The new Helium Wind Hoody by Outdoor Research is a highly weather resistant, breathable shell made with a unique new technology that remarkably improves fabric durability but without adding any weight.
This is a product that’s designed to be light enough and breathable enough for running and hiking, but then it also has the kind of mega durability and abrasion resistance that you’d want for climbing as well.
The total weight is just 150g – that’s incredible given the toughness of this thing. And the secret? It’s all in its Pertex Diamond Fuse 30D technology, a bluesign-approved fabric which uses yarns with unique diamond shaped filaments that lock firmly together, making it twice as tough as fabrics with conventional yarns.
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We’ve already seen this Diamond Fuse tech in the down jackets OR launched last season (check out the OR Helium Down Hoodie) and in their waterproof shells as well – but this is the first time they’ve used it in a windproof shell.
“The Diamond Fuse yarns can kind of lock together in a way that round filament yarns cannot,” explained OR product designer Charlie Berg when we interviewed him a few months ago. “You can imagine this being like bricks locking together as opposed to round logs in a pile. It forms a more stable structure without gaps and the result is something that’s abrasion resistant, very snag resistant, very tear resistant and all without being heavier.”
You tend to see a lot of windshells that have been designed with so much focus towards keeping weight down that they end up pretty light on features and details, but that’s definitely not the case here. Take, for instance, the amount of adjustment potential: you can tweak the hem, the cuffs and then there’s low-profile peripheral adjustment in the hood as well which uses a side-to-side simple but effective webbing cinch.
Another downside with some windshells is that they can flap about annoyingly, particularly when you’re running. But that’s not the case here either. The Helium Wind Hoody has a clean silhouette that brings an aerodynamic feel while you’re moving fast.
There’s the ventilation as well. Look under the armpits and you’ll see holes that have been laser-perforated to provide ventilation while you’re on the go.