Comfortable to carry even when you’re shredding powder, this roomy snowsports backpack makes sure you have everything you need on backcountry adventures
Spacious design with top and rear access to main compartment
Easy to use attachments to carry skis, snowboard and helmet
Dedicated pockets for avalanche gear
Side pockets for water bottles, skins plus lined pocket for goggles
Hip and sternum strap (with whistle)
Molded foam back panel and padded stabilizer wings
A little heavy compared to similar sized packs
Not airbag compatible
One size only
No pockets on hip belt
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Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 Backpack: first impressions
The ULLR RS 30 is a sturdy and spacious ski backpack that can accompany you on adventures on the pistes, side country and into the backcountry. With a spacious main compartment that you can easily access from the top and rear, you can load up your extra down jacket or even carry your ski boots as hand luggage for a ski trip. Easy-to-use attachments mean you can carry your skis or snowboard and your helmet while you’re hiking in, and an aluminum bar in the padded back panel plus hip and sternum straps mean this is surprisingly comfortable to wear while you’re skiing downhill in deep powder too.
• List price: $100 / £98
• Weight: 3lb / 1360g
• Volume: 32L
• Sizes available: One size
• Airbag compatible: No
• Colors: Bright orange, Trooper
• Best use: Backcountry skiing and snowboarding
If you are venturing into the backcountry, you’ll be equipped with pockets for your avalanche gear plus an emergency whistle on the sternum strap. There’s also a smaller internal zipped pocket for stashing keys and phones, a soft lined pocket where you can pack your goggles without them getting scratched, and two roomy side pockets where you can pack your skins and a water bottle. Speaking of hydration, a narrow pouch in the back could be used to squeeze in a hydration pack, but this pack isn’t really ideal for use with a hydration pack.
There aren’t any pockets on the hip belt for gear you might like to have close to hand, so make sure your ski pants have all the pockets you need for that. Though it only comes in one size, we tested it out on lots of different sized bodies and found it to be fairly universally compatible and adaptable. Compared to similar sized ski backpacks it’s only ever so slightly heavier and much easier on your budget, plus you’ll never run out of room for your gear.
Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 Backpack: in the field
When I received this backpack, I thought it was far too heavy and boxy to be practical for skiing in, but it turns out I was completely wrong about that. I used it as my carry-on to fly to Geneva recently, where I subsequently skied on and off piste at Verbier while carrying my gear and I found that I didn’t even notice it on my back.
Here’s how performed:
Fit and comfort
Because this weighs 3lbs empty and has more a rectangular shape, I assumed it would be a bit awkward to wear, at least for skiing, but I was really surprised to find that I didn’t notice it on my back at all, even though I ended up skiing around with it loaded up for six hours one day.
In the past, I’ve always used a hiking daypack for ski touring, and while those are super lightweight, the way they contour to the body doesn’t actually make them very suitable for wearing over bulky ski clothes. This pack fit easily over my ski layers, and the back panel is nicely padded with an aluminum bar in the panel which means you can adapt it to the shape of your body. Of course the hip and sternum straps mean you can adjust it and transfer the weight of your shoulders while you’re pole planting.
I’m 5’ 4” but I was skiing with a group consisting of all different sizes and shapes of bodies and we were all able to wear this pack even though it comes in one size. For skiing, I’d say it’s really comfortable.
Storage and safety
This backpack comes with heaps of storage. A roomy main compartment can be accessed from the top and rear and fit my winter boots which I needed for the end of the day, and several of my colleagues used it to carry their ski boots on the plane. There’s a super handy integrated foldaway compartment to carry my helmet and several different options for carrying skis and snowboards. I used it to carry the rest of my gear, and I love the large side pockets for my water bottle and skins as well as the goggle pocket which is lined with soft fabric which won’t scratch your lenses. My only real complaints are that there are loads of zippers and I often found myself back in the main compartment when I wasn’t expecting to be, or not there when I was, and that I’d like a pocket on the hip belt for my phone.
This isn’t an airbag compatible backpack, which is no problem for me as I stay out of steep backcountry terrain, but for safety gear there’s a whistle and dedicated pouches for avalanche gear which are labeled so you know exactly where to put them. The gray backpack also has bright yellow details for visibility, while no one will miss you if you opt for the bright orange pack.
Weight and packability
At 3 lbs empty, this bag is on the heavier end of packs of a similar size, but as I’ve said, it’s so well designed that I actually forgot I was skiing with it, so I’d prefer it over a lighter hiking backpack that bunches up over my ski clothes.
Compression straps mean you can cut down on bulk if it’s packed full of empty clothing, and I got away with using this as my carry-on, which meant I didn’t have to cram it into my suitcase, but jobsworth flight attendants might give you a hard time about this.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.