Friday, September 12, 2014

Dana Designs Colter

When I started to prowl outdoor forums more intensively a while ago I started to hear more mentions of Dana Designs backpacks. Since I had long ago been exposed to the cult of Kifaru and Mystery Ranch I didn't understand what the fuss was about. Cordura backpacks with heavier suspension systems? Hadn't seen that before...well I've come full circle in a way. I really started to understand why people didn't want 1000d full-molle hauler frame monstrosities, and that many of the non-tactical, non-hunter, non-prepper community hasn't really been exposed to Kifaru or MR, and that older participants would remember when DD was more mainstream then either of those two will probably ever be.

More recently as I have been scrutinizing backpacks with a more intentional eye towards design I have developed a new appreciation for Dana's packs. While many of the features and designs are fairly obsolete, or perhaps less then successful at the time the important thing is that there was a huge amount of experimentation and innovation going on, not just updating the same old Lowe Alpine designs from yesteryear.

Check out this Dana Design Colter pack I saw on eBay:

tapered front panel, monster stabilizer straps connected to the hip belt, and best of all, one of the more elegant solutions for a lidless cinch-top pack. The integrated flap just covers the hole, offers some top compression, and is small enough to stay out of the way when you're digging through the pack. 

There aren't tons of Dana packs that are on my shopping list, but I'd love to pick up one of his larger packs and compare the arcflex suspension to my newer packs. The simplicity compared to many of the newer corudra packs is certainly appealing to me, the shortcomings I expect to find are a lack of backpanel ventilation and skimpy shoulder straps.

More to follow.

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