Outdoor Research Helium HD (2014)

The Outdoor Research Helium HD is a very lightweight jacket, weighing in at 270g (size L) and made from 2.5-layer Pertex Shield+, a fabric that boasts top-end performance for breathability and waterproofness. The zip up the front of the jacket is a more water-resistant design than many around this price, but you don’t get an internal flap to impede progress of any water that gets in to this area, a drawback in really heavy rain. There are three external pockets, and these can all be accessed while wearing a rucksack; however the pocket bag does extend almost to the hem, so small items tend to end up tucked behind a rucksack waist- or hipbelt pretty easily. But the Outdoor Research Helium HD’s two lower pockets are map-sized, which is useful, while the top pocket is ideal for a GPS receiver or compass. The lower pockets are mesh, so not ideal for keeping you dry, but the chest pocket is a more water-resistant design. There are pit zips for venting in warm wet weather while the hood benefits from a wired peak plus good fit and movement to allow very easy vision in wind and rain. There are some niggles with this design but the weight, fabric specification and price are all great for lightweight hillwalkers on a budget.

Specifications:

Fabric 2.5-layer Pertex Shield

Lining none

Men’s sizes S-XL

Women’s sizes none

External pockets 3

Stowable hood? no

Side/pit zips? yes

Weight 270g (men’s size L)

Website www.outdoorresearch.co.uk

Verdict

The Outdoor Research Helium HD has very high-performance fabric plus a great hood and overall weight, but the pocket design could be better and I’d like to see a baffle behind that front zip.

Review by Graham Thompson

First published in Trail magazine July 2014

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