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IR: OUTDOOR RESEARCH HELIUM JACKET - Pam Wyant

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  • pamwyant
    Sorry this is a few hours late. I was having computer problems with my main computer (where my report writing program is). ************** HTML here:
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 12, 2010
    • 0 Attachment
      Sorry this is a few hours late. I was having computer problems with my main computer (where my report writing program is).

      **************

      HTML here:

      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/Outdoor%20Research%20Helium%20-%20Pam/

      OR: http://tinyurl.com/yjlp2hu
      ********************

      OUTDOOR RESEARCH HELIUM JACKET

      Initial Report - March 11, 2010



      Tester Information:

      Name: Pam Wyant
      Age: 52
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
      Weight: 175 lb (79 kg)

      E-mail address: pamwyant(at)yahoo(dot)com
      Location: Western West Virginia, U.S.A.

      Backpacking Background:

      I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including backpacking,
      day-hiking, car camping, and canoeing. Most of my excursions
      are confined to weekends, although I try to fit in at least one
      longer backpacking trip each year, and have started section
      hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little over 300 mi
      (483 km) so far. My style varies with the activity, but since
      becoming a lightweight backpacker, I've noticed I tend to pack
      somewhat minimally even on trips where I have more space.
      Still, I don't like to sacrifice warmth, comfort, or safety.


      Initial Report - March 11, 2010

      Photo Courtesy Outdoor ResearchPhoto courtesy Outdoor Research website

      Product Information:
      Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
      Year of manufacture: 2010
      Model: Helium

      Color: Fossil
      Size: Men's Large

      Advertised Weight: 193 g (6.8 oz)
      Measured Weight: 184 g (6.5 oz)

      MSRP: $140 US

      Website: www.outdoorresearch.com

      Product Description:

      The Helium is aptly named. While it obviously isn't truly lighter than air, it is the lightest durable waterproof breathable jacket I have ever had the privilege of holding in my hand. When I received the envelope from Outdoor Research, my first thought was that it was too light and small to contain a rain jacket. When I opened it, I was amazed that it was indeed the super light weight Helium.

      Although the Helium is made of a 2.5-layer fabric (20D Pertex Shield DS ripstop), it is so thin and light that it feels like a single layer. Closer examination reveals at least two layers - a dark gray silky outer layer with a small gridded pattern, and a slicker white inner layer with a tiny diamond pattern. The website indicates the face fabric has a PV film laminate, so I assume this is the invisible 1/2 layer.

      The jacket features a full length water resistant front zipper, measuring about 29"/74 cm long. The thin zipper is designed to be light weight, and measures only about 1/2" (1.3 cm) wide. As with other water resistant zippers I have used in the past, the zipper has a small amount of resistance when it is opened and closed. The top of the zipper is covered by a small triangular piece of fabric (a 'zipper garage') that extends down into a 6" (15 cm) storm flap that backs only the upper portion of the zipper. The combination of zipper garage and small storm flap keeps the zipper from pinching my chin when the jacket is completely zipped up.

      The jacket has a very large Napoleon style chest pocket that is formed from a second layer of the fabric in the upper left chest, running from the front zipper to the sleeve seam. The pocket has a 6.5" (16.5 cm) long water resistant zipper. Although the zippers look somewhat orange in the photo above, obtained from the manufacturer's website, they are actually more of a brick red color.

      The jacket features raglan style sleeves with artistically curved seams, and front yoke styling. The sleeves forgo an adjustable wristband, ending simply in an elastic cuff.

      The articulated hood is well shaped to snug around my head without the irritation of elastic around my face. It features a stiffened brim that will hopefully help keep water out of my eyes when hiking in the rain. It also features an elastic pull at the back, just above the point my skull attachers to my vertebrae. The elastic runs from the center back to the jawbone area in the front of the hood. Tightening the pull adjusts the depth of the hood, which seems like it might be useful to allow more visibility in light rain and better coverage in heavier rain. I will observe whether the adjustment has a useful effect as I test the jacket in various conditions.

      All seams are taped on the interior with a very light and thin transparent tape. The seams appear to be sewn with a very light thread. The stitching is very small and even in appearance. The jacket features adjustable elastic in the hem, with a pull on each side. A 6" x 6" (15 x 15 cm) interior pocket that fastens with a small strip of hook and loop fastener is located on the bottom left side of the jacket. The pocket can be turned inside out and the jacket stuffed inside the pocket for storage. A small thin webbing loop is located at the bottom of the pocket and can be used to attach the stuffed jacket to a carabineer or clip. The inside of the pocket is the same fabric as the exterior, and is imprinted with the words "Designed By Adventure" near the webbing loop.

      A similar webbing loop is located just under the hood on the interior, in the tag area, and can be used to hang the jacket over a hook. The neck tag of the jacket actually is heavier and thicker than the jacket fabric, and is reinforced with an extra patch of the jacket fabric. The thickened area of the tag can be observed from the outside of the jacket. If possible, I think it would be preferable to use 'tagless' technology. This would not only shave another gram or two by eliminating three different tags at the neck {name/website tag, size tag, and country of origin (China) tag}, but would also make the jacket softer in this area. It might not be possible to have the hang loop if this were done, however the jacket could just as easily be hung from the back of the hood using the adjustable elastic cord, so this is a feature I would gladly sacrifice for a more comfortable feel.

      Preliminary Impressions:

      The Helium has a very trim fit. Since the women's version was not available in my normal x-large size, I chose the men's large. In most jackets or shirts, I find a men's large rather similar in size to a women's x-large, other than the sleeves are usually longer and the chest and shoulder area will usually be overly loose. The Helium fits slightly different than I expected. The chest and shoulders fit me perfectly. The stomach and hip areas are actually a bit snug. While I am used to a looser fit in a rain jacket, I am still able to wear a base layer and a light weight insulated jacket underneath the Helium without the insulation appearing to be compressed.

      The jacket has a pleasant, light and soft feel. The fabric makes a slight, whispery sound when I move around, but it isn't very loud or annoying. I was somewhat surprised how comfortable the sleeves felt against bare skin when I wore a short-sleeved shirt underneath the jacket, as I often find rain gear clammy against bare skin.

      The only thing I really missed as I've worn the jacket around the last few days is hand pockets. While the chest pocket seems to provide ample storage area for things like gloves, or even a knit cap, in casual wear I miss having a pocket for my hands. Most likely this will not be a feature I miss while wearing a pack, as pack belts and straps usually block access to these type of pockets anyway.

      Summary:

      The Outdoor Research Helium appears to be a well constructed waterproof breathable jacket that uses advanced fabric technology, trim cut, and a few well thought out features to shave ounces/grams over a more traditional durable rain jacket. The fabric has a great feel and in preliminary wear seems pretty breathable, given it did not make my bare arms feel clammy.

      Things I like:

      Super light weight
      Soft feel of fabric
      Nice fit in chest, shoulders, and articulated hood

      Things of concern/things I dislike:

      Fit overly snug in stomach/hip area
      Neck tag heavier than jacket fabric
    • Edward
      Hi Pam,, EDIT: attachers to my vertebrae attaches (?) Otherwise, looks good.
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 13, 2010
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi Pam,,

        EDIT: attachers to my vertebrae

        attaches (?)

        Otherwise, looks good.



        --- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, "pamwyant" <pamwyant@...> wrote:
        >
        > Sorry this is a few hours late. I was having computer problems with my main computer (where my report writing program is).
        >
        > **************
        >
        > HTML here:
        >
        > http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/Outdoor%20Research%20Helium%20-%20Pam/
        >
        > OR: http://tinyurl.com/yjlp2hu
        > ********************
        >
        > OUTDOOR RESEARCH HELIUM JACKET
        >
        > Initial Report - March 11, 2010
        >
        >
        >
        > Tester Information:
        >
        > Name: Pam Wyant
        > Age: 52
        > Gender: Female
        > Height: 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
        > Weight: 175 lb (79 kg)
        >
        > E-mail address: pamwyant(at)yahoo(dot)com
        > Location: Western West Virginia, U.S.A.
        >
        > Backpacking Background:
        >
        > I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including backpacking,
        > day-hiking, car camping, and canoeing. Most of my excursions
        > are confined to weekends, although I try to fit in at least one
        > longer backpacking trip each year, and have started section
        > hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little over 300 mi
        > (483 km) so far. My style varies with the activity, but since
        > becoming a lightweight backpacker, I've noticed I tend to pack
        > somewhat minimally even on trips where I have more space.
        > Still, I don't like to sacrifice warmth, comfort, or safety.
        >
        >
        > Initial Report - March 11, 2010
        >
        > Photo Courtesy Outdoor ResearchPhoto courtesy Outdoor Research website
        >
        > Product Information:
        > Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
        > Year of manufacture: 2010
        > Model: Helium
        >
        > Color: Fossil
        > Size: Men's Large
        >
        > Advertised Weight: 193 g (6.8 oz)
        > Measured Weight: 184 g (6.5 oz)
        >
        > MSRP: $140 US
        >
        > Website: www.outdoorresearch.com
        >
        > Product Description:
        >
        > The Helium is aptly named. While it obviously isn't truly lighter than air, it is the lightest durable waterproof breathable jacket I have ever had the privilege of holding in my hand. When I received the envelope from Outdoor Research, my first thought was that it was too light and small to contain a rain jacket. When I opened it, I was amazed that it was indeed the super light weight Helium.
        >
        > Although the Helium is made of a 2.5-layer fabric (20D Pertex Shield DS ripstop), it is so thin and light that it feels like a single layer. Closer examination reveals at least two layers - a dark gray silky outer layer with a small gridded pattern, and a slicker white inner layer with a tiny diamond pattern. The website indicates the face fabric has a PV film laminate, so I assume this is the invisible 1/2 layer.
        >
        > The jacket features a full length water resistant front zipper, measuring about 29"/74 cm long. The thin zipper is designed to be light weight, and measures only about 1/2" (1.3 cm) wide. As with other water resistant zippers I have used in the past, the zipper has a small amount of resistance when it is opened and closed. The top of the zipper is covered by a small triangular piece of fabric (a 'zipper garage') that extends down into a 6" (15 cm) storm flap that backs only the upper portion of the zipper. The combination of zipper garage and small storm flap keeps the zipper from pinching my chin when the jacket is completely zipped up.
        >
        > The jacket has a very large Napoleon style chest pocket that is formed from a second layer of the fabric in the upper left chest, running from the front zipper to the sleeve seam. The pocket has a 6.5" (16.5 cm) long water resistant zipper. Although the zippers look somewhat orange in the photo above, obtained from the manufacturer's website, they are actually more of a brick red color.
        >
        > The jacket features raglan style sleeves with artistically curved seams, and front yoke styling. The sleeves forgo an adjustable wristband, ending simply in an elastic cuff.
        >
        > The articulated hood is well shaped to snug around my head without the irritation of elastic around my face. It features a stiffened brim that will hopefully help keep water out of my eyes when hiking in the rain. It also features an elastic pull at the back, just above the point my skull attachers to my vertebrae. The elastic runs from the center back to the jawbone area in the front of the hood. Tightening the pull adjusts the depth of the hood, which seems like it might be useful to allow more visibility in light rain and better coverage in heavier rain. I will observe whether the adjustment has a useful effect as I test the jacket in various conditions.
        >
        > All seams are taped on the interior with a very light and thin transparent tape. The seams appear to be sewn with a very light thread. The stitching is very small and even in appearance. The jacket features adjustable elastic in the hem, with a pull on each side. A 6" x 6" (15 x 15 cm) interior pocket that fastens with a small strip of hook and loop fastener is located on the bottom left side of the jacket. The pocket can be turned inside out and the jacket stuffed inside the pocket for storage. A small thin webbing loop is located at the bottom of the pocket and can be used to attach the stuffed jacket to a carabineer or clip. The inside of the pocket is the same fabric as the exterior, and is imprinted with the words "Designed By Adventure" near the webbing loop.
        >
        > A similar webbing loop is located just under the hood on the interior, in the tag area, and can be used to hang the jacket over a hook. The neck tag of the jacket actually is heavier and thicker than the jacket fabric, and is reinforced with an extra patch of the jacket fabric. The thickened area of the tag can be observed from the outside of the jacket. If possible, I think it would be preferable to use 'tagless' technology. This would not only shave another gram or two by eliminating three different tags at the neck {name/website tag, size tag, and country of origin (China) tag}, but would also make the jacket softer in this area. It might not be possible to have the hang loop if this were done, however the jacket could just as easily be hung from the back of the hood using the adjustable elastic cord, so this is a feature I would gladly sacrifice for a more comfortable feel.
        >
        > Preliminary Impressions:
        >
        > The Helium has a very trim fit. Since the women's version was not available in my normal x-large size, I chose the men's large. In most jackets or shirts, I find a men's large rather similar in size to a women's x-large, other than the sleeves are usually longer and the chest and shoulder area will usually be overly loose. The Helium fits slightly different than I expected. The chest and shoulders fit me perfectly. The stomach and hip areas are actually a bit snug. While I am used to a looser fit in a rain jacket, I am still able to wear a base layer and a light weight insulated jacket underneath the Helium without the insulation appearing to be compressed.
        >
        > The jacket has a pleasant, light and soft feel. The fabric makes a slight, whispery sound when I move around, but it isn't very loud or annoying. I was somewhat surprised how comfortable the sleeves felt against bare skin when I wore a short-sleeved shirt underneath the jacket, as I often find rain gear clammy against bare skin.
        >
        > The only thing I really missed as I've worn the jacket around the last few days is hand pockets. While the chest pocket seems to provide ample storage area for things like gloves, or even a knit cap, in casual wear I miss having a pocket for my hands. Most likely this will not be a feature I miss while wearing a pack, as pack belts and straps usually block access to these type of pockets anyway.
        >
        > Summary:
        >
        > The Outdoor Research Helium appears to be a well constructed waterproof breathable jacket that uses advanced fabric technology, trim cut, and a few well thought out features to shave ounces/grams over a more traditional durable rain jacket. The fabric has a great feel and in preliminary wear seems pretty breathable, given it did not make my bare arms feel clammy.
        >
        > Things I like:
        >
        > Super light weight
        > Soft feel of fabric
        > Nice fit in chest, shoulders, and articulated hood
        >
        > Things of concern/things I dislike:
        >
        > Fit overly snug in stomach/hip area
        > Neck tag heavier than jacket fabric
        >
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