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  • Outdoor Research - Helium HD Jacket - Men's - Black/Hydro
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  • Outdoor Research - Helium HD Jacket - Men's - Black/Hydro
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Outdoor Research Helium HD Jacket - Men's


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    19 Reviews


    Shelter from the storm.

    The Outdoor Research Men's Helium HD Jacket provides sanctuary from driving rain when you're hiking, backpacking, and alpine climbing. This ultra-light shell weighs a mere 9.1 ounces while providing waterproof and breathable protection from the elements with its Pertex Shield + fabric and fully taped seams.

    Extremely packable, this shell is highly compressible for stashing into a backpack or carry-on bag. Underarm vents dump heat when you're climbing full-bore up a technical trail. The adjustable hood has a Halo wire brim that allows excellent peripheral vision. Zippered hand pockets and a Napoleon pocket secure daily accessories and snacks while you're trekking and climbing.

    • Waterproof (20k) and breathable (20k) Pertex Shield+
    • Nylon ripstop (30D) face fabric
    • Fully taped seams
    • Underarm zip vents
    • Adjustable, wire-brimmed Halo hood
    • Zippered hand pockets, Napoleon pocket
    • Drawcord hem closure
    • Item #ODR000D

    Tech Specs

    [membrane/laminate ] Pertex Shield + (2.5-layer), [shell] nylon ripstop (30D)
    Fabric Waterproof Rating
    20,000 mm
    Fabric Breathability Rating
    20,000 g/m²
    yes, adjustable wire-brimmed hood
    2 zippered hand, 1 zippered Napoleon
    underarm vents
    fully taped
    Claimed Weight
    9.1 oz
    Recommended Use
    hiking, backpacking, alpine climbing
    Manufacturer Warranty

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    I like this jacket

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

    Before I got this jacket, I had the OR helium II jacket, which is a similar jacket but just a bit lighter. I got this jacket for the use as my rain jacket while backpacking. It's perfect for this purpose because of how packable and how light it is. I like this jacket because it doesn't add any weight to my pack but gives me protection from the heaviest of storms.

    The reason I decide to get this jacket, when I already had the helium II, was for the under arm zips which really helped me dump heat. To me it was worth the extra 3oz.

    I am 5'10", 165lbs and got a large and it fits perfectly.

    Good initial impressions!

    • Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
    • Fit: True to size

    I gave this jacket as a gift to my brother, and so far he's stoked on it! He's 6' and 170lbs.

    "Great jacket! Very light and keeps out the wind and rain well. It's perfect for backpacking and everyday hiking, I'm a little worried about bending the semi-rigid hood though.

    The fit is good, it may be a little too broad on the shoulders. This allows me to layer under it as I like though so that's nice!"

    If you have any specific questions about this jacket, or want to know which jacket would be best for your purposes, I'd love to help! Just shoot me an email at or a call at 801-523-4067.

    Best minimal jacket

      Love the OR jackets. This one is so incredibly light, and is still fully waterproof. I find it great for hikes here in utah, where it is mostly dry but can still surprise with impromptu rain showers. With how light and packable it is, you won't even notice in your pack. I'm 5'9" and about 150lbs with longer arms and the medium fits perfect.

      not as good as i was expecting..

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: medium

      First of all this, is a good rain shell and does keep the rain out well, fits well, and looks good to. The wire brim is really nice if wearing over a helmet or a hat.

      The reason i only gave it three stars as it does not breath nearly as good as i was expecting. Majority of the things i do are high output activities so i put out off a lot of heat. Even with the pit zips open i felt like i was getting so hot even though i was hiking in sleet storm Thus causing me to get sweaty even with the pit zips open.

      Overall this is a good jacket, but if you do high output activities you may want to look elsewhere for a more breathable rain shell.

      not as good as i was expecting..

      Hey Nick, Yes, a great rain shell, but not designed for high exertion as much as other laminates. This Pertex Sheild + laminate allows us for a WP / B shell in a lightweight package at a great price point with nice feature set - pit zips, pockets, wire brim... Sound like what you might need for your activities would be the Realm Jacket or the Axiom Jacket, both from OR. And they are 50%-100% more expensive! Anyway, check out those other pieces... I am sorry that the Helium HD did not do what you needed it to do!

      OR Rep

      Wanted to give this an update. My friend Jimmy (also works at backcountry and photo credit goes to him) went on a run up Lone Peak a little while ago and the wind made things pretty cold. The Helium kept the wind at bay and made the summit much more enjoyable. As Leta said below if you want something more breathable check out the Realm Jacket or the Axiom Jacket. I went ahead and updated my review to 4 stars given that it was more of my mistake for not buying a more breathable jacket as the helium HD does keep out the moisture very well.

      Iceland Elements Lifesaver

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

      This jacket works well to keep you warm and dry in icy rain and gusty wind conditions. I used it for two weeks in Iceland as my go-to, lightweight rain/wind/snow-resistant layer over the top of an insulated down jacket. Very durable, lightweight, compact, and quick drying! I typically wear a men's Small, but ordered a Medium as I intended to wear it as a top layer over bulkier insulation. I found it to be true to size and SEXY as hell.

      Waterproof AND Breathable? Nope.

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

      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 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:

      Obstacle Coursing
      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.

      Perfect for me.

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: XL

      OR's Helium HD finally topped my list after I searched for over a year for the right lightweight rain jacket to use year around, and particularly for those late summer thunderstorms when you're hiking in 100F one minute and looking for shelter the next. It is exceptionally lightweight, breathable, pack-able, and comfortable. It packs so small and light that I'll often clip it to my shorts and forget it is there. It disappears into a pack's side bottle pocket.

      The fit is spot on for me. I'm 6'3" and currently (unfortunately) 230lbs, 36" waist, athletic with a little extra. The XL fits how I prefer- feeling tailored but not fitted, falling just below the hips with sleeves coming mid-finger in a way that keeps other layers nice and dry. I like how the hood has one back cinch that actually draws it around my narrow head and whose cord rests above my ears. It's easily adjustable to fit snugly over a cap or climbing helmet, which I had no problem fitting into the hood. Side cords pull the hood close to the face and seal the deal. The wire brim crams down well and always returns to form when unpacked. Pit zips help to keep the heat and moisture out as well as they can. I like having the two zippers per vent to allow fully open or managed venting as necessary.

      In the rain, water beads and is easily shaken off. During casual use, nary a drop has been let in when the hatches are battened. I have to remember that this is not a shell and I shouldn't expect it to be impenetrable. Climbing and on belay for four hours during steady mist and light rain, water stayed out and my shirt never got wet. On the hike down, I had a pack and rope tied around my shoulders. At some point, the hood (over a hat), shoulders, and spots on the chest accumulated water on the inside. I don't know if it was from the fabric wetting out or from my own sweat being unable to evaporate in the humid and soaking conditions. Either way, it performed much better than any other lightweight rain jacket ever has. I tend to run hot and sweat easily, making most jackets pointless after a few minutes of active use. Even though I could feel quite a bit of moisture with my hands, my shirt and hat never wetted out oddly enough. When taken off under cover, the jacket dried quickly. I'm comfortable knowing this jacket will keep me dry long enough to get a few more miles in and set up shelter before I'm in trouble.

      I haven't tested the durability. The fabric is definitely thin, but it doesn't cause the anxiety of thin fabrics I've experienced on down products. It's handled brushes with brush, but I try not to scrape it on anything sharp. A little fabric side note is that it's loud, but not deafening and crinkly like some other jackets.

      Overall, the Helium HD checked every box I needed and I would recommend to others. The black and blue look sharp and I don't mind wearing it wherever I go.

      Perfect for me.

      Great Lightweight Jacket

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: Large

      I grabbed this jacket as a lightweight shell for ski touring. I was worried that I would be sacrificing too much by giving up waterproofness for breathability with softshells or wind shells so I settled on this minimal waterproof shell. It is a fully featured jacket for less than 10 oz which is about as light as they come. This jacket has great venting between the pit zips and the mesh hand pockets so that it never turned too muggy inside. I got the jacket at the start of the season and have worn it skiing in the Sierras and the Tetons. It kept out the weather in very wet, windy conditions, and did a good job for blocking the wind on ridges and summits. It also packs down incredibly small in its chest pocket so I have no worries about tossing it into my pack. Though the jacket has worked well so far I do have some minor issues:
      -The waist is too tight compared with the rest of the torso (I only noticed this around town and not too much while skinning/skiing)
      -The hood is supposedly helmet compatible but it was a very tight fit and definitely restricted my motion. I left the hood off whenever I was wearing a helmet as a result but it would work in an emergency.
      -Durability: The jacket held up surprisingly well while skiing and dealt with branches, trees, and rocks. I am more worried about the effects of packing the jacket into the chest pocket repeatedly.. It seems like it definitely stresses some of those seams and I could see it ripping eventually. I guess we will see.

      Overall I would definitely recommend this jacket if you want something lightweight and with plenty of features as long as you are willing to deal with some helmet hood comfort issues.

      Packable Protection

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: Medium

      The Helium jacket has changed the way I pack because it pretty much always comes with me. I use it for sun, wind, and water protection; it does all of them pretty well. When the jacket is smaller and weighs less than 3 Clif Bars, it's easy to toss in your pack (or pocket) and rely on it.

      Personally, I use this jacket when I expect wind, sun, or light water at temperatures above 40 and below 70. That's not to say it won't perform at different temperatures, but I've found it a little too clammy for warmer temps or high aerobic activities.

      When climbing, this guy easily clips on to my harness and is *perfect* for multi-pitch belays. When hiking up to a peak, again, the perfect piece for protection during a summit lunch. I also toss this in my mountain bike pack in case of drizzles and light rain.

      Fit is great on this piece. At 6ft and 170 lbs the Medium fits well over light layers or just a t-shirt. For such a "minimalist" jacket, the hood is very well designed. It's easy to adjust and pretty good visibility.

      Only thing to be aware of is that this isn't meant as a "daily-use" shell. So it isn't the most durable or feature rich shell around; but it can't be beat for lightweight and packable protection. The HD adds pitzips as well as hand pockets and a redesigned hood cinch.

      Contact me directly with questions about this shell or about topics such as

      -Lightweight climb, hike, or bike gear

      -Daily use rain gear

      -Similar lightweight apparel


      Packable Protection

      Hey Ben - Thanks for the great review, and also for pointing out durability. I think many forget that when you focus on lightweight, often the tradeoff is durability. I guess the thing is thatthe user needs to be careful with their gear and the Helium will do its job!

      Thanks again,

      OR Rep

      Outdoor Research does it again!

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: Large

      This is the perfect backpacking rain jacket for me. It has all of the features of a heavier jacket, but the weight of a tissue. While the Helium II may be a little lighter, the HD's extra weight is totally worth it. Having pockets, adjustable cuffs and hood, and especially pit zips are must-have's for me. I haven't used this jacket in rugged terrain so I cannot attest to it's durability, but I feel that it will take a beating. I have used it in heavy rain for a few hours and I was perfectly dry. It is definitely breathable, especially with the pit zips open. I have never had a jacket with a wire brim hood and was worried that it would affect the packability and it doesn't at all. I have long arms and the Large fit perfectly. I have room for some decent layers under it, even a light weight down jacket if it comes down to it. This is the perfect jacket for multi-day trips or even day hikes when you might need emergency rain protection. It's lightweight, packs small, keeps you dry and it is fully featured. What more could you want?

      No Complaints

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: Medium

      I haven't quite put this jacket through the wringer yet, but for the few times I have used it I believe it will perform excellently in the future. I have been in some downpours and remained dry. I cannot attest to its level of breathability yet. The fit is great and comfortable. Enough to be airy in the Summer and have plenty of layering space for Winter. I really love how the hood fits. It has two kinds of adjustments that allow you to really lock it to your head in crazy weather. The black color with blue accents looks really good and stylish, and its incredibly functional, practical and lightweight. All the stitch-work and seams look solid. Being able to stuff it into the chest pocket is a great feature, but too time consuming. I don't really ever need that feature anyways so it doesn't bother me. I got this jacket on a great sale and I have not regretted it. I am confident that it will prove to be a reliable piece of gear in the future!

      So light it floats.

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

      This jacket is hands down, amazing. I would recommend anyone looking for a lightweight, packable (and good looking) shell to give the Helium HD a try. I promise you won't be disappointed. Here are a few reasons why I think everyone should have this in their pack for when the wet stuff falls.

      Material: The first thing you notice with this shell is that, well, it doesn't FEEL like a shell. When I think shell, I think of a garment that is loud, crinkly, and a little bit "stiff". The Helium HD isn't any of those. Here is a description of what it is: movable, comfortable, durable. Waterproof, breathable, clutch. Keep in mind, this wouldn't be ideal for walking through briars or adventuring through a haunted forest on the regular, but for everything else, this is solid. Utilizing 30D ripstop fabric with Pertex Shield +(2.5 layer), it holds up to the intense rainstorms we experience here in the Wasatch, keeping you bone dry as well as allowing you to breathe once the rain lets off and the sun comes back out. Mine has a few scratches, due to my cat jumping up and attempting to try it on (even your animals want it). Other than that, it has held up to normal daily abuse, as well as multiple camping trips and hikes without issues such as tearing, leaking, or tape coming off of the seams.

      Fit: OR claims that the Helium HD is a "standard" fit, and I would agree with them. I am 6ft tall, 200lbs, and wear a size Large (in the Black/Hydro which is killer in the looks department). It fits well enough to be worn by itself and not look baggy or long, and when the temps drop and you need a little extra to keep warm (and no one is around to cuddle with), throw on that down jacket or sweater underneath, and it'll be prime time to continue that adventure.

      Features: This jacket, even though being weighed in ounces (9.1 in the size Large), has all the bells and whistles. How light is 9.1 ounces you ask? If it was any lighter you would need to keep it locked up to make sure it didn't float away. Need to wear some gloves? No problem. Your cuffs have Velcro that allows you to adjust the fit whether they are smaller like belay gloves, or more bulky like a pair of mittens when you're shredding at the resort on that bluebird pow day. The hem cinch is awesome, allowing you to find that perfect resting place on your hips without your jacket riding up with every arm movement. The pit zips are nicely sized, and allows for airing out on a warmer day, regardless of what adventure you're pursuing. Did I mention that the taped seams don't even THINK about letting water in? Think of them as your own personal security against precipitation. The hood isn't just adjustable and helmet compatible, it provides you with your own private awning to enjoy the view as the rain falls by use of a Halo wire brim. Tired of the days that the rain would fall into your face, even with your hood on? Tire no more my friend. Salvation is here. The zippered pockets (harness compatible, which is awesome if you're a climbing goon like myself) are HUGE , and the Napoleon pocket doubles as a stuff pocket for the whole jacket, packing down to the size of an orange. Yes, an orange, as in orange juice, orange creamsicle, and the size that this jacket is once stuffed in its own pocket.

      I think if you have read this far, you have realized that you don't just want this jacket, but that you NEED this jacket in your life. This jacket is a jack of all trades, and will only increase your love for the outdoors due to it allowing you to always be outside, regardless of the weather.

      Feel free to contact me with any questions or to place an order. I would be happy to provide you with a personalized experience here at Backcounty!

      Hope to see you out there!

      So light it floats.

      Fit works for me

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size

      I bought this and the Patagonia Torrentshell Stretch to see which fit better and for me, this was it... but I do like my jackets slim. I'm 5'10, 160 lbs and the medium is exactly what I wanted. It's slightly longer and slimmer than other rain jackets that I've had. I've been stuck in mellow rain storms but nothing to really test the waterproof rating. But it seems like it should keep pretty dry.

      So Far, So Good

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size

      I bought the black Large, I'm 6'2" 180 slender athletic build, 32" waist, 39" chest with a long torso. The jacket has a slim fit, but enough room for me to layer comfortably underneath with my Patagonia Nano puff, a microdown or fleece vest, and thin base layers. I like things to fit kinda tight and this is perfect for me. Not restricting, but not loose either. One complaint is that the arms run a bit long. I have long arms and these seemed just a tad too long. The velcro makes it fine though, so its definitely not a deal breaker. The material is a perfect medium between a typical rain jacket, and those see through uber lightweight rain shells. It's very light and packs nicely into its own pocket (about the size of an orange), but feels like it could stand up to branches and other trail abuse if need be. Some people have been asking about the hood being helmet compatible. I have not tested this, but there is a lot of room up there, and if your wearing a smallish helmet (mountaineering or smaller ski) you should not have a problem. Water and wind resistance has been perfect, completely dry and warm on hikes/fishing up in the rockies, even in downpours. It looks great, the blue OR on the lapel is a good accent. I probably would have gotten the blue if I want going to use it mostly while I fly fish. All in all, this is a FANTASTIC LITTLE JACKET, and whenever I am out anywhere from now on, this little ass kicker will be with me.



      Great look

      Great Fit


      Functions fantastic

      Warranty (OR rocks in this department)



      (Guessing) Odd fit for someone with a gut...just sayin...

      Has OR stopped making this jacket? I did a search on their website and it does not come up.

      Is this any more waterproof than the Helium II? Does anyone know if the arms are longer than the Helium II (Medium arms weren't long enough for me with the Helium II)?