Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket
The weather is always unpredictable when you get out in the woods or up in a mountain. It is so important to be prepared for sudden rain showers or gusty winds and to be able to have some protection in your pack at all times. With that in mind, I took the Outdoor Research Helium rain jacket and put it through its paces to see if it would be a good option to keep you protected in the weather. Here is my review of the Outdoor Research Helium.
As a disclaimer I would like to mention that I was given the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket so that I could write this review. All opinions on this page are my own and based on my own experiences with this jacket. I am not compensated for the opinions on this review. Your experience with the Jacket may be different.
From Outdoor Research about the Helium Rain Jacket
Before I get into my thoughts on the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket, I wanted to let you know what Outdoor Research had to say about their popular jacket. From their website, they said this, “The Helium Rain Jacket is a lightweight, breathable, multi-use award winner, offering durable weather protection when the forecast calls for on-and-off-again sun, showers, clouds, and cool breezes.”
Here are some more of the stats and details about the Outdoor Retailer Helium directly from their website.
$170.00 (for men’s jacket)
$180.00 (for women’s)
S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL – men
XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL, XXXXL – women
Black, Classic Blue, Coyote, Cranberry, Dawn, Marmalade, Regal, Slate, Sulphur – men
Black, Iceberg, Lavender, Rhubarb, Ultramarine, Lemon – women
- Fully Seam-Taped
- Adjustable Hood
- YKK® Aquaguard® Zippers
- Single Separating Center Front Zipper
- Zip Chest Pocket
- Chest Pocket Doubles as Stuff Sack
- Carabiner Loop and Key Clip
- Reflective Logo Left Chest and Overlay at Forearm
- Elastic Drawcord Hem
- Elastic Cuffs
bluesign® approved Pertex® Shield Diamond Fuse 2.5L, 100% Nylon, 30D Ripstop
bluesign® approved Pertex® Shield Diamond Fuse 2.5L, bluesign® approved 100% Nylon, 30D Ripstop
All information from OutdoorResearch.com. Check the website for full details and options.
What I liked about the Outdoor Research Helium
I was really impressed with the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket. The jacket is lightweight but doesn’t sacrifice performance. It works well as both a rain jacket and a windbreaker and is really packable so it is always ready for an adventure. Plus, it comes in a lot of inclusive sizes. Here is more about what I liked about the Outdoor Research Helium.
(Also, as a side note, I don’t have camera gear that holds up to the rain very well so I took all of these pictures on a nicer day so you could see the jacket.)
One of the first things that people check nowadays is how heavy a piece of gear is. People are looking to ultralight opportunities and keeping the load as light as possible. The Outdoor Research Helium weighs in an at just 6.3 ounces making it a very easy addition to any pack.
Having a lightweight rain jacket is important because it is one of those items you pretty much always want to have with you. You never know when that perfect day on the trails turns into a downpour, so having a jacket weighs less than a cup of sugar is essential to every good hike.
Along with the low weight comes the Helium’s packability. Again, a rain jacket is a must have in the pack for all of those surprise storms and you need to be prepared in a moment’s notice. This jacket stuffs completely into its pocket. I have measured the stowed jacket at 7 inches wide at the widest point. It is also 7 inches long and about 2 inches deep so it makes storage really easy.
Another nice feature about the packability is that there is a key hook inside the pocket for when you are wearing the jacket. When you stuff and pack the jacket, this key hook moves to the outside which makes it really easy to clip the jacket to the outside of the pack for even more convenient storage.
Obviously, a rain jacket is only as good as it protects you from the elements. The Helium does a really good job of protecting from rain. It is basically a solid barrier that no moisture can penetrate. The only problem I have found is when I don’t zip it up completely I will get some water that rolls down the opening around my chest where I didn’t have it zipped. It really surprised me how wet I got in spots that weren’t covered compared to the covered area.
Granted, this is what a rain jacket is supposed to do but I have had jackets that drip down the collar or by the wrist or even off the hood. That doesn’t happen with the Helium. There are no spots of weakness in the rain protection at all.
With the watertight rain protection of the jacket, I was concerned that I would overheat. However, the Helium is really breathable. I didn’t get overly warm or uncomfortable at all. The jacket also has a nice flexibility and isn’t overly constricting without sacrificing any of the waterproofing.
The nice thing about a good rain jacket is that it can usually double as a windbreaker and that is true of the Outdoor Research Helium. While I didn’t get above 12,000 feet in my testing of this jacket, I did take it out on some really windy spring days. The type of days that are warm in the sun but cool to cold in the shade and wind. The Helium did an excellent job of blocking the wind and keeping me warm.
Now these weren’t on blustery winter days due to the fact that there is no lining in the Helium. On a really chilly day you would want to make sure that you had plenty of layers and just use this jacket as a rain/wind shell. As I said before, the helium does a good job with breathability and it allows you to stay protected without overheating which also holds true as a windbreaker.
It is nice to have versatile clothing that can provide more than one function, especially when you are trying to keep the weight down. So having a jacket like the Helium that can function as both a rain jacket and windbreaker, while weighing less than 7 ounces, is a nice option to have in the pack.
As a hefty hiker, it is always a challenge to find gear that fits right. This seems doubly hard for technical gear like a rain jacket. I was so happy to see that Outdoor Research makes the Helium in a wide range of sizes. They go up to XXXL on the men’s line.
It seems like a simple thing but it can really be hard for people with no traditional body sizes. Not only is it intimidating to get out on the trails but then to not be able to find clothes that fit makes it that much harder. This jacket fits me really well and hopefully there is a size that will fit a majority of people who are looking to have a comfortable time on the trails.
What I didn’t Like
There really isn’t much not to like about the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket but they will take my blogger card away from me if I don’t find something. For me there is really only one thing that I didn’t like about the Helium jacket and that is the lack of pockets.
The Helium has one cell phone sized pocket in the left chest but no other pockets. I really like having a couple of pockets on rain jackets that can help protect more items if I get stuck in a storm. I would love to see side pockets on either side that I could throw my keys to help keep them dry in a storm.
That is really the only thing that I didn’t really love about the Helium and I am sure there is a reason for the lack of pockets, probably having something to do with packability or preventing drips or leaks.
Video Review of the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket
Before my final thoughts here is a quick video review of the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket. If you enjoy the review make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to be the first to see my new content.
Wrap Up of the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket
I enjoyed the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket. The jacket is super lightweight, which I think a lot of people will enjoy. However, the lightweight doesn’t come at the expense of any quality. The jacket does a great job of preventing moisture through its barrier, yet stays breathable to prevent overheating. It also works really well as a windbreaker.
I love that Outdoor Research even makes the Helium in plus sizes to allow more people to have a more comfortable trip to the outdoors. This doesn’t happen with every piece of gear so it is nice that OR is making it easier for more people and more body types to enjoy the adventures.
The only concern I had was with the lack of pockets that made storage a bit limited for things like my keys and phone. Otherwise I really enjoyed the Helium and would recommend it as a nice jacket to keep in the pack so you will be prepared for all the changing weather conditions.
More from the Fatman
For a list of other products that I have reviewed you can check my Product Review page here. If you have any products you would like me to review or any comments you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!