Dakine Apex and Sequence backpacks from a photographer's standpoint

May 19, 2009
by Brad Walton  
Dakine makes the best packs in the business for shooters, and here's why.

Chances are, whether you ride with it or not, you have a pack. If you ride with your pack, it's essential that you can carry water, some snack food, and a few tools and a spare tube, as well as anything else your non-pack toting buddy is going to need to get out of the woods. That last part is debatable, which is why I request that my buddies bring some cash on the ride, as backcountry spare tubes can go for a pretty penny.words and photos by Brad Walton

Over the years my pack has gone from welterweight to obese with an aging desire for longer rides and more photo gear. The adage of keeping it simple got thrown right out the window, and now my buddies have a game to see who can guess how heavy my pack is. If being the group scribe is something that interests you and 'pack mule' status is of no concern, Dakine has stepped up to the plate with a few products that are of utmost necessity for adventure sports gear hauling:

Dakine Sequence (left) and Apex (right) when they were new last year

Dakine Sequence (left) and Apex (right) when they were new last year


Dakine's Apex and Sequence backpacks have served me so well for the past year that I can't imagine how I would be able to ride well carrying all the gear I do with anything less. The similarities between the two include mega-durable construction, excellent fit and retention, great looks, and an impressive feature set for each. However, these purpose-driven packs are built for completely different yet related venues, with the Sequence being a dedicated photography bag and the Apex being an extended-length ride pack that just so happens to have room for photo gear. Either way, both the Apex and Sequence are the best bags for transporting your photo tools to the trail.

Dakine Apex getting worked this winter during the building frenzy

Dakine Apex getting worked this winter during the building frenzy


Dakine Apex

For $125 USD, the Apex is hands down the most useful backpack I have ever seen for mountain biking. To put it lightly, Dakine thought of everything. Some of the features take a long time to utilize or even to discover, but Dakine is on your side when it comes to organizing your next sustained mission. I've regularly used the Apex for riding, trail building, hiking, as airplane carry-on luggage, and as a grocery basket. I've had the zippers so tight that the bag would hardly close, but the zippers didn't bust. The Apex fits a lot of gear comfortably, but it's gotta be the simple camera carrying system I've been using that makes this pack so ideal.

Apex with an internal padded f.64 camera holster bag

Apex with an internal padded f.64 camera holster bag


Although it looks like a regular sized pack, the Apex is expandable to hold large volume. The main compartment serves as the photo zone in my Apex. Coupled with a holster-style camera bag like the f.64 HCX Large Holster Bag, my camera gets toted around comfortably, with padding and rain protection. The large holster bags can hold a regular size SLR camera body with a small-ish lens generally under 70mm. I usually drop a flash (in it's stock nylon pouch) in the bottom of my Apex and put the holster bag on top of it. This provides a well-balanced carry for minimal camera gear. On days when I know I'm going to take a few photos, there's still room for another flash and small lens.

Another view of f.64 camera holster bag and how it fits in the Apex

Another view of f.64 camera holster bag and how it fits in the Apex

Apex back padding

Apex back padding


The Apex features adequate back padding designed with airflow in mind for the long haul and carries weight near effortlessly with it's perfectly aligned pack straps with full adjustment for where it rides on your back. The padded main shoulder straps are wide enough to spread the load across your shoulders and durable enough to carry as much weight as you can fit in the Apex. A beefy waist strap with plastic buckle adds security while the sternum strap provides full lockdown to prevent de-shouldering of the pack mid-ride. Zippers are seam-sealed and combat rain for awhile, although the pack's nylon fabric is not entirely waterproof (making it waterproof would add considerable weight).

Dakine's armor and full face carry is hands down the best

Dakine's armor and full face carry is hands down the best


Remaining largely unchanged for 2009, the Apex is chock full of compartments, straps, and clever features. Most notably, Dakine's armor and full face carry is the best in the business. If you wear a half-lid, it will fit inside the outer pouch pocket and can be retained using adjustable straps to carry to the trail or to the top of the mountain on long days. Armor carry straps keep your pads secure at the bottom of the pack, and stash away into their own pouches when not in use, which keeps them from ending up caught by your tire. A new bladder is also in place for 2009, making fill ups that much easier.

Armor straps ingeniously tuck away to keep from getting caught

Armor straps ingeniously tuck away to keep from getting caught


The main accessory pocket provides more than enough space for tools, a spare tube, and lunch, with built-in, zippered mesh sub-pockets for organization of small parts. Up top there's a fleece-lined sunglass/goggle pocket, and down low on both sides are zippered stash pockets perfect for keys and wallet. There's even a map/ toilet paper dryzone pocket.

Ample space in the tool zone for various trinkets and sandwiches

Ample space in the tool zone for various trinkets and sandwiches

Stash pockets on each side

Stash pockets on each side

Apex's outer map/TP pocket

Apex's outer map/TP pocket


Hydration is a must for any sustained efforts, and the 100oz bladder is an industry standard. Dakine's bladder system is well thought out, and includes such features as a flow shut-off in the bite valve, a quick disconnect at the hose/bladder interface, and a bladder retention clip that prevents "bladder wedgie", a bothersome phenomenon occurring when the bladder empties and falls to the bottom of the pack and bunches up right next to your back. Sounds silly, but trust me, it's annoying and Dakine integrated an easy fix.

Bladder retention clip prevents

Bladder retention clip prevents "bladder wedgie"




Sequence pack high in the alpine

Sequence pack high in the alpine


The Sequence

Serious photo days require serious gear. For location shooting, you'll need a Sequence pack, or maybe even a Reload pack if it gets too serious. The Sequence nears the end of the ride-able spectrum as the Reload is a bit big and bulky for actual riding.

For 2009, Dakine redesigned the $150 USD Sequence, giving it a sleek look similar to the smaller Apex pack while still maintaining the large capacity carry. The internals of the '08-'09 Sequence remain the same, with a rear-opening entry to a removable padded photo gear pod that sports velcro-adjustable compartments. The rear-opening entry is key to keeping your photo gear easily accessible and your back padding out of the dirt while shooting.

Sequence's removable padded photo block

Sequence's removable padded photo block


In similar fashion to the smaller packs, the Sequence has beefy pack carry straps with waist and sternum closure. The Sequence carries a heavy load easily. I am constantly amazed with just how much gear this pack can carry and still remain comfortable. I've spotted Sterling Lorence at Whistler riding with this pack, and I've been on a ride/shoot with Colin Meagher who was also sporting a Sequence. Neither one of these guys had under 30 lbs in there, so if that's fine by you, this is your pack.

Sequence's ample back padding

Sequence's ample back padding

Sequence has enough padding and fits well enough to giv'r

Sequence has enough padding and fits well enough to giv'r


For those who prefer to be totally self-sufficient, the Sequence has several accessory pockets other than the main photo block, including a large exterior pocket on the front of the pack, two smaller pockets on either side of the bottom, and a good size pocket up top. If you're carrying the Sequence around, you're going to be spending some time shooting so you should make the talent carry some of the load, like tools, tubes, and such.

Sequence outside accessory pockets

Sequence outside accessory pockets

I still can't believe all this stuff fits in there, comfortably nonetheless

I still can't believe all this stuff fits in there, comfortably nonetheless


I'm sure I've left out some of the many features of the Apex and Sequence, but you photo geeks get the idea. When you're long past the point of your bike being worth more than your car, and now your photo equipment is worth 5x your car, buy a nice pack to carry it all in. Happy shooting!

-www.dakine.com

--Brad Walton


57 Comments

  • + 2
 ive got a sequence, and use it for all my vid. cam. gear and it feels absolutely awesome! sooo comfy! cant use it for riding tho, if its got cam stuff in it, but that's just me being safety conscious haha. they are definitely worth the investment
  • + 2
 I have last years Apex and I agree with the review that the bag and features are fantastic. The bladder however is not as good as my Camelback that I replaced. Specifically the hose is all too easily kinked and I often find myself shaking the bag on my back to remove any kinks blocking fluid flow. I covered the hose with the neoprene sleeve from my Camelback to see if this reduced the kinkage but alas it did not. Great bag, shame about the bladder hose
  • + 2
 It's a whole new bladder for 2009, so things should be nicely fixed.
  • + 2
 Personally I think the helmet/armour carriage ability of the older Camelback Havoc is the best out there, but thats purely because it has exactly what the Apex has, with the addition of a few more clip-able straps. Other than that, I cant see any reason for me not to replace it with an Apex! And more to the point: Dakine is just sooo much cooler than Camelback Wink
  • + 2
 Dakine deffinately makes the best backpacks for any use. I use one for school, and it is so confortable on my back, even when riding my bike to and from school. I recommend any cyclist buy a dakine backpack to experience true comfort.
  • + 1
 These are really great backpacks with lot of clever solutions and great compartment divisions, the helmet hanger and tools compartment are just brilliant. One thing I miss is that these are purely DH/FR no uphill-friendly packs - why? because the back venting is really poor. I'd really like Dakine to come with backpack for enduro/AM riding which has a stiff rails with net that sticks out of your back and provides maximum ventilation. Off course that comes at the price of less space inside but you dont take so much stuff with U for 4 hour ride dont ya?
  • + 2
 Have you looked at their new AMP packs?

http://www.dakine.com/bike/bike-packs/amp-18l/

This is their first true all mountain offering.
  • + 1
 Well, looks good but still has no full ventilation for the back. I meant something like that:

img02.hamazo.tv/usr/elephantstone/DSC03846.JPG

the alu rails push the back of the BP from you back so only the net touches it - uber comfy but off course at the cost of the load capacity...

you know that feeling? after 1 hour of constant uphill you feel the heat at your back, then u stop for short rest, then take Ur bp off, its all wet, then after 5 mins U put it back and - ooo chill! and then... ooo grouuse!

This specific backpack in the link is like a second skin, wearing it is a pure pleasure, compared to wearing a TLD lid or Dainese armor... off course it lacks all the superb functionality of Dakine backpacks interior - would be cool to get both at the same time...
  • + 1
 I have the apex and the drifter, best bags ever for riding. Super tough and just so practical, the bladders are also anti bact lined so they don't go moldy, you just leave em to dry and there perfect every time. Pricey but like anything you get what your pay for!
  • + 1
 j-j-j-juuuuust got a sequence pack! so far I'm likin the shape of things. I see some differences with mine compared to what i see in your shots. the front pocket doesn't flap completely open, the waterproof pockets are in the front pocket instead of the main compartment, there are on average 1000 more straps to secure maybe even three pods or just squish everything together in the pack. haha. a deployable rainjacket! the back padding is much different. whatever. maybe it's a 2010 version? bleah. it's awesome.
  • + 1
 i use the sequence, awsome pack, the straps are in all the right places and the chest and waist straps take a lot of the weight off your shoulders, i forget im wearing it when i point downhill!! i always forget that there will be other people on the ride though, so maybe the apex would be a good purchase to go alongside the sequence!!
  • + 1
 No problems with the back of your helmet hitting the bag while descending? Both my current bags, Low Pro Dry Zone 200 and wal-mart, have this problem and it's very anoying. Dry Zone is awesomely waterproof, I rode it wakeboarding.
  • + 1
 nope no problems hitting the helmet, the only time ive hit myself in the head was when i had two light stands that were too tall for the bag and they bashed a couple of times, but tripods are fine on the side straps.

what helmet do you use? as my troy lee has a pretty high back so maybe that helps.
  • + 1
 I had a Bell now using a 661 strike. Maybe it is the shape of the helmet or I need to lower the bag down a bit. Thanks for the reply
  • + 1
 I've got both Apex (old) and Sequence. I love Apex, especially external pocket where you can fit FF helmet. I like it better that current Apex.
I am not so happy with Sequence. I've got Canon 40D with grip, 50mmm, 17-55mm and 70-200mm 2.8L lenses, flash, some small stuff as cards, batteries, etc. I simply couldn't fit all my equipment in Sequence. It's big from the outside, but pretty small from the inside. Yes, you can put quite a lot of stuff in the pockets, you can attach tripod to the external straps, but something is missing.
I bought LowePro Mini Trekker and I love it.
So, I've Sequence in top condition for sell. If anyone interested, pls write me.
Dakine Sequence na sprzedaz. Stan BDB/idealny. Zainteresowani, pisac na priva.
  • + 1
 It's taken me so long to find a worthy replacement for my Dickies Camo Skatepack, which was actually the best bag I've had...until now. Can't wait to get my hands on the Apex.
  • + 2
 "I've had the zippers so tight that the bag would hardly close, but the zippers didn't bust."


Wish I could say the same...my Dakine bag JUST busted today.
  • + 1
 je suis photographe et j'ai le sequence IL EST TOP
le meilleur sac photo testé depuis des années
je m'en sert aussi bien en rando legere qu'en vtt ou l'hiver ou je ski 4 mois le sac sur le dos
  • + 2
 I own the smaller version, and its great! Compfy on the back, doesnt bother. You barely feel that its their after a while. Love it!
  • + 2
 I have the sequence and it's awesome, holds so much and has more usable features than Michael Jackson.
  • + 0
 i have the old edition apex.. and for the strap compartments and zipped side pockets...,. it still rocks !!
ps: my full face (size small)fits completely in the front pocket instead of hanging it on..!
  • + 1
 Don't like Dakines bladders....they leak. Becareful when lugging that expensive equipment, could leak on it and ruin the circuitry.
  • + 3
 As stated in the article, for 2009, there is a new bladder.
  • + 1
 all of Nikon's metal body cameras are seam sealed and from my experience in the wet northwest, they are pretty much waterproof, even after dropping it in a creek
  • + 2
 I've had a Switch for years... It's still going strong.. Top quality products.
  • + 2
 haha i use mine for school.
  • + 1
 I really need to replace my old bag, Trying to get an APEX but no stores around me seem to carrie it. any suggestions?
  • + 1
 www.chainreactioncycles.com They have the 2009's in stock in all the colour options. Just about to order mine up now.
  • + 2
 Sure , I´ll buy me one too. (lookin´forward to my first Dakine *lol* )
  • + 2
 Looks nice, seems to be very usefull.
  • + 1
 Good review, I'll defenitely look at getting the "apex" when I'm in the market for a new bag.
  • + 1
 good place for your new camera
  • + 1
 i love dakine stuff i have 2 packs
  • + 1
 I love my Dakine pack. It's full of QUALITY. Smile
  • + 1
 does anybody know if the photo block fits in a mission?
  • + 1
 or camera block i mean
  • + 2
 I know that they do a MIssion with a block in it, so perhaps look into what block it is.
  • + 0
 wow they look sick. i want to get into photography.... i soooooo need a job Frown
  • + 1
 I'm getting one of those sequence bag.... looks very nice
  • + 1
 too bad i got a photopack recently Frown
  • + 0
 very nice think
How mauch is it ?? Smile
  • + 1
 Cena: 459,00zł na rowerowy.com ;d ale na allegro pewnie wychaczysz juz za 350 Smile
  • + 1
 dzieki wielkie Smile
  • + 1
 Osobiście wolę plecaki v8 z biketopia.pl
  • + 1
 nice material ;D
  • + 1
 They look sweet
  • + 1
 nice nice dakine!!!! keep doing itSmile preaty nice job!!
  • + 4
 I was thinking of getting one of these! It's great theres a review! Thanks Big Grin
  • + 7
 i have a dakine nomad pack just like the apex but a little smaller very stong pack and cleans up nicely, carrys alot these packs are huge for even though they may look small, ive been riding with mine for about a season and highly recommend.
  • + 2
 that looks fkin sweet!
  • + 3
 dakine backpacks are so sweet, I have 3, an apex, the builder (amazing) and and 08 nomad
  • + 1
 The other pack to look at if you are a photographer is the mission photo. I have it and I wouldn't buy anything else, I love it!
  • + 2
 another amazing and technical brand por photography backpacks is LowePro, but they are not as cool looking as the dakines are
  • + 1
 Another great review Brad!
  • + 1
 I heart Dakine.....
  • + 0
 cool

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