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Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket - Men's

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    4.55105

    105 Reviews

    Details

    Helium II Jacket

    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

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

    Tech Specs

    • Reviews
    • Q & A

    What do you think about this product?

    Have questions about this product?

    *NOT* a waterproof jacket

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Large
    • Height: 6'2"
    • Weight: 220lbs

    This is a water *resistant* jacket, at best.
    I purchased this exactly one month ago, and have worn it as a commuting jacket (ten minute walk) a half dozen times, where it did its job well.
    However, I wore it on two hikes this weekend with light to medium rain. Both times, it soaked right through, which was frustrating, to say the least - not to mention dangerous, given that this gear has failed to do its only job.
    It's a shame, too. I love the fit, color, style, and hat support. But this was a waste of money.

    Not Reliable ~ For Extended Use

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Medium
    • Height: 5'7"
    • Weight: 165lbs

    Update: OR reached out to me and stated the jacket is meant for emergency use. So keep that in mind if you are in all day rain or you are through hiking the AT (lots of rain) this shell isnt intended to be out in it for prolonged periods. And while I dont know what the delineation or limitations for the word emergency is; I would suggest that if the goal once it starts raining is to get somewhere sheltered asap, thats probably the intended use (short duration). If your use case has you going into the rain and staying there a more durable shell would be advised.

    Original review: There are plenty of great and not so great reviews of this jacket which make me believe the QC on this product is not where it should be and getting a good one is a gamble.
    I've had this jacket for less than a year. It has wet through 3 out of the 5 times Ive had it rain or drizzle and now wets through if its cloudy out. Its a good wind jacket and its light weight. I just could not and would not rely on it to keep anything dry. I think there are jackets that will not wet through like this for less and more.

    Never Leave Without It

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Large
    • Height: 5'11"
    • Weight: 180lbs

    This jacket among my favorite pieces of gear we sell. I like it so much I snag one for my friends to use all the time. I don't always end up using on my trips, but at 5.8 ounces, it's always in my pack. Its saved me from thunderstorm in the desert, sleet and snow in the mountains, and gusty winds at the top of peaks. Its such a good piece of gear that I grab an extra for my friends in case they don't have one.



    Probably because I only use it in inclement weather, I don't have a picture of me wearing it, but here's one of a buddy who used the men's version for some wind protection recently.

    Never Leave Without It

    The Gold Standard

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Large
    • Height: 5'10"
    • Weight: 185lbs

    Got to test this for a day of scrambling on American Fork Twins in Utah in August--you cannot ask for a better ultralight emergency shell/wind jacket/primary shell in warm weather. On the day I tested I was working hard on the uphill in ~70deg temps and never felt overheated. The summit brought HIGH winds as soon as we topped out and the Helium withstood it no problem. I'd have confidence bringing this jacket as a primary packable shell for backpacking, mountain biking, day hikes in all but the coldest temps. SUPER versatile layer!

    Lightweight weather proofing

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
    • Fit: Runs small
    • Size Bought: Large
    • Height: 6'0"
    • Weight: 140lbs

    I used this jacket on the PCT this year and it does its job as intended. this year was a high moisture year for the Pacific Crest Trail and this jacket kept me dry through it all. I bought this jacket a couple of months before I left for my trip and got some testing in before it went with me so I knew it worked. But after putting on 1000+ miles on the jacket I've got an even better idea of how well it works. It isn't the most breathable jacket on the market but for the price and weight its a fantastic option. While going through the dessert section of California I experienced high winds, rain, and snow which was unusual for southern California. And I was very glad I went with the helium instead of just a windbreaker like many others on the trail does. After 600 of miles of hiking through the desert with a couple of small rainstorms I really got to but this thing to the test as we got rained on and snowed on for 5 days straight with high winds and overall miserable conditions, but this jacket kept me dry and relatively warm by keeping the wind at bay. The Jacket has put up with the beating of a thru-hike and is still in great condition. It's my go-to jacket for all of my backpacking trips where the forecast isn't looking great, and it's so light that I keep it with me on trips where the weather is supposed to be great as most people who spend lots of time in the mountains can tell you the forecast isn't always accurate. With how light this jacket is at only 6.5 ounces theres no reason to not bring it on fair-weather trips as an extra layer if it gets chilly or the wind picks up. All in all its a great layer that is Water and windproof that you can count on. When this one wears out ( which probably won't be for a while) I'll definitely be getting a new one.



    Picture: Summit of San Jacinto CA.

    Picture Credit: @Wasatch_weirdo

    Lightweight weather proofing

    Don't Leave Home Without It

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: Large
    • Height: 5'11"
    • Weight: 185lbs

    If you're like me, you might get tired of following the boy scout motto to "be prepared" from time to time--especially for quick trips. Then you caught in a desert T-storm miles away from your car, pull this bad boy from the depths of your pack, and thank your annoyingly responsible self for having purchased, and packed, the Helium II. Light and compact, its the perfect backup plan.

    Bring it everywhere

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times
    • Fit: True to size
    • Size Bought: large
    • Height: 6'0"
    • Weight: 175lbs

    The Helium II is very ultralight. It can easily be taken on any adventure due to its tiny pack size. This jacket blocks rain and wind well. The elastic cuffs and the drawcord on the hood will ensure that you stay dry in a rainstorm. The jacket was made to be very low profile weighing only 6.4 ounces. There is only one pocket in the chest to stash your phone, wallet, and keys. I am 6'0 175 lbs and a large fits me well. It is more of a slim fit, if I wanted to layer a lot, I would go with an XL. I would recommend this jacket to anyone that likes to travel light because they can always store this in their daypack just in case the weather changes in a hurry. If you want something with more pockets or something a little bit thicker, I would recommend going with the Outdoor Research Guardian or the Interstellar.

    Bring it everywhere

    Slim Fit

      If you plan to wear this over a down vest beware. You will be wise to size up. The return shipping is on you! For that reason, I will be reordering from REI.

      The "Oh Crap" Jacket

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

      No frills, minimal features, but it has kept me dry in a couple unexpected downpours and some major rainstorms! It's not breathable so expect some humidity to build up. It's a sacrifice of breath ability for weight. I've used it hiking, backpacking, camping, and climbing. It packs into its own pocket (about the size of a baseball), and although I wouldn't recommend this method - the whole thing packs into my pants pocket easily and comfortably too. Wind and rain resistant as it gets and for only (I cannot stress this enough) 6 oz! A wonderful insurance policy.



      The first couple times I wore it, I kept reaching to put my hands in the jacket pockets only to find none were there. There is one pocket on the chest which I found odd.



      The hood's nice and adjustable too. There's a draw cord on the hood and on the bottom. At 6 oz (yessss) there's no reason for me to not keep this jacket in my pack.



      The Medium and the Small also fit me well. Guess I'm right in between - just depends on if you want to have more layers underneath (I stuck with the medium).

      The "Oh Crap" Jacket

      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.

      Perfect

      • 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.

      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.

      Thanks.

      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. http://www.backcountry.com/marmot-mica-jacket-mens

      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.