Dakine BC Vest Review
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For the backcountry skier and snowboarder looking to carry all the essentials and a little more, the Dakine BC Vest is a great option. The best comparison I can make for the Dakine BC Vest is a fly fisherman’s vest that has a pocket for everything you need for your day on the river or lake. The Dakine BC Vest is just that for backcountry skiers and snowboarders, a vest that you can take out on a backcountry excursion and take everything you need with you.
Dakine BC Vest Pockets
When you replace a backpack that needs to carry a lot of important gear such as a beacon, shovel, probe, and more, having enough pockets is imperative to make the Dakine BC Vest a true asset in the backcountry. Let’s start with the pockets up front. Starting up top, there are two pockets near the clavicle and are big enough to fit a slope meter or an energy bar or gel. On the next pocket down on your left chest, there is an internal storage system that stores a phone in which I was able to store my iPhone 5 with an Otterbox Case. For those who like to listen to music while skiing, there is a port in the pocket that allows you to string your headphone cable up to your head. There are also two slots inside this vest to store writing utensils in which you can use for logging your trip. Aside from these features inside this vest, the pocket is spacious enough for other gear, but I would recommend not placing your beacon here as you don’t want your cell phone to interfere with your beacon.
On the right chest pocket, there are two internal pockets that are both the size of an iPhone 5 with a case on. This pocket I find be good to store food such as a sandwich or sub and some trail mix. I prefer not to place a beacon in either of these top pockets because they are cargo like and have the potential to rip if you get caught in a slide. Last in front, there are two bottom pockets that are good to store skins in. I used a set of G3 skin’s that I stored in these pockets and they fit just fine. You can see the G3 skins review here.
On the inside of the Dakine BC Vest, there are two large pockets on both the left and right sides. These pockets can be used to store your warm gloves when you’re touring, snow goggles such as the Smith Vice Goggles reviewed here, and climbing skins as well.
Storage for your Shovel and Probe
On the back of the Dakine BC Vest, there is a large pocket that is used to store both your shovel and probe. There are two long slots, one that is used to store a probe and the other that can hold a shovel handle or snow saw with blade cover. When I first saw the Dakine BC Vest, I was concerned on whether the shovel blade would dig into my back, but I have not noticed a thing on my tours and while skiing downhill. One of the reasons for this is the padding that sits on the back. If you use a hydration reservoir, this pocket is big enough to accommodate a 3 liter reservoir, but there is not place to feed the tube through.
Ski and Snowboard Carry
For ski carrying, the Dakine BC Vest uses a vertical carry system. On your upper left shoulder, there is a buckle to secure the top of your skis and on the bottom right there is a steel cord to secure the bottom of your skis. This system can carry both wide and narrow skis. I tested out the setup with the Salomon Rocker2 115 skis. For snowboarders, there is a vertical carry system with a top and bottom adjustable horizontal strap.
I tested out the size L/XL which is generally a little big for me, but I found that size to fit well with all my gear. I typically wear a size medium jacket and top, but the larger vest I found to fit just fine. There are side straps where you can cinch in which makes it easier to size up.
The Dakine BC Vest is a great alternative to the traditional backcountry backpack for those that are interested in making the transition. The concept is a little different at first, but after you get moving, you forget the vest is on and you go on with your day. Overall, two thumbs up! For more information, please visit Dakine.com