Successful hunts start with good gear and good luck. Proper hunting backpacks take care of the former, only excellent preparation, local expertise and the right conditions can bring the latter.
Tackling the wilderness means your
gear must withstand all the elements, from cold and wet habitats to long days in the sun. The right pack keeps your gear protected without worrying about failure when you need it most.
Whether you’re tracking deer in the brush or maintaining cover in a tree stand, it’s time to concentrate on the hunt, not on an uncomfortable pack.
Walking over rough terrain, together with heavy hunting equipment, puts enormous strain on pack material and can easily cause frames to fail, cheap plastic to break, zips to stick and buckles to pop off.
Pay serious attention to your hunting pack requirements and get the right model for either heavy duty backcountry camping or lighter models for easier field hunts.
Hunting Backpacks: Factors For Selection
Pack Add Ons – Most comfortable packs are designed to maximize your gear load to carry all the necessary equipment for a few days out in the field. It’s easy to start adding on extra gear to molle straps on front, bottom and top to carry binoculars, tripods or extra food. More gear bags and accessories can alter the load out of balance and cause your body to compensate with painful effects.
Comfort Choice – Hunting packs come in a variety of types, with each one offering comfort for the right use. External frame packs and internal frame packs should be adjustable for varying torso lengths and body sizes. Smaller hunt packs cater for just a few days out and are limited for carrying full hunting gear or carrying out elk or deer meat and trophy heads.
For big game, be sure your pack can handle the load and for all wilderness outings make sure your pack doesn’t spoil the day.
Durability – Good hunting packs are made of quality materials and are coated for water protection and UV-ray resistance, besides being strong enough to resist tears from rugged use and abuse.
Depending on seasonal versus more frequent use, check for packs with special fabrics or extra enhancements that provide longer lasting wear with proper cleaning techniques and storage.
Noise Factor – Don’t let your first buck get away because your pack makes too much noise. Whether you’re sneaking up on prey or grabbing gear out of the bag, clanging metal frames, sticky tight Velcro or loud zippers can chase away the next trophy head. Full packs can jam zippers and make fasteners hard to pull open without a bit more tugging and movement that may disrupt the moment.
Hunting Backpacks: Tips For Buyer Satisfaction
Hunting vs. Hiking – Hiking packs usually make poor hunting packs. The designs are for two different types of recreational use with hiking packs unable to carry external gear and limitations for adding weapons with odd-shaped sizes. Packs designed for hunting integrate external compartments for field equipment and include special systems carrying and accessing rifles, bows and hunting gear.
Field Convenience – All good hunting backpacks are easy to use in the field. When your eyes and mind are focused on your target, the last thing you need to worry about is accessing your pack. Some pack models unhook in a jiffy and slide from back to front by using the waist belt to hold it in place and unzipping the backside, other models are built as one-shoulder slings for easy rotation and stablility.
Quality Check – For any hunting pack, make a quality check for extra stitching along seams and strap attachment points to minimize the chance that a full pack splits open or the straps pull off. Lateral compression straps are a must to tighten a lighter load so that the pack contents don’t shift around for an uncomfortable hike. The gun storage system is critical as the flap must cover an attached scope and have quick release access for surprises on the trail. And check to see if gun fasteners are buckles or sliders, the latter has problems with coming loose while walking.