I love the Outdoor Research Helium line. Ever since I saw the Helium II in their retail store last summer, I fell in love, oohing, ahhing and fondling the material, marveling at how light it was…
When the Helium Hybrid arrived in my #ORInsightLab package, I shouted with tons of glee, probably almost setting off car alarms around my neighborhood. I was trying to justify not purchasing another jacket since I bought my Arc’teryx Alpha SL Hybrid, and this one was finally mine.
Where do I even begin? The Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid is light as a feather and packs down super small! At 5.1 oz, you have to be careful it doesn’t blow away when you’re trying to put it on. (True story, this happened to me.) It’s great for throwing in your pack and forgetting about it until you really need it. What more could you ask for?
The Helium Hybrid protects against wind and wet. I tossed this on over my Triple Aught Design Artemis Hoodie on Lassen to keep from freezing to death. The shell kept me nice and dry while rolling around in wet, melty snow on Pyramid Peak. The hood has a cinch in the back and on both sides of your head for a secure fit. A small left-chest zipper pocket allows you to keep small knickknacks close by.
The Helium Hybrid has a trim fit. If you’re a fan of something a little looser and don’t want to size up, consider going for the Helium HD or the Helium II. Please keep in mind that the length of this jacket is also fairly short. The jacket had a tendency of riding up when layered over a midlayer; I had to keep tugging it down, especially while wearing a pack.
Despite all my love for this lightweight jacket, the lack of hand pockets is a huge deal breaker if I had to purchase this jacket, and I would rather opt for something slightly heavier with places to stow my phalanges, phone and other larger goods.
I’m just so used to shoving my hands in my pockets and walking everywhere I go, it’s tough to not do that. If hand pockets are more your fancy, I highly suggest going for the Helium HD jacket. It’s only 3 oz heavier and also comes with pit zips.
If you want something ultra lightweight and extremely basic, the Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid is a necessary addition for your pack.
The Outdoor Research Helium Hybrid is available at Outdoor Research for $145.
Pictured here hiking up Mount Lassen.
This was sent to me for review.
Last updated on December 15, 2017.