Outdoor Research Helium Wind Convertible Liners Review

Outdoor Research Helium Wind Convertible Liners

Outdoor Research’s Helium Wind Convertible Liners are stretchy liner gloves with a Pertex Quantum cover that can be deployed to make them windproof. They’re good for active winter hiking and running when you want to wear breathable gloves for dexterity without having to carry a separate pair of shell mittens to block the wind. The shell mittens fold away in a pocket on the back of the hand when they’re not needed. It’s a neat glove system that’s good for shorter hikes or trail runs but isn’t as flexible as carrying separate glove layers that you can combine on the fly to achieve the same objective.

Specs at a glance

  • Glove Material: 80% polyester, 20% spandex
  • Shell Material: Pertex Quantum, 100% nylon 30D ripstop
  • Touchscreen compatible glove: Yes (they actually work)
  • Wind-resistant cover: Yes
  • Sizing: runs a size small
  • Weight: 2 oz/pr (size large)

The OR Helium Wind Convertible Liners have two integrated components, an inner glove and an optional wind mitten that you can use to cover the glove when the wind picks up or you want extra warmth. This is a nice glove system because the wind cover is sewn to the inner glove so you can’t lose it, but stuffs into a pocket on the back of the glove when it’s not needed. I’ve owned gloves like this before and found them quite useful for cold-weather hiking because you can layer and de-layer with the wind cover without stopping.

The inner liner glove has silicone patches for enhanced grip touchscreen compatibility
The inner liner glove has silicone patches for enhanced grip and touchscreen compatibility

The inner glove isn’t particularly warm and is best used in cool weather as opposed to full-on winter. It is breathable and wicks moisture well. It also has stretch wrist cuffs, which can help keep your hands warmer since your blood flows close to your skin there. The palm and tips of the index finger and thumb are embossed with a silicone pattern for dexterity when holding tools and are fully touchscreen compatible, which is really nice if you rely on your phone as a camera or for GPS. There’s also a nose wipe on the back of the thumb.

The wind cover covers the back of the hand and fingers, but leaves the palm exposed.
The wind cover covers the back of the hand and fingers, but leaves the palm exposed.

The wind cover is made with a water-resistant Pertex Quantum fabric which is tightly woven using very fine yarns making it windproof, lightweight, and easily packable. When deployed, the cover encloses the back of the hand, the thumb and fingers, while leaving the palm exposed with its silicone imprint. This is great if you have to grip a trekking pole or metal tool, like an ice axe or whippet. When the cover is not needed,  it stuffs into a pocket on the back of the hand which can also be used to hold a heat pack if you get very cold hands.

When the wind cover isn’t needed, it tucks into a pocket on teh back pf the hand so you can’t lose it. Note that bulge.
When the wind cover isn’t needed, it tucks into a pocket on the back of the hand so you can’t lose it. Note that bulge.

Recommendation

Outdoor Research Helium Wind Convertible Liners are best used for trail running workouts and hiking in cooler shoulder season weather, such as early spring or late autumn. But they are somewhat limited for hardcore winter use if the liner gets soaked from perspiration or external moisture. For all-day hikes in winter weather, it’s better to carry separate insulating glove liners and wind/waterproof shell mittens so you can swap in a new liner when it gets wet. See our guide to Winter Hiking Glove and Mitten Systems for a detailed explanation of how to layer gloves and mittens for extended winter hiking and light mountaineering.

Disclosure: OR donated these gloves for review.

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Last updated: 2022-12-02 05:15:30

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