Outdoor Research Helium Jacket Review
I’m a notorious over-packer. So the ultra lightweight, super stuffable Helium Jacket was my rain coat of choice for a recent paddling and fishing trip to Florida. Despite the obvious attention to detail, taped seams, adjustable hood, zipper pocket and partial front-zipper storm flap, I honestly wasn’t expecting much protection from such as small package. But I was completely blown away by its level of performance!
From a windy and wet fishing trip, to a cool sunset paddle, to running errands in a hellacious downpour, the waist length Helium Jacket kept me comfortable, warm and dry. Even better, it features a built-in stuff pocket, for stuffing and storing when the weather turns agreeable (easy to stuff in under a minute—52 seconds is my record). No need to tie a bulky coat around your waist, just stuff it and toss it in your bag or hook it to your pack with the handy reinforced loop.
Always a skeptic, I had to put the Helium Jacket through the Colorado stress test as well. I wore it running in heavy, wet spring snow with good results. My run ended with a sweat-stoker of a hill climb, resulting in some perspiration build-up in the jacket. I repeated my run on a dry, breezy day, and had no sweat build-up. Plus, the Helium kept my torso, arms and head comfortably buffered from pelting dirt and sand, while on a windy hike.
The only concession the Helium makes to its bulkier cousins, is elastic around the wrists instead of adjustable Velcro. For the weight and packability, that’s a trade I can handle.
Depending upon where you live or travel this jacket will serve you well for three to four seasons out of the year and is a great “just in case”, emergency piece.
$140 USD for men and women
Women’s weighs 5.8 oz in a medium
Men’s weighs 6.8 oz in a large
– Ultralight, waterproof/breathable 2.5-layer 20D Pertex® Shield DS ripstop fabric
– Fully seam taped
– Single-pull hood adjustment
– Ultralight, water-resistant zippers
– Front zipper with 7.5”/19 cm stormflap
– Zippered napoleon pocket
– Stuff pocket at side hem with hook/loop closure
– Elastic cuffs
– Single drawcord hem adjustment