Coming from carrying a BOgear Spare Camel (SC) I have been accustomed to quite a larger pack. Given that the SC is 30L and the Arktype is only 15L I was concerned that it would not suit my needs – and my concerns grew once I received the pack, how was I ever going to carry anything in such a small bag? However, I must say over the course of the last few weeks of carrying I have really enjoyed the Dashpack. Not to say that it suits every one of my needs because well, it can’t, and that is no fault of the pack. It is a small pack designed for city daily carry and should be seen as such.
The Dashpack in my eyes is a stash and dash style pack. Its small, quite small, but don’t let that fool you. I have obviously had to cut down my EDC to make this work, but at the same time, I enjoyed the more minimalist approach.
Day 1 – The great gear cull
Emptying all my gear onto the lounge room floor from my old BOgear I found that I really probably didn’t need to carry quite this much. Over carrying is easy in a large pack, you just throw stuff in there that you need at the time and forget about it. The bag just swallows it up. Obviously, that’s not going to work with the Dashpack.
The front of the pack is bare aside from one strip of bar tacking that resembles MOLLE and shows no branding, something I tend to gravitate to, however, this might not be for everyone. I previously had a number of patches and a MOLLE tag that I wanted to swap over, but with a lack of velcro, I was unable to bring my patches along for the ride.
The bar tacking on the front is disappointingly not MOLLE, it is actually the same strapping the military uses to secure loads for flight. It is essentially double the width of standard MOLLE so no standard MOLLE attachments will fit. It does add style and does break up the solid black look so isn’t completely useless. And to be fair I was able to clip a few things to this strip like a carabiner or a QuiqLite with some struggling.
After taking serious stock of what I really needed to carry I had the pack sorted and ready to go. The cull was therapeutic and I thoroughly recommend a complete bag dump at least once a month.
Day 2 – Carrying
The straps were quite comfortable and even when weighted down with a laptop and a number of books were still quite comfortable. The adjustment is a little different and leaves no hanging excess, which appeals to my mild OCD. The back panel is comfortable and doesn’t do too badly in the Australian heat, but you do get a little sticky. There isn’t much that can be done about this given that Australia is a stone’s throw from the surface of the sun.
There is a D ring on one side of the pack and could be used to help attach a tripod or something along those lines. I doubt anyone would be using this pack for a hiking trip given the size but if they did, hiking poles could also be attached to the side.
Speaking of the side of the pack there are in fact two bottle pockets on each side. Which is not very common for a 15L pack. The pockets fit a slim flask such as the Ecovessel (pictured 20oz/600ml) with a bit of a struggle. I did actually attempt to fit a standard Nalgene, but unless you possess Hulk-like strength and a reckless regard for the long-term condition of the pockets I doubt you would ever use them for one.
I was still on the fence about how I felt with the pack, and not being able to fit my Nalgene in was not helping.
Day 3 – Turning point
When reaching for my bag on the back seat of my ute (Australian for truck), I realised how slim and easy it was to maneuver. This is when I started to realise that this pack is actually quite suited to being an extension of my EDC. It’s like I had 3 extra pockets for EDC, 3 HUGE pockets not 1 small pack.
Essentially the Dashpack is three compartments stacked on top of one another. The front compartment can only be accessed from a side zipper and has an elastic loop sewn onto the inside of the pocket. I threw my small office first aid kit in here, an R50 Olight in its pouch, a pen, three cables, and my power-bank. The FAK, power-bank, and flashlight sat neatly on top of one another and in this way the front of the pack did not bulge or distort and sat relatively flat.
The main compartment (middle) is a decent size and I was able to stash my main larger first aid kit, small tool kit, deodorant, and some documents with no trouble. There is a smaller mesh pocket at the top that I was able to throw a Cliff Bar, Leatherman Raptors and a pair of gloves into. There was enough room in this main compartment for my lunch box (if I remembered to bring it) or a bulky jumper as well.
The middle pocket also fits my 13” MacBook with a slim protector cover as well so would have no trouble fitting a 15” laptop. There is padding on the base of the pack to protect a laptop or tablet, I tend to drop my bags rather than place them so this is a welcome relief.
The 3rd and final pocket is slim and I would liken this to a document pouch or frame pouch. The Arktype website mentions that a 13” laptop or 10” tablet also fits, it’s true they do. I wouldn’t put my laptop in the back but that is just personal preference. There is an internal mesh pocket that runs full length. I did throw in a fixed blade knife to see how it would carry, but unless I rearranged it to lay horizontal I could feel it through the back padding. I would probably recommend using this mainly for slim hydration (if this exists), documents or a tablet. Something flat in any case.
Week 3 – Build Quality
The zippers are fantastic, YKK Aquaguard, waterproof and awesome as most of you would know. The stitching throughout is excellent and no signs of loosening. Given I’ve only had this pack for a few weeks I would be surprised if there were signs. I would have loved a slightly wider top grab handle, it’s comfortable enough but once you have a laptop and a few books in there it can be a little uncomfortable for extended side carry. This is not something I would see in its daily use but just something to note if that’s how you carry your pack, maybe on a crowded train or something. Another small thing I have noticed is the zipper on the 3rd rear pocket, in my opinion, should zip into a fabric cover. Given that this has been advertised as a weather-proof bag. You can force the zip to close more but probably not something that you should be doing if you care about the longevity of the zip. Aside from these small probably insignificant things to most, I would have to say I really do enjoy this pack.
Now onto waterproofing, the website advertises this as being rainproof. So I put this to the test, I removed all electronics and left the rest of my gear inside. (I was quietly confident). Pouring a fairly solid stream of water over the pack, something that unless you were in torrential rain or rain for extended periods of time and would be far over the top of a typical rain storm. The pack performed wonderfully, no water made it inside and the zips remained dry. You can see a short clip here on youtube.
I have found myself carrying the Dashpack to places I wouldn’t normally carry a pack. It’s so small and easy to just grab why wouldn’t I? The Arktype Dashpack is a great minimalist pack and I am quite certain that I will continue to carry it on and off for years to come. Currently the black Dashpack is sold out but I have been informed stock will be in about a week.
For now, I am content with the smaller more minimalist approach to my daily carry.
*EDIT* Due to popular demand, I have attached two photos of how the pack sits on me. I am 178cm tall and 43cm shoulder to shoulder.
I loved the way the pack felt as if it was hugging me, slimline and minimalist.