Helly Hansen Odin Fastpack Jacket Review
Every outdoorsperson and athlete needs a good lightweight waterproof rain and wind shell that they can stuff away when not needed. The new Helly Hansen Odin Fastpack Jacket may be one of the best options out there. The company poured all its technical knowledge and experience into creating one of the lightest and high-performance rain shells on the market. Not surprising that it has already won multiple awards in magazines. A great lightweight rain shell should be waterproof, breathable, layer-able, packable, and of course light and the Odin Fastpack Jacket meets all of these requirements.
Helly Hansen utilized its proprietary top of the line Helly Tech Professional fabric in the Odin Fastpack Jacket for ultimate rain and wind protection. I have had great experiences with this fabric before in their other jackets and this thinned out, lighter version was no different. To lighten the jacket and make it more capable for layering, they stretched the fabric really thin. Because of this, it does take some slight hits in the durability department but not to the point that I was really worrying about it in day to day use. To test the waterproofing, I did my standard method of pooling a puddle of water on a sleeve, rubbing it into the jacket and waiting 10 minutes. The water poured right off with zero soak through at the end of the test so I am quite sure this fabric could handle a torrential downpour with aplomb. As far as breathability is concerned, I’d put it right up there with Goretex, eVent, and NeoShell and found it to be a very versatile jacket. The mesh-backed pockets that run pretty much the entire length of the jacket allow plenty of venting in dryer conditions.
The fit of the Helly Hansen Odin Fastpack Jacket is excellent and lends itself to numerous activities. I am always struggling with jackets that are not long enough and thankfully Helly Hansen decided to give the Odin Fastpack shell a nice and long hem. This is crucial for backpacking and biking because you want something that won’t ride up above your hip belt, which would let rain pour right in. While in a hunched over bike position, the shell still stayed low enough on my back for the protection I needed. At 8.5 ounces, the Odin Fastpack Jacket is a few ounces heavier than some of the competition, but the trade off is added versatility as a multi-use shell. It is very packable and I found myself stuffing it into my shorts pocket when I didn’t need it on afternoon mountain bike jaunts where I didn’t bring my hydration pack. It is also the perfect outer shell in a multi piece layering system for camping and backpacking. To keep weight down, the Odin Fastpack Jacket is limited in the features department but the two large pockets are useful and have waterproof zippers. The hood has good adjustment points and a very large stiffened brim that keeps rain out of your eyes in downpours. My only small gripe would be that the main zipper is somewhat hard to zip because of its very small size and the waterproof sealing.