The Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket is a solid jacket for backpacking and thru-hiking because of its affordability, functionality, and durability. The jacket is for outdoor enthusiasts looking for something that is lightweight, packable, and waterproof while also not being concerned about snagging it, or wearing it out. The jacket comes in at about half the cost of most competitors, yet still performs quite well.
One of the most impressive features of the Helium rain jacket is its weight. Weighing in at only 6.4 ounces (181 grams), it is one of the lightest rain jackets on the market. Despite its lightweight, the Helium Rain Jacket is surprisingly durable thanks to its 30D ripstop nylon fabric. It really is a great jacket for the Pacific Crest Trail weather and terrain.
Lightweight: The Helium is one of the lightest rain jackets on the market
Waterproof and breathable: The Pertex Shield Diamond Fuse laminate provides excellent protection against rain and moisture while allowing moisture to escape
Durable: Despite its lightweight, the 30D ripstop nylon fabric is surprisingly durable
Adjustable fit: The jacket’s adjustable hood, hem, and cuffs provide a secure and customizable fit
Packable: The Helium Rain Jacket can be stuffed into its own pocket, making it incredibly easy to pack and transport.
Hood may not fit well in a rain storm
Zipper can be finicky
Not very warm: This jacket is designed to be lightweight and breathable but it has no insulation and the breathability does not help the warmth that it provides.
The jacket uses breathable Pertex Shield Diamond Fuse laminate for its waterproofing. This material provides excellent protection against rain and moisture while allowing moisture to escape rather than making it a sauna-type feel inside a rain jacket. All the seams are sealed, and the waterproofing is very reliable.
The Helium Rain Jacket’s adjustable hood, hem, and cuffs provide a secure and customizable fit, ensuring you stay comfortable and dry. The jacket’s athletic fit is designed to allow for a full range of motion, making it an excellent choice for activities like rock climbing or scrambling.
Another impressive feature of this rain jacket is its packability. The Helium Rain Jacket can be stuffed into its own pocket, making it incredibly easy to pack and transport. This is especially handy for backpackers and hikers who need to save space in their packs for other gear.
While the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket is an excellent choice for most outdoor activities, it does have a few drawbacks. The hood is not the most secure, especially in heavy windstorms. Additionally, the jacket’s zippers can be finicky, which may be a minor annoyance when out on the trails and caught in a storm.
Our Choice: Janji Rainrunner
Close Second: Outdoor Research Helium
Great Value: Marmot Precip Eco
Budget Option: Frogg Toggs
Good Durability: North Face Venture 2
Premium with all the features: Arc’teryx Beta SL Hybrid Jacket
Affordable with Premium Quality: Patagonia Torrentshell 3L
Overall, the Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket is an impressive rain jacket that offers excellent protection against rain and moisture while remaining lightweight and packable. It’s an excellent choice for hikers, backpackers, and anyone who spends time outdoors in wet conditions.