Review: Dakine Girls Heli Pro DLX
24 May, 2012
Intended Purpose: The Girls Heli Pro is designed specifically for women riders who want a serious backpack to take out snowboarding.
Size: The Girls Heli Pro is 18L which keeps it pretty simple for the mountain. It’s not bulky, it’s a sleek design that won’t take over your back on the mountain. There is a small pocket for sunglasses, keys, ipods, etc. Then the front pocket can be used for backcountry gear (fits a shovel, probe, tools) or used for camera gear. The larger pocket can fit a 17″ macbook or whatever else you want to travel with.
Appearance: I received the Heli Pro in the women’s Obsidian color which is basically black with an interior flower block pattern that isn’t too girly since it’s mostly blue. The pack itself from the outside has subtle hints that it’s the women’s pack but barely noticeable.
Ease of Travel: I first took this pack to Alaska where it spent the whole month traveling around with me, from car rides to backcountry trips, snowcat to snowmobile. After Alaska, the pack traveled to Whistler, White Pass, Bachelor and now it’s just traveling around for day trips. It’s easy to use with the pockets and sizing. It doesn’t allow you to overpack or cram it full of a bunch of stuff. That’s probably the best part of the pack, it only allows the essentials.
Features: The Girls Heli Pro DLX is contoured and designed specifically to fit a girl’s frame. Quite honestly, they designed the pack to fit a range of women’s sizes. I have hips and am curvy and the padded waist belt has more than enough strap to fit me. The pack features a cross and vertical snowboard carry, I’ve mostly used the cross so the board stays out of the way when hiking. There is a retractable cable ski carry (have not used). The top pocket is a plush lined goggle pocket which I have used for sunglasses and storage of important items. On the side is a deployable water bottle pocket that can compress. I haven’t lost a water bottle because of it and it makes a good side pocket for carrying empty bottles/cans down the mountain. There is an insulated hydro sleeve and quick draw ice axe sleeve. On the outside is an external snow tool/shovel pocket. I used that pocket to store my shovel, beacon and prove when traveling (probe was on me during the actual riding portions).
This is a pack built for women who ride.
Durability: I’ve been using this pack since March (right after Tailgate BC) and it’s held up well through the travels. The zipper string on one of the zippers caught while in AK so I just don’t use that zipper to open/close. Overall I’m really happy with the durability, it looks in great condition and has been great for holding all my stuff while traveling. I will say, the straps are long and if you aren’t paying attention they can catch on stuff. My pack took a nice long ride down a chairlift (to my utter embarrassment) when the strap caught on as I was getting off but it held on the entire way.
Thoughts: I wanted a backpack designed for women that could handle mountain riding or traveling to mountain riding. I needed something that could fit my camera gear, backcountry gear and whatever else I put inside. The Girls Heli Pro DLX was definitely capable of handling everything for the mountain. I could pack my camera gear, backcountry gear, water and lunch into the pack. It was totally suitable for a day on the snowcat or sled in AK without requiring a bulky backpack to wear everywhere. I had no problem riding with it because the straps and design kept it comfortable without throwing off my balance during riding.
I like that the pack doesn’t look girly to the outside of it but on the inside, it has the bright colors and fun designs that come from the Dakine women’s backpacks. Overall it’s a great pack for the female rider spending time on the mountain that wants something that will keep up. It also works fine for traveling.
Dakine Girls Heli Pro DLX Description
Review Disclosure: Dakine sent me this pack to review.