The Vault Regulars

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Over Trousers - Outdoor Research Helium. 1st Look

 The rainy season is getting closer so I chose the Outdoor Research Helium Over trousers after much deliberation. And “ Yes", i bought them myself with my own money and had great service from Ultralightoudoorgear. They kept me informed of stock arrivals and checked the leg lengths for me prior to ordering and delivered them speedily and free.

My current pair of Rab Bergans have been letting water through for quite sometime and although i have Nikwax reproofed them often, they are still wetting through and enough is enough, its time for a change.

My initial choice was to go for the Berghaus Paclite due to the high regard that numerous TGO Challengers i spoke to, have for them. The trouble was i struggled to find a pair that fit me well.

There were no reviews of the Helium trousers on the tintaweb that i could find and that surprised me a bit. I own a number of pieces of gear made by OR and have been pleased with what i have and so i decided to take a chance with them.

1st Impression.

They say that first impressions can be entirely wrong and i hoped this was going to be the case here.
When i took them from the plastic bag i thought “They look and feel cheap” but at £90 they are not cheap. In fact the bag felt as strong as the trousers.

In direct comparison to my Bergans the difference is quite huge. When you look at and feel the Bergans they shout out quality, durability and good design. Whereas the Helium’s shouted shiney, flimsy, little design and a tad odorous.

2nd Impression.

Everything deserves a second chance. So i looked at them a little more closely. Material is 2.5 layer Pertex Shield +. That’s 30D Ripstop, 100% Nylon. 13,000mm Hydrostatic head, 20,000 MVTR Breathability.

Weight is 160 grams specified for a Large size, regular leg length. Very light. (Actual 158grams).

Unusual for over trousers they have a zipped rear wallet pocket. This zip is not a waterproof one but in reality a waterproof zip is not required as the pocket will be underneath your shell jacket. The pocket also doubles as a pack away which is quite handy and the packed size is around 0.4L

The waist band is half elasticated and has a shock cord adjuster at the front. The elastication is excellent and strong. It has a finish that has been siliconised. This is supposed to stop the trousers from working down. Time will tell.

The waist band also has loops which can be used to fit braces. Strange! If the siliconised waistband is supposed to stop downwards movement why do you need to provide braces loops? I guess I will just use the loops for hanging them up to dry.

The legs are quite a loose fit. Probably for a couple of reasons.

1. To overcome the fact that there is very little built in knee articulation.
2. To ensure that you can get the trousers on without taking your boots off considering that the leg zips are only calf length.(Full length waterproof zips are very expensive parts).

The leg zips are YKK water resistant and the seams are all taped. 

Strangely, there is a seam directly behind the knee. At first i thought this could be for production reasons where the top half of the trousers would be used with a varying bottom half to give the different leg lengths and keeping parts lean in numbers. But i discounted this as the front of the trouser is one piece and therefore compromises my argument. 
So why the seam at the back? My suggestion is that this is a the weak point. Constantly bending as you walk and therefore a horizontal seam would give added strength to the area. Of course i could be completely wrong. Maybe OR could put me right.

Around the bottom of the leg the hem is also 1/2 elasticated and siliconised and intended to stop the trousers working up. There are 2 internal grosgrain loops on the hem and at this time their purpose is a mystery.

With the trousers being 30 denier material I will have to take greater care of them to ensure they stay waterproof. For example no more sitting on them at brew stops, use a plastic bag over my boots when i put them on and when I take them off pull the outside material over the boots to ensure I don't scratch the inner surface.

Considering that the design is a simple one and the zips are as short as is practical, i think they are a bit pricey at £90. RRP £99.99p (This is UOG price and you can get them cheaper at other internet suppliers).

But as there are less places to leak and if they keep me dry then its money well spent.


1. The weight.
2. The siliconised waistband.
3. The rear pocket.


The shiny material finish. (I prefer the understated mat finish.)
The rather short ankle zips. (Although i will report back on this)
The very loose cut. (Easy to snag on the undergrowth)
No instep wear protection.

I will do a field report after a couple of months use.


Dawn said...

Mmmmhhhh! interesting Alan.Not sure if I am impressed by the specifications. Wearing boots, as I sometimes do, those short zips would possibly cause problems? Will look forward to see how you get on with them.

AlanR said...

I have only tried a quick test to see if its easy or otherwise to get them on and off with boots on and i was surprised that it was easy enough (size 42 boots). However that was at home, and as we know when its chucking it down and your hopping around its a different matter. Like you say, We will see. Soon.

Greg said...

Gret Review Alan, I look forwards to hearing if they leak as I have a cag made from the same material.

AlanR said...

Thanks Greg. Its a new cag I assume.

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