Another classic Chris Benchetler pro model – is there anything the man can’t design?
Why we chose the Dakine Benchetler x Grateful Dead Team Poacher R.A.S 26L: Stylish, versatile, durable
You’ve seen his skis – in the Bent Chetler 100 and Bent Chetler 120 – now you can grab hold of the signature avvy pack from the man known for his buttery smooth style in the backcountry. Introducing the Dakine Benchetler x Grateful Dead Team Poacher R.A.S 26L backpack (some mouthful, that).
We’ll get onto the design of the pack in a little bit, but first thing to note is of course the Mammut R.A.S system (that’s sold separately). This removable airbag system can be added in, and taken out of the pack as your ski objectives dictate, giving you the option to use this bag around town when you’re not out in the backcountry.
“Now you can grab hold of the signature avvy pack from the man known for his buttery smooth style in the backcountry”
This is Mammut’s third iteration of the RAS system. It features a brightly coloured orange airbag, one that can be deployed by pulling a lever which can then be adjusted to sit on your right or left shoulder straps. The lever will release a pin, which in turn pierces a compressed gas canister; resulting in a rapid inflation of the airbag.
On top of proper avalanche training and carrying a transceiver, shovel and probe, avalanche airbags really do save lives in the backcountry. If you’re keen on equipping this Benchetler pack with the RAS system, then expect it to set you back around £400.
Dakine Benchetler x Grateful Dead Team Poacher Build
Back to the pack itself. Built around a 26 litre capacity, the Dakine Benchetler x Grateful Dead Team Poacher pack will see you right during single day ski tours. Even with the airbag equipped, you’ll have enough room for skins, avvy gear, spare layers and even glacial gear if that’s your thing. If you’re looking for a pack with a slightly higher capacity, then be sure to check out the Black Diamond Jetforce Pro 35L.
The front pocket of the pack is, of course, the avalanche safety equipment compartment. Featuring three separate sleeves for your shovel handle, a saw and your probe, along with enough width for even the widest of shovel blades. Pair this up with the BCA RS EXT Avalanche Shovel and Stealth 300 Probe.
“Even with the airbag equipped, you’ll have enough room for skins, avvy gear, spare layers and even glacial gear”
The main compartment is a bog standard compartment with no frills attached. Access can be made through a zip on the top of the pack, or via a back panel zip – handy if you’ve already got your skis attached to the pack. Ski attachment can be done via the classic A-Frame and diagonal ski carries. If sliding sideways is your cup of tea, you’ll be glad to know you can strap your snowboard to this pack.
Finally, onto one of our favourite features of this pack – that classic Benchetler artwork gracing the snow shedding back panel. It’s a subtle nod to the creator of this pack, and really sets it apart from the usually serious and dry designs of ski touring packs. If you’ve not yet checked it out, then be sure to take a look at Chris Benchetler’s artwork here.
All in all, this is an excellently designed pack for all you diehard backcountry skiers out there. The addition of Chris’ artwork, and the ability to add / remove the RAS airbag system makes this a pack that’ll be just as happy worn around town as it will be shredding the nearest couloir.
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