 75-80% of whether you'll be succesful is psychological though being well equipped certainly makes it easier to be content on the trail. Just my 2 cents. Hope it helps, and enjoy the hike!
    I'm considering this piece for the PCT. There is much less rain out west.

    5 5

    Great Lightweight Raingear

    If you are looking for minimalist functional gear this is your jacket. I've used it for backpacking primarily, though I've yet to test it in a downpour. Packs amazingly small. I bought a large and was able to fit a cragsmoor compress lite primaloft jacket underneath comfortably. I am 5'8" and 165 with an athletic build.

    I just got this and when tightening the hood strap, the left hood-pull cord snapped off. I did not pull very hard when it snapped, and afterwards I yanked pretty good on the right side and it stayed firmly in place. It's the kind of thing that would be annoying in the field.

    Didn't want to write a review since it might be a one in a million thing, but at least one snuck buy with shoddy QC. I guess my question is, has anyone else had this problem? Can't decide if I should return it or replace it.

    Edit: I guess I'm replacing it, but be aware.

    Edit 2: Got my new one, haven't had any problem and the jacket is awesome.

    Best Answer

    Hey there Ethan,
    I've taken mine out many a time in the rain and done a lengthy test and that never happened to me. I also tend to tighten the hood all the time, so if it were to happen often I guess it should have happened to me also. I did not encounter that problem in the field though.

    4 5

    Good Coat

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Height: 6' 2"
      Weight: 180 lbs
      Size Purchased: Large

    This is a great rain jacket. It works great for quick random downpours! It packs up so small which is awesome! Not to mention it weighs next to nothing! I love being able to pack the coat and have it take up virtually no room in my pack, or clip it to my harness if it looks like it might rain! Cant beat this jacket for a quick way to stay dry!

    Just out of curiousity, why the 4 out of 5 stars? What's the hesitation on the fifth?

    Eric,
    1) It does not have any side pockets, which can get rather annoying. But it's designed this way to save weight.
    2)It does start to soak through after you are in the rain for more than about 2 hours.

    I love the jacket, its a great coat to throw in a day pack or clip to your harness. It's super lightweight so it's great for backpacking. But if you are planning on going somewhere where it's going to be raining constantly, i would suggest something a little tougher. Such as the Marmot Essence or Patagonia Torrentshell! Hope this helped!

    5 5

    Usefull, Minimal, very functional

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: Runs large

    No frills, but works great. Sheds water like off a ducks back, light but provides great protection from the rain

    4 5

    Rain isn't fun

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size

    It's not bombproof, but it has its place.

    For me, that place was in the bottom of my pack for 90% of a 2600 mile PCT hike. Buuut at 6.4 ounces, this was perfectly fine with me.

    Most ultra-light jackets just aren't built to stand up to rain forever. However, this is a great product for staying fast and light in situations where it probably won't rain, but when it does you have something that works!

    I take off a star because it does wet out, and memories of hiking for hours in the rain are never fond ones. Buuut, I know that part of this had to do with my dirty oily cloths and backpack that I'd been carrying for over a 1000 miles. This type of stuff is bound to cause wet-out conditions. That being said, I have endured some truly wet crap in this jacket, and I have lived to tell the tale. Before it got all oiled up, the only place where it got even slightly wet was around my hipbelt where my pack squeezed the zipper too tightly I guess. Oh and the rain was sideways with lots of wind, so that probably didn't help.

    I definitely trust it to walk around in with my down jacket on, as long as I wasn't wearing my pack or sweating. It would be totally great in more casual situations like camp, or town.

    As far as breath-ability, I don't really believe that a rain jacket can breathe to adequate levels when you are really exerting yourself hard. That being said, it was better than a trash bag would be. Most of the moisture inside this jacket came not from the rain, but from my own sweat.

    Rain can be a real bummer, but this jacket will get you through it for minimal costs of weight in your pack and you can count on it to keep you adequately dry. Just maybe not 100%

    Size runs ok. I am in between a small and medium in most things, and this is DEFINITELY a medium for me. Especially if I want to layer anything underneath.

    4 5

    Ultralight tactics

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: Runs large

    Jacket is ultralight without a doubt and packs into its own pocket which is nice, can be clipped to your pack or harness. Great for taking a spare layer when you might encounter showers. I wouldn't use it as a layer when you know it's gonna be a wet one and you need to stay dry, but it's a nice backup, just-in-case piece when you're not likely to need it. Fabric is obviously thin so unlikely to take a severe beating, treat it appropriately. I love it for that specific purpose. Water will seep through in a prolonged downpour. I went with a small, 5'8, 160. depends on layering; I can still fit light layer under in addition to baselayer easily.

    4 5

    Great jacket in the right application

    • Gender: Male
    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size

    This is a great lightweight rain jacket that offers good performance for its weight. Just be aware that it might not perform in a sustained deluge.

    Performance: I live in a dry western state where we aren't generally subject to heavy sustained rains. In this situation, what is required is a light jacket capable of protecting you from light rain or an occasional heavy downpour of limited duration. The Helium II fits this description almost perfectly. I've worn it in light rain, short duration cloudbursts, and surprise summer snowstorms and have stayed dry with no problems. Where I did encounter a problem was during a multi-day trek in the Alps where we had rain all day. In that application the jacket wetted out. Fortunately the two days this happened were followed by nights in a hut where I could dry the jacket out.

    Fit: The size large fits my 6'2" 175 lb frame just about right with enough room to layer a t-shirt and light fleece underneath. The size large weights 6.3 oz on my scale.

    Application: This jacket offers a lot of performance for its weight and is great in light rainfall, short cloudbursts, and even light snowstorms. It'll be in my pack whenever I feel I might encounter these conditions, but I'll pack something more substantial the next time I trek to an area with the potential for substantial or sustained rainfall.

    5 5

    Amazing!

    • Fit: True to size

    I'm not usually one to post many reviews. In fact something has to blow my socks off or be a piece of junk to do so. This jacket boys and girls is OH-SO worthy of my highest recommendation. It is absolutely stellar. I hate getting wet and so after running one to many races soaking and freezing because I didn't have anything I was finally proactive and bought this jacket after a lot of research. Low and behold it turned out that I was stuck at my office after having rode my bike to work and it was pouring outside. I remembered I hadn't even taken it out of the delivery package yet and decided to give it a shot rather than drive home. OMG!!! I was blown away. Lightweight like I had nothing one. Hood that even fit under my helmet. Drawstrings in just the right places. Best of all though is I rode home it a torrential downpour and stayed bone dry!!! You've gotta have this jacket if your a runner come crappy race day! Ten thumbs up!

    4 5

    GOAT IS GOOD

    With the new crop of uberlight materials out there, I?ve been updating/replacing or otherwise spoiling myself with ultralight gear lately. I?ve been eyeing the helium for about a year and finally bit the bullet. Have NOT had the good (mis)fortune to put its waterproofness to the test, but I will say its wicked light, scrunches down to nothing in your pack and works great as a wind breaker and shell to take help take the chill out of the air. I?ve got other gore tex, GT Pro, GT Pac lite, hyvent etc., and I suspect this is on par from a durability standpoint with the single layer, super light offerings of the others?meaning scrambling around rocks, trees etc., are going to slice, puncture or otherwise abrade this shell. If you want one jacket to do it all, this is not it. If you want a super light jacket for when the skies open up or for an insulating/windproofing outer shell, this is the ticket. My estimate is somewhere between relaxed and athletic fit. I sized up so get some room for down jacket underneath and to have some extra length in sleeves/torso when biking.