Men's Helium II Jacket™

Style# 55230OR

Top Pick Award Winter 2015 – Outdoor Gear Lab

Gear Guy: Best Waterproof Running Jacket Winter 2015 – Runner's World

Best Cold-Weather Kayaking Gear Winter 2015 – Canoe & Kayak Magazine

Built for flash-storm protection, the 100% waterproof, super-breathable Helium II weighs an incredibly light 6.4 ounces. An ultra-compressible piece you'll never leave behind, it's so light and packs down so small you'll forget it's clipped to your harness until you throw it on to ward off a sudden mid-route downpour. Compressible to the size of a granola bar, the Helium II keeps you completely protected from unfriendly weather on the trail but doesn't waste space or add more than a feather's-worth of weight to your pack.
Standard Fit


Hot Sauce
Typhoon/Hot Sauce




  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Fully Seam-Taped
  • YKK® AquaGuard® Center Front Zipper
  • Fully Adjustable Hood
  • Single-Separating Front Zipper
  • Zippered Napoleon Pocket
  • Internal Pocket Doubles as Stuff Sack
  • Carabiner Loop
  • Elastic Cuffs
  • Drawcord Hem


Fit: Standard Fit

Fabric: Pertex® Shield+ 2.5L, 100% nylon 30D ripstop

Center Back Length: 28 ½” / 72 cm (L)

Avg. Weight (oz./g): 6.4oz / 180g (L)

Customer Reviews

Great design, poor execution (Review by Dave)

Nice idea for a light yet waterproof shell. Unfortunately, the quality is unsatisfactory. The zipper failed at the base as I was trying it for size fro the first time. Fabric appears fine, a bit tight as other have stated, but the cheap zipper is a major fail. Sorry but this does not hack it.

(Posted on 2/26/16)

Excellent rain shell (Review by Michael Knoll)

I hike and climb mainly in Washington's North and Central Cascades in the summer. This jacket lives in my pack and goes on every trip. It's the lightest rains hell I've ever seen or heard of. When I got it (as a gift), I tested it by standing in the shower for 10 minutes. No leaks, not a drop. It has just the right set of features to keep me warm and dry without adding excessive weight.

(Posted on 2/8/16)

Sooo light and packable (Review by MarkL)

Dressing for ski touring in the Pacific NW can be a challenge. It is often damp or full-on wet, but not especially cold. I often find myself wanting better moisture protection from the outside than a soft shell, but regular Goretex is heavier, bulkier, and gets hot and clammy in the high humidity since it is just as damp on the outside as the inside. I only want the water protection when it is really raining and a soft shell isn't enough, so I figured since Goretex isn't really breathable anyway, why carry all the extra weight and bulk? Enter the Helium II.

It is so thin I can wear it over a midlayer (soft shell or Cathode jacket) without adding a lot of bulk. This system definitely pushes the limits of this item, but the savings allows me to carry more flexible layers with less weight and bulk: water resistant wind jacket (more breathable), soft shell vest, Cathode jacket). The jury is still out, but so far for day trips it is working reasonably well.

It's primary drawbacks as a ski shell are:
Length - I'd love to see a longer cut version of this coat. Wear it with bibs or high waist pants only
Lack of pockets (weight/bulk tradeoff)
Wetting out - the fabric gets transparent in truly rainy conditions, so I wouldn't want to depend on it for an extended trip in mid-winter. That being said, I am not any wetter than if I had been sweating in a full shell.

For reducing weight and bulk this is a great piece.

(Posted on 1/13/16)

Never Travel Without this Jacket (Review by bozowest)

Super lightweight, works great in nasty downpours. This is the jacket that makes every trip, because it packs so small, and works so well - travel on business across the country, rafting down the Colorado river, mountain hiking, biking, climbing. I take it everywhere. Don't hesitate, you will not be disappointed.

(Posted on 12/18/15)

Light, fitted, waterproof. Nuff said. (Review by Nik_Gyver)

I brought this with me while travelling for two months. Vancouver and North California. It packs super small and weighs nothing so you never feel guilty taking it along. The hood fits snugly around your head even with a hat, definitely not designed to go over a helmet tho. The arms are just long enough that they don't feel like they are riding up all the time, and the elastic makes them snug but not tight. They'll definitely hold back a sweater sleeve. Only one breast pocket means you are definitely getting into the "ultralight" kit category with this jacket, but wtf, it's obviously not an Arcteryx Alpha SV built for sustained siege style expeditions, it's a super light, waterproof kickass piece of gear that I guarantee anyone who is even considering "going light" on any hike or short adventure would appreciate. Going on a longer one? Bring it anyway as backup, it's the size of a can of PBR.

(Posted on 12/14/15)

Perfect except... (Review by Flint)

Got this jacket during the summer and have enjoyed it greatly. Did well, is one of the lightest out there and keeps you dry.

Two small complaints. The stuff pocket is at the back of the jacket. Seems more logical to either use the Napoleon pocket to compress the jacket or put the stuff pocket just inside the front flap so I could always use it as an actual pocket when I'm wearing the jacket. One way is lighter (better) and the other gives me a useable pocket (nicer).

The hood could probably for a little better but with the Velcro adjuster I've found it does OK.

(Posted on 12/13/15)

Lifesaver (Review by Tim)

This jacket saved my rear end! I took it on a hike with my hound dog last winter. It's so small that I just keep it in my bag in my truck just in case. Well, it paid off. My dog took off after a wild boar right in the middle of a HEAVY downpour. I hiked after him for several miles in 40 degree weather and pouring rain. My entire upper body was perfectly dry when I made it back down to my truck with my dog. Don't leave without it!

(Posted on 11/29/15)

Just shy of perfect (Review by Hector)

Great build and shockingly breathable. I usually don't go for jackets that lack pit zips but wanted a contingency shell, you know, for days when there's a 40% chance of rain and you grew up in the Northwest so you learned to never leave home without a rain jacket. For that purpose (day hikes, mountain biking, and kicking around London) this is exactly the jacket I was looking for.

I question the decision to add a purpose-built stuff pocket, offset on the back hem. It's a total nitpick, but the Velcro closure isn't robust enough to contain the stuffed jacket through much jostling. As a pocket it's in a weird position and not secure enough for much more than a cliff bar. I'd love to hear from the design team why they chose to go with this extra pocket rather than shaving another few grams by just using a reversible zipper on the chest pocket instead.

(Posted on 9/22/15)

Great for surprises (Review by JE)

Just used the Helium for a 2 week series of outdoor excursions in Iceland. I decided on this shell for the trip because of its lightness and packability, and also because Iceland is known for wind and drizzle/ mist that tends to just keep everything moist. Well, unfortunately for me, this year was a particularly wet and cold summer, and there were weather advisories for all highland regions pretty much throughout. On our first day backpacking, we hiked up quite a bit of elevation, and ended up hiking for hours across snowfield in a hard driving rain. This shell just did not cut it for that kind of weather. I don't think it leaked, but I know the face fabric wet out, and that likely meant little to no moisture moved through the membrane. When I arrived at camp hours later, I was soaked -- through my thin micro-check fleece shirt, right down to my underwear layer. In the following days, whenever the rain came in with a vengeance, I'd wear my thin PrimaLoft (Gold) jacket underneath and this not only kept the moisture largely off me, but also dried super quick when it did get a bit wet.

I originally bought this shell for backpacking in the Canadian Rockies, where I've backpacked for years and years carrying heavier rain gear which basically just sat in my pack or maybe got pulled out at night if I got cold. And for this kind of application, for the surprise rainstorm, or thundershower, this shell is awesome and I continue to use it happily. But for all day, relentless, driving rain, unfortunately this is not the shell to take -- nor is it advertised as such. I was, perhaps too optimistically, hoping it would be. So I'm writing this review for anyone else who might've had the same thoughts.

The only real complaint I have is with the zippers, which are very stiff in contrast to the fabric. My front zip doesn't always open or close easily -- and with cold, wet hands it sucks.

TL;DR: Great (as advertised, for flash storms) but inadequate for all-day driving rain.

(Posted on 9/16/15)

very nice (Review by Mark)

Very nice and light. I normally wear a large in everything at OR but based off of others advice I went with the XL and it fits perfect. I am about 5' 11" and 190 pounds.

(Posted on 6/2/15)

Great emergency storm protection (Review by Gavin)

I use this shell primarily when cycling or backpacking. It's ability to pack down so small and yet offer relieble protection makes it great for pursuits where weight and space are limited. Has saved me in the Uintas and Sawtooths backpacking when caught in rain miles from camp. Great to throw in a day pack as well for insurance. On one occasion I was exposed in non-stop rain for a few hours and when I crawled into the tent I was still dry. Great emergency storm protection.

(Posted on 11/23/14)

update: hailstorm proof (Review by Wellnesscoach)

On a ride last weekend I got caught in a violent thunderstorm complete with driven marble sized hail and torrential rain. I actually had to take cover behind a guardrail to keep my ears and neck from being taken out by the hail as my helmet was at least protecting my head. This baby held up perfectly, including the hood which took a constant pounding by hailstones for at least 10 minutes until the front passed. Unbelievable protection for such a lightweight garment. Can't say enough about this jacket.

(Posted on 9/29/14)

This jacket is awesome! (Review by Travis)

I love this jacket! It is a great for hiking and climbing when you need just a little rain and wind protection. Has been worth every penny!

(Posted on 8/16/14)

Perfect when you need low-bulk rain protection (Review by Brendan)

This thing lives in the bottom of my cragging pack, and my mountain bike pack, for when I need a rain layer just in case. Also a great wind layer for downhills on the MTB or trail running after you've climbed up a big hill and need a little protection from a cool breeze on the way down.

(Posted on 6/8/14)

Sweet jacket!! (Review by Blake)

This thing is PERFECT! I wanted a waterproof/ windbreaker that wouldn't take up any room in the pack and would be featherweight on the harness. The Helium 2 is IT! I am more than stoked on this layer. I always take it up with me now. I got caught on the wall when the rain hit, BAM! Helium 2 to the rescue, I stayed super dry. An unbelievable wind breaker, the Helium 2 has kept me warm in the gnarliest of winds so far. I seriously don't feel it on the harness but still seems to be built tough. I have wormed up some chossy chimneys wearing this jacket and it has survived unscathed! I mean, that never happens...I usually DESTROY gear. Helium 2 gets my highest praise, OUTDOOR RESEARCH RULES!

(Posted on 6/8/14)

sausage (Review by marinesoup)

I love everything about this item but the sizing.
The only reason it didn't get 5 stars is that their sizing is small.
I take XL and anything thus far has fit perfectly. I can't remember a time that that it was too small (if anything it was bigger)
I bought the XL and it is shall we say….snug.
My suggestion if you want to take it, is to buy 1 size larger than you normally take so you have a bit of room to move. I kinda felt like a big burrito.
Other than that it what it says it is, a very light breathable rain jacket.

(Posted on 5/1/14)

Men's Helium II Jacket (Review by CB)

This is a great jacket to have in case you get into some weather. It's small enough to travel in my backpack at all times and has been strong enough every time I've needed it. The jacket is minimal. The fabric is quiet and lightweight. I have yet to wear it in heavy prolonged showers but it's done the trick so far. I'm 5'11', 160 and was between the Medium and Large. Got the Large and glad I did. It doesn't feel too baggy if there isn't much under it but has room for layers.

(Posted on 4/15/14)

Fantastic protection for lightweight pursuits (Review by Chris Simmons, IFMGA Mountain Guide and OR Grassroots Athlete)

True rain gear pieces - really waterproof, not just water resistant like a soft shell - is really a one-piece item. It just doesn't breath or provide insulation like a softshell. So I pack it, because if its really raining I really need it, but I don't like to pack it, because it just adds weight and bulk to my pack for the 60-80% of the time I don't need it at all. That's where the Helium II fits in - since this only comes out if its really wet or really windy, I don't need pockets. I don't need heavy fabric, and I don't need pit zips and reinforced whatevers. I need waterproof, and I need it to pack up small. Perfect for me on long trail runs or climbing days with iffy skies, or those midsummer alpine and backpacking trips for when I need a "just in case" piece of rain gear.

(Posted on 3/19/14)

Best Rain jacket I have ever used (Review by Trail Swag)

I own and love an original Helium jacket, and decided to try the new Helium II jacket. It is now my new favourite as it is even lighter, breathes a little better, and is the go-to jacket for all of my outdoor adventures. I wouldn't think twice about bringing it along in my hiking day-pack, or camping backpack. My original Helium jack is now my loaner for friends who forgot to bring their own jacket.

(Posted on 12/27/13)

goes on the bike and in the pack everytime (Review by wellnesscoach)

This is so lightweight and stowable (in the handy pocket) you don't even notice you have it. Bombproof on a recent run in heavy chilly rain and when an unexpected front moved in during a recent ride. A perfect garment in this category. Trim fit is as advertised--get one size larger if you are planning to wear anything thick underneath.

(Posted on 11/25/13)

Men's Helium II Jacket (Review by By Brazen)

I bought two of these; one for me and one for my partner. Each of us uses this product in completely different ways.She- lives in Netherlands, flash rain protection, carries easily in daily bag, stylish, practical.Me- flash protection, combine with warmth layer for versatility whilst traveling, easily stows, lightweight yet durable.She finds the fit true to size, while I believe it is a bit small in the chest and short in the torso. I owe this to the way I use it, but yet a little extra would go a long way. Ditch the weight of the stow pocket and just have the jacket stow into the zippered chest pocket. The velcro closure will wear too quickly with repeated useEither way, we both think this is a fine product that does not leave our daily bags and would recommend to others. BTW, the marketing of this product in the Backpacker Magazine Buyer's Guide was brilliant and the reason I gravitated to this product. I just wish the coupon lasted longer. I have a trip planned to Mongolia for next year.

(Posted on 9/8/13)

Men's Helium II Jacket (Review by By Allen)

Great and very light jacket for all around 3 season use. very light, small, totally waterproof. Perfect emergency piece and doubles as a windbreaker. Trim fit but will work over a light fleece or insulated jacket. This was a great choice for my JMT in a week through hike where weight was key.

(Posted on 1/25/13)

Men's Helium II Jacket (Review by By trisportsfan)

First time out on a run with the OR Helium II and I am seriously impressed. So light and so quiet for a waterproof that I had to check to make sure it hadn't leaked (and it hadn't). Wicked the moisture away so well that I didn't feel hot and bothered one bit - and it's August in New Jersey! It's beautifully spartan but has a zippered pocket for all that I need on the trail, tight cuff seals, ample room and perfect drawcord adjustments. And, soooo small in its stuffpocket. Pretty near design perfection. I'm always leery of corporate mottos but 'designed by adventure' rings true for this company. This jacket is clearly designed by folks that walk the walk (or run the run. in this case).

(Posted on 8/2/12)

Men's Helium II Jacket (Review by By MountainMedicMan)

I purchased the Helium jacket specifically for having with me while doing rope rescue work. The first day I brought it with me the jacket proved it's worth. We started out with a sunny day which quickly turned ugly with cold temps and even colder rain. I pulled out my Helium Jacket put it over my fleece and stayed dry and warm all day long while on rope. Great Product OR!!!

(Posted on 8/5/11)

Men's Helium II Jacket (Review by By goorilla)

A super lightweight (190 gr. in M) and breathable water repellent jacket with minium packsize. Folds easily into integrated pocket with sling, great to have it in your pack just in case.Mushroom/red is a the color to go with and general fit is very well. Nice and simple jacket with no unnecessary pockets and gimmicks, it just does what it says at the box.It would be even better if it has a small strip out of a better breathing material under the armpits ( still no need for pit zips) and the brim of the hood could be a bit stiffer and better to shape around my face.

(Posted on 4/21/11)

Men's Helium II Jacket (Review by By Canoe Bob)

The Helium is a sleeper jacket. It seems light weight when you first see it and when stuffed into it's pouch, it looks really small. Don't be fooled by this light weight-ed-ness! This jacket performs in a league well above it's weight class. The simple design is easy to battened down and yet, it provides ample motion to hike or to swing a paddle all day. The hood adjustment works well, providing good protection from a hard slanting rain, while maintaining optimum peripheral view. The Helium is a great jacket! The same qualities that make it perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, comfort,light weight and pack-ability, also make it an ideal jacket for any urban adventurer facing a rainy day.

(Posted on 4/10/11)

Men's Helium II Jacket (Review by By Mikeroam1)

This jacket is so dialed in and stripped down to the essentials for staying dry. Super lightweight no other brand even comes close. Chest pocket and internal stuff pocket are all you need. I take this every time I travel whether for urban or outdoor adventures. It may be a little lightweight for a multi-day hard core backpacking trip where you need a heavier weight fabric with pit zips and pockets, but otherwise this thing is a work of art!

(Posted on 3/6/11)

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