Dakine Builder 40L Backpack Review

By Richard Corrigan •  3 min read

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Hiking might seem like hard work, but it’s nothing compared to the labor that goes into actually building your favorite hiking trails. The Dakine Builder 40L Backpack was designed with trail builders in mind, and it’s been one of the most trusted packs among trail maintenance crews for more than 5 years. Its rugged construction and adaptable design make it a portable tool shed that you can use to carry all your essential trail-building tools… or your hiking gear.

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Specs and Stats

The Dakine Builder 40L Backpack is made of 1000D nylon, with a 6mm internal aluminum frame. It weighs 4.3 pounds, and its 40 liter capacity makes it the right size for weekend backpacking trips as trail maintenance excursions. The pack is hydration-bladder compatible.

The layout of the backpack is very different from that of a traditional hiking pack. Although it’s adaptable for use by hikers, it’s really designed to carry tools, and its many pockets and compartments are perfect for that use.

The pack has an external lopper sleeve for heavy-duty tools, and two external pockets that are sized just right to hold fuel canisters. There’s even an expandable chainsaw compartment for the saw that uses said fuel. The heavy-duty zipper unzips the entire pack like a clamshell, and multiple internal pockets can be used for all kinds of gear.

Pros of the Dakine Builder 40L Backpack

  • It’s very tough. Thanks to its 1000-Denier nylon fabric, this pack is incredibly durable and resistant to tears and abrasions (which makes sense, considering that it’s designed to carry a chainsaw). It’s made for a lifetime of heavy use, and Dakine offers a lifetime warranty to back it up.
  • It handles heavy loads well. The backpack is designed to carry a lot more weight than the average 40L pack. The internal aluminum frame helps stabilize heavy and off-balance loads, and the padded waist belt adds support and makes carrying lots of heavy gear more comfortable.

Cons of the Dakine Builder 40L Backpack

  • It’s heavy. This Backpack’s 4.3 lb. weight is the result of its heavy-duty fabric and aluminum frame. It’s part of what makes it so tough, but this is not a pack for ultralight backpackers who are overly concerned with keeping their base weight down.
  • It’s not waterproof. The nylon fabric of the Dakine Builder has a DWR (durable water repellent) treatment that holds up pretty well against a light drizzle, but definitely won’t keep the pack’s contents dry in a downpour. If you’re worried about keeping your dear dry, you might want to purchase a rain cover separately.

Dakine Builder 40L Backpack: Final Thoughts

You don’t need a pack like the Dakine Builder 40L Backpack for an afternoon stroll on your local nature trail. But for people who work and play hard in the great outdoors, this is a rugged, dependable bag that will not let you down. It’s designed with trailbuilders in mind, but its 40 liter capacity is also just right for weekend backpacking trips in hard country.

Richard Corrigan

Richard Corrigan has been writing about outdoor adventures, gear and travel for more than 10 years. His work has been featured by USA Today, 10Best.com, Next Luxury, and Gone Outdoors. He lives in Upstate New York, and If he isn't at his writing desk, you can probably find him out in the woods somewhere.

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