Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 backpack review: Ski daypack for freeride

Jun 23, 2022 BY Sarah Hannibal

Are you looking for a ski daypack for freeride adventures, touring, splitboarding and backcountry skiing and snowboarding? Then have a read of this Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 backpack review. It was tested while on a ski touring adventure in the Lyngen Alps or northern Norway.

Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 backpack review Ski daypack for freeride in Sarah Hannibal ski touring in Lyngen Alps Norway

Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 backpack review

The ULLR RS30 rucksack is a fantastic freeride and day touring rucksack. It provides excellent kit organisation and easy access. The backpack was designed in conjunction with pro ski mountaineer Roger Strong and as always with Helly Hansen gear, there are signs of well thought through design everywhere.

Comfortable ski daypack for freeride

The lightweight aluminium frame stay and moldable foam back panel give a super comfortable fit with space for some air circulation. This meant trapped sweat and a heat rash were never an issue.

The straps are adjustable at the top of the rucksack so that they sit well on the shoulders. They can also be adjusted at the bottom so that the rucksack is pulled tight to the back.

The waist strap, which carries the majority of the weight of a rucksack, is very well padded and sits comfortably on the hips, even when wearing a climbing harness. A really nice feature, especially for a woman, is that the chest strap is adjustable in height. It is easily hooked off and moved so it sits in just the right place.

Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 backpack

Plenty of pockets

Typically, I am paranoid about my googles getting scratched in my rucksack while ski touring. The separate fleece lined pocket for the googles allowed me to let go of this anxiety for the first time. The pocket is big enough to allow a couple of other “easy grab” essentials to also be stored in there too.

When packing a rucksack for backcountry, it is essential to have your avalanche safety gear accessible and ready to pull out. Having to dig around in your rucksack, and any extra faff can compromise lives.

During this Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 backpack review I found the pocket on the front of the rucksack for avalanche gear was extremely well designed. There is a sleeve for the shovel handle and another one for the probe and a space in front of them for the shovel head.

My Harscheisen (ski crampons) also fitted in to the bottom of this pocket, meaning I could keep all my “hardware” together. Another very nice feature of this front pocket is a small zip pocket on the inside of the front wall. This was perfect for valuables and has a small clip for keys so you don’t lose them on the mountain!

Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 backpack review Sarah Hannibal ski touring in Lyngen Alps Norway

The full-length side pockets on either side are very useful. Each have an internal gusset, which allows them to expand to fit in your bottle or other items. Access is super easy and a fellow skier can grab something for you without taking the rucksack off.

Main compartment of ULLR RS30 backpack

For ski tours with mountaineering elements to them, there is quite a bit of additional hardware that needs to be carried. For example, an ice axe, boot crampons, harness and rope might be on the required kit list.

The capacity in the large main pocket of the ULLR RS30 backpack can be accessed through a zipper at the top which is useful for pulling out a warm jacket or other soft kit. But it can also be opened by unzipping the back panel which opens the pocket from three sides. It is a Mary Poppins type bag – so very generous.

I was able to fit all my hardware, plus the other required clothing and essentials. Even more to the point, I was able to do so in an organised manner and when I had to take kit out I even managed to keep is ordered.

Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 Ski daypack for freeride

I have often found in the past that tours start with a well organised rucksack in which I know where everything is. But by the time I have had to use a couple of items, the order is turned into chaos! So finding anything can take five times as long as I grapple around in a big dark hole trying to find that elusive item.

Although there is no explicit ice-axe holder, I was able to fashion one using a cord and small carabiner. This meant the pick of the axe fitted perfectly in the bottom where the ski carrying straps run through.

Other features of the ULLR RS30 backpack

In poor visibility, the rucksack’s bright orange colour allowed to be seen from behind. If the worst happened and I was caught in an avalanche this could save my life. So the colour is perfect for a ski daypack for freeride although it also comes in grey!

I got by without a helmet carrier on my rucksack for years. But the built-in helmet carrier made me really happy during this Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 backpack review. It is a clean and secure solution for fixing the helmet to the front of the rucksack. It easily tucks into its own small pocket at the bottom of the rucksack when not in use. The solid clips at the top are well designed and easy to use. There is no risk of the helmet falling out.

Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 Ski daypack for freeride Sarah Hannibal ski touring in Lyngen Alps Norway

All of the zippers are designed so that they can be easily grasped and opened wearing gloves or mitts. A very appreciated feature on the cold, windy days that I tested this rucksack.

The side ski carrying straps made transitioning to and from a boot pack very quick and easy. I am an A-frame type person when it comes to skis on rucksacks, but the rucksack also offers the option to put the skis on the front of the rucksack and carry them diagonally.

I couldn’t work out quite how the external daisy chain loop crampon clip was meant to be used. It seemed that attaching any hardware to it would just flap around due to its length and the clip was partially open. So I wasn’t convinced about how best to secure something to it. This may just be my ignorance and there is a cunning use for this strap. If anyone works it out, please put me out of my misery.

Downsides during Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 backpack review

There were unfortunately some downsides to the design. The main one being that there was no possibility to integrate a hydration system. I personally love freeriding and touring with a hydration system on my back, so that I can frequently take sips of water and stay hydrated.

Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 backpack review

Tragically, I am a bit too lazy to drink regularly when I have a bottle of water buried somewhere deep in a rucksack. Stopping, taking the rucksack off and digging around to find it always seems like a lot of effort.

Although I was disappointed that the ULLR RS30 was not hydration system compatible, it does have side pockets which partially made up for my hydration dilemma. I personally chose to have my litre bottle of water in one side and my flask and snacks in the other.

Great ski daypack for freeride

With an RRP of £140 this rucksack is great value for a high quality and versatile backpack. It is likely to last a long time due to its durability, this is thanks to the robust material which withstands scrapes and abrasions against branches and rocks alike.

We hope you found this Helly Hansen ULLR RS30 backpack review useful. You can buy it direct from Helly Hansen here: www.hellyhansen.com/ullr-rs30-backpack. Oh and if you fancy a winter sports trip check out our ski holidays and snowboarding vacations.

 

Ski Touring, Skiing, Snowboarding, Splitboarding
Backcountry, Freeride, Off Piste
Reviews
 

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