Helmuth began backpacking with her mother in the Sierra Nevada Mountains when she was 15. From there, she enrolled in a Marin County high school program called Team, which focused on teaching students backpacking skills, wilderness medicine and outdoor leadership. Since then, she has backpacked extensively across the coasts, deserts and mountain ranges of California, as well as the slot canyons of Arizona, the Tyrolean Alps, Torres del Paine and Puyehue in Patagonia, and Olympic and Rainier National Parks in Washington state. She occasionally tests packs and contributes freelance articles to Outdoor Life.
Diana graduated from UC Berkeley and The American University in Cairo with a BA in Anthropology.