Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

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Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby Hiking Exped » Thu 09 Dec, 2021 2:18 pm

Has anyone got experience with these lightweight jackets and trousers? Very tempting when trying to cut weight. Less than 200g on both. That’s 400g for waterproofs when my current ones are weighing in at 1200g and spend much time inside my pack :D Interested to hear if anyone has these. Cheers
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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby Tino B » Thu 09 Dec, 2021 6:00 pm

I have quite a few OR pieces of gear but the Helium rain gear isn’t that waterproof in the freezer experience of one of my hiking mates. My light weight jacket is a Montbell Versalite which will stand up to moderate rain for hours.
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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby ChrisJHC » Fri 10 Dec, 2021 6:51 am

I carry the jacket permanently in my pack. Take the pants when rain is forecast.
Seem to work well enough.
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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby Hiking Exped » Fri 10 Dec, 2021 2:50 pm

Thanks both. I hadn’t looked at the Mont Bell. Looks good. Although it seems getting either at the moment is harder than it looks.
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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 10 Dec, 2021 3:32 pm

When I was between Goretex parkas I was using a cheap Rainbird jacket and it was surprisingly good for the price I paid.
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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby Hiking Exped » Sat 11 Dec, 2021 6:12 am

I had a Rain Bird for my son when he was much younger when as a family we got caught out in a storm on Mt Clear. By the time we hiked to some sort of shelter my Gortex was wetting through a bit, but his Rain Bird was fine. I did actually (briefly) consider those as a light weight option, but I weighed one and it came in at 450g in medium. The Hellium or Mont Bell Versalite seem to be best options, although cannot find anyone in Aus selling them in an XL as yet. Will see what post Xmas brings and if US postage gets better. If anyone has other lightweight good waterproofs, I’m all ears. My old knees have started to message me saying you are no longer a 21 yr old soldier and you need to go lighter. I’ve shaved off 3kg so far and another 3kg on spreadsheets (a big Christmas/Birthdays shopping list) :D
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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby crollsurf » Sat 11 Dec, 2021 7:41 am

If your considering other UL jackets , might be worth checking the Enlightened Equipment Visp. I've only clocked a few days in the rain but very happy with it so far. No good for scrub bashing though.

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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby Hiking Exped » Sat 11 Dec, 2021 6:37 pm

Thanks Crollsurf will check them out
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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby Dexter » Sun 12 Dec, 2021 4:03 pm

For the jacket at least, have a look into Gore-Tex Shakedry. Kathmandu (of all places) has one called Zeolite that I picked up a few weeks ago. Breaths better than anything else I've owned, and is waterproof. No face fabric or DWR used so won't wear off, and doesn't wet out. It's basically the waterproof membrane exposed to the world. I would almost never recommend Kathmandu as a brand to people but this is potentially one exception.

The only reservations I've had about this new tech is how durable it will be under a pack. There appears to be two thicknesses of fabric used. One okay to use for light backpacking and one that is advised not to be used with a pack. I think from memory the Arc'teryx Norvan SL uses Shakedry as well but seems to be the lighter less durable fabric. It's listed as 110g where as the Kathmandu Shakedry Zeolite is roughly double from memory. I still wouldn't use it bush bashing but if you stay mainly on the trails it's possibly the best rain jacket that's easily obtainable in Australia right now. I grabbed it on sale for about $300. Still seems to be that price at the moment.



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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby Hiking Exped » Tue 14 Dec, 2021 6:53 am

Thanks Dexter. Have looked at a few jackets now. Got into Melbourne and had a chat with a mate at Bogong. I looked at the OR Helium, but really didn’t like the feel and it’s durability under a pack is not good I’m told. I’ll take a look at your idea. I think I’m heading up in weight a bit though to be safe with durability under a pack. I’ve been highly recommended a MacPac traverse and their lightweight trousers too. I know what you mean regarding Kathmandu. I’ve never used any MacPac stuff, but the recommendation, weight and costs make these an option too. Thanks again
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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby Dexter » Tue 14 Dec, 2021 8:57 pm

Interested to hear how you go. I think you'll be even more concerned with the Gore-Tex Shakedry stuff in regards to durability, though I have seen others overseas swear by it and have used it under a pack for a couple of years now. I thought I'd take my chances and figure from my experience DWR wears off in a matter of months and is never the same.

I contacted a reviewer on YouTube that's been using a Shakedry jacket and asked what his gut feeling is on using it with a decent pack weight and this is his response...

'Hey Gavan. No got feeling required here. I've been using this jacket on every trip for the last two years for a few thousand miles and carrying anywhere from 15-30 lbs (for an FKT). So far I've had zero wear and it has never wet out. If you backpack or run a lot and are looking for the lightest and best rain jacket on the market this is it. Even after two years there still isn't another better rain jacket.'


You can go with other (non Kathmandu) variations, Gore make their own version (R7 Trail). There's a Mountain Equipment one too. But all the same tech / fabric anyway. Gore inspect them and give them the okay to use their name / fabric so I figure the Kathmandu branded jacket can't be too much different. This is likely the case with some Macpac gear as well. Some is decent, and not all of it is for day trippers and soccer spectating.

The other options using Shakedry I've found are closer to $400 USD before shipping, if you can find one. The Arc'teryx Norvan is huge money as usual with Arc'teryx. So I figured $299 was a good deal. If it holds up, it's the best jacket I've tried so far anyway.

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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby Hiking Exped » Wed 15 Dec, 2021 4:27 am

Really useful Dexter. I’m going to have a look at these. I especially like the fact they are 100% Nylon too, sounds pretty durable. That said I know the Shield Pro Pertex used on the MacPac I have been recommended is also a great durable material and very breathable with its microporous membrane. Used Pertex Shield a fair bit. I’ll have a close look at both and weigh up fit, comfort, weight, etc too. I guess the real test then will be on the hills :D Thanks again
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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby wildwanderer » Wed 15 Dec, 2021 8:35 am

No pit zips on the Kathmandu shakedry. Which is a shame..

otherwise looks very similar to my Columbia outdry jacket. Which I'd like to get a bigger size for but can't find them anywhere anymore.. (for a non outrageous price)
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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby EGM » Wed 15 Dec, 2021 8:47 am

HikingExped the OR helium is also made of pertex shield but a new version which is meant to he much stronger than that used in the macpac traverse.

Check out the OR Helium HD, might be exactly what you're after.
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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby Dexter » Thu 16 Dec, 2021 7:50 pm

wildwanderer wrote:No pit zips on the Kathmandu shakedry. Which is a shame..

otherwise looks very similar to my Columbia outdry jacket. Which I'd like to get a bigger size for but can't find them anywhere anymore.. (for a non outrageous price)
A shame indeed. I'd sacrifice a few more grams for some pitzips. Having said that, I've walked in it in warmish humid conditions without overheating and that's definitely not something I'd be comfortable doing in any of my other jackets. Even my OR ascent shell with pit zips. They definitely do breath even though they don't feel as though they should.

I was also on the hunt for OutDry and struggled to find it. Even sent Columbia Aust and email asking if there were any new jackets coming or anything available in Australia. They weren't very helpful. I've never got to see one in the flesh, but a mate at work's wife has one and he's had a look at my Shakedry jacket... he said it's way lighter. They appear to be thicker, heavier, less breathable, more durable and more full featured than Shakedry. Pros and cons I guess.
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Re: Outdoor Research Helium 2 Jacket

Postby Stew63 » Thu 16 Dec, 2021 8:42 pm

I have an OR Helium2 jacket. The perfect lightweight jacket I have in my Ultra Running backpack - however I wouldn't consider it for my normal light hiking backpack when the weather was going to turn to sh1t.
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