The Klymit Dash 10 boasts an inflatable back frame technology to create a comfortable pack that can handle a heavy load. This is a multisport champ with enough capacity for commuting and light hikes. It’s not a good option for protecting against precipitation.
A key feature of the Klymit Dash 10 is the air frame system. Using Klymit’s experience with air mattresses, the back panel is inflatable with a bulb tucked into a shoulder strap. Adjusting the pressure combined with the two chest straps and wide shoulders pads hugged the pack against the body. It did a good job when the pack was lightly loaded, but when we loaded it up for a longer trip the cargo inside tended to bounce around. Some kind of compression strap system would probably help.
Like most of the other packs the Klymit Dash 10 comes ready to carry water in flasks riding in chest pockets or a 2 liter bladder in a dedicated sleeve out back. But the flasks or bladder must be purchased separately. The pack can carry a 3L bladder and two 500 ml flasks up front for a total of 4 Liters or 132 ounces.
This is the Klymit Dash 10’s strength and weakness. No pack in this test had more room for carrying stuff. The back pocket has a legitimate 10 Liters of storage, plus there’s a decent sized water-resistant pocket for valuables and shoulder strap pockets. The downside is that the main pocket is a cavernous top loader. When we put stuff in, we had to hunt to find it again.
The Klymit Dash 10 won this category thanks to a combination of capacity and solid load carrying. It has the most room, so works for longer trips when more food and gear is needed. The air frame back panel dispersed the load and provided structure so the pack didn’t just become a ball when overstuffed. It worked great while mountain biking, hiking, and even rock climbing.
The airframe technology and soft next-to-skin fabric combined to make this an especially comfortable pack to carry. Nothing poked us from the body of the pack and the adjustable air suspension added a nice touch of cushion.
Ryan Stuart is freelance writer and jack of all sports—trail running, mountain biking, whitewater paddling, surfing, climbing, skiing and mountaineering—based on Vancouver Island. Follow his testing on Google+.