Outdoor Research Helium Down Hoodie Review
Compare to Similar Products
Outdoor Research Helium Down Hoodie
|Price||$167.37 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$175.00 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$197.40 at Evo|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$209 List||$46 List|
$35.80 at Amazon
|Pros||Technical, warm, abrasion resistant||Light, great compressibility, strong warmth to weight ratio compact||Warm, well-fitting, excellent styling||Inexpensive, lightweight,||Fit allows for layering underneath, soft inner liner, inexpensive|
|Cons||Heavy, bulky,||Limited features, little adjustability||Poor weather resistance, slightly heavy||Sweater weight warmth, moderate adjustability||Thinner 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 jacket||A mountaineering jacket with high quality down and lightweight, this piece stands out for its functional simplicity||This classic down has a comfortable fit, excellent style, and plenty of warmth making it a reliable choice||This 800-fill jacket offers quality down at a reasonable price and little weight||A 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...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|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|
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.
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.
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.
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.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More