It’s 2020, and we’re kicking off this new decade with the accumulation of years of technological advancements in fabric technologies, manufacturing processes, and the gear we create to keep us safe and comfortable in the outdoors.
Partnering with Pertex® has never been a hard sell – they’re consistently one of the leading innovators of outdoor fabrics, carving the way in lighter, stronger, more technical gear. Most recently, Pertex has been trying to break the compromise between lightweight and durability, so outdoor uses don’t have to pick just one benefit. To do this, they have targeted the building blocks of fabric, the yarns which are woven to together to create the material. Specifically, Pertex has been focusing on the shape of yarns, and this has yielded Diamond Fuse: The most unique way of improving the durability and abrasion resistance of fabrics without adding any unnecessary weight.
Diamond Fuse fabrics use yarns with unique diamond-shaped filaments that actually lock together to create a durable and highly abrasion resistant fabric. This engineered structure allows these fabrics to remain very stable over extended wear and washing.
The results are a much stronger, more weather protective, and equally lightweight fabric that performs outside just as well as in our lab.
Meet the new Helium Rain Jacket and Pants
Outdoor Research’s best-selling, award-winning, head-to-toe lightweight rain kit was the most obvious choice to implement this new technology. So, we’ve upgraded the Helium II Jacket and Helium II Pants for S20, reverting to simply: the Helium Rain Kit, available exclusively at REI.
Complete with Diamond Fuse’s diamond-shaped filaments, the men’s and women’s Helium Rain Jacket and Helium Rain Pants have added durability, are even more waterproof, and remain just as lightweight as similar products. The difference?
Our innovation team put this new fabric through the ringer to see exactly how big of a difference Pertex’s Diamond Fuse makes when it comes to damaging outdoor elements.
5x stronger, without the weight
The Helium Rain Jacket and Pants have 5x the tear resistance than previous Helium fabric. They’ll withstand snags, rips, lacerations – basically anything sharp that comes into contact with your jacket outside. So how exactly did we land at that number?
Take a look at the testing photos below. In the first, you’ll see how we used a strip of hook-and-loop fastener (popularly known by the brand Velcro) to rub against our sample fabric. This machine moved the abrasive fastener laterally and longitudinally, while the fabric itself spun in a circle, for the most even result across the greatest surface area. This multi-directional approach also best mimics real-life scenarios where you’d be prone to abrasions.
Next, you’ll see that the fabric is almost perfectly intact after this rigorous testing. No yarns were broken.
These are the results that we compared with our previous iterations of the Helium Collection, to best improve upon what outdoor adventurers already loved – but wanted more of – from their lightweight rain jacket.
At the end of the day, our goal was to eliminate your decision between strength and weight. The new Helium Rain Kit breaks that compromise, and lets you land your perfect balance, while protecting you against heavy bushwhacking, against rough rock, and even against sharp, pelting ice and sleet.
Try it Yourself
The Helium Rain Jacket and Helium Rain Pants are available now exclusively at REI. Give them a test, see how they perform, and remember that your Outdoor Research gear is always backed by our Infinite Guarantee.