Dakine Heli Pack Series | A Piece of Snowboarding History
The legendary Dakine Heli Pack Series celebrates its 25th anniversary
As far as backcountry legends go, the Dakine Heli Pack is as prestigious as some of the top athletes. Dakine’s trusted Heli series has been around since 1996, and to celebrate the legendary pack’s 25th anniversary, we would like to pay tribute to the long and successful journey of this iconic pack.
Founded by Rob Kaplan back in 1979, in Hawaii, Dakine’s roots stem from surfing. Over the years, the company has come a long way and established a strong foothold within other action sports alongside surfing – including snowboarding.
“As far as backcountry legends go, the Dakine Heli Pack is as prestigious as some of the top athletes”
A few years after Dakine was founded, the company headquarters were moved from Hawaii to the mainland: Hood River, Oregon. This was the perfect location for a brand that was now starting to gain recognition within snowboarding.
Known for producing high-quality gear ever since the start, for snowboarders, Dakine has come to equal high-tech travel equipment – especially backpacks.
Inspired by a snowboarder himself, the iconic Heli Pack was born in the company HQ at Hood River. As legend has it, the snowboarder in question had just come down the mountain and wandered straight into the Dakine headquarters with one request “he needed an essentials-only pack for his heli trips to Alaska”. This led to Dakine creating a custom pack with all the essentials and nothing more – and so, the first Dakine Heli Pack was born.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Heli Pack, the whole Dakine Heli series has been updated with more than a handful of new backcountry features including a vertical snowboard carry, snow tool sleeves/pockets in the pack’s main compartment and a rescue whistle on the sternum strap.
“The iconic Heli Pack was born in the company HQ at Hood River, inspired by a snowboarder himself”
The packs haven’t only been given an upgrade when it comes to their arsenal of new features, but they’ve also been given a recalibrated fit and increased durability – the latter contributes to the packs’ increased sustainability.
The taking of Mother Nature into account doesn’t just come across in the increased durability though. Dakine is also making sure that the materials used are bluesign® approved. By utilizing bluesign®-approved materials, the company can ensure that the entire supply chain of materials goes through the most environmentally friendly process. This is slowly becoming a must in the eyes of many consumers.
96 Heli Pack 16L Heli Pack
For the 25th birthday of the Heli Pack, Dakine hasn’t just tweaked the whole Heli series but also re-issued their legendary 96 Heli Pack. The new edition is a re-design of the original Heli Pack that came out 25 years ago – the pack where it all began.
The ones who started their snowboard journeys in the 2000s have become accustomed to the wide range of snowboard equipment available. But what often tends to be forgotten is that it is all a result of progression.
Back in the early ’90s, the snowboard market was looking very different, and there was a lack of proper snowboard equipment – including a technical bag for snowboarders to take out into the backcountry. There was a need for a small compact bag that could carry a shovel, a probe and some water, and straps that could carry a board.
Inspired by the lack of such a bag, Dakine took it upon themselves to produce one. Ever since the Heli Pack first hit the shelves 25 years ago the company has constantly been able to improve it with the help of the honest opinion of their team athletes and customers.
“A quarter-century later, the 96 Heli Pack is back with some modern-day tweaks, including more durable materials and updated technology”
A quarter of a century later, the 96 Heli Pack is back with some modern-day tweaks, including more durable materials and updated technology. Inspired by the original design, snow tool sleeves have been placed in the main compartment for the wearer to be able to carry the shovel and probe at an arm’s reach. Useful if it’s needed at short notice. The straps that were developed to carry the snowboard together with the first model are also still in place.
As for the modern-day add ons, Dakine’s placed a large fleece-lined goggle pocket to keep your lenses from getting scratched whilst, depending on your chosen activity of the day, there’s an internal sleeve that can fit either a hydration bladder or a laptop up to 15”.
On top of that, an external quick-stash pocket together with a 38mm hip belt and a rescue whistle on the sternum strap has also been added. The design and retro-look, however, still pay tribute to the slim design of the original pack.
“Rider-driven since day one, it comes as no surprise that the Heli Pack is a favourite amongst many professional snowboarders”
Rider-driven since day one, it comes as no surprise that the Heli Pack is a favourite amongst many professional snowboarders. During the past 25 years, the range has kept on developing, and to a large extent, we’ve got the input of the pro riders to thank. Due to the constant co-operation between the brand and its athletes, a women’s specific fit has also been introduced.
“What really tells this backpack apart from the rest of the Heli series is the Jamie Anderson-specific design”
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Heli series, Dakine introduces the new and improved Dakine x Jamie Anderson Team Heli Pro 24L women’s backpack to the market.
What really tells this backpack apart from the rest of the Heli series is the Jamie Anderson-specific design. Drawing on the gold-medallists’ free-spirited mentality, the pack features a mandala pattern that “symbolizes a dreamer’s search for completeness and self-unity”, while the contrast of the bag has been inspired by “the delicate balance of the universe”. A mindset like this might just be what makes Jamie the snowboarder she is today.
Not falling short in the tech-department either, Jamie’s signature backpack has got purpose-built snow tool sleeves to keep both a shovel and probe nearby, a large fleece-lined goggle pocket, an insulated hydration sleeve and a 38mm padded hip belt to keep the pack comfortably in place. And, on top of that, instead of having to struggle with fitting a helmet inside the backpack, the deployable helmet carry has been added to make it all a bit more convenient.
The vertical/horizontal snowboard carry ‘pocket’ allows you to stack your board through it nicely, and in case things really take a turn for the worse, a rescue whistle has been added to the sternum strap.
“This pack is neither too big nor too small, making it the great plus one that you can take out to any occasion”
This pack is neither too big nor too small, making it a great plus one that you can take out on any occasion. Whether you’re planning on venturing out in the backcountry, lapping the resort or need something to transport your laptop in, the Jamie Anderson Team Women’s Heli Pro 24 is made to match every situation in style.
The Dakine Heli Pack has shaped how we carry our gear in the backcountry and seeing how the pack has processed alongside snowboarding while adjusting to the needs of the modern-day rider, we think it is fair to say that the Heli Pack is a real piece of snowboarding history. As Dakine puts it, “Always Trusted. Ever Progressing”.
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