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Outdoor Research Helium Down Hoodie Review

Built to last, this down works best in outdoor adventures where weather and brush can tear away at a jacket
outdoor research helium down hoodie down jacket review
Credit: Outdoor Research
Price:  $279 List
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By James Lucas & Buck Yedor  ⋅  Nov 9, 2022
67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 13
  • Warmth - 30% 8.0
  • Weight - 20% 5.0
  • Water Resistance - 15% 6.0
  • Comfort - 15% 6.0
  • Compressibility - 10% 7.0
  • Features - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Outdoor Research Helium Down Hoodie fights the elements with solid warmth, offering an 800 fill down jacket with Lightweight Pertex Quantum fabric that resists wind, water, and abrasion. The reinforced shoulders, arms, and hood keep this piece warmer and less likely to tear while moving through the back country than the other jackets we tested. These features come at the cost of added weight and a bulky fit. But if you're looking for a back country piece that works well for adventuring in the mountains, this down will be the one you want to wear when the weather rolls in.
REASONS TO BUY
Technical
Warm
Abrasion resistant
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy
Bulky
Editor's Note: We purchased and retested the Helium Down. Our review was updated on August 21, 2022, and reflects our new analysis.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Technical, warm, abrasion resistantLight, great compressibility, strong warmth to weight ratio compactWarm, well-fitting, excellent stylingInexpensive, lightweight,Fit allows for layering underneath, soft inner liner, inexpensive
Cons Heavy, bulky,Limited features, little adjustabilityPoor weather resistance, slightly heavySweater weight warmth, moderate adjustabilityThinner outer shell, less durable, not as warm as premium brands, not that compressible
Bottom Line Built to last, this down works best in outdoor adventures where weather and brush can tear away at a jacketA mountaineering jacket with high quality down and lightweight, this piece stands out for its functional simplicityThis classic down has a comfortable fit, excellent style, and plenty of warmth making it a reliable choiceThis 800-fill jacket offers quality down at a reasonable price and little weightA down jacket alternative that uses synthetic insulation that won't break the bank
Rating Categories Outdoor Research He... Mountain Hardwear G... Patagonia Down Swea... MontBell Superior Down Amazon Essentials L...
Warmth (30%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
Weight (20%)
5.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Water Resistance (15%)
6.0
6.0
5.0
4.0
5.0
Comfort (15%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Compressibility (10%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Features (10%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Specs Outdoor Research He... Mountain Hardwear G... Patagonia Down Swea... MontBell Superior Down Amazon Essentials L...
Down Fill 800+ fill goose down 800-fill goose down 800-fill goose down 800-fill goose down 100% polyester
Total Weight 15.5 oz 8.5 oz 14.9 oz 8.7 oz 11 oz
Baffle Construction Sewn-through baffles Sewn-through baffles Sewn-through baffles Sewn-through baffles Sewn-through baffles
Main Fabric 15D & 30D ripstop nylon 10D ripstop nylon 100% ripstop polyester 10D nylon Nylon
Compression Method Zips into pocket Zips into pocket Zips into pocket Stuff sack Stuff sack
Pockets 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest 2 zippered hand 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest 2 zippered hands, 1 internal 2 zippered hand
Hoodless Option? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Outdoor Research Helium Down Hoodie acts as a solid defense against inclement weather and mountain abuse. The reinforced upper shoulders and forearms kept the jacket from soaking through and the Pertex Quantum ripstop nylon not only battled the rain but also acted as an abrasion-resistant outer. These features come at a cost though. The jacket runs towards the heavier side and has an odd, bulky fit.

Performance Comparison


outdoor research helium down hoodie down jacket review - the or helium down hoody is one of the more water and tear-resistant...
The OR Helium Down Hoody is one of the more water and tear-resistant puffys currently on the market. The reinforced shoulders help significantly with keeping the weather at bay.
Credit: James Lucas

Warmth


This jacket offers plenty of warmth with its 800 fill down. The lofted feathers and fit kept our testers cozy when the temps dipped below freezing in Rocky Mountain Park. The adjustable hood helped batten down the hatches when the weather rolled in. The Pertex Quantum ripstop nylon acted as a windproof outer to further keep the cold air out of the piece and off our testers.

outdoor research helium down hoodie down jacket review - the or helium down is a warm puffy perfect for throwing on during...
The OR Helium Down is a warm puffy perfect for throwing on during downtime in the cold.
Credit: James Lucas

Weight


This jacket underperforms in terms of weight. While it's not the heaviest piece we tested, the Helium Down Hoodie has a lot of weight from the heavier and more durable outer. The jacket does utilize high quality, 800 fill down but that doesn't quite do enough for the piece to make the jacket lightweight. If the jacket's 15.5 ounce for a medium isn't important to you, then this jacket will work well for any outdoor adventure.

Water Resistance


Outdoor Research used hybrid construction when making this jacket, using a waterproof version of Pertex Shield with Diamond Fuse fabric on the shoulders and hood for added weather resistance. Our testers liked the added protection while breaking down their tent during a light rain in Rocky Mountain National Park. They stayed warm and relatively dry.

outdoor research helium down hoodie down jacket review - or reinforced the shoulders to make them more weather resistant.
OR reinforced the shoulders to make them more weather resistant.
Credit: James Lucas
As with any down jacket, if there's significant precipitation in the forecast, it's best to bring a hard shell rain jacket to battle off the rain. Too much water and even the added protection won't prevent this jacket from getting wet.

Comfort


The Helium Down Hoodie has a bit of a bulky fit more in line with the general boxiness of most down jackets. Our testers liked the general coziness of the garment but our taller and longer-limbed testers found the jacket to be a bit short and ride up during movement.

outdoor research helium down hoodie down jacket review - the bulkiness of the jacket made mobility difficult for pre-send...
The bulkiness of the jacket made mobility difficult for pre-send climbing prep.
Credit: James Lucas

Compressibility


Though quite bulky and heavy, this jacket compresses fairly well, stuffing into its left-hand pocket. Even packed down, this jacket definitely felt too big to clip onto a harness for multi-pitch climbing but for backcountry trips where space isn't a huge mitigating factor, the Helium Down Hoodie did a fair job of stuffing down.

Features


The Helium has a few strong features. The single-separating center front zipper is backed with no-snag webbing. The left-hand pocket doubles as a stuff sack, which makes the jacket easier to stow away. The external chest pocket provides a great place for storage of smaller items and the dual internal stash pockets provide even more space. With the two zippered hand pockets, this jacket has a ton of storage space.

outdoor research helium down hoodie down jacket review - the flat zippers and the garage on the hood of the chest pocket kept...
The flat zippers and the garage on the hood of the chest pocket kept it a bit dryer in the rain.
Credit: James Lucas

Should You Buy the Outdoor Research Helium Down Hoodie?


Outdoor Research did a solid job with this jacket. The added weather protection and durability make it ideal for cold-weather adventures. While it is a bit heavier than other jackets in the review and the bulkiness can be cumbersome, the feature laded jacket is a worthwhile puffy that can stand the abuse of the outdoors. These attributes along with its mid-range price, make the OR Helium a fair-valued jacket.

outdoor research helium down hoodie down jacket review - while it is a tad bulky, the or helium down hoody still functions...
While it is a tad bulky, the OR Helium Down Hoody still functions well enough for serious overhead movement.
Credit: James Lucas

What Other Down Jackets Should You Consider?


The Outdoor Research Helium Down Hoodie is ideal for mixed-weather excursions into the mountains. Similarly performing jackets include the Rab Microlight Alpine and Patagonia Down Sweater. All three of these jackets ring in at around the same price point.

James Lucas & Buck Yedor
 
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