Respect is one of the first things you need to know about Dakine’s value system. The company’s entire philosophy is based on the idea – respect the land, the sea, and the locals. Sustainability is one of the core values of Dakine. It was built on the premise that every man-made product has an impact on the environment.

The least human beings could do is to be aware of that impact, be sensitive towards the needs of the planet, and proceed with caution. Dakine prides itself on being “Product Problem Solvers” so it’s really worth getting to know the team and the company’s philosophy even if you don’t end up buying their products.

Let’s Start at the Beginning: A Little Time Warp

If you are an adrenaline junkie who can’t wait to hit the road (or mountains or water) at the first chance you get, you’ve probably heard of Dakine. They have been around for a few decades, since 1979 actually, manufacturing innovative backpacks, travel bags, accessories, outerwear, and clothing. Apart from backpacks, they are quite skilled in making gear for surfers, snowboarders, skateboarders, mountain bikers, skiers, windsurfers, etc. The list goes on.

If none of that sounds like you, you should still check their products out because they have some great gear just for travel.

Dakine was founded in Hawaii and is located in Mt. Hood in Oregon. It’s actually quite a sweet story. The founder Rob Kaplan was originally a surfer who liked messing with gear. So he became popular among other surfers whenever they needed a fix.

It got to a point where he realized that all surfers were looking for material that could do better than what they had at the time. That’s the beginning of a long and difficult road towards building a company that is one of the best allies of outdoorsy folk today.

In the 1980s, Dakine ventured into windsurfing. It came up with the first adjustable foot strap, made waist harnesses, and created a line of travel bags. The first seat harness was made in 1983 which was the sport’s first. The thermo-molded waist harness that is now a popular part of the gear was perfected by Dakine. This equipment helped surfers in sailing faster and higher in harsher conditions.

While expanding its reach, Dakine consulted with world-class surfers and snowboarders. And from some of those many conversations came the Heli Pack. A custom pack that could fit all essentials, this became a classic creation from the company.

By the early 2000s, Hood River, where the company originated, was a popular destination for mountain bikers. For Dakine, this meant helping solve a new set of problems for the experts (and friends) of the company; problems that were weighing down on the experience.

The riders wanted to ensure the safety of their gear and, well, their bones while enjoying the lovely mountain breeze. They were looking to find a way to keep the experience pleasurable while maintaining the integrity of their gear intact. And they found solutions when they knocked on Dakine’s doors.

Those conversations led to some innovative solutions that made Dakine a popular brand for sports and travel gear but with an eye on the well being of the planet.

Why You Should Choose a Dakine Backpack

Nowadays, there are very few places on the planet that can be described as untouched by the ugly fingers of tourism. Dakine shares those concerns. The company aims to build products that preserve the sanctity of your travel destination while allowing you the pleasure of a fulfilling holiday. A look into their process tells you how they achieve this.

Eco-Friendly Raw Materials

Durability is a priority for companies that are in it for the long haul. Dakine is no different. When a product is built to stand the test of time, it is less likely to fill up your garbage cans after each trip. It’s also important to use materials that keep the bag lightweight, especially with respect to outdoor sports equipment. Heavy backpacks when overloaded can bring upon back issues among children and adults.

The company strives to create gear out of recycled PET materials. PET or polyethylene terephthalate (also referred to PET) is a type of plastic resin or polyester which is completely recyclable. The PET fibers used in Dakine backpacks and other apparel are made of recycled plastic water bottles.

Water-resistant fabrics are commonly made from durable water repellent (DWR) treatment. These DWRs release chemicals that are known to contaminate water. Dakine is working on partners to use materials that are free of these chemicals.

Meeting Industry Standards

Dakine is also sensitive to its employees who are involved in the process of manufacturing. The company ensures that the Restricted Substances List (AAFA 19) is strictly adhered to. It is a part of Dakine’s Code of Conduct Agreement. This also protects the rights of its employees and ensures their well-being while being environmentally friendly.

Clean Production Line

Dakine’s offices have some of the most pristine surroundings. But when you are at the foothills of the Alps or the banks of Hood River, you have to make certain lifestyle choices so as not to disturb the ecological balance. That has inspired their quest to maintain ecological balance while creating commercially viable goods.

Dakine has invested in recycling stations that are accessible to its employees. It has partnered with a composting company in the region that uses organic nutrients to produce food. Most things, if not all, that are headed back to the ground when humans are done with them.

The company also leans heavily on renewable sources of energy like hydro-electric power, wind, and solar panels. This contributes to about half of their energy needs.

Supporting Causes

It sounds like a PR plug but the company really does all that it can to do as little damage to the environment as it can. Part of that effort is to partner with organizations that promote the right values.

  • Dakine has signed the Camber CEO pledge which promotes gender diversity in the workplace in outdoor industries.
  • The company is also part of the Trek Dirt series which plans mountain bike camps with skilled professionals.
  • They also support Boarding for Breast Cancer which encourages young people to make positive lifestyle choices. It is a mix of prevention, support, and outreach programs. There’s also Project Koru by Kiteboarding 4 Cancer for cancer survivors.
  • Dakine also supports Surfrider Foundation, a community of individuals who focus on water: the ocean, beaches, and waves in general.
  • They also support Protect Our Winters, an organization that collaborates with athletes and businesses in the industry to fight climate change through its initiatives in education and political advocacy.

Give It a Go

Dakine is an organization with a finger in every pie. They have focused on eco-friendly raw materials, utilitarian bags organized just the way you like it, and cost-effective products. They also consult experts from time to time to make sure they are on top of the game while staying true to their values.

An organization like Dakine that puts so much thought into your well-being and the health of the planet deserves your admiration, if not support, don’t you think?

Click images to compare, or description to view product.