Ski straps are thin and may not hold up to years of abuse
Awkward hydration integration
The Dakine Heli Pro II is an ideal size for half day tours around your local pass, or as the name suggests, those adventurous days dropping out of the chopper. There’s just something about Dakine packs that feels rock solid. They combine superior construction with simple, time-tested features that provide skiers with everything they need without the frills. That said, some may find hydration system integration to be troublesome.
Comfort/Fit The Heli Pro II has excellent shoulder and waist strap padding, fits well, and carries weight well while climbing and skiing alike. This was one of the most comfortable packs in this test, maintaining solid stability while linking big GS turns down a mountain face.
Ski/Snowboard Carry The Heli Pro II can carry skis in A-frame and diagonal fashion on either side, as well as a vertical snowboard carry. The upper-diagonal carry strap zips into its own small pocket in the top of the pack to get out of the way.
Features Back panel access, a vertical side pocket, and standard gear loops, clips, and hip belt pocket make the Heli Pro II familiar and easy to get the hang of for new users. Of particular note is an additional pocket on top of the pack (in addition to the goggle pocket) that can be used to separate out a cell phone, sunscreen, food items, etc. from a pair of wet goggles.
East of Use The feature set on the Heli Pro II is familiar and easy to get the hang of for new users. In some cases time-tested and simple is the best way to go, and Dakine isn’t afraid to go there with the Heli Pro II. The pack’s one flaw is how the hydration bladder tucks into the back panel, which requires the hose to cross through the back panel opening, causing entanglements with larger gear items.
Durability The straps themselves seemed a tad on the thin side, which may present a long-term durability issue though there were no issues during the testing of the pack.