I’ve amassed a few bits and bobs from Lifeventure over the years. The company makes all sorts of kit that comes in handy when travelling, from money belts and travel pillows to larger bags and packs. Its entry to this test, the Dakar 25 Daysack, is a sturdy backpack that’s great for travelling, commuting and the odd day of hiking.
The Dakar is made from tough Cordura fabric that will easily cope with day-to-day knocks and scrapes. It has a DWR finish so it will resist the odd shower, but I wouldn’t trust it in anything more without putting your kit in dry bags or getting a rain cover – the bag doesn’t come with one, but Lifeventure offers them as extra. A downside of the Dakar is that it doesn’t have a waist belt to stabilise the pack or bring any weight to the hips, so you wouldn’t want to use it to carry heavier kit around all day. That said, the shoulder straps are wide with firm padding to minimise any digging in, and the back system has mesh padding for added comfort and ventilation – I found it comfortable to carry although I didn’t pack anything particularly heavy.
The bag has lots of pockets and compartments. The main compartment is a good size, and then there’s a second compartment on the front with two pockets and a key clip. In front of this is a stretchy pocket where you could stash a waterproof or extra layer. On top there’s a fleece-lined top pocket for small items like a phone or compact camera, and I particularly like that there’s a separate padded laptop pocket that will house a 13.3-inch laptop on the back of the bag. There are two side pockets, one zip-up, the other mesh for a drinks bottle (the pack isn’t compatible with a hydration bladder, which is unusual), and finally there’s a secret pocket on the back which is ideal for passports and other important documents.
This is a nice pack, but it’s more useful for travelling and commuting with the occasional stroll rather than anything more strenuous.