Dakine AMP 12L Hydration Backpack Review

The Dakine AMP pack gets a makeover including the all new reservoir making it a great backpack for mountain biking. DaKine makes a huge improvement by teaming up with HydraPak to include HydraPak’s Reversible Reservoir II Hydration System with the 12L Amp. The addition of the new reservoir automatically increases the stock value of this unit. If you are unfamiliar with this hydration system, read our review of it…hands down, one of the best bladders on the market!

Dakine AMP 12L Hydration Pack Product Details

  • 6″ high
  • 13″ wide
  • High-flow Blaster bite valve w/ shut-off
  • Air Mesh suspended backpanel
  • Quick stash and zippered side pockets
  • Deployable helmet carry
  • Magnetic hydration hose clip

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In addition to the Reversible Reservoir II Hydration System, the pack comes complete with XC helmet carry straps (works using helmet’s chin straps), quick access mesh pockets, fleece sunglass pocket, tube/pump sleeves and a molded back panel with air channel ventilation. Although we didn’t use the helmet carry straps in our testing, we really loved the numerous zippered pockets included the fleece lined sunglass pocket, tube/pump sleeves and padded MP3 player pocket were a huge plus. Commuters and night riders will appreciate having a small loop located at the bottom of the front of the bag specifically designed for a reflector or flashing light.

The pack uses a light weight nylon material and integrates a breathable mesh material on the shoulder and removable waist strap as well as on the back panel. We found that the tube sleeve was large enough to fit up to two tubes which we thought was a nice feature for long epic rides over challenging terrain. We used the large tube sleeve to our advantage for stuffing our multi-tool and CO2 cartridges in with 1-2 tubes.

The padded MP3 player pocket is well situated inside the large compartment of the pack and shares the same opening as the reservoirs tube for the headphones leading to an elastic strap on the should strap opposite the shoulder strap with the reservoir tube. This was a very noticeable feature compared to other packs that fail to include either a designated pocket for an MP3 player or those that don’t take into account the headphones of such devices and leaving them unsecured.

The number of functional pockets and integrated sleeves used to keep gear secure and eliminate gear movement inside is important. Unwanted and surprising shifts of weight inside a pack could easily throw off a rider’s balance and cause serious injury. The Dakine AMP over several tests on different terrain and different styles of riding passed this test without experiencing any noticeable change.

We only had two complaints about the pack. Perhaps we have gotten spoiled testing larger packs (Osprey and others) as both complaints are corrected in larger size models. The larger 18L pack has an integrated rain cover which would have been nice to have on this pack. We only found ourselves out in the rain once during our tests and although the contents inside the pack remained dry the outside of the pack got wet and muddy. In my own personal opinion I feel that the rain cover was the best addition to the backpack. We would like to see an integrated rain cover with a clip allowing for easy detachment for cleaning. Our only other complaint had to do with fit. In comparison to other packs its size the pack fit just fine, however when compared to larger packs which seem to mold to the contours of your back this pack came up short. We don’t really hold this against Dakine as it becomes more difficult to achieve this shape on smaller packs while keeping things as minimalistic as possible, but we would like to see a company design a small pack with a more comfortable fit.