Published on June 26th, 2014 | by Greg0
Outdoor Research Helium HD: Ultralight Second Skin
If you’re watching the World Cup, you can’t help but feel bad for the players, many of whom are struggling in downpours that can seem at times like torrential rain. “Looks like they could use a jacket,” we’ve overheard more than a few times. Even in today’s USA vs Germany game, the skies opened up and left the teams exposed to the elements.
Next time that a sudden storm catches you off guard, be ready with the Outdoor Research Helium HD jacket. It’s the sort of ultra-lightweight layer that you can roll up into a bag- or even a big pocket- and forget about until you need it. With a full-zip front and a hideaway hood, it nonetheless weighs only 9.1 ounces, certainly more than their lightest Helium II (6.5 ounces) but offering two extra zippered pockets that we greatly appreciate. Oh, and it offers pit zips, very handy for ventilation, and something that many other ultralight jackets lack. Plus, it’s available for men or women.
The Helium HD comes in three color options- ours was the Men’s hydro/lemongrass combination, but a sleek black and bright “supernova/diablo” orange are available as well (solid flame/alpine lake for women). As you might expect, the jackets uses flat zippers, is fully seam taped, has a drawcord hem and velcro straps for your sleeves, all ensuring that even harsh storms won’t get through to your core and you’ll be left high and dry (in the best way possible). Fit is good- a little loose for slim folks, but with nicely long sleeves and a solid brim hood that offered enough protection with a custom shape they call HaloHood which preserves peripheral vision while in use. Made from breathable nylon Pertex, we always love the Outdoor Research “Forever Guarantee”.
Versatile, compressible, and utterly fearless against water, the Helium HD is the perfect jacket for anyone who has found themselves caught in an unexpected storm, wishing they had a jacket that was minimal enough to ignore. Hikers and climbers can throw it in a camera bag or fanny pack, and enjoy a waterproof second skin. The only real downside we found is the price- it’s not your average rain jacket, but will cost you a pretty penny at around $200, online and in stores.