This 55-liter Blueseventy Helix backpack has lots of space to pile your gear, a medium amount of flexible organization, and some unique features not found anywhere else.
A protective top for fragile items, an aero helmet-specific helmet holder, and a big wet compartment
Straps that are too long for shorter triathletes, sparse organization, and an only mildly useful duffel strap
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
The old BlueSeventy Transition Bag has been a great travel companion for more than 10 years, and I was excited to see how this new Helix Backpack could improve on my old favorite. More than an update, the Helix is a complete redesign around creating a bag for triathlon travel that can help organize gear and simplify the logistics of the triathlon experience. Designed as a backpack, there is also a duffel bag strap so it can be carried horizontally at your side, and the bag fits just inside the limits of a carryon bag, so you won’t have to check a bag with critical race equipment. There are some thoughtful features, and some that fall short of their intention. This bag is not for everyone, but will work well for those looking for a more versatile, comfortable, larger, and better-organized version of the classic.
RELATED: Unboxed: BlueSeventy Helix Backpack
BlueSeventy Helix Backpack: What It Does Well
My favorite features on the bag are the pocket organization and the materials. The bag is designed for triathlon, with thoughtful materials that feel durable and are specific to each compartment’s purpose. Those compartments are large and well thought out. The main compartment holds all of your dry gear—it opens completely and is lined with felt to protect your stuff. BlueSeventy also includes three draw-string bags that can be used for organization or as drop bags at races with different start/finishes or transitions.The bottom compartment is waterproofed to separate wet gear—it’s big enough for a wetsuit, racing flats, and your sweaty triathlon uniform, so they won’t stink up and soak the rest of your gear (or your car) on the way home. On top is a hard sided pocket for sunglasses, big enough for oversized sports lenses and other fragile items. On both sides are zippered pockets with mesh organizers and large mesh water bottle sleeves. All of these pockets and pouches provide exactly the organization you need, without forcing the user to study a packing guide. There’s plenty of room to tailor this bag to your own gear and packing style.
BlueSeventy Helix Backpack: What Could Be Better
For all these wonderful design features, there are a few places where the bag fell short. The bag’s massive 55L capacity feels even bigger on your back because the straps cannot be tightened down completely. I’m 5-feet-10-inches and with the straps tightened completely it still hangs low on my back with the bottom of the bag below my tailbone. I find myself constantly reaching for the straps only to find they’re already completely tightened. While it can also be carried as a duffel bag, the pocket orientation is designed around a backpack. When sideways, there’s risk of water bottles leaking, and the helmet sling on the back didn’t feel secure with a smaller road helmet—though it is specifically designed for an aero helmet with a tail, and does well in that scenario.
BlueSeventy Helix Backpack: Quick Conclusions
For taller athletes, however, these may be minor flaws. Even with the straps feeling loose the bag was comfortable thanks to oversized ventilation padding on the back and an internal spine that can be bent to fit the curve of your back. This bag is designed to carry all your triathlon gear, and it does that very well, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a substitute for a backpacking bag—despite its capacity.