As a professional trailbuilder, my trail backpack gets a lot of use and abuse. I need a comfortable pack with lots of space and functional pockets to hold tools plus it needs to be tough since trailbuilders like me tend to be hard on equipment. Enter the Dakine Builders Pack, a backpack designed to fulfill the needs of the most demanding trailbuilders.
The expandable chainsaw pocket in the front is the main feature that sets the Dakine Builders Pack apart from other backpacks. This pocket is large enough to fit most any chainsaw and has a slit in the bottom for the chainsaw handle to stick out. The pack also features three straps to secure your saw and the two upper straps are lockable which helps you get to your destination without having to stop and adjust. Of course it’s always good practice to travel with the chainsaw bar cover on to prevent injuries (and yes, I am aware that I dont have a cover on in the following picture).
Another unique feature of the Dakine Builders Pack is the lopper strap located on the front of the chainsaw pocket. This allows your loppers to slide between the big rubber strap and the chainsaw pocket, and gravity holds them in place. The pack also has a large front pocket, perfect for holding a drill with extra batteries, and a small nylon pocket inside, suitable for holding saw tuning and other small or fragile tools.
The two side pockets are intended to hold fuel or water bottles. Between the side pockets and main compartment are a slot and strap intended to hold a hammer, mattock, hatchet or other tool without a long handle. You can slide the tool in right side up or upside down, whichever you prefer.
The small top pocket is useful for storing safety glasses and the nylon pocket inside is suitable for storing a pen, paper and keys. The main top flap is great for access to the main compartment, making it quick and easy to add or remove items. You can also access the main compartment from the back via a full length zipper.
You’ll find another nylon zipper pocket in the main compartment which is ideal for keeping your cell phone, radio, camera or other valuables out of the rain. Just below that is a stretch pocket with a first aid bag (medical supplies not included).
There are two more small pockets on the waistband with waterproof zippers, perhaps useful for carrying easily accessed snacks. The Builders Pack has six utility loops on the front and four on the back. These can be used with bungees to carry bulky items like a tent, sleeping bag or tarp.
The Dakine Builders backpack has excellent padding, found in the back, lumbar, hip and shoulder areas which you’ll appreciate when this pack is fully loaded with tools and supplies. The padding has a comfortable, gel-like feel. The shoulder strap is adjustable on the top and bottom, the chest strap is adjustable in height and length, and the waist strap is adjustable in length.
The Builders Pack is made of Cordura Ballistic Nylon, an extremely tough fabric designed to resist tearing. The buckles are made of thick, strong plastic which is great because trailbuilders like me tend to break standard buckles quickly.
The nail storage bag has four compartments and two handles and is built tough. You can fit about 100 12-inch spikes in this bag which is a heavy load.
Aside from trailbuilding, the DaKine Builders Pack is very useful for riding days too. The chainsaw pocket works well as a full face helmet holder and there are multiple places to stash armor, lunch, goggle,s and valuables with room to spare.
This pack costs $140 MSRP, holds 1800 cubic inches or 29 litres of volume, measures 21x11x8, and weighs 4 pounds empty.
While trailbuilding I fill this pack with a chainsaw, fuel, bar oil, saw tuning tools, lunch, hand clippers, a tape measure, a hammer, nails, spikes, a mattock, water, a cell phone, safety glasses, and earmuffs. The DaKine builders pack stores all this with room to spare. It sits nicely on your back and feels lighter than it actually is when loaded up. The best part is that I no longer have to use my hands or a wheelbarrow to carry the majority of my tools. This means my hands are free to carry larger tools that are too big to be carried on my back, or I can ride my bike into the building zone.
The Builders Pack is very useful for riding days too. I often pack it with my full face helmet, goggles, knee/shin pads, arm pads, tools, spare tube, water, and lunch and it holds all these items with ease. Some might argue that this pack is too big to use as a riding pack, but Freeriders/Downhillers who have to pedal or hike 4+ miles to the top of a hill will appreciate a place to store their armor.
As a professional trailbuilder, I wholeheartedly recommend this backpack. You can fit almost every tool you need on your back, freeing up your hands for other tasks. Its built tough and should last for years plus it makes transporting tools to the work site really easy. For me the icing on the cake is it works equally as well for transporting DH and freeride gear. The DaKine builders pack is well thought out, durable, and very functional.
A big shout out to DaKine for providing the Builders Pack for review.