First of all, OR products have been favorites of mine for years.
I was impressed with the build quality and weight when the jacket arrived. The fit was decent, a little long in the torso, but overall, not bad. Nice pitzips, welded zippers and hood adjustments. Every feature you could want in a jacket. The reason for buying this was to use on bikepacking / backpacking / canoeing trips. Wanted a lightweight rain jacket that could perform in active scenarios. Recent reviews of this jacket and others using the Pertex Shield+ have been positive so I was excited about the Helium HD.
Last weekend a friend and I embarked on a bikepacking trip over 3 days. Knowing the forecast of storms for the last day of our trip I was excited to put this jacket to the test while riding 60 miles through the rain. I don't know how else to say this. but the jacket failed miserably. I could have worn a garbage bag and had similar performance. Still trying to figure it out, but this jacket is either 0% breathable or 0% waterproof. I'm assuming the breathability is the issue. I was completely soaked from neck to waist. The rain wasn't a torrential downpour, but steady for the first couple of hours. I actually had to stop to change my base layers and jacket to keep from succumbing to hypothermia. It's was 36 degrees and the second I stopped the chill set in. To market this as a breathable rain shell is just irresponsible. I put on my convertible Sugoi windbreaker and I was better off in that the rest of the ride home. For this particular use, this jacket was such a disappointment and will be shipping back to backcountry.com immediately. Such a letdown and the search for a waterproof AND breathable jacket continues.
If you're doing any of the following activities in the rain, this is not the jacket for you:
Pretty much anything active.
This may be the jacket for some people and activities like:
Sitting in the rain
Standing in the rain
Cooking in the rain
Hanging from a repel line in the rain
Yoga in the rain
Meditation in the rain
Knitting in the rain
Driving a convertible in the rain
If you're doing any of the above activities, you should just save your money and buy an entry level rain jacket for half the price, they perform the same way as the Helium HD.
Sorry OR, everything else I have from you has been awesome, but this is irresponsibly marketed as Waterproof and Breathable. This is simply not true.