Dakine Syncline 12L is a No Nonsense Hydration Backpack [Review]

The Syncline 12L is a solid choice for short- to mid-length mountain bike rides, with quality storage, well thought out features, and usable storage space.

The Dakine Syncline 12L looks smart and is a functional no-nonsense pack.

The Syncline 12L is a mid-volume pack, ideal for shorter to mid-length rides. The Syncline is a relatively new design in Dakine’s lineup and as such has a few new features. However, we’ll start with the basics.

The Syncline 12L is a fairly no nonsense type pack. The features that it has are well thought out, and if you don’t think you need it, it probably isn’t there. The design style is synonymous with Dakine design of old — simple, understated, yet clean and fresh looking. The pack comes in a few stylish colorways, one of which is black, as it always is. The Dakine logo patch sits at the top of the pack, an emblem of quality and craftsmanship. The fabrics used are quality and are all waterproof, though the construction itself isn’t water tight. The stitching is up to the usual high standard, and all hardware and fastenings are the high quality we’ve come to know from Dakine. It’s not unusual for Dakine packs to last through a decade of regular abuse, and this pack looks no less robust.

The pack is comfortable while on the bike, but could have a better retention system.

Let’s talk features. The Syncline 12L has a lumbar-mounted reservoir, designed to put pack weight low down to keep it stable. The bladder can be accessed from the top or bottom of the pack, and a regular upright bladder can also be fitted. The Syncline 12L comes complete with a 3L bladder and hose. The lumbar-mounted bladder also means that the extra space in the pack is more useable. I found it particularly easy to fit a DSLR camera in the top section of the pack with room to spare thanks to the wide pocket.

The front of the pack has a small, zipped tool pocket with additional pockets for a tube, pump, etcetera. At the top is a small fleece-lined pocket for glasses and electronics, and the sides have various loops for lashing things to and a small pocket for a spare water bottle.

The tool pocket is useful and well laid out.

The back panel and straps are designed to be fairly breathable, and while the straps are thin and comfortable, the back of the pack does hug you and on a hot day it felt no different than any other pack — hot and sweaty. The Dakine Drafter would be a better choice here for sweaty riders thanks to its unique back design.

The Syncline 12L has waist and chest straps, and the chest buckle has a small magnetic pad that the hydration hose clips to. This is a nice feature that keeps the hose out of your way. The waist strap is not padded however, and I found it lacking when the pack is loaded up with water and a camera. Without the security of some better Dakine packs, it’s difficult to cinch the straps down enough to eliminate bouncing on rough descents.

The quick-release reservoir sits at the bottom of the pack in its own pocket to keep the weight low.

The Syncline 12L is a solid choice for short- to mid-length rides, with quality storage, well thought-out features, and a useful storage capacity. It only has a couple of issues, however, it’s worth remembering that this is not a high-end pack, and considering its $130 price tag (including bladder), it certainly packs a punch.

Buy: available at Moosejaw

Compare Prices: Syncline 12L 

Thanks to Dakine for providing the Syncline 12L pack for review.

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