The recently released Helikon-Tex products tend to be positively surprising – we learned that during the testing of the Possum waistpack or the Raccoon MKII backpack. As it turns out, the case is quite similar with the new Helikon-Tex Raider backpack…
Helikon-Tex Raider was made of the Cordura 500 nylon, in this case in the Shadow Grey colour. Raider is also available in black, olive, coyote, adaptive green and camouflages multicam, ATACS FG, ATACS IX, PenCott Greenzone, PenCott Badland and Kryptek Highlander.
All zippers (YKK) were equipped with pullers made of paracord and rubberish tubes.
The front of the Helikon-Tex Raider backpack features its most characteristic part – a beaver tail made of elastic stretch fabric and Cordura. The tail makes it possible to carry a helmet or something that just couldn’t fit inside the pack.
The upper part of the “tail” is an attachment point for two tapes with buckles which hold the beaver tail, allow adjustment of its capacity and make it possible to slightly compress the Helikon-Tex Raider backpack.
When unused, beaver tail can be rolled down and secured using the included buckle.
Above, the Helikon-Tex Raider has a medium-sized pocket that allows you to store some smaller gear. The interior has been additionally padded with a soft side of the velcro, thanks to which it can be used to carry electronics, glasses or other fragile-ish items.
Above the pocket there is a large Velcro panel for attaching patches, on which the Helikon’s logo was sewn.
At the top of the Helikon-Tex Raider backpack there is a transport handle. The specific way of folding the tape makes it very comfortable and easy to grab.
Below, on both sides, the manufacturer has placed the exits for hydration tubes.
Between the handle and the back of Helikon-Tex Raider there is a small, zipped pocket with an organizer. Inside, there are three slots of different sizes, a loop for attaching keys and a bit of free space. The pocket won’t fit a larger “EDC” kit, however, carrying the basic equipment inside is easy, and the gear itself remains very accessible. In the middle of the pocket there is also a small flap with Velcro that allows you to remove the aluminum stiffening of the Raider’s carry system.
The main compartment of the Helikon-Tex Raider backpack is spacious – it will easily accommodate the things you need daily or for a day-long trip. Packing for a weekend away is also possible, although in less favorable weather it will be a bit more complicated.
Inside, at the back, the manufacturer placed a Velcro panel that allows you to attach additional organizers (inserts from the upcoming Helikon’s Versatile Insert System) and a loop that makes it possible to suspend the hydration bladder. Below, there is also a compartment with an elastic edge, which in addition to carrying Camelbak can be also used to store papers or a carry a medium sized laptop (a nice feature for this purpose is an additional layer of foam on the bottom of the comparmtent, which should protect the computer from hitting the ground).
On the opposite side Helikon-Tex Raider’s main compartment, there is a quite big mesh pocket with a zipper.
On the side of the Helikon-Tex Raider backpack there are small modular panels compatible with the MOLLE system and Cordura side pockets (eg. for a bottle) with a flexible edge.
Interestingly, under the side pockets there is a space where the hip belt can be stored when it isn’t used.
The carry system of the Helikon-Tex Raider consists of two foam panels covered with a soft and nice mesh. As usually, the lower part of both panels is covered with a layer of Cordura to prevent damage from contact with the gravel, mud or stones laying on the ground. In addition, the back of the Raider backpack has been stiffened using a contoured aluminum flat bar (which can be removed through the opening in the organizer’s pocket).
Shoulder straps in the Helikon-Tex Raider are wide and very comfortable. On each of them there is a D ring, elastic band and a quick release buckle. The only problem is that the hook part of the velcro used to secure the excess of webbing tends to catch and damage thermal clothing.
The straps can be connected using a sternum strap. Below, there is also a hip belt which mostly performs a stabilizing function.
At the bottom of Helikon-Tex Raider there is a zipped pocket with a gray rain cover.
Our thoughts on Helikon-Tex Raider backpack
I have to admit one thing – Helikon-Tex Raider is quite ugly. In some way, the combination of a rather bulky shape, beaver tail and side pockets doesn’t look really aesthetically – and in the case of a backpack for urban use it can be considered a drawback. At the same time, it is worth mentioning of another characteristic important in the city – in “neutral” colours Helikon-Tex Raider isn’t going to excessively stand out of the crowd (especially with a rolled beaver tail).
Despite its questionable beauty, the Helikon-Tex Raider backpack still performs very well. During more than seven months of testing the Raider proved itself to be exceptionally comfortable – going for an all-day, 35-kilometer, trip in the mountains remained comfortable until the very end.
Another advantage of the Helikon-Tex Raider backpack is the combination of really nice design solutions it features – a pocket with a rain cover, an easily accessible organizer or a hip belt which can be easily hidden. In addition, there is also a number of details that complement the construction – velcros holding the excess of webbing, a very comfortable transport handle or the general quality of craft.
What can be disputable is the usefulness of the beaver tail – if you have no need to carry a helmet, it will be useful basically only to pack an excess of groceries at the store, to carry something that doesn’t fit in the backpack or to hide a temporarily unused jacket or sweatshirt. On the other hand – and that’s important – the unused beaver tail doesn’t interfere with the use of the backpack, and if for some reason it would cause problems, it can always be folded up.
During the long term use, Helikon-Tex Raider has proved that it is a comfortable backpack, which is not only pleasant to use but also equipped with a set of interesting (and useful) solutions. In addition, it is suitable both for the outdoors and urban activities. In combination with reasonable price (~ 90 EUR) Raider is definitely an interesting piece of gear – even though it is ugly.
Many thanks to the Predathor store for providing us with the Helikon-Tex Raider backpack!