Dakine Drafter Hydration Pack (100oz/3L)

It doesn’t matter where you ride – through central Oregon in 100+ degree weather, or bombing down Who’s Yer Daddy in the B.C. rainforest – the fact is, you need water. What’s better than water? Well, how about a lot of water, plus a lot of extra space to carry all your gear. It’s not impossible, honest! Below, I’ll give you the rundown on the Dakine Drafter pack,which has faithfully had my back (hah) from dusty Bend to boggy Duncan.he Good: Cool as hell; lots of pockets (perfect for those that are “organised” only to the extent that sharp things do not go with your spare tubes; tons of room; great features (helmet strap, armour/gear straps, wax/oil pocket, bag hanger); chest and waist straps (as well as shoulder straps) comfortable and adjustable; good padding; lots of loops for miscellaneous gear (knife, for example); Polyurethane bladder (bit tougher than rubber, in my experience, as well as [theoretically] antimicrobial).

The Bad: hose is smaller diameter than CamelBak packs, and kinks much more easily than a real CamelBak (though it’s gotten better with time); straps tend to loosen themselves (not really too much of a problem); built to accommodate very large people, often resulting in loose ends of straps flapping around/getting into places you don’t want them (spokes!); bottom of back panel is tricky to set up properly when the water is full; there’s more than enough room to carry all your crap, so you carry all your crap.

The Down and Dirty: Overall, it’s a great pack. Much easier to use for carrying and separating tools from bug spray from pumps from tubes. Not a huge fan of the bladder (esp. with the sliding closure) or the hose, but that’s easily replaceable with a different bladder. Fits well, adjusts easily, works for biking/hiking/climbing. I would definitely recommend it!

Some of my favourite things about this pack aren’t immediately obvious. For instance, I thought the smallish zipped compartment on the back was kind of odd, but decided to put my oil in there, partly to keep it separate from the rest, and partly so I didn’t lose it. The next ride I went on involved one of those fantastic endos that winds up with a few rolls down the trail, over the rocks and roots. The end result amongst other things, was a broken, (used to be) full bottle of oil in my pack. However, thanks to the coating on the pocket I had put it it, nothing actually came out!

Note: I have since been informed that this is, in fact, a map pocket – purpose-built to stay dry. Well, this is embarrassing.

The other part of this pack that I really enjoy is the separate pocket for the bladder. I really like being able to fit the same amount of stuff in my pack whether I pack it while the bladder is empty or full. Now, this does get a tad frustrating – the bladder is kept on the inside of the shoulder straps, so the fit of the pack will change somewhat depending on the amount of water you’re hauling. I find myself pretty frequently adjusting the straps on hot rides, but to be perfectly honest it’s a small price to pay for the consistent amount of storage.

I think this pack is great for DH riders too, because of it’s extra snaps along the back – two to hold your armour (or jacket, if you’re a hiker), and two combined with a pocket that can carry your full-face on the way up and your regular helmet on the way down.

Wanna buy one? Head on over to Amazon: Dakine Drafter Hydration Pack (Cypress, 18 x 7.5 x 5-Inch)

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