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View Full Version : Dakota Small Traveler only $119.95 Sale Price!


Potoma
07-12-2014, 03:39 PM
http://dakotapastels.com/pages/boxes-dakota.aspx

Potoma
07-12-2014, 04:00 PM
I cannot believe this price. Is $20 off their usual price of $139 and so reasonable.

Saskia
07-13-2014, 12:37 AM
Hmm, good price . . . I wonder if it would be a good idea to get it, or just go for the Heilman? Can anyone who seen both say what the differences are?

robertsloan2
07-13-2014, 02:22 AM
Great price! Saskia, that really depends on your budget. It does the job and is a great value for the price, especially on sale.

With the Heilman, you get what you pay for. Specifically, the piano hinge runs all the way down the center and I don't think the four little rubber feet it stands on come off as easily. They did on mine, to my frustration. I still use it and love it anyway. Also there are more little clips holding down the foam padded covers on the sides.

It survived the trip to San Francisco carrying about 270+ pieces of pastels as my main box combining many smaller sets boxes left behind. It keeps them secure and that was under very trying circumstances. I think I had it in the checked luggage so that I wouldn't have to open and explain it to the TSA people, (though they gave me less trouble than I expected, a great relief that!).

It's well wotrh the cost. But if I could have afforded the Heilman Backpack for about twice that I would have gotten it. Heilman is not overpriced.

Saskia
07-13-2014, 01:45 PM
Thank you Robert, that is great information. As far as my budget goes, it is not extensive, but I try to make room for the things that are important to me. (Like pastels!) I like to save money, but will also fork over for craftsmanship every time. The detail about the hinge especially is good to know. If it were just a matter of brand name then I'd go with the Dakota, but if the Heilman does have better construction, then I will probably wait a while and go with that one.

I just wish I could hold the two boxes in my hands, or at least see some up close videos. It is hard to tell anything from comparing the two companies' websites. Oh well. Such is life in the digital age!

Davkin
07-13-2014, 10:12 PM
The Dakota is just a pastel storage box, the Hielman is a plein painting solution. I have a Dakota Traveler and to use it in plein air I had to set it on a tripod mounted pochade box. I didn't mind at the time because I was painting plein air in oils as well. The Heilman comes with a tripod mount built in as well as two holes to mount their easel into, so a tripod + Heilman box+ Heilman easel = a total plein solution that is relatively light weight and compact. The Dakota box is a bit heavier. I also had the problem as Robert mentions of losing the rubber feet but that didn't really bother me, however the Dakota box does not open completely flat, I believe the Heilman does. I don't believe the continuous hinge is a big deal, I used my Dakota pretty heavily and while the screws came a little loose once they tightened just fine, other than the lost rubber feet the Dakota has been plenty durable.
I have to admit, my opinion is based only on direct experience with the Dakota and what I've read/seen/heard of the Hielman. To sum it up, I believe the Dakota is great if all you're looking for is a way to store and transport your pastels, say from your studio to a class. If you're looking for a plein air setup the Hielman is the way to go.

David

robertsloan2
07-13-2014, 11:15 PM
That makes sense, David. Mine does open completely flat so it might be an issue with your hinges. I'm using it mostly as a storage box rather than banging it around here, there and everywhere. I might someday get a Heilman Backpacker for plein air if I can save up for it, but, there's always the temptation of more pastels...

Equus Art
07-14-2014, 07:59 AM
I use the small Dakota Traveler for plein air with a tripod. It opens flat with no problem. I purchased an Easel Butler, which goes on my tripod and also the Heilman easel with the quick snap adapter which installs on my tripod, literally with a snap. Personally, I couldn't afford the price of the Heilman boxes and I'm very pleased with my Dakota Traveler.

Cat

Davkin
07-14-2014, 10:29 AM
Maybe they've changed the design since I bought mine, it definately does not open flat, it would probably just collapse and through an easel butler.

David

robertsloan2
07-14-2014, 12:34 PM
Oh, I misunderstood you - yeah I think the Heilman may have something to hook it firmly into flat-open position and keep it that way if balanced on something with arms. Though Dakota offers that wood tripod with arms for it, so it might just mean having to put the arms at the right width to keep it from folding again.

Something like a couple of small brass hook and knob fasteners (don't know what it's called, the hook swivels and catches a little peg on the other piece) could be put on the back to make it be able to do that though. It'd mean hooking them before unhooking the flat lids off the sides and then turn it back right side up before putting it on the butler. Someone did that to theirs once, though I don't recall what thread it was on. To make it stay flat when opened flat and able to be handled as one flat tray.

It lays flat when opened all the way on a flat surface, not like one side is tilted or anything.

Davkin
07-14-2014, 08:21 PM
Oh, I misunderstood you - yeah I think the Heilman may have something to hook it firmly into flat-open position and keep it that way if balanced on something with arms. Though Dakota offers that wood tripod with arms for it, so it might just mean having to put the arms at the right width to keep it from folding again.

Something like a couple of small brass hook and knob fasteners (don't know what it's called, the hook swivels and catches a little peg on the other piece) could be put on the back to make it be able to do that though. It'd mean hooking them before unhooking the flat lids off the sides and then turn it back right side up before putting it on the butler. Someone did that to theirs once, though I don't recall what thread it was on. To make it stay flat when opened flat and able to be handled as one flat tray.

It lays flat when opened all the way on a flat surface, not like one side is tilted or anything.

No, you understood me right the first time, mine does not sit flat even on a flat table, close but not quite. I just dug it out, (it's been a long time since I last used it.) and took a closer look. The reason it doesn't sit flat is the screws that hold the hinges on don't sit flush so they hit each other before the box is 100% open and flat. It looks like they either didn't use hinges with countersinking holes or they used screws that were too big for the holes.

You are correct about the need for latches like the Heilman uses to make sure it doesn't fold up on you when using an easel butler. They do show a Dakota box on the Dakota's website sitting on some kind of tripod that uses arms in a similar way to the easel butler to hold the box but I wouldn't trust it, one false move and your box could fold up and fall between the arms spilling you pastels all over the ground. It wouldn't be hard to modify the Dakota box as you explain though.

David

pastel65
07-14-2014, 11:43 PM
Have the Dakota box and field easel. Box lays flat and is held securely on the "arms" of the easel. You secure the box with wooden brackets that "lock" down each side. I like my setup but the majority of the people I attend class with have the Heilman box. The only complaint I hear from people on the Heilman is that the easel is unsteady and they have to hold onto their work while painting. I believe they started offering a separate attachment that helps hold it in place.

I also know people said the type of tripod matters and to avoid any with "plastic" pieces. They recommended a professional grade tripod.

Pam :wave:

robertsloan2
07-15-2014, 06:39 PM
Pam, thanks for the tips about the Heilman and the wooden tripod that goes with the Dakota boxes. That's really good to know. Sounds pretty stable to me.

Ouch about the screws, David. I just checked mine and the screws aren't countersunk. I think I know why it seems okay though. It might be exact placement or it's that I usually leave it open on the bed or on the floor or a padded chair rather than a hard table. Though I don't recall a problem on the actual drafting table back in Arkansas, I might have missed the problem you had.

Or mine got tightened down one more thread and it's not there, but they aren't countersunk.

I guess you get what you pay for. It survived the trip and stores my pastels nicely for use at home. The field easel I have isn't sturdy enough to hold up a pastel case of any sort and the actual old tripod wound up in a box not sent yet, possibly the same one as the Not Yet Assembled Pochade that had a pressure plate included for use with tripods. It's an old camera one that my daughter inherited from her grandpa in Louisiana along with his 1.5 megapixel digital camera. So it might be really good or really lousy as tripods go, it seemed stable when I opened it out.

Guess I'll find out when I get the box!