Whether you are just ferrying a packed lunch and a few extra thermals or a hardcore kit load of crampons, ropes, shove and probe, you need a trusty backpack with you on the slopes.
There are plenty of fine packs from the likes of Osprey and Black Diamond, but we’re particularly fond of Dakine’s Heli Pro.
It’s not just for your emergency stash of roasted peanut – the Deli Pro can carry your board.
Two compression straps can be extended and joined to hug the board vertically, while a second pair of straps pulls out from a sleeve near the bottom to provide the lower fixing. For horizontal carry, the board slides in between the body of the pack and the cushioned back protection panel.
Ski carry is diagonal across the outside back of the pack. A loop pulls out of a stash pocket on the bottom corner of the pack; the skis are dropped through and secured at the opposite top corner by an adjustable snap-clasp strap.
As for the bag itself, wide padded shoulder and hip straps hug the body comfortably and make the Heli Pro feel very secure.
Even fully loaded it’s well balanced. This stability is essential: the last thing you want is a pack that moves on your back mid-way through a tricky manoeuvre and throws you off balance.
Too much webbing
One small downside is that there is an excess of webbing; the amount of adjustment is twice as long as it needs to be.
Also, the loose ends of straps hang down and result in an uncomfortable experience if they get snagged on part of a chair lift or a tree branch.
You certainly won’t be struggling for storage space though – the main hold is huge and can easily accommodate a reasonable sized pair of snowshoes, a shovel and still have room for a layer or two of clothing.
Both compartments are easy to access via a large horse-shoe zip. The secondary compartment is also quite generous and has a reinforced section in the bottom for carrying avalanche probes. Two loops and a webbing strap on the outside allow for quick-draw, ice axe storage.
A fleece-lined goggle pocket is standard for most good snow packs, but the Heli Pro also has a fleece lined and waterproof pocket attached to the hip band. This is for carting a camera.
Though perfect for small digitals, it’s not big enough for higher end bridge cameras like Canon’s G10.
Finally, there’s a zipped sleeve in the shoulder strap for stowing a hydrations tube to stop it freezing, which is a handy finishing touch to a fine snowboarding backpack.