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ZPacks WPB Cuben Fiber Jacket vs. OR Helium II vs. ?
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David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
ZPacks WPB Cuben Fiber Jacket vs. OR Helium II vs. ? on 04/10/2014 18:57:59 MDT Print View

My search for the holy grail of UL rain jackets for 3-season backcountry travel has led me to these. So which to choose? From what I understand, the OR Helium II is about 6.3 oz for a medium whereas the ZPacks jacket is 4.5 oz. However, the Zpacks jacket is about twice the cost and half(?) the breathability. From what I gather, the breathability of the Zpacks is only about 8000 g / m3 whereas the OR Helium II is around 24000 g / m3? [Not sure if the numbers/units are correct, but this is what I recall reading online].

Thoughts? If the OR Helium II is truly as breathable as the numbers suggest, do you think I could ditch my windshirt (currently a Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer, around 1.8 oz)

Jon Leibowitz
(jleeb) - F - MLife

Locale: 4Corners
Waterproofness on 04/10/2014 18:59:53 MDT Print View

It is my understanding that the Zpacks is far more waterproof. That being said, I own the Helium 2 and looked at both.

Michael K
(chinookhead) - F - M
OR doesn't feel very breathable to me. on 04/10/2014 19:02:12 MDT Print View

I own an OR Helium II because I lost my e-vent jacket in the middle of a trip. Based on my experience with it, I would not ditch the windshirt. It is not too fun to hike hard in and I definitely get moist from sweat when I hike hard. Whereas, with e-vent and neo-shell I could see ditching the windshirt.

David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Breathability on 04/10/2014 19:21:55 MDT Print View

Do you happen to have the breathability specs for the OR Helium II offhand? There was a chart somewhere that compares all these jackets but I can't seem to find it online.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: OR doesn't feel very breathable to me. on 04/10/2014 19:24:06 MDT Print View

I have the Helium II too. It is not breathable at all unless I unzip it. But neither is any other membrane jacket I've tried! Membrane fabric specs are meaningless because we buy finished clothing, NOT membranes. The face fabric denier and construction features probably have greater influence on "breathability". But if you want to see for yourself the Helium II "breath" check out the Prolite Gear youtube channel. Ha!

Helium II on the bubbler at ~3:20 in.

On the otherhand, when it is raining, windy and cold and am walking a ridgeline at 2000m I really don't need breathability. I am moving slowly so I don't slip and fall to my death on the slick rock and mud! Basically I just want something to keep me relatively dry and warm until I can reach shelter or get below tree line. Kinda stupid to keep ascending a peak in the rain IMO. Risk of lighting and all that ya know!

Basically for 3-season use all I want is something under 10oz., relatively water and windproof, and cheap with a good warranty because the membrane will eventually fail and I can replace it. In that regard, the Helium II is a no-brainer. I paid ~$60 for mine.

Edited by rmjapan on 04/10/2014 21:59:18 MDT.

Andy Jarman

Locale: Edge of the World
Zpacks Cuben on 04/10/2014 20:51:39 MDT Print View

Have you seen what John Abela had to say about the Zpacks jacket? I think he was the first to publicise the static head figures for the newer fabric that they are now using.

I have a Houdini shirt and the new Zpacks jacket. I bought the Zpacks a couple of years ago, haven't used it yet, stopped raining here about the time I bought the jacket. The Zpacks jacket is a bit snug, can't get a decent thick quilt under it for sitting about the camp in, but that's the worst I can say about it.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Zpacks Cuben on 04/10/2014 21:19:51 MDT Print View

Nothing special about the Zpacks jacket either (except the silly money price!)