Bergans of Norway Helium 55L Backpack Review

A phenomenal backpack – just the right size and weight for a weight conscious mountaineer.

As soon as you start figuring out how to pack your gear into this backpack for the first time you realize how much thought went into its construction.  While it was created to be a ski mountaineering backpack I have begun using it on any single or multi night trip I take.  It weighs just 2lbs 6 oz. but can very comfortably support weights up to 35 lbs (I’ve even pushed it to 45 lbs when I’ve had a fully loaded pack and needed to strap my skis on for some short trips over rocks or to make the last push to a peak).  To achieve this many standard features, like hip belt pockets, have been stripped away.  Bergans of Norway also opted to use super lightweight, yet durable, materials to construct the pack.

Even though this is a minimalist pack it still has the features needed to make things comfortable and the pack easy to use.  My favorite feature is the full length side zip that allows access to the main body of the pack.  I won’t buy a pack without this feature ever again.  Makes it so easy to find what you are looking for.  It also has well though out compression strap placement that allows you to access common areas of the pack without needing to undo a number of buckles.

While not my favorite feature, the bendable aluminum center stay is probably this packs best feature.  I have somewhat of a pack addiction.  I have purchased more packs than any other single outdoor item.  The main motivator behind this is that I rarely find a pack that is comfortable after several miles of hiking.  I have slightly non standard body measurements and to top things off a bit of a lower back problem.  Additionally, add my requirement that the pack be lightweight and you get a person who is very picky about packs.  The bendable aluminum back stay fixes all my pack fit problems.  Being able to mold it to the exact curvature of your back makes this thing fit like a well tailored glove.  I had no problem hiking all day long with this on my back.

Size wise I really like 55L packs for multi day trips.  It is the exact right amount of room for me to pack everything I need and nothing extra.  For me 55L has just enough leftover room to carry extra food and clothes for an extended trip or compress down for a 2 – 3 night trip.  I really appreciate Bergans of Norway making a 55L ski mountaineering pack.  Most of the time I find winter packs to be in the 65L range.

Other features I like are the dual crampon pockets which nicely double as a trail saw pocket, tent pole pocket, avy shovel and probe pocket or water bottle pocket.  The removable head pouch and back frame is also a nice touch.  The ability to slim the pack down to transform it into a peak bag makes it even more useful.  The ski carry system is handy as well and works great.  I was please that they didn’t over engineered it to the point that the pack is too heavy to use for anything but skiing.  My only gripe is that I don’t like the placement of the hydration bladder tube slit.  It is located in the middle of the pack near the top and it gets in my way rather regularly.

Conclusion:

Buy this pack.  Perfect size, lightweight, super comfortable, all the features you need and none you don’t.

Bergans of Norway Helium 55L Official Product Page