Outdoor Research Helium Jacket

Looks like a little package of lightweight joy in for test there doesn’t it? “Designed by adventure” it says, but what’s the Helium Jacket  inside actually like?

The fit is good on me in a size large, trim but not slim, good length in the arms and decent body length too, none of which I was expecting. Arm movement is pretty good too.
The hem has an elastic adjuster and the cuffs are non-adjustable elastic. The main and pocket zip are the familiar water resistant type and the whole thing is cut from Pertex Shield. Shield is an interesting one, it’s quite silky feeling with a shiny outer and inside has the grid pattern of the 2.5 layer fabric. I think it feels a little clammy on bare skin, and it’s definitely slow at picking up moisture, but I’ve only used it a handful of times yet, so I’ll update on that.
The little pod above isn’t the pocket turned outside in, it’s an extra pouch sewn inside. Why bother? The pocket is already big enough.

So, the hood. Now I have been working with this, and I’ve even had other folk wearing it so I can adjust it while looking at it, and it’s always the same. The hood has a single-pull adjustment at the back, so if you want to tighten it in around your face a little you pull the cord and it pulls the hood backwards off your head, if you want to pull the peak down to shield you eyes from wind driven rain, you pull the cord and it pulls the hood backwards off your head, you want to tighten the hood in a little so it moves with your head, you pull the cord and it pulls the hood backwards off your head.
If the peak had any form or the hood was lower volume it would probably work better with this drawcord arrangement, if you wear a hat it works better, but bare headed or just a Buff, then yours is platter of frustration with a side salad of disappointment.

It’s a great jacket, cut from an okay fabric and capped with a ropey hood. Not often I’m so frustrated by test kit, this was so very nearly a winner.

3 thoughts on “Outdoor Research Helium Jacket”

  1. I guess RABs one has a better hood, although its heavier. I like mine for the stupidly long arms they put on it :)

    Any news about the planned Montane one thats been trailed about the place? They’re quoting rather better breathability etc figures for it than previous shield stuff, but its impossible to tell whether or not its got a different membrane behind it…..

  2. Been trying see Montane for months Martin, I’m a bit behind there and i keep forgetting about it. I’ll speak to them tomorrow tomorrow and see if I can get a squeeze at the upcoming kit.

    Coops :o)

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