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Backpacker Magazine – Gear Guide 2013

Gear Review: Bergans Helium 55 Multiday Pack

Light weight and load-bearing: Try this clean-design, ultralight pack.

by: Nancy Prichard Bouchard

Bergans Helium 55 (Photo by Ben Fullerton)
Photo by BP0413PACK_BF_BergansHelium55_445x260.jpg
Bergans Helium 55 (Photo by Ben Fullerton)

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[minimalist] 
High performance, low weight. If that’s what you covet, this is your pack. Testers loved this top-loader for big-load dayhikes or multiday outings with up to 35 pounds. When two of our crew participated in the 168-mile, 7-day Grand to Grand Ultra—a self-supported stage race in Arizona and Utah—they chose to carry the Helium. “It swallowed all of my gear at the outset, but with no big-pack weight penalty, so it felt light as a feather when my load dwindled,” says one. “The stiff framesheet efficiently transferred the load to the lightly padded hipbelt and shoulder straps. The suspension proved surprisingly comfortable for such a light pack, even during back-to-back 30-mile days.”
Tradeoff? To keep weight down while delivering the carrying performance and durability of a heavier pack, the Helium dispenses almost entirely with extraneous features. You get a clean, clutter-free design, with a spacious packbag, a full-length off-set zipper for easy access, a removable lid with plenty of space for maps and snacks—and nothing else. $199; 2 lbs. 6 oz.; 55 liters; 1 size each for men and women; bergans.com


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