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  • Outdoor Research - Helium II Jacket - Men's - Black/Storm
  • Outdoor Research - Helium II Jacket - Men's - Pewter/Tomato
  • Outdoor Research - Helium II Jacket - Men's - Burnt Orange/Firebrick
  • Outdoor Research - Helium II Jacket - Men's - Cobalt/Naval Blue
  • Outdoor Research - Helium II Jacket - Men's - Seaweed/Juniper
  • Outdoor Research - Helium II Jacket - Men's - Coyote

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's

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    95 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?

    Just in case

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Medium
    • Height: 5'10"
    • Weight: 165lbs

    This is a great lightweight piece to throw in your pack if there's a chance of rain, but you don't want to waste the space or weight bringing your burly rain gear. I found it to be great for spring bike commuting and around town use. This would be a great emergency rain shell for those of us in the generally dry western ranges that often have afternoon thunderstorms and rain showers. I did find myself wishing it was an inch or two longer, but I'm relatively tall and wear a medium, so this won't be an issue for many folks.

    Got this for the PCT

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Bought: Large
    • Height: 6'0"
    • Weight: 140lbs

    Am looking forward to putting some serious miles on this jacket, Tested it a few times and the water-proofing is sweet, breathability is sub-par but for the weight of this thing, I can't complain at all. Will update this review after 2652+ miles along the Pacific Crest Trail. It does run a little small so I sized up so I can layer and have the sleeves fit my monkey arms. But as of now, I love this jacket.

    G.O.A.T Windbreaker

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

    Greatest of all time. I have loved this windbreaker! Its been great to have fishing and backpacking. Super lightweight and can pack up super small. It's been super great to have.


    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: L
    • Height: 5'10"
    • Weight: 180lbs

    Used this jacket for a weekend filming a bike race in Comfort, Texas. It turned out to be perfect testing conditions for this piece. Very high winds and gusts on Day 1 and light rain in the evenings. This ended up being the PERFECT piece--highly breathable for carrying around my 40lb+ pack on singletrack, it is crazy lightweight and doesn't feel muggy in warmer weather. Also crazy packable when i needed to stash it. This jacket definitely made my wishlist as the perfect emergency layer for backpacking, and even a great everyday rain jacket since it's waterproof unlike some other "water resistant" layers in this category.

    Bad zipper

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

    The downfall of this jacket is the zipper. Since I got the jacket the zipper has always been tough to use. I took it off the other day and the zipper guide came off and is stuck in the zipper mechanism.

    Essential in Seattle

    • Familiarity: I gave it as a gift but have feedback to share
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Large
    • Height: 5'11"
    • Weight: 195lbs

    I got this for my dad as a birthday gift. He lives in Seattle, and the stereotype is true, it rains a lot. My dad told me he was in need of a rain jacket and that he also needed a new Patagonia Houdini (which is not waterproof). With this jacket I was able to get him everything he wanted in one jacket! This jacket also functions as a Houdini, meaning it can conveniently fold into its own pocket. So far my dad had been super satisfied and is staying dry in the rainy Seattle fall.

    Seam Tore On First Day Of My Trip

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Medium
    • Height: 5'10"
    • Weight: 175lbs

    I had high hopes for this jacket from all the great review. I needed something light to for my recent trip of the high sierra route. I am so lucky it didnt rain the whole trip because the pit seam was torn on the first day before when I went to put it on. Luckily I was able to patch it and make it usable for the rest of the trip. It kept me extra warm over my down and on chilly mornings but because of the durability, its going back.

    The best

      By far the best light weight water proof jacket. I use this jacket for mountain biking for those days when you get caught in a down you and it is amazing. Super light weight and stuffs super small in its own pocket.

      Light weight, packable, and water proof!

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: L
      • Height: 6'1"
      • Weight: 185lbs

      What else do you want in a jacket? well maybe arm-pit vents but for me, this is more of an emergency shell I take for day hikes and climbs. The taped seams means you'll be staying dry when the weather isn't on your side.

      The best !

      • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: L
      • Height: 5'9"
      • Weight: 160lbs

      The best lightest weight rain jacket
      One night it was downpour raining and this jacket is amazing... kept me dry the whole time
      Super light and breathable

      Love it but.

      • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: Xl
      • Height: 6'0"
      • Weight: 230lbs

      What can I say Everything is Awesome about this rain shell. Except for the fact that doesn't have pits zips.

      Hey Shawn, problem solved! If you want pit zips, and you don't mind a couple extra ounces, then look at the Helium HD. If you don't want the extra weight, then you are stuck! You can't have both... :-) The HD also gives you two hand pockets as well.

      Thank you for the 5 star review anyway!

      OR Rep

      great running water resistant jacket

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: small
      • Height: 5'10"
      • Weight: 143lbs

      Have used this about 4 times in drizzle to light/moderate rain. It appears to be fairly breathable. So convenient to just pull out of my pack and unpack out of its pocket and pull on without hardly stopping running. The only complaint is it does not have fasteners over the wrists so water can easily drip into the jacket from your hands, especially as I run with my elbow at less than 90degree angle. Thinking of coming up with a rigged velcro fastener I can attach to the wrist.
      I can wear in any weather temp, just varying my base layer . Overall a great jacket and very portable either by carrying in hand or in a running vest/pack. I'm 5'10'' 143 lbs and wear a small and its perfect. Love the waist adjuster and the hood adjuster. I use it solely for running, am an ultra runner but have not used for over 10miles yet.

      Hi there - Thank you for the review. We made this jacket minimalist so that we don't add weight. Penalty is not having creature comforts like the adjustable wrists... But if you want to add a few more ounces and have that, plus pit zips, look at the Helium HD.

      Enjoy your Helium!

      OR Rep

      Great emergency shell

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
      • Fit: Runs small
      • Size Bought: Large
      • Height: 6'
      • Weight: 210lbs

      Summary: Some compromises and not a workhorse rain jacket for bad conditions, but light, compact, and effective enough to carry as a just-in-case piece.

      - Fit is cut close and a bit short. I'm an athletic 6', 200, 44" chest to around a 35" waist with big shoulders, about a 20.5" torso length for backpacks. My typical sleeve length is around a 34/35. I own the large. Enough for some layering, but nothing too bulky (a close-cut fleece would work, my down puffy billows and gathers). It runs a bit short in the torso, which is my main complaint. When moving around, the jacket pulls up on my torso and exposes lower part of my waist/midriff.

      - This thing is unbelievably light at 6 oz, and packs down small into a dedicated pocket. Super impressive at this price point. There are more breathable, lighter options but they retail a good $100-150 more.

      - No vents. Get stuffy in high output activity.

      - Really bare bones on the features. No hand pockets (one Napoleon pocket), and no cinches on the cuffs. Hood is surprisingly functional for how bare bones it is, but not as customizable as a more full-featured jacket.

      - Pretty waterproof (Pertex Shield + is rated at 20k mm waterproofing), but will still wet through in bad conditions. It's also so thin that it can 'feel' wet in a downpour even though water isn't making it through the membrane.

      - Blocks wind, but requires an insulating layer if it gets really bad.

      Would give it 5 stars if it was cut a little longer. I carry mine around with me everyday in San Francisco or on late spring/summer hikes, just in case I need it. For hikes I expect to run into rainy conditions, I take a burlier, more fully featured jacket (but heavier) jacket.

      Don't care about the rain

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size
      • Height: 5'8"
      • Weight: 145lbs

      Took this jacket on weekend trip with a soggy forecast, and it kept me dry without issue. I'm 5'8", 145lbs, and the small fit great, wasn't too big by itself, but I could still fit it over a light down jacket without issue for added warmth. It's a no frills rain shell, but has fully taped seams and zipper. No hand pockets, but there is a chest pocket for sunglasses or a phone. It packs down small, and didn't take up any room in my pack. There are more technical fabric that will breathe better if you're doing high intensity stuff, but if you just need something to keep you dry in a pinch, or on a hike, this will do that well.

      Exactly what I needed

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times
      • Fit: True to size
      • Size Bought: Large
      • Height: 6'
      • Weight: 175lbs

      Great, lightweight jacket. I wanted something I could toss in a backpack and wear over other layers of the weather got bad. This jacket fits great, moves well, and you can pack it away when you don't need it.

      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.