Da Kine Heli Pro Pack
By Cori Jones
Many of you have seen
them, those over anxious skiers and snowboarders that just can't wait
a few more weeks or days for the resorts to open. They have to strap on
all there equipment and struggle up the snow packed slopes on foot, spending
hours hiking for only a few minutes of ride time. Sometimes we see them
at the resorts where in spite of paying around $50 for a lift pass they
spend most of their days hiking to ridges that are not accessible by lift.
If I were to use a stupid name I would call them "Powder Dogs." These
people are so addicted to fresh powder turns and extreme or less traveled
lines that they are willing to make the sacrifice and the slow trudge
up the mountains.
Here is where I have to admit that I am one of these "Powder Dogs" and
even though this type of activity seams a little extreme, what you are
really witnessing is a history lesson. Skiing and Snowboarding were started
by people who got it in thier heads that they could ride down the hills
standing on wooden planks coated with wax. In the beginning with skiing
there were no lifts and with snowboarding the resorts didn't let them
ride the lifts. So hiking is very much a part of both skiing and snowboarding.
One thing that many people don't realize is that a lot of the awesome
terrain we see in the snowboarding videos and Warren Miller films is terrain
only accessible by hiking.
So now that I got that out of the way lets talk about how we used to
carry our equipment up the mountains. We would ether just sling our boards
or skis over the shoulder and start hiking, thus ruining our backs, shoulders,
and necks. Besides wasting a lot of energy. Or we would take a normal
backpack and using extra straps or some rope we would tie on the board
or skis. This second option had several problems: The metal edges of our
boards would cut into the straps and sometimes into our backpacks. It
was quite time consuming attaching all the straps and usually the board
would end up bouncing against the back of our legs.
Well thank goodness someone has seen our plight and developed a line
of packs specifically designed to carry snowboards or skis. Da Kine is
a unique little company that has been making packs and accessories for
surfing, snow sports, and action sports in general since 1979 now.
The Heli Pro is designed to carry a snowboard ether vertically or horizontally
and it can carry skis at an angle. It has a super tough rubberized material
anyware that metal edges might rub to make sure they don't cut threw.
I general all the materials used on the Heli Pro are super high tech and
ultra durable. It has a pocket inside the main compartment to hold your
favorite water bladder, and a snow proof access hole out the top for the
drinking hose. It has a nice fleece coated goggle pocket and an external
shovel pocket. The waist belt has a small snack pouch and a gear loop.
The pack also has straps for ice axes for those super extreme trips.
As for fit and ride comfort I was surprised at how well the pack fit
and with the waist and chest straps tightened I never felt the pack bounce
or shift. In fact I hardly noticed I had it on until I tried so more technical
moves in the snow park or when riding the lifts. The Heli Pro comes in
two sizes, large (1100cu. In.) and small (900 cu. In.) I tested the Large,
which is great for a long day of hiking in the backcountry, plenty of
room to carry some extra equipment and your lunch. With the compression
straps you can make the Heli Pro have quite a low profile.
Of course there are a few things to consider. For one even with the straps
all the way cinched down I found that for resort riding the large Heli
Pro is a bit bulky on the lifts. Another thing is that all those features
and all that toughness will cost you some weight, the Heli Pro is quite
heavy and you would probably not want to use it for summer hiking.
Over all I have been very impressed with all Da Kine packs, they are well
made with excellent materials and have lots of useful features. The Heli
Pro is very reasonably prices at $80. If you are going to be hiking in
the backcountry I would defiantly recommend checking out the Heli Pro
from Da Kine.
Cori Jones is a new contributor to GearReview.com
and specializes in snownboarding and mountain biking.
For more information, contact:
408 Columbia Ave. Hood River, Oregon 97031