When it comes to lugging around a bunch of gear for the backcountry I tend to gravitate toward Dakine backpacks. Dakine’s designer clearly work hand and hand with their athletes as these backpacks are incredibly functional and well thought out. For the past year I have been testing the 38l Dakine Blade Backpack on all my backcountry missions here in the Tetons.
Although some of the packs in the Dakine line can be used for skiing and snowboarding, what makes the Blade pack unique is the fact it was designed specifically for snowboarding and splitboarding!
Dakine Blade Whats Outside the Backpack
Starting on the outside of the backpack, the Dakine Blade features a splitboard pole carry system (straps) that easily hold your poles into place instead of having to stuff them inside the pack. When it comes time to put a snowboard on your back, the Dakine Blade 38l backpack can easily carry a snowboard vertically or horizontally. For the most part you will always be carrying your snowboard vertically.
Along the side of the backpack are two water bottle pockets, which can also be used to hold your splitboard poles into place or for throwing mug full of hot coffee!
At the top of the backpack is a dedicated goggle carry pouch. I tend to put my really important (if the sh*t hits the fan in this pocket) as it easily accessible and can hold a bunch of small stuff like fire starters, Personal Locator Beacon, Headlamp and more.
Access to the main backpack compartment can be done through the front of the pack however its much easier to put the Dakine Blade on the ground and use the back panel entry for taking gear in and out of the backpack.
Last but not least is the dedicated snow safety pocket. This area is made to hold a avalanche probe, shovel handle, shovel blade and there is even room for a snow saw. The probe and shovel handle come with dedicated pockets for easy storage.
* One thing that’s not marketed on the Dakine Blade backpack is the 5 pieces of padded foam that are built into the rear entry panel. Essentially the part of this backpack that makes contact with your body is padded, this makes for a really comfortable fit and feel.
Dakine Blade Whats Inside the Backpack
To be honesty I didn’t realize this backpack was 38l until I started writing this review. They old timers around here in the Tetons say the bigger your pack, the more gear you will inevitably end up carrying.
Inside the Dakine Blade there’s a ton of room to hold everything to make you comfortable for a long day in the mountain. You can easily toss extra sets of gloves, goggles, a lunch, first aid kit, extra layers, a repair kit and much much more!
And for the small stuff the backpack has 2 internal pockets as well.
Without any added gear the Dakine Blade 38l backpack weights 3.5lbs, depending on how prepared you plan to be that weight will go up a bit. Practice riding around with a backpack, and odds are before long you’ll feel naked without one.
What can be Improved?
There is one major flaw on this backpack that keeps it from getting 5 stars! When the front straps are snapped shut it becomes impossible to unzip the snow safety pocket on the front of the backpack. While practicing in avalanche rescue scenarios this slowed me down big time. And could easily be enough to make someone come unglued..
Dakine if you are reading this, please be mindful when designing avalanche snow safety stuff. You can always unbuckle the buckles and then zip the remainder of the pack open, however even that half a second adds another second to the equation.
This backpack is just about perfect. REI currently has the Dakine Blade available on Sale for $125.00. After a few days of riding around with this backpack, you’ll literally forget that you are wearing a pack. The Dakine Blade can hold everything you need for a day in the mountains, it’s one of the most comfortable backpacks you will ever wear and last but not least it’s a Dakine. A brand we stand behind!