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WishIWasHunting's picture
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Location: Brighton, CO
Joined: 01/31/2011
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Finding a hunting pack

On Saturday, I spent over an hour trying on hunting backpacks at Sportsmans Warehouse.  I mostly tried various Badlands packs.  I liked the 2200 and 2800, but, unfortunately, I was too scrawny for the waist belt.  I found some smaller packs where the waist belt fit, but I felt they were either a bit smaller than I wanted or I did not like the pocket/feature configuration.  Very frustrating!  I did not realize how complicated it is to find the hunting pack you want.  I am still trying to figure out what I want out of a pack, but here is what I think so far.

Camo (no particular pattern, but do plan on using it during archery season), size on the larger end of the daypack spectrum, internal frame, hydration system, be able to attach a bow and rifle.

I also like the idea of having an attached pull-out orange flap for rifle season or hauling out after a successful hunt.  Pocket-wise, I want atleast one big pocket, mostly for holding extra layers, and then several medium-sized pockets that accomodate range finders, binoculars, knives, etc.  I do not want the millions of flat, tiny pockets that some packs had.  For the life of me, I could not figure out what you would use all those tiny flat pockets for. 

I am only 5'7" and a bit of a lightweight.  If anybody can help direct or focus my search, I would appreciate it. 

hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
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I tried quite a few packs as

I tried quite a few packs as well before I bought my badlands 4500 as that was far more money than I had ever spent on one before. It has a few pocket designs I don't like but it was the most comfortable one that I tried. I'm not sure on the models you listed but I know that some of the Badlands packs such as mine are available in different sizes for different height and weight  people. You might give them a call or send a message and see what they say as thier customer service is very good. I got mine too small and after a quick phone call they had the bigger size on the way and traded me straight across with no problems at all.

BikerRN's picture
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Packs and Height

Like you I am height challenged. Many great products just plain don't fit me. 

In my search for a backpack I reverted back to an external frame backpack that while not designed for hunting is adjustable in it's fitment. When I was a kid it was the "rage" as far as backpacks go. It even comes in a rust color that can appear similar to the orange color that hunting vest are which in some locales may not be a bad thing.

My purpose for a pack is to carry my gear and help me haul out game. My intention is not to wear the pack while actively stalking so camo patterns aren't as much of a concern to me. I have a Frieghter Frame but no pack for it. I have used internal frame packs in the past but find them to not carry and support a heavy or bulky load as well as an external frame.

While not all the "rage" these days I have been impressed with Jansport External and Internal Frame backpacks. I used to sell them and others for a living. From hunting, backpacking, and selling packs I learned that there is almost nothing worse than a pack that doesn't fit you. I would find someone that is wise in the ways of fitting a pack to a person. It will make a world of difference in your comfort.

Me, I'm leaning towards the old Jansport D2 pack. It looks to be able to meet my needs but may not meet your's. Badlands also makes a woman's or shorter person's version. The D2 is adjustable and that's why I'm opting for it. Don't be too quick to settle for one that you think will work but rather try them with weight for some time after the pack has been adjusted to fit you. Have the store fit the pack to you and then put thirty to sixty pounds in the pack and carry it around the store for at least half an hour. That will do more to tell you how suitable a pack is for you than anything else in my opinion.

Good luck in your search for a pack. It's not always easy being under 6' tall, but we can adapt and overcome.

 

Biker

WishIWasHunting's picture
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Location: Brighton, CO
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Thanks!

It is good to know that Badlands sells packs for smaller-framed people.  I have looked at a few Jansport packs, but I think I do want camo for the types of hunts and how I will be using it on those hunts.  Thanks for the responses, and I will keep these in mind as I continue my search. 

GooseHunter Jr's picture
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I bought a Badlands 220 last

I bought a Badlands 220 last year and while the pack worked well for bow hunting it does not work very well when hunting with a gun.  Firts off I think they pack is a little bit heavy.  When hunting with a gun I could not keep the gun slung onto my shoulder confronably it kept wanting to slide off my should as the pack is wide enough that the gun will just not ride right.  the pack is a great pack I will continue to use it for bow hunting, but I am leaning toward another pack for rifle hunts.  I too spent the other day at Sportsmans trying on packs.  I think I have it narrows down to the Eberlestock X2 and the X1A1.  I like the X2  a little bit more as it has a meat shelf and the other review I have heard it is a greta work horse for such a smaller framed pack.  hate to promote anothe forum but Bowsite.com had a great pack review last year under the elk hunting forum.  You could probably search for it and find it.

WishIWasHunting's picture
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Good luck on your pack

Good luck on your pack search.  I will check out the Eberlestock's also.  I started to check them out at the store, but I ran out of time and patience.  I will go checkout that other website, and thanks for the suggestions.  

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Is this just going to be a

Is this just going to be a day-pack, or maybe a long range hunting pack also, and how much stuff will you be carrying?

The first thing I won on here last summer was a badlands reactor pack.  For me, in southern California where I hunt relatively close to the roads, it's a great pack.  Plenty of storage for smaller stuff, and best of all for me, it holds water.  Good for the 90 degree days I may be hunting in in September. Has a good waist belt, although I have to worry about the belt being too short, not too long.... lol I don't think you can attach a weapon to it though.

Have you looked at any Sitka packs?  I know alot of my buddies who hunt more than I do use those.  Good quality, alot of variety.

WishIWasHunting's picture
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For now, just a daypack.

For now, just a daypack.  However, it needs to be big enough to fit some extra layers in.  On last year's elk hunt, in the morning, we were hiking through snow over a foot deep at higher elevations.  Later that day, we took a shorter hike at lower elevations with temperatures around 50 degrees.  Also, I know that I tend to pack more than I need.  I am working on being more efficient packing what I need, but it is difficult.  

I do want a hydration bladder in whatever pack I finally decide on.  That is a definite must-have.

I have not looked at Sitka packs yet, so I will keep those in mind.  I tried out some Gander Mountain branded packs, and while they generally fit me better, I was not sold on the configurations/features.  

I will keep looking, but, I guess, since my current pack hasn't fallen apart yet, if all else fails, I will just use it again this fall.  Hopefully I can find something I like that fits me well so I don't have to use my old pack again.  

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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You wouldn't be able to fit

You wouldn't be able to fit any extra payers in it, but hanging off the bottom are 2 straps where you could roll them up and attach them there. 

flewthecoupe's picture
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Posts: 79
Think twice about this one...

I found a Browning Thunder Mountain. Looked like a perfect pack. Large, inexpensive, lifetime warranty, lots of nice features, etc. Could find very few reviews but the ones I found were good. I was not so lucky when I bought mine. I started to "train" for my elk hunt this fall with 60# in the ruck, 20# more than I planned to pack for gear but 20# less than I expected to carry in meat if I was successful. Maybe I just got a bad bag as my shoulder strap adjustment system ripped out. I still haven't found bad reviews other than mine... but still can find very few reviews overall. Big pack, very comfortable once adjusted properly. I hope that when I get it back from repair/replacement I won't have the same issues again.

WesternHunter's picture
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pack

For high country elk hunts (and even deer hunts) I have a Kelty Cache Hauller pack frame and bought the pack bag seperately.  They're olive drab, but the frame comes with a blaze orange rain cover packed in the shelf pocket.  That blaze rain cover comes in very handy for visibility when packing out quarters.

I typically don't carry much in my pack while hunting, and I'm always headed to my hunting spot when it's coldest well before sunrise, so I'm usually shedding clothing during the day rather than adding layers.  In my pack I carry just a small survival kit, water, pack saw, extra knife, paracord, extra pair wool socks, and my lunch, along with some extra high energy food just in case.  Light and nimble is my philosophy.

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