When the rain threatens your adventure, reach for the Women's Helium II Jacket.

The sky doesn't wait for you to finish your rappel before it opens up; so don't hesitate to reach for your Outdoor Research Women's Helium II Jacket. This ultra lightweight go-to jacket shields you from even the nastiest wet-weather squall so you can focus on safety and gear rather than how cold and wet you are. Fully packable into a hem stuff pocket, it readily dangles just inches away on your harness or backpack for easy access.

  • Lighter, more water-resistant, and more breathable than its predecessor, the Helium
  • Pertex Shield DS Stretch fabric accommodates a full range of motion while still keeping you dry and covered
  • Fully taped seams prevent even lingering moisture from seeping through to your lower layers
  • Adjustable hood helps you achieve coverage without sacrificing visibility
  • Water-resistant zippers keep your valuables dry and safe
  • Elastic cuffs help complete a seal between you and the cold, wet outside
  • Stuff pocket with webbing loop easily clips to a harness or pack
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

Good Just in Case

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: True to size

From my wife: I’ve packed this jacket a couple times without the chance to use it yet in rain. Super light and packable. While I miss having pockets, having some kind of storage is still nice. Good just in case jacket for both on the mountain and while traveling.

Fit for purpose

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

This jacket is a neat colour (bright turquoise), but felt a bit more plastic than I thought it would and was a bit more sweaty than I had anticipated.
However having said that, it was very useful when hiking Bryce (in -14C), Zion, Arches, Grand Canyon and Yosemite National parks as I kept it in my back pack (it’s extremely light), and used as a wind break when we stopped for a break in the cold wind while winter snow hiking. I knew if I was really cold I had it in my pack and would feel warmer straight away. Although not for this purpose I also used to sit on in the snow. I haven’t tried in rain. It runs pretty true to size (I am 128 lbs and 5’6” and with the M I can fit a few layers underneath and still move. It would be even better if it were longer so that while wearing you could sit on it.

Thank you so much for the review, Jean! Happy Trails!
Leta
OR Rep

Ultralight protection!

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

This jacket packs down to about twice the size of my phone - tiny! It's super light and has a loop when packed into its pocket so is easy to clip onto a harness or pack. I've only used it in light rain and wind so far, and have it more as an emergency layer when I don't want to bring up a tougher rain jacket. While I feel like it would withstand tons of rain, it is a very thin material so just would be more susceptible to tear. Always the tradeoff with lightweight gear, but hasn't been an issue!

Fits well and true to size - a small fit me well and is my normal size.

I am roughly the same hight and weight as you and I cannot decide if I need a small or medium. I have a 34.5 in chest measurement. How much room do you have in the small?

my favorite!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: medium

used this jacket for 600 miles on the AT, where it rains frequently. never had an issue with water soaking through. i wore this a lot as a wind breaker too which worked great! it also makes a nice light jacket for hanging out in camp and avoiding mosquitoes. super light and packable. wouldnt go on a hike without this!

I'm the same hight and wait as you and cannot decide if I would need a small or medium. I have a 34.5 min chest measurement. How much room do you have in the medium?

Mountaineering Gear Essentials for Climb

"This ultralight and ultra compressible jacket is great for flash storms and cool breezes that accompany travelers from low to high altitudes. Keep this one close at hand; you’ll never know when you’ll need it (but I guarantee you will)."

- Rachel Davidson, The Outbound Collective



https://www.theoutbound.com/kits/women-s-mountaineering-gear-essentials-for-climbing-in-the-himalayas

Mountaineering Gear Essentials for Climb

Thank you for leaving a comment. Very helpful to me that I am trying to be a mountaineer.

Throw it in your pack and forget it!

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

I have this jacket as my emergency rain jacket. It's lightweight and small making it very packable. I typically throw it into my mountain biking pack, but also toss it in when going hiking too.

It's perfect because of it's size and weight. I am a huge fan of color and always having color especially when it is raining to brighten any day, so there are always fun colors.

It keeps you dry and gives you no reason to not have an emergency rain jacket!

Perfect Jacket

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

It started to rain on the trail last weekend and when I pulled this out of my pack, someone asked if it was my pack shell and stood dumbfounded when it unrolled into a jacket. It packs down TINY. It's ridiculously lightweight and keeps you dry dry dry. I like the elastic on the cuffs (my last rain jacket didn't have that). The trade-off for size and weight is lack of waist pockets and no armpit vents. It's a great all-around rain jacket; it performs excellently and looks good so it's perfect for on-trail and around town.

Best Lightweight Rain Jacket

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The Outdoor Research Helium II rain jacket is the best rain jacket I own! It my one of my go to layers I wear it casually around town and it doesn't look out of place despite having minimal pockets etc. It packs down perfectly for hiking and backpacking and takes up absolutely no room in my pack while still providing the rain protection you need when a storm rolls in. I got the night/ultraviolet and its so cute, I get so many compliments. Fits true to size.

Lots of Pros & One Con

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Large

Love this jacket. Perfect Summer windbreaker/random rain shower protection. Very light. No lining. Just a light Summer jacket. I bought a Large which will suffice. It's snug. I probably could have sized up for a looser fit but feel like this jacket runs very true to size. I purchased Ultra-Violet and love the color.
Now for the one con!
No pockets at the waist!
Seriously.
Only a chest pocket so...hmmm.
Something to just be aware of.
Not a deal breaker but it seems odd?
The one other thing to keep in mind very much so is it does not ventilate at the armpits.

Will be easy to pack. Takes up almost no room when folded down.

So right Jojo the new model has pockets on both sides and I am debating buying this one or wait one more year to have the new ne on sale ;/ those pockets. Always useful but they add weight.

Having no pockets is one of the reason a jacket can be so light weight. :)

Unanswered Question

Can anyone comment on the length of the sleeves? I'm tall (5'9) and slim so usually wear a small, but I always look for rain jackets with long sleeves otherwise my wrists are exposed whenever I reach for anything.

Perfect on the go rain jacket!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Medium

I bring this jacket everywhere in the summer! It is super lightweight and compacts pretty small so I transfer it amongst my different packs. I use it for hiking, biking, and around town. Despite its lightweight, it has kept me super warm and dry all summer!

Amy, My favorite part is that it is sub 6 ounces! So packable! Great emergency shell for sure. Happy Trails!

Leta
OR Rep

Unanswered Question

how small does it pack up?

Backpacking in Washington

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: Xs

I bought this jacket to take with me on my hike through Washington on the PCT. Let me start by saying it is incredibly light weight. I had people ask me if it was really going to be waterproof or not. And initially I didn't actually believe it would be myself. But then (in true Washington fashion) . It rained. A lot. I threw on my jacket and wore it for three solid days. And let me tell you it is light. Very comfortable.
My only wish for this jacket is for it to have armpit vents (or whatever the technical term is).

 Backpacking in Washington

Great Ultralight Jacket

  • Size Bought: Large

This is the perfect jacket for travel or throwing in your day pack when there is a chance of rain. I found the minimal features to be just right. The hood is an ample size, and has a draw cord which is a nice feature. It stuffs very easily into the internal pocket. There is also a bottom cinch if you are in some real wind!

Great ultralight jacket

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

Incredibly light, stows in own pocket and clips to backpack, great for unexpected summer downpours. Comfortably cut. Definitely sweat when exercising but the small size/light weight convenience is an adequate trade off.

Agreed! Perfect shell to carry in your pack at all times. Only 5.4 oz!

Great lightweight jacket

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

I bought the Helium Jacket after my North Face jacket lost all of it's waterproofing and even re-proofing it didn't work. I live and hike mostly in Colorado, so we don't have rain super often and it's usually not for long periods of time, so this jacket works well, as it's super light and doesn't take up tons of space in my pack. (It folds into it's own packet nicely.) It doesn't have much in terms of pockets or extra features, but since I don't wear it often or for long periods of time, it does the trick. Overall, I'd buy it again.

Perfect Lightweight Rain Jacket!

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

LOVE this jacket. I needed a lightweight and breathable rain jacket to bring on long wet weather trail runs and have handy on climbs when the weather turns and this fits the bill! It is so light - easily fits in my hydration pack or clips to my harness. Bonus points for the bright green color.

The material feels really lightweight, hard to believe it's as waterproof as it is - but so far rain beads up nicely on it (unlike a couple other light rain jackets I tried). Fairly breathable - no pit zips, but can always leave the front open or leave the bungies loose.

I don't really miss the pit zips or hip pockets on this - it's not what I bought it for. I have another rain jacket - a bomber goretex shell with pockets, pit zips, etc- so for colder weather, longer trips, etc I've got that one - but it's bulkier (can't clip to harness for windy belay stations and takes up most of the hydration pack or must be bungy'd to the back). I tried on the Helium HD in store and didn't feel those features were worth the extra $50.

Size wise: 5'5", 130 lb, I'm a S by OR's size guide but purchased a medium because I've got more of climber build/muscular upper body and it drives me CRAZY when things are tight on my shoulders. I'm really happy with the fit of the medium and it's loose enough that can fit a lightweight down jacket or insulating layer under it in cooler months.

Would a men's small be comparable to a women's medium?

Soon I will be traveling around southeast asia for about a year. It will be hot and humid. It's important for me to have a waterproof, windproof, and lightweight (preferably able to stuff into its own pouch) and breathable jacket. I'm considering this jacket or the Marmot Precip, the Mt. Hardware Plasmic or the Marmot Crystalline. Does anyone have comments to help my decision?

Hey Lisa, this is Leta, rep for OR for Backcountry.com. why not buy the women's medim? Color? The men's small is not exactly cut like the women's medium, but could probably work. I own this jacket and absolutley love it - it is a perfect choice for what you are describing. Have fun!



Leta

I'm looking at this jacket for the exact same reason (I'll be traveling to SE Asia for about 6 months.) What jacket did you end up buying?

Unanswered Question

Other than colors and about 3 oz of weight, what is the difference between the Helium II and the Helium HD? Thanks.

No pitzips

  • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
  • Fit: True to size

I didn't end up keeping this jacket for two reasons:



1) No pitzips!



2) The material had a very plastic feeling to it.

Finding a ultra light rainshell with vents is kinda tough.

Or makes this jacket with vents and more pockets, adding 2 oz. its the Helium HD.

A favorite of mine until I went to a goretex Active shell was the Marmot Super Mica. Similar ultra light thin fabric but with pit zips and reenforced shoulders for carrying a pack.