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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

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Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's

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Here's what others have to say...

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.

Best Answer Responded on

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!

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


  • 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


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.

4 5

More than just emergency storm protectio

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: True to size

pros - ultra compressible and light weight
cons - no pit zips, sleeves are too long

First off, I'm 6'1", 195 lbs, I ordered the XL so that I could layer it over insulation layers. The sizing is perfect for this purpose, except the sleeves are too long. This is annoying, and I overcome it by rolling the sleeve cuff up a few times, but that isn't an ideal solution and definitely wouldn't work well in the rain. If I was purchasing this jacket and wasn't planning on layering it over a down puffy, I would get the L.

My primary intended use was emergency storm pro for backpacking/climbing. The stuff-it-in-it's-own-pocket and clip it to your harness/pack feature was something I valued a great deal and it hasn't disappointed. It compresses nicely and clip loop makes it convenient. But I haven't actually climbed with it clipped to my harness yet and honestly it would be a rare circumstance that I would do so, because it's a little big. It would be like having an extra, full chalk bag clipped on. More likely I'd have it on a multi pitch climb where I had a small climbing pack and I would stuff it inside. But I have clipped it to a small pack where space was limited and that was convenient.

More importantly, I am amazed at how versatile this thing is. You can stuff it anywhere for emergency storm protection. On a recent work trip to boulder, I stuffed it in my laptop case and had it for chilly air conditioned rooms, and then I was ready to hit the trail after work with no worries about afternoon t-storms. Then I threw it in my carry on for a flight to NYC and it doens't take up any space but provides the emergency storm pro that it's designed for, plus a little warmth/comfort on the plane.

Can't comment on durability yet. Originally I would have only recommended this as a really specialized item, for ultralight backpacking and climbing. After owning it for a couple months, it also makes a great travel shell.

Gave it four stars for no pit zips and long sleeves.

Wind shell duty

Wind shell duty

Too warm for a puffy but windy enough to get a chill: Solution, the Helium!!

waterproof and breath-ability are not rated...

waterproof and breath-ability are not rated for Helium II. Why? Is this jacket not waterproof and non breathable??

Best Answer Responded on

Hey BG,

Outdoor Research just hasn't provided any specific numbers for the waterproof or breathability of this jacket, only that it is waterproof and breathable. The Pertex Shield+ material has specs listed however at waterproof: 20,000mm and breathability: 20,000g.

4 5

Great insurance policy for weird weather

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

Best thing about this jacket: It really breathes. I use it for my bike commute to work and it's a great top layer for when it's windy or drizzly. I live in So Cal and I don't know about this thing you call "rain", but I dig this jacket. It packs small and lives in the bottom of my pack until I need it.
As has been noted, it runs a bit small in comparison to OR's other stuff.

4 5


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

I love everything about this item but the sizing.
The only reason it didn't get 5 stars is that their sizing is small.
I take XL and anything thus far has fit perfectly. I can't remember a time that that it was too small (if anything it was bigger)
I bought the XL and it is shall we say?.snug.
My suggestion if you want to take it, is to buy 1 size larger than you normally take so you have a bit of room to move. I kinda felt like a big burrito.
Other than that it what it says it is, a very light breathable rain jacket.

Responded on

A friend of mine did some sport clothing manufacturing in the past and he mentioned it once that it's not easy to estimate XL and XXL especially for North America as our L and XL are different than ones in Europe or Asia. And generally it is expected for people who wear these jackets to be somewhat fit so all the XLs may be a bit smaller than for typical day to day wear.

Responded on

Except that Outdoor Research is an American company, based out of Seattle. But I agree about fitness level and jacket sizing, these type of garments usually consider the user to be on the trimmer side.

Responded on

While all of this is true, in relation to OR's other XL products, this one is a little slimmer, especially when you figure this is going to be a top layer.

How's the fit on this for a tall skinny...

How's the fit on this for a tall skinny dude (6'3" 160lbs)? And if it's gonna be short/bulky what would be a good alternative for a slimmer fit?

Responded on

I'm 6'2' 250lbs. and the length seems good for me but it is a smaller XL.
Being skinnier (by quite a bit) I would check the length of a large and if it's the same as the XL I would recommend that size for you. A large should not be too large or small for your stature.
I'm longer in the body also and it comes down to belt level on me.

5 5

Love it !

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: True to size

I live in Saudi Arabia and will leave Saudi Arabia soon to UK ( PLYMOUTH) they have a raining city there so i do like very mush .
Also you can put in you backbag if it's not raining :)

Love it !

Would you choose this jacket for a 3 month...

Would you choose this jacket for a 3 month trip across SE Asia? Plan is to do a bit of trekking and probably some extensive motorcycle touring (packability and being waterproof are the priorities for me). If not what else would you recommend?

Responded on

I personally have limited experience with Pertex Shield, but if I was going to be trekking and motorcycling across SE asia for 3 months I would not choose this jacket. I would look instead for a more traditional material with an inner membrane. Something like the patagonia torrentshell, or the MH plasmic jacket would probably both work fine if you don't want to lay down a ton of money. If you want something higher quality then that look for jackets made with 3L Gore-tex or eVent materials, as they are often very durable, waterproof, and can serve many functions as a shell other then just being a rain jacket. They do cost upwards of $300 usually though, so it is an investment.

Best Answer Responded on

I hear they get massive rain over there, so I would rule this jacket out. This a great jacket! but its a "carry it just in case". Its SUPER THIN and will seep after prolonged exposure.
For packability look for a Goretex Active fabric jacket. They're all barebones no frills but waterproof.
I like this jacket for hiking and backpacking for a wind\rain shell but if I know its going to rain I pass it up for my OR Axiom.
Hope that helps, Take pictures!

Is this coat suitable for trail running...

Is this coat suitable for trail running in heavy rain? Is it breathable? Is it comparable to gore tex products?

Responded on

Hey Scott,
I don't have personal experience using this jacket, but from reading djcp464450's review below, it sounds very breathable and great for the heavy rain.

Best Answer Responded on

This jacket is meant for a "carry it til you need it" type. Its very light but will tend to seep after long exposure to heavy ran.
I like this jacket for what it is but for heavy rains and frequent use it will wear out quickly. I went from this to the Marmot Super Mica, has pit zips and more durable fabric over shoulders for running with a hydration pack. The OR Axiom is an amazing all round ultra light shell, its my new goto. Hope that helps

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