The Syncline is a great day pack for everyday trail riding, with all the essentials you’d need, plus a well-positioned fluid reservoir and an optional back protector that adds to this pack's abilities.
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The 12-litre capacity is about the optimum pack size for most riders, with the 16-litre option being helpful if you want to stash more food/kit. I managed to fit in a fair bit of kit with some thoughtful packing, and with the ability to pack tools/tubes on the bike, you can free up some space for lighter kit on your back.
The Syncline is comfortable with a good degree of strap adjustment and suited my fairly long back, the shoulder straps are comfortable, with a wide, shaped style, and cut away foam inserts for breathability and lower weight. The hose has to be run on the left as there is only a port and strap webbing to hold it on the left, where it handily mounts on the to the magnetic clip to keep the nozzle from knocking about whilst riding.
A simple, yet considered back area has space for your spine and some padding that allows a degree of airflow, with a large ridged pad on the lower back. I found the bag to be pretty low on sweat build up.
Starting from the front, there is a dual zip pocket with an internal zip pocket that has a key leash and space for essentials, and then a deeper internal pocket that fitted a pump, first aid kit and some food at a push. There is a small, soft lined zipper for glasses at the top, and then a second larger internal pocket. On the right-hand side, there is a bottle pocket for adding even more fluid, or handy for things you want to get at quicker.
The bottom of the bag has the 3l reservoir area, and the shape is squatter than the long, full back reservoirs - and it makes the load sit better, and eliminates the sometimes tricky loading of the pack with a full reservoir. I found loading easier, and crucially more comfortable when riding.
The sternum, shoulder and waist straps all sit and hold the pack pretty secure - I’d prefer a slightly wider waist strap, as it spreads that compression load and minimises the digging in. The sternum strap features a safety whistle, which is a good little detail.
At the base of the pack, tucked away are two straps for strapping armour to the pack, or a helmet, or even an additional small bag to increase stowage - its a nice tidy feature, and worked just fine, but I don't think it’d do any harm to have them a touch longer. Two straps at the top of the front of the bag are anchor points to run your helmet straps through. There is also a light loop at the base.
Riding with the pack loaded was good and it sits well, with a fairly minimal trail bounce. The lower weight of the reservoir seems to help it sit better, and for me, felt an improvement on my other similar style packs. Whilst not waterproof, the fabric is good enough to shrug off splashes and a couple of hours lighter rain. The usual quality I’d expect from Dakine is there, and the pack feels pretty burly, despite its fairly low weight feel.
The attention and thought paid to the pack layout, access and stowage features all combine to make this a capable and worthy trail pack. There is space for the optional back protector (£25) which adds another element to the versatility.
The Syncline doesn't break the bank, and comes with all the features you need for almost all riding. It's a great example of a modern trail pack.