Are you looking for the versatility of an avalanche airbag compatible backpack for skiing or snowboarding? Then check out this Dakine Team Poacher 26L review.
The Team Poacher is compatible with the Mammut® Removable Airbag System 3.0. It is simple to fit/remove giving you the versatility of a great backpack that can be converted into an avalanche airbag when you need it.
I tested the Chris Benchetler’s signature pro version of the Dakine Poacher backcountry pack. It features Benchetler’s original artwork on the back panel along with Grateful Dead emblem and detailing.
Despite the slightly different look (far left below) the actual pack is the same as the Dakine Team Poacher RAS 26L. The only difference is the the extra detailing. The normal Dakine Poacher comes in black, greeny-grey or orangey-red colour options and costs $220/£185.
The RRP for the Mammut ® Removable Airbag System 3.0 is $430 (£399 or €450). Although I have seen it for sale at significantly lower prices. Of course with something that your life could depend on please ensure you are buying the real thing!
While I haven’t tested the avalanche airbag, I did plenty of snowboarding wearing the pack. We were spending a night in a hut on the mountain so I rode with overnight gear for two days.
The straps offer plenty of adjustability to ensure a close and comfortable fit. Even fully loaded the hip belt and sternum strap keep the bag comfortably in place. There’s also a through the legs strap that is used with an airbag, It can be stowed away when not required.
I have snowboarded with a huge range of backpacks and the Poacher is one of the most comfortable. It is fairly long and wide, this is in order to keep the depth of the pack shallower. Not only does this distribute weight closer to your body but it means you can get on most chairlifts without removing it.
During this Dakine Poacher 26L review the off-piste was thin, icy and off the menu. Later in the season when the off-piste improved I used my pack that does have an airbag instead. Obviously safety first!
However, the pack has a very similar layout and pockets to the other Dakine backcountry packs I have used off-piste. The shovel and probe pocket is easy to access and has room for other essentials.
The main compartment has the classic Dakine roll-top closure that ensures water does not get in – it would probably survive a short submergence. The main pocket has plenty of room for lunch, first aid kit, extra layers and much more. I fitted my clothing for a night including a pair of boots and toiletries.
The pack is compatible with either a two-way radio handset or hydration bladder – unfortunately not both at once. The hydration pack and tube should not freeze as it is insulated.
There are adjustable straps on the pack offering either diagonal or A-frame ski carrying. They also work to carry a snowboard vertically. Plus there is an elasticated, easy to use helmet webbing that make it easy to carry.
Dakine have packed this avalanche airbag compatible backpack with useful features. I love the fleece-lined pocket that ensures your goggles or sunnies don’t get scratched.
There are hipbelt pockets for easy to reach essentials, quick draw ice axe loop that also helps carry poles and a whistle on the sternum strap. To protect your back the Dakine Poacher is compatible with the DK Impact Spine Protector.
During this Dakine Poacher 26L review I have found it to be great for snowboarding and it has all the features I want for off-piste. But how did this avalanche airbag compatible backpack fair as a travel pack?
I flew to Austria and back to the UK and used it as my hand luggage. It was a two week trip and I visited three resorts, catching the train between them. So the poacher had plenty of use as a travel bag.
Some of its features, such as being very robust and hard wearing, make it heavier and stiffer than I like for travel bags. However the many different pockets were very useful. In particular the inner zipped sleeve inside the top pocket was perfect for my passport and the bladder sleeve was great for documents.
Having three main pockets (roll-top pocket, shovel pocket and back zippered pocket) wasn’t ideal for travel. With three large(ish) spaces I had to think about packing rather than just loading everything in one main compartment.
In the end it worked well for me and was not an issue when traveling. However I’d prefer one larger compartment and two smaller pockets as it is more convenient and useful when on the road.
That said you will only buy an avalanche airbag compatible backpack if you plan to go skiing or snowboarding. Ultimately the shortcomings of this backpack for travel are irrelevant, because it is perfect for the activities it is designed for.
The Dakine Poacher is an excellent bit of kit. I previously reviewed the Dakine Seeker MTB backpack and like the Poacher it is perfect for the job it is designed to do. So any minor shortcomings for other uses don’t really matter.
Dakine offer a lifetime warranty, so you know it is a well made rucksack that will survive the slopes. Not only that but it will keep your gear safe and dry far better than any non-ski/snowboard backpack ever would.
To conclude this Dakine Poacher 26L review I would say it is a great looking bit of kit that is perfect for skiers and snowboarders, particularly those that ride off-piste. If you are looking for a backpack that is avalanche airbag compatible then you would be hard pressed to find better.
We hope you found this review of the Dakine Team Poacher 26L interesting and useful. If you want to pick up this avalanche airbag compatible backpack find out more at: www.dakine.com/poacher-ras-26l-backpack