Skip to Main Content

Last spring, the evo marketing crew went to one of our favorite zones in the Cascade Mountains to test Helly Hansen’s backcountry-focused Odin line. Spring in the Cascades can bring any number of different weather conditions, and we experienced the full range as we skinned up from the valley and dropped into a classic couloir. 

Backcountry enthusiasts have plenty of options for what to wear while touring; most people have their own preferences and items that they swear by. Softshell jackets and pants are stretchy, highly breathable, and minimize the techy "swishing" sound while walking, which makes for better range of motion and an overall more comfortable experience on the skintrack. Hardshells, meanwhile, are designed to withstand challenging weather like wind, snow, and rain with ease. The Odin line features a mix of hardshell and softshell outerwear that pairs well with Helly Hansen’s insulators. This meant we were well-prepared to take on a variety of different conditions, from the warm skin up through the forest, to chilly ridgetops, and of course the skiing. 

Moving Uphill

This is where your turns are earned. Touring uphill is physically demanding and can cause you to quickly overheat, which makes having breathable outerwear like the Odin line a must. You are likely to break a sweat no matter how hard you’re working, so layering is essential. Once you stop moving it can get cold fast, and being sweaty will only accelerate the process. On exposed ridgetops, having a balance of breathability and protection from the wind made the Odin line stand out.

Resting & Refueling

Resting and pacing yourself on a backcountry tour is important to ensure a successful adventure, and you need to be able to stay warm when you’re not moving. We stopped several times along the way as we climbed through old growth forests towards our objective on the ridgetop above. We had the Helly Hansen LifaLoft Insulator Jackets on hand for snack and water breaks. A layer like this that can pack down small in your backpack and provide serious warmth on demand is a must when touring.


Once it’s time to click into your skis and descend, the last thing you want to be thinking about is how you’re staying warm and dry. It was windy on the ridge that marked the entrance to the couloir, so we left our insulators on and donned our shells to protect us from the wind and the powder below. Both the hardshells and softshells held up to the elements without a question, although the skiing was so good that we might not have noticed anyway...

Helly Hansen Odin Collection
See All Helly Hansen Odin

What's in their pack for a day tour?

We reached out to some pro riders and guides for their recommendations on what to bring for a successful day in the backcountry.

Robin Pendary

Crystal Mountain Ski Patroller, Mountain Guide, and Avalanche Educator

  • Shovel 
  • Probe
  • Snacks
  • A thermos of tea
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses 
  • Goggles
  • Extra gloves
  • Extra layers
  • Small repair kit
  • Ski straps 
  • Tape 
  • Multi tool 
  • Skin wax
  • Extra pole snow basket 
  • Zip ties
  • Small first aid kit
  • CPR mask 
  • Stop the bleeding materials
  • Splint
  • Write in the rain notebook or AIARE blue book
  • Navigation tools (usually Gaia on my phone)
  • Emergency evacuation tools (ex rescue sled, guide tarp, etc.)
  • Lightweight emergency blanket
Josh Dirksen

Pro Snowboarder, Dirksen Derby Race organizer, and Climate Activist

  • Shovel
  • Probe
  • Poles
  • Helmet
  • Avalanche Tranceiver with full Batteries
  • 18” Rubber Ski Strap (x2)
  • Macro Puff Insulated Jacket (warm/ synthetic)
  • Snowboard Jacket (lightweight 3-layer)
  • Snowboard Pants (breathable soft shell)
  • Patagonia R1 Air Wool hoodie
  • Long underwear pants (Patagonia Merino Air bottoms)
  • Knee Pads
  • Socks
  • Knee sleeves (compression and warmth)
  • Warm Stocking Cap
  • Warm Gloves with Rubber palms (Crab Grab Snurf mitts)
  • Spring Gloves
  • Baseball Hat
  • Goggles (low light lens)
  • Sunglasses (dark lense) with Carry Case
  • Head Lamp
  • Compass
  • Lighter (x2)
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • First Aid Kit
  • Spare Parts/ Tool Kit/ Short pieces of cord for simple binding repairs
  • Bag full of Clif Bars (6-10 per day)
  • Freeze Dried Food (1 meal)
  • Fresh Food
  • Instant Coffee
  • Jet Boil
  • Fuel canisters for Jet Boil
  • 16 oz Water Bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Magnesium Tablets (for muscle cramps)
  • Spoon
  • Communication  Radios
Ingrid Backstrom

Pro Skier with first descents in Baffin Island, Greenland, Antarctica, and China.

  • Shovel
  • Probe
  • Skins
  • Hooded Puffy Mid-Layer Jacket
  • Extra goggles
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Chocolate
  • Various snacks
  • Water
  • Cell phone
  • First aid kit (or someone in the group has it)
  • Sunscreen
  • Heli strap
Backcountry Outerwear & Layers
See All Backcountry Outerwear & Layers