Dakine DLX Cargo Pack 55L
- Large size
- Ability to carry skis/boards
- Placement of boots against back
- Boot stacking system can lead to water getting inside boots
Dakine’s DLX Cargo Pack is built to handle gear, and plenty of it. It is the most versatile bag we tested and the only one that has the ability to strap skis or boards onto the bag. The DLX Cargo Pack offers multiple options for carrying and has enough room for all the essential gear. The only downside to the design is that the boots are stacked on top of each other, which is uncomfortable on extended treks to the lodge and can lead to water getting inside the boots if they’re stowed while still wet.
The DLX Cargo Pack has a ripstop polyester exterior and a tarp-lined interior. The zippers, buckles, and straps are all seem to be high quality and didn’t have any malfunctions during the course of the test. The bag presents every indication that it could hold up to years of use and abuse.
As the only boot bag in the test that has the ability to strap skis and boards onto the bag, the DLX Cargo Pack is definitely among the most versatile ski bags we tested. Even if you decide to not strap skis onto the side of the bag, the quick-release compression straps can just as easily hold poles, helmets or an extra coat, and the 55L internal capacity provides plenty of room for all the essentials and then some. The stowable backpack straps and well-placed handles mean that the bag can function just as well as a travel bag as an everyday boot bag.
The DLX Cargo Pack have handles on the side and top of the bag that make it easy to grab and carry horizontally or vertically, and the backpack straps are thick and padded, making them comfortable to carry even for relatively long distances. Although they don’t have the same contoured form-fitting design that are standard in most daypacks today, the straps do include a sternum strap that helps keep them in a comfortable position even when the bag is fully loaded and the streamline design of the bag means that it doesn’t get in the way of skis, poles, and other gear you might be carrying.
Among the most notable features on the DLX Cargo Pack are the compression straps for securing skis and/or snowboards onto the bag and the stowable shoulder straps that allow you to convert the bag from a checked bag to a backpack, but the DLX Cargo Pack also has several other features that are noteworthy including the separate helmet compartment and internal zippered pouch for passes, maps, and other important essentials.
The overall design of the DLX Cargo Pack is solid, but the position of the boot compartment in the bag presents a couple drawbacks. Because the boot compartment is positioned against the back of the bag, the boots have a tendency to press against your back when the bag is worn as a backpack. There is some padding between the boots and the back, but during long treks to the lodge, or when the bag is over-stuffed with gear, the hard edges of ski boots pressed against your back become uncomfortable despite the padding. The other drawback of the stacked design of the boot compartment is that if boots are stowed while they’re still wet or have snow on them, the water has the potential to get into the interior of the boots instead of just draining into the bag.
How We Tested It
The ski boot bags in this test were used year-round to simulate more than just one season of use. Each bag was tested with a variety of sizes of ski boots as well as with other items through the summer for various activities and adventures.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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