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Helium II Jacket
- Lighter, more water-resistant, and more breathable than its predecessor, the Helium
- Pertex Shield DS Stretch fabric accommodates a full range of motion while still keeping you dry and covered
- Fully taped seams prevent even lingering moisture from seeping through to your lower layers
- Adjustable hood helps you achieve coverage without sacrificing visibility
- Water-resistant zippers keep your valuables dry and safe
- Elastic cuffs help complete a seal between you and the cold, wet outside
- Stuff pocket with webbing loop easily clips to a harness or pack
- Item #ODR0859
What do you think about this product?
November 3, 2019
I don't leave without it
This jacket among my favorite pieces of gear we sell. I use the men's version, but lend the women's version to friends 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 the women's jacket in use, but here's one of a buddy who used the men's version for some wind protection recently.
September 7, 2019
This rain jacket is a joke
Do you want your rain jacket to keep you dry? Yeah, me too. If that's the case, you should probably look elsewhere. Do you like being soaked? Then this is the rain gear for you!!! In general, I love OR's products, and I wanted to love this too, but it's just an overpriced sponge; it literally soaks up every drop of water that falls onto it and transfers it right to you. I've tried using it numerous times, and even tried treating it with Nikwax... but I still get soaked every time. There is no saving this thing. Please, please, please DON'T waste your money. Looks like I'm going back to my heavy, non-breathable Marmot rain gear, because at least I stay dry.
November 3, 2019
Hey Andrea, How long are you wearing this in the rain for? It is not designed to be an extended use piece. The most I've used in the rain for is about 1 hour trekking through a desert rain storm that caught me by surprise. The rain was only really hard for about 15 minutes before we made it to shelter, but both the Helium jacket and pants kept me completely dry. I use this thing on nearly a weekly basis and have never had any problems with water permeating the fabric, but again, it is not a shell meant for all day protection. You'd want something like the OR Aspire for that.
August 7, 2019
Happy Staying Light and Dry!
As I did some research on the best gear jacket for my 2 week backpacking trip through the Sierra Nevadas, the Helium jacket and pants stood out to me as the lightest and best rain gear for the job. Different sites kept praising the Helium line and I decided to give it a try. Here are some thoughts after using the jacket and pants on my trip: +It is super light: Outdoor Research Helium raingear is one of the lightest kits on the market. It is nice to have an emergency layer that doesnât take up much weight or space. I kept this in the brain of my pack which was great for access and storage. +It is mosquito proof: This bonus feature came as a surprise to me. We stayed in many campsites where the mosquitoes swarmed and it would have been miserable if it was not for wearing my rain gear at camp. I picked up this trick after seeing some PCTers doing the same. Despite its thin layer, both water and mosquitos stayed away, and I was able to enjoy being at camp in peace. +Keeps ya dry: I was lucky to have nice, dry, sunny weather for the first 9 days of our trip. However, the rain came rolling in for the next 3 days. Rain can be such a downer, everything gets cold and wet and walking all day becomes much less appealing. Luckily, with the Helium, I stayed (mostly) dry. Mostly dry, because there was 5 hours of pouring rain one day and by the end of the day, I was definitely a little damp. The jacket and pants eventually got oversaturated and water started to seep into my layers underneath. Despite this, the Helium still did a good job on keeping me dry for the majority of my trip, just beware of extended downpours. +Sizing: I am usually between XS and S in most gear and I went for the XS. In retrospect, I should have gone with the S. The XS fit me perfectly when I was just standing still with the gear on, but any kind of bending or reaching made it apparent that the gear was too small on me and was riding up. If you are between two sizes, I would probably size up. Overall, I would recommend this rain set for any trip, especially if you are trying to save weight. If youre lucky, you wont have to use it at all, if not, rest assured that the jacket and pants will help you stay dry.
June 3, 2019
The Ultimate Backup
Feedback from a friend: This thing saved me from the rain and wind during an unexpected mountain storm. Small, light, and compact, having one keeps you prepared for a downpour at any moment.
June 15, 2019
A perfect use for this, Matt! Thank you for the review! Leta OR rep
May 31, 2019
"Just In Case"
This is my go-to jacket when I'm traveling because it packs down so small, it's super lightweight, and does such a great job and shedding that rain away. If you are unsure of what the weather will be and you are limited with room in your bag- this one is the jacket you need! I took a star away because I wish there were hand pockets, but other than that I genuinely love this jacket to calm my nerves about the weather changing when I least expect it.
June 15, 2019
Hey Laurel, thank you for the review. We made a Helium model with hand pockets, but that defeated the goal of ultimate lightweight, and at 5.4 ounces, you can't beat it. It's the trade off thing! Happy Trails! Leta OR Rep
May 29, 2019
Rain, rain, go away
Used this for a recent race! I love how lightweight this lovely jacket is. With being 5'11" I have a hard time finding clothes that aren't mens that are actually long enough for me. This one worked GREAT and also had enough room for a midlayer beneath.
June 15, 2019
Thanks Jessica! How was the weather and how did it handle your moisture vapor? Appreciate the review! Leta OR Rep
May 24, 2019
Great jacket to throw in bag
I have worn this a few times now when it's been raining and I've still wanted or needed to get outside. It's so easy to throw on whatever I'm wearing to take my dog outside on a walk or commute to work in. It's super lightweight and you barely feel like you're wearing anything. Like the description says, it is water resistant, but not waterproof. I have worn this when it's been steadily raining, but not a complete downpour and it has kept me nice and dry. I'm sure if I stayed outside longer when it was raining it would eventually wet out, but that's not the point of this jacket. It's just a lightweight layer that's perfect for those quick spring/summer showers that may catch you off guard. I will keep this in my pack on day hikes because even if it doesn't look like it will rain, you never know and it's always great to have an extra layer. It folds up so small and is so light you wouldn't even notice it. One thing that isn't my favorite is that there aren't any pockets. I have really cold hands so I like to put my hands in my jacket pocket when I'm walking, especially when it's raining. But no pockets means less weight and fewer areas for water to get in so I can see why they left them off. I'm usually a small or XS in jackets and I got an XS which fits me great. I'm still able to wear it over a warmer jacket if it's cold outside.
June 15, 2019
Hey Hailey, I need to chat with the copywriters, because the Helium II IS waterproof with Pertex Sheild laminate 2.5 layer. Now, as we know, waterproof has a range: The term "waterproof" has to meet a 5,000 mm water column test. This tests out at 15,000, 3x the definition! Know that the intended use is for emergency, pull out of your pack when the "oh #*&%" moment happens and the skies open up! Thank you! Leta OR Rep
May 2, 2019
This jacket is sooo light. However, it was too short in the torso so I returned it.
May 2, 2019
Wonderful rain jacket. I returned it because it was a bit too short.
April 27, 2019
NOT 100% waterproof
While this jacket was very nice and light and packable, that's where the positive features stop. I took this jacket on a couple of trail runs and a hike and on ALL occasions got wet if not completely soaked through. I bought this jacket on the premise that the manufacturer says it is "100% waterproof" right on the OR website. After the first time I got wet, I called OR's customer service and they suggested throwing it in the dryer for 10 mins to "refresh" the DWR coating. I tried that and then used it the next day on a trail run. I soaked through the jacket so bad that my undergarments were wet. I then complained again to OR's customer service and the rep there explained to me that this jacket was not intended for heavy rains but just for short light drizzles. . . I wasn't in a torrential downpour, but a steady light rain and it couldn't even handle that. I was dissapointed as it is billed as "100% waterproof" but they fail to mention that that is not true 100% of the time. It's a bit misleading. To modify a quote from Brian Fantana, "% of the time, it works every time" If you are looking for a jacket that can handle a few minutes of light rain, then this can do that. If you are looking for a true bomber rain option to keep you dry on actual adventures, look elsewhere. This jacket was returned and I went with a different one. If I could give it 0 stars, I would . . . because what good is a rain jacket that can't keep out actual rain?
June 15, 2019
Lacey, thank you for the review. I want to say that many times, not all of the time, the moisture in a rain jacket is due to internal moisture not getting out quickly enough. You were wet after a run in the Helium? Completely not surprising, because I would guess that the fabric could not move all of the moisture vapor you were creating from running... which produced alot! This jacket is intended to live in the bottom of your pack, or take with you travelling, so when an unexpected rain storm hits, you can stay dry. It is not the right choice for runners who build up a ton of moisture vapor, but hiking works just fine. I am pretty confident that the jacket is waterproof (I have had one for 5 years and it is still waterproof), but I don;t wear it running. Hope that makes sense. Leta OR Rep
April 1, 2019
This jacket is very small and lightweight! I am using it for a 500mi hike across Washington state so I needed a reliable but light jacket for those rainy days. I love how it packs down into the interior pocket so I'm not wasting space in my 40L pack. This jacket has a hood bill that protects my face but there aren't pit zips which I usually prefer in my jackets. I did buy a size up so that I could fit my puffy under. Overall fantastic!
January 19, 2019
Solid Back-up layer
I really like this jacket for an emergency-ish shell, when the forecast looks good enough, or you'll be going fast enough to skip a full blown rain jacket. That being said, the lack of front pockets make it only an in-case layer for me, as I like to have pockets to warm hands/hold snacks on real rainy days. It is pretty waterproof for how light it is, and holds up well over time. A medium for me allowed room to layer a thin synthetic puffy jacket and t-shirt beneath.
January 21, 2019
Thanks for the review, Hannah - I agree! The lack of hand pockets was about making sure this women's jacket stayed under 6 oz and was as packable as possible. We actually did make one with pockets... heavier, more expensive, not as packable, and it didn't sell nearly as well! Trade offs are the name of the game! Thank you for the review! Leta OR Rep
Amy W. T.
July 6, 2019
The OR Women's Helium HD had chest and hand pockets, and pit zips. About two ounces heavier, but it was *perfect*! I miss it tremendously. Mine was stolen and I can't find a replacement, because they only make it for men now. The remaining Women's Helium models don't have those wonderful features, sadly, so the search goes on.
August 17, 2018
Good Just in Case
From my wife: I’ve packed this jacket a couple times without the chance to use it yet in rain. Super light and packable. While I miss having pockets, having some kind of storage is still nice. Good just in case jacket for both on the mountain and while traveling.
March 4, 2018
Fit for purpose
This jacket is a neat colour (bright turquoise), but felt a bit more plastic than I thought it would and was a bit more sweaty than I had anticipated. However having said that, it was very useful when hiking Bryce (in -14C), Zion, Arches, Grand Canyon and Yosemite National parks as I kept it in my back pack (it’s extremely light), and used as a wind break when we stopped for a break in the cold wind while winter snow hiking. I knew if I was really cold I had it in my pack and would feel warmer straight away. Although not for this purpose I also used to sit on in the snow. I haven’t tried in rain. It runs pretty true to size (I am 128 lbs and 5’6” and with the M I can fit a few layers underneath and still move. It would be even better if it were longer so that while wearing you could sit on it.
April 25, 2018
Thank you so much for the review, Jean! Happy Trails! Leta OR Rep
November 15, 2017
This jacket packs down to about twice the size of my phone - tiny! It's super light and has a loop when packed into its pocket so is easy to clip onto a harness or pack. I've only used it in light rain and wind so far, and have it more as an emergency layer when I don't want to bring up a tougher rain jacket. While I feel like it would withstand tons of rain, it is a very thin material so just would be more susceptible to tear. Always the tradeoff with lightweight gear, but hasn't been an issue! Fits well and true to size - a small fit me well and is my normal size.
January 3, 2018
I am roughly the same hight and weight as you and I cannot decide if I need a small or medium. I have a 34.5 in chest measurement. How much room do you have in the small?
October 28, 2017
used this jacket for 600 miles on the AT, where it rains frequently. never had an issue with water soaking through. i wore this a lot as a wind breaker too which worked great! it also makes a nice light jacket for hanging out in camp and avoiding mosquitoes. super light and packable. wouldnt go on a hike without this!
January 3, 2018
I'm the same hight and wait as you and cannot decide if I would need a small or medium. I have a 34.5 min chest measurement. How much room do you have in the medium?
June 29, 2017
Mountaineering Gear Essentials for Climb
"This ultralight and ultra compressible jacket is great for flash storms and cool breezes that accompany travelers from low to high altitudes. Keep this one close at hand; youâll never know when youâll need it (but I guarantee you will)." - Rachel Davidson, The Outbound Collective https://www.theoutbound.com/kits/women-s-mountaineering-gear-essentials-for-climbing-in-the-himalayas
March 28, 2018
Thank you for leaving a comment. Very helpful to me that I am trying to be a mountaineer.
May 14, 2017
Throw it in your pack and forget it!
I have this jacket as my emergency rain jacket. It's lightweight and small making it very packable. I typically throw it into my mountain biking pack, but also toss it in when going hiking too. It's perfect because of it's size and weight. I am a huge fan of color and always having color especially when it is raining to brighten any day, so there are always fun colors. It keeps you dry and gives you no reason to not have an emergency rain jacket!
May 9, 2017
It started to rain on the trail last weekend and when I pulled this out of my pack, someone asked if it was my pack shell and stood dumbfounded when it unrolled into a jacket. It packs down TINY. It's ridiculously lightweight and keeps you dry dry dry. I like the elastic on the cuffs (my last rain jacket didn't have that). The trade-off for size and weight is lack of waist pockets and no armpit vents. It's a great all-around rain jacket; it performs excellently and looks good so it's perfect for on-trail and around town.
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March 27, 2017
Can anyone comment on the length of the sleeves? I'm tall (5'9) and slim so usually wear a small, but I always look for rain jackets with long sleeves otherwise my wrists are exposed whenever I reach for anything.
November 9, 2016
how small does it pack up?
May 3, 2015
Would a men's small be comparable to a women's medium? Soon I will be traveling around southeast asia for about a year. It will be hot and humid. It's important for me to have a waterproof, windproof, and lightweight (preferably able to stuff into its own pouch) and breathable jacket. I'm considering this jacket or the Marmot Precip, the Mt. Hardware Plasmic or the Marmot Crystalline. Does anyone have comments to help my decision?
May 15, 2015
Hey Lisa, this is Leta, rep for OR for Backcountry.com. why not buy the women's medim? Color? The men's small is not exactly cut like the women's medium, but could probably work. I own this jacket and absolutley love it - it is a perfect choice for what you are describing. Have fun! Leta
November 17, 2015
I'm looking at this jacket for the exact same reason (I'll be traveling to SE Asia for about 6 months.) What jacket did you end up buying?
August 25, 2014
Does anyone know if there will be more sizes coming in anytime soonish?
August 25, 2014
Hey Andrea Callen, It looks like we have an order of medium and larges coming in. They probably will not be available for purchase until mid September. My suggestion is to bookmark this page and check it every so often.
August 26, 2014
Ah okay I would need a small, thanks for the quick response though!