Black Diamond Helio Shell Jacket - Men's

Light and dependable.

From steep alpine ascents to experiencing the first exhilarating turns of your descent, the Black Diamond Men's Helio Shell Jacket offers the best of performance and luxury. Constructed with a three-layer shell, this is Black Diamond's lightest Gore-Tex jacket. A Gore-Tex C-Knit backer replaces the crispy feel of most hardshells with a soft-to-the-touch construction that increases comfort and packability. Designed to be fully harness compatible, the jacket also features an Integrated Cohaesive cord management system for reliable performance and security.

  • A performance shell for ski mountaineers on ultra-light missions
  • Gore-Tex shell for lightweight weather protection
  • Soft hand Gore-Tex C-Knit backer for a soft, packable construction
  • Integrated Cohaesive cord management system
  • Harness compatible pockets
  • Full-length pit zips for ventilation
  • Reviews
  • Q & A
Unanswered Question

Does this jacket have wrist gaiters with thumb loops?

Quality

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size

The helio is a great shell to have tucked away for descents in the backcountry or worn as an outer layer shell in the resort. It’s minimalist for sure with the 2 chest pockets. It’s super light, packable, and breathable. The fit is true to size and will allow for layering. I’ve worn a base layer, light jacket and light puffy underneath this shell. Black Diamond claims that you can fit skins in the chest pockets but there is clearly not enough room for them. The hood has plenty of coverage to fit a helmet underneath as well. Overall this is an awesome shell to have along to keep you dry and comfortable…and the cactus green looks slightly darker than the picture.

Overall Solid Lightweight Shell

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Large

I have used this shell in three different trips this season. First was ice climbing in Bozeman. The shell fits nice and slim while still allowing enough layers under (6 ft, 200 lbs, size L). It did not ride up through the harness during climbing and provided great flexibility. The hood fit well over a climbing helmet.

The second trip was for a winter climb of Mt. Baldy in SoCal. The shell was very, very comfortable next to skin. The only drawback in this use were the functionality of the pit zips. They are a little bit in an awkward placement and require you to either take off the shell or for you to get nice an intimate with your partner... not necessarily the worst thing. On the flip side of that, the shell breaths extremely well... Almost Goretex Active well, so the pit zips were more of an extra dump of heat more than anything. On the summit, winds pushed more than 30 mph, yet it cut wind perfectly. I glissaded roughly 700 ft on the way down with it and there was no damage whatsoever.

The last trip was skiing at Mammoth during a snow storm (in resort). For wind/waterproofness, top notch shell. It held its own in whiteout conditions for wet snow and worked extremely well with burly under the cuff gloves. The hood did not fit the best over a ski helmet though. It did not completely the helmet and left part of my face exposed due to that. Other than the face exposure, the shell was remarkable in adverse wind (50-70 mph on exposed ridge lines).

All in all, this is a very versatile shell that is very lightweight, strong and gets the job done. If you are looking for a resort jacket, this is not it, but if you want to make one purchase that can cover many activities with above average performance, this is your shell.

Such a thorough review, MG. Thanks!

Specific Tool for the Job

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Large

This is absolutely a quiver shell, but it is great to have. For 3 layer gore protection it doesn't get much lighter and packable than this. Does the job in every condition I've thrown at it with no issues.

That being said, this jacket does go minimalist on the features. Not a lot of pockets that you would find on other ski jackets. However, this is kind of perfect. It fits in my bag well for the way up when I am getting warmer, but packs all the robustness you need when you top and it gets windy and cold.

The other thing I like is the fit. Despite being more "alpine" jacket it's not like rando racer tight. Tailored fit with room to layer a puffy underneath, but not too bulky.

If you're touring or doing other alpine adventures, this is a great piece. If you're banging lifts and doing 50/50 resort/BC, I'd probably look for something a little burlier for both warmth and durability. I haven't had any durability issues with the jacket, but I haven't been exactly banging through trees searching for leftovers at the resort with it.