I have been looking around for a suitable SOTA daypack over the last few months. One of the elusive important features has been something to strap the squid pole to. Also of importance is a wide open main section so that I can see what I am looking for. I came across this backpack the other day, a Dakine Heli-Pro. The pack is meant for ski touring and has ties or loops for skis or snowboard and an icepick or similar. The 7 metre BCF lightweight squid pole goes nicely in the icepick loops. There is an adjustable buckle on the lower loop and this buckle goes tightly around the squid pole to stop it falling through. My squid pole has foam pipe over half of the bottom section and this gives the adjustable buckle something to grip on. An advantage of this placement is that the squid pole hangs a bit below the pack and a bit above. This means that the pole doesn’t stick up high like on the existing pack and snag every low branch I go under.
There is a diagonal ski carrier that has a sturdy pull out loop on the bottom of the pack and at the top, diagonally opposite, a pull out adjustable strap. This might also work for a squid pole, but the ice pick loops seem better. The radio fits in the outer pocket nicely with pockets for pencils and logbooks. The larger main section has enough room for antennas, hats gloves, first aid kit, bothy bag, jacket, fold up mini chair etc. It is also compatible with a hydration pack. The pack itself is not too large at 20 litres, although the right size for a SOTA day hike. The sternum strap has an integrated whistle, maybe for CW?
Mine was bought from STM in NSW for $79 delivered. Looking forward to trying it out on an activation in the next few weeks.