FR - HH Odin Fastpack Jacket - Coy Boy
- Hello Kera and all, I have the FR ready for edit (only one day late...). Sorry bout that. This is a great jacket but it has been a little warm for good testing. Unfortunately, I dont expect it to cool down much between now and the LTR due date. I may have to do an addendum after the test is complete. The test copy is here. Enjoy!
Field Report: June 25, 2013
Testing Locations and Conditions
Since receiving the Helly Hansen Odin Fastpack Jacket the weather has slowly turned hotter and hotter. In fact, most of June saw highs in the upper 80s F (31 C) and even mid 90s F (35 C). Fortunately, on the days it did rain and I needed the Odin it was slightly cooler. The coolest temperature I encountered was 50 F (10 C). I have worn the jacket during rain on several occasions. Most testing occurred on local trails close to home but I did some serious testing on a bike ride around Cades Cove the Smoky Mountain National Park. The elevation of most of my my local hiking trails and my campsite in Townsend Tennessee are almost exactly the same at around 1200 ft. (366 m).
Field Test Results
First some bad news, I re-injured my knee while testing the jacket. I wore the jacket several times on some short day hikes to the holler and back during April but it was obvious I was way out of shape. Then on a particularly nice day in early May I went for a hike to the holler and back and my knee felt so good I decide to repeat the hike a few hours later. Big mistake! I ended up limping severely for about a week and wondering if I could recover enough to ride my bike on a ride I had been planning for a year. And now the good news, I got the knee well enough to attend the rally. I skipped the long group ride on Friday but did manage to go on the crown jewel of the rally, a 11 mile (18 km) loop ride around Cades Cove Saturday morning
My only overnight use so far was on May 17th when I stayed in a KOA in Townsend Tennessee. I was there for the 2nd annual Smoky Mountain Recumbent Rally. I stayed in the KOA in Townsend Tennessee and used my hammock for my shelter. It was around 70 F (21 C) when I arrived at my campsite and I had on shorts and a tee shirt. I waited until I was ready for bed around 10 PM before putting on a thermal top and bottom. I was using a half bag but just laid beside it most of the night. When I finally did cool down at around 3 AM I put on the Odin Fastpack and just kind of draped the sleeping bag over my legs. It rained during the night but stopped long enough for me to pack up the next morning, but at 50 F (10 C) the jacket was just about perfect for keeping me warm. I skipped a formal breakfast but did have a couple of bananas and some nuts before I drove into the park to meet the recumbent riders for the ride around Cades Cove. Only 14 riders showed up because of the rain and a few debated skipping it after seeing that the rain was getting harder instead of slacking off as predicted. On guy did bail saying his wife would kill him if he came home sick I had a similar discussion with my wife about re-injuring my knee so I understood where he was coming from. Anyways, I rode the 11 miles (18 km) in the rain in just under 2 hours. I know that sounds painfully slow, but I did get up to around 25 MPH (40 KMPH) on a few downhill runs and the hood stayed on perfectly. I was wearing a ball cap undeneath the hood. I also took several breaks at the top of some of the steeper climbs and even walked the last bit of 2 climbs. And besides, this was supposed to be a slow group ride to enjoy the scenery. We did spread out a bit during the ride but all finished within a few minutes of each other. I was just glad I made it without seeming to re-injure it and thus kept my promise to my wife.
And now more good news/bad news. My knee was feeling a lot better by Memorial Day. We had a family and friends cookout followed by games. I sat out all the games but the balloon toss. I even sat that one out until my aunt complained of the heat and wanted me to take her place. Within a minute of entering the game I made a spectacular catch of a balloon tossed low and well to the side of me. In doing so I heard a pop and immediately felt a lot of pain in my left knee (the same one that was operated on last fall and has been giving me fits ever since). I was really feeling depressed because it seemed like I just could not get this injury healed. But, after limping around for about 3 or 4 days the knee steadily improved and seems to be much better now (4 weeks later) than at any time following the surgery. I have been hiking longer and also riding my off road recumbent, something I have been reluctant to do all spring long.
Unfortunately, the only good testing opportunity lately was about a week ago when we experienced 5 inches of rain over a 2 day period. I wore the jacket on a long day hike of about 4 miles (6 km). It rained steadily during the entire 2 hours I was out and rained hard several times. It was about 75 F (24 C) and I got really hot while wearing the jacket. I wore the jacket over a tee shirt and had on some gym shorts. I kept the pockets opened all the way for maximum ventilation but was not able to tell if they did much good. I assume it was better than having them closed but again, when it is this hot and muggy, I tend to sweat at the least amount of exertion. Anyways, I did not use my day pack on this hike but instead opted to carry everything I needed in the pockets of the Fastpack jacket. I placed a water bottle in one pocket and my phone and some toilet paper in the other pocket. I wore a ball cap which helped keep the hood in place and also improved my peripheral vision. When I got home my tee shirt was just about as wet as the gym shorts I had on. However I'm convinced this was due to sweat. I don't think any rain got through the jacket and as best I could tell, very little if any was getting in at the pockets which were unzipped all the way.
I did wear it on another morning when it was pouring rain. I was taking my wife to Huntsville for a minor procedure at The Surgery Center and as luck would have it, it was pouring rain the morning of the surgery. I only wore the jacket long enough to get in the car at home and then into the building after dropping her off. I ended up parking quite a ways from the door so I got to walk in the rain long enough to soak my jeans. But when i got inside and took the Odin off my shirt was perfectly dry. It stopped raining before we left but my wife was cold and hungry so I let here wear the Odin Fastpack while we stopped for some breakfast and then on the ride home.
I carried it with me on several bike and recumbent bike rides but it stayed in my panniers during all the rides except the one in Cades Cove. I could have gotten a lot more use out of it had I been testing it back during the winter. However, I liked the reassurance that I was prepared for any pop up rain showers or freak cold spells.
Summary Thus Far
This is an awesome rain jacket. It packs away to almost nothing and is very comfortable to wear. I will say that it is not ideal for hot weather. Anything above around 75 F (24 C) and it was just too warm unless I was not exerting myself. Stay tuned for my Long Term Report which should follow in about 2 months time. My thanks to Helly Hansen and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this lightweight rain jacket.