Outdoor Research Helium Insulated Hoodie Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Lightweight, good compressibility
Cons: No chest pocket, cumbersome hood
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
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Outdoor Research Helium Insulated Hoodie
|Price||$109.42 at Backcountry|
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|$259.00 at REI|
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|$98.98 at Backcountry|
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$199.95 at Amazon
$199.95 at Amazon
|Pros||Lightweight, good compressibility||Very comfortable, great fit, breathable, impressively warm, great mobility||Very warm, great features set, packs away easily||Wind resistant, excellent breathability||Very comfortable, warm, many features|
|Cons||No chest pocket, cumbersome hood||Pricey, not as warm as thicker layers, doesn’t stuff into itself||Not the lightest||Poor water resistance, minimal features||Heavy, uses an external stuff sack|
|Bottom Line||This synthetic puff is lightweight, highly compressible, and offers decent weather resistance||The ideal active insulated layer combines lightweight mobility and great breathability, yet still wards off the chill during cold weather||With high loft, water-resistant insulation, this jacket is a great option for staying warm on cold, damp days, and doesn't break the bank||Breathable and lightweight, this jacket is the perfect companion for cold weather high-output activities||This medium-weight jacket spares no attention to detail when it comes to keeping you comfortable|
|Rating Categories||Outdoor Research He...||Arc'teryx Atom LT H...||Rab Nebula Pro||Rab Xenair Insulated||Rab Cirrus Alpine I...|
|Weight and Compressibility (20%)|
|Weather Resistance (20%)|
|Specs||Outdoor Research He...||Arc'teryx Atom LT H...||Rab Nebula Pro||Rab Xenair Insulated||Rab Cirrus Alpine I...|
|Measured Weight (size)||10.8 oz (M)||13.20 oz (M)||22.9 oz (M)||11.8 oz (M)||17.6 oz (M)|
|Insulation||VerticalX Eco SR||60 g/m2 Coreloft Compact w/ Stretch Fleece panels on sides||Cirrus HL||PrimaLoft Gold Active+||PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Luxe|
|Outer Fabric||Pertex Quantum||20D Nylon Tyono||Pertex Quantum Pro (30D recycled nylon)||Pertex Quantum Air||30D recycled Pertex Quantum|
|Stuffs Into Itself?||Yes||No||Includes stuff sack||Yes||No|
|Number of Pockets||2 zippered hand, 2 divided internal drop pockets||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered internal chest|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The OR Helium Insulated Hoodie is constructed with quite a few new technologies. It's filled with a blend of recycled and biomaterials that perform as well as conventional materials. The Pertex Diamond Fuse technology on the outer shell adds durability thanks to the proprietary diamond-shaped filaments used in the fabric. The special weave adds abrasion resistance and is meant to ensure the material is less likely to tear, as lightweight puffs tend to do.
The Helium is one of the least warm options we tested. That being said, it is also one of the lightest-weight jackets in our lineup. Our testing indicated that it's not meant for sub-freezing temperatures; however, we found it to be comfortable down to the mid-50s if fairly sedentary and comfortable to wear down into the mid-40s if you’re on the move.
The waist hem is adjustable via a drawcord which lets you cinch the waistline tight to keep warm air from escaping out the bottom. When paired with a fleece midlayer and a waterproof shell, this jacket makes a great insulating layer for skiing and other cold weather activities.
Weight and Compressibility
Our size medium weighed in at 10.8 ounces and stuffs down into a small and tidy package. Whether you need a jacket to throw into your backpack for your daily commute to work or to bring along on a light and fast backpacking mission, the Helium is a serious space saver.
It stuffs into its own zippered hand pouch but unfortunately doesn’t come equipped with a clip-in loop, which can be handy if you want to clip the jacket to the outside of a backpack or to a harness. When stowed away, the whole package is about the size of a one-liter water bottle.
The elastic and fleece-lined wrist cuffs are comfortable on the skin and slide over gloves without issue. This jacket has very little stretch built into it but the cut of the shoulders gives you plenty of mobility for most activities. While it isn't our first choice for rock climbing, it's plenty comfortable for hiking, backpacking, skiing, and most outdoor activities.
With no elastic built into the hemline of the hood, it’s a tight and somewhat difficult squeeze to get the hood on and off if you have your jacket zipped all the way through the top of the collar. The hood isn’t large enough to accommodate a ski or climbing helmet but does have an interesting method of adjustability that lets you decrease the overall volume of the hood.
Like most insulation layers, the Helium is primarily designed to keep you warm but not necessarily dry. The outer shell is water-resistant but not waterproof. It can slough off a light drizzle but you’ll need to pair this with a rain shell if you’re anticipating heavy or prolonged precipitation. Fortunately, even if this jacket gets a little soggy, it might be uncomfortable, but the synthetic insulation will keep working its magic and continue to trap your body heat and keep you warm.
This jacket falls somewhere in the middle in terms of breathability. The nylon shell is fairly water and wind-resistant for an insulating shell. This unfortunately makes it a little less breathable. This jacket is not the thickest, which does let it breathe compared to more beefed up, warmer options.
The OR Helium is a mid-priced option. It’s missing some of the comforts and features that premium models offer, but if you prioritize weight and compressibility over warmth, you'll be pleased with your purchase.
Insulated with a blend of recycled and biomaterials, this synthetic puff keeps materials out of the landfill. While we appreciate seeing more sustainable options, it's a bonus when they perform as well as conventional materials. The OR Helium Insulated does just that. It’s lightweight, warm for its weight, and highly compressible. This jacket is the perfect light accompaniment for everything from hiking to skiing.
— Buck Yedor
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