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Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's


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    62 Reviews


    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

    [membrane/laminate] Pertex Shield (polyurethane), [shell] nylon ripstop (30D)
    fully taped
    Center Back Length
    31 in
    yes, fixed
    (external) 1 napoleon, (internal) 1 stow
    Claimed Weight
    6.4 oz
    Recommended Use
    mid-route downpours
    Manufacturer Warranty

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    Combined uses

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Medium
    • Height: 5'8"
    • Weight: 167lbs

    Jacket can be used in a few ways
    - rain jacket
    - sweatshirt underneath make it quit warm and function as a insulated wind breaker
    Fit: Im 5'8 167lbs M was perfect i got it when i was maybe 5'6 135lbs and it still fit perfect. greater then 5'9 i would suggest large especially if you wearing layers underneath.
    Durability: 9/10
    -It is light may rip if gets snagged on a piece of metal or something but not from tree branches or things like that.
    - I have worn this in complete downpour i was completely dry and the pockets and zippers are watertight my phone in the pocket completely dry
    Breathability : 8/10 (its a rain jacket...)
    Overall: Willing to bet I would remain dry even after a 100 gal of water was dumped on my head. It packs small to the size of my fist although do not store that way.can be used in many way i would totally buy this again i have had it at least 3 years with no issues looks like new an I have used it over 40 days worth of wearing.

    Different length than other OR products

      I own the hooded Filament down jacket (med) and love it, but when I ordered the Helium II jacket in the same size I was surprised to find out that the shell did not envelope the puffy. It’s lightweight and tougher than competitors but taking two inches off of the torso length is a cop out!

      Ultra light!

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: Large
      • Height: 6'1"
      • Weight: 195lbs

      A great minimalist jacket that keeps me dry day after day in the backcountry. Everything from peak bagging, to a day at the crag, this jacket will perform tirelessly. Very durable for the weight and you'll forget it's in your pack.

      No complaints here...

        If you Google this jacket, it has made its way onto gear lists for bikepacking, thru hiking, trekking and pretty much anything where Ultralight gear is paramount. It was my go to rain/snow protection on a recent S24O and it left me feeling confident as I pedaled through the night with intermittent light rain and snow flurry’s at 9000 feet.

        Super Lightweight and Packable

        • Familiarity: I've used it several times

        This is a perfect ultralight rain layer. I love how small it packs down. The water resistant zipper is a little difficult to zip up and down but that may be because its brand new!

        Great Jacket, but tether loop breaks

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
        • Fit: True to size
        • Size Bought: Large
        • Height: 6'2"
        • Weight: 170lbs

        I love this jacket as a rain jacket. I have written a previous review, and I bought a 2nd one of these after I lost the first one. Last week while hiking in Finland, I lost the 2nd one. One of the things I loved about this jacket is that it stores inside a small pocket, and it has a loop that you can hook a D-ring through and hook it to a belt loop, or a harness point on a backpack. Thats where I had it last week, connected to my backpack, when the nylon in the loop gave way and the jacket fell too far down the side of the trail for me to be able to go get it. $130 down the drain. Maybe some other lucky hiker will find it. I may buy an other, but I will not count on that loop to hold out. I did get 2 years of good use out of it, but I wish it had not broken

        My Favorite

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
        • Fit: True to size
        • Height: 6'0"
        • Weight: 160lbs

        This is the ideal ultralight jacket, providing plenty of protection from the elements without adding a lot of weight. It packs down incredibly small, so you will have no excuse not to bring it along on your next adventure.

        Does the Job

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

        I've had this jacket for about a year now and it certainly keeps me dry. It's very lightweight and has held up to some pretty good abuse. The waterproofing isn't the best straight out of the bag, so I've had to maintain its waterproofing a little more than I had imagined. It also doesn't feel to breathable, but I don't think I've ever had a rain shell that does. Super sweet jacket and I would totally buy it again.

        Brilliant UL Rain Gear

        • Familiarity: I've used it several times
        • Fit: True to size
        • Size Bought: Medium
        • Height: 5'9"
        • Weight: 160lbs

        I don't know what more I can add to the rave reviews. If you're ordering this jacket you want to go light and have done your research.

        It lives up to the hype and checks all the boxes: ultralight, takes up minimal pack space, keeps you dry from rain, fits very well and is actually pretty stylish for a rain jacket.

        I'm always on the fence between ordering a Med or Large for backpacking. 42" chest and want a slim fit but also the option of wearing over a fleece in colder weather. The Med is perfect for me. Fleece works great but a puffy would be pushing it.

        Highly recommended.

        Super Lightweight, Awesome Rain Jacket

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
        • Fit: True to size
        • Size Bought: Large
        • Height: 6'0"
        • Weight: 170lbs

        This jacket is simple. It’s as light as you can imagine and it does its job. That’s what matters. It packs up into a tiny little ball that I never have to hesitate to throw in my day pack or even in my running vest. It’s waterproof enough too that I have full trust in it for multi-day excursions too.

        Another Ultra piece of gear from OR!

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

        This jacket does exactly what it was designed to do: Keeps you dry during those unexpected downpours, packs down incredibly small and weighs next to nothing.

        My experience with the Helium II has largely been as a "just in case" piece while rock climbing and hiking when the weather is iffy. This jacket packs up quickly inside its stow pocket to about the size of a baseball - I have found the pocket is big enough to hold the jacket as well as a small snack and still be compact and light enough to forget about while clipped to my harness or tucked away in my backpack top pocket.

        Considering the thin 30D Pertex Shield fabric is almost transparent, I was a bit worried about durability issues when I first got my hands on the jacket. But, after a trip alpine climbing in Canada's Northwest Territories my skepticism diminished; I ended up wearing the Helium almost continuously during my trip including two separate (20+ hour) big wall climbs in which we climbed loads of squeeze chimneys (hood fits nicely over my helmet!): Not one hole and the jacket was quite comfortable whilst climbing and hiking between tormenting cloudbursts!

        I would not necessarily suggest this jacket for use if you will be inundated by wet weather for days on end, that said, I have used this it as a standalone piece for backcountry use in remote and wet locations with the knowledge that it does not have the best breathability like other, more robust Outdoor Research jackets - It does however dry fast!

        I wear a men's Large and have a good bit of room for light layering: I'm 5.9, 175lbs, with a 41-inch chest.

        Another Ultra piece of gear from OR!

        You'll never know it's in your pack

        • Familiarity: I've used it several times
        • Fit: True to size
        • Size Bought: medium
        • Height: 5'9"
        • Weight: 140lbs

        Really solid for the price, I'd recommend having one of these in your pack at all times. It's so light and packable it won't make much difference, until the storm comes when it's a life saver.

        I used it biking and hiking around Salt Lake in April. Great for those afternoon thunderstorms.

        Rainy Zion in the Helium II

        • Height: 5'7"
        • Weight: 130lbs

        Email me with all your Outdoor Research questions -

        The Helium is the type of jacket you'll want to add to your quiver of gear for times when you have no idea what the weather will throw at you. I busted out the Helium while I was exploring Zion when the rain hit and it was perfect for an emergency layer. I wouldn't use it for extended storms (get a 3-layer GTX for that) but the Helium kept me dry for 2-3hrs easy. The Helium is also light enough to be a layer that you never take out of your adventure pack. Even with no rain on the forecast, I've been happy to bring the Helium along as a wind layer, keeping me warm on high altitude peaks.

        Rainy Zion in the Helium II

        keeps a dude dry

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

        Keeps the rain out but definitely not breathable. At the same time, waterproof usually means that it's never breathable in my experience. So this does the job of keeping my buddy dry and is super light and thin. Bought this for a friend 5'11" 210lbs with an athletic build in an XL.

        Thanks Sue. Breathability is a tough one. It is definitely rated as breathable in the lab, but as we know, it can be subjective when you use it. If you are doing high activity in this piece, there are better shells that are more breathable... but they are also more expensive. If the activity is low to moderate, then this piece can work well!

        Really hard to pin technical features down because they are very subjective. For a more breathable option, try the OR Realm Jacket or the OR Axiom Jacket.

        Thanks for the review,

        OR Rep

        Just another

          This isn't my first, nor will it be my last...assuming they don't kill it. This newest incarnation is much improved: zippered chest pocket, fabric texture, styling and cut. You may think the price too much, but you'll soon find this piece in your "go to" kit every time....or at least you should.

          Dangerous jacket.. not at all waterproof

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

          I wanted to like this jacket. It's light, windproof, and has a quality made feel to it. I have used it 3 times, 2 times it rained lightly and it got soaked. Not waterproof at all. The first time out the water didn't even bead up at all, just started soaking through. Very disappointed and will question anything made from OR again.

          Bought For The Man In My Life

          • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
          • Fit: True to size
          • Height: 5'10"
          • Weight: 145lbs

          This is the perfect jacket for travel or throwing in your day pack when there is a chance of rain. The minimal features are just right. The hood is an ample size, and has a draw cord which is a nice feature. It stuffs very easily into the internal pocket. There is also a bottom cinch if you are in some real wind!

          Great Light Weight Protection

          • Familiarity: I've used it several times
          • Fit: True to size
          • Size Bought: Large
          • Height: 5'6"
          • Weight: 190lbs

          This is a great light weight weight protection from moisture or strong winds. Takes up no room in your pack and is super light and durable

          I am 5'11'" 155-158lbs athletic skinny build, usually like to wear Small sizes for tight fit. Unsure about a Size Small or Medium, I want to layer an UL 800-fill down jacket underneath.


          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.

          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

          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.

          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?

          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.

          I'm 6'1'' and 175. The medium wasn't long enough in the arms for me but I also have really long arms. The torrentshell medium arms fit me perfectly. If I personally bought this jacket I would size up to a Large for the sleeves and to layer underneath.

          I feel like you might have some trouble getting a perfect size.

          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?

          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

          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?

          Best Answer

          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

          How does this jacket compare to the Marmot...

          How does this jacket compare to the Marmot Mica or Super Mica? Any preferences?

          I've used both the super mica and the helium. I loved how light the helium was but its made to be carried for the "just in case" rain. The super mica is better suited for hiking and trail running where wearing a pack. Both are great jackets. The helium comes with my pack anywhere I go but I only wear the super mica for trail running in the wet.

          Will you be getting this in a large anytime...

          Will you be getting this in a large anytime soon? It sounds like a great light weight rain shell, which I need as the only thing I have now is a rather bulky snowboard jacket.

          As of 14 July 2013 It doesn't look like we have any orders with OR placed so i don't think we will be getting this restocked within the foreseeable future. If you want to stay light weight give this a try.

          Unanswered Question

          I saw conflicting statements about whether...

          I saw conflicting statements about whether a helmet fits under the hood, so I took my helmet to the store to try the jacket on. I wear the larger size of the Petzl Elios climbing helmet and it fit just fine with both the Medium and Large Helium II jackets that I tried on.

          It seemed very unlikely to fit a ski helmet.

          I'm looking for a jacket that I can use...

          I'm looking for a jacket that I can use in summer storms in alaska and winter mountianeering Would this be my best choice or is there another Jacket that I should compare?

          Best Answer

          Check out the OR Axiom! The goretex active shell breaths great. I am a big fan of the OR Mentor jacket. The Helium is more of a minimalist jacket, something you carry for those "just in case" situations rather then the "I'm going to need this".

          Reid has it right Luke. The Helium II is an ultra thin rain shell. It would be great for a rain forest, bad for mountaineering. I agree that the Axiom will be the best option for you--light enough for your summer showers but rugged enough with enough stretch for mountaineering.

          Could anyone provide the jacket length...

          Could anyone provide the jacket length dimension from neck to bottom hem?

          Best Answer

          Says in the product description that the center back length is 31 inches...

          On the OR website one reviewer even said "feels a little long in the torso" so 31 is probably accurate since many jackets in this class tend to save weight by cutting themselves shorter.

          Does this jacket have pit zips? Looking...

          Does this jacket have pit zips? Looking for a rain jacket and a winter outer shell jacket

          Sorry to be the barer of bad news, but this is a horrible jacket for winter/summer use. It is way to thin and wouldn't retain the heat you'd want from a winter jacket (though it breaths like a dream for summer use). I'd recommend the men's OR Foray or even the men's OR Panorama jacket.

          Hope this helps!

          can this jackets hood fit over a climbing...

          can this jackets hood fit over a climbing helmet?

          Does this jacket offer any wind resistance...

          Does this jacket offer any wind resistance at all?

          I currently have a thin wind shell that felt like the wind is coming through, though it does not. I attributed it the the cool temp's and the high windchill. It was like wearing a drysuit while diving in arctic water, yes you are dry and not wet(i.e. wind proof) but you can still feel the cold water outside of the suit.

          Is this true to size or slim fitting? I...

          Is this true to size or slim fitting? I normally wear a M in OR. 5'8" 175 lb. M or L?

          I found it a little slim fitting. I'm 6'2", 185 pounds and the L did fit, but I exchanged it for an XL to get a bit more room for an insulating layer and a bit more sleeve length. Love it so far.