View Full Version : Hunting Gear: Backpack - what works for you?

September 11, 2006, 09:45 PM
I’m in the market for a new backpack. The main use will be hunting. I’ll need the pack to be large enough to carry all the gear one would expect to use during a (hopefully) successful hunt, along with room for all of the other niceties one may wish to carry alone for an entire day in the wilderness. In addition, an internal beverage bladder would be a plus for convenience, but it’s not necessary.

There are two in the early 2006 fall catalogue I received from Cabela’s that have piqued my interest, but I’ve honestly never owned any Cabela’s brand apparel or gear. So in addition to any suggestions you have, what is your overall opinion of Cabela’s brand quality? Does it stand up to the abuse?

Here are the two Cabela’s packs I’m considering:

Cabela’s Bow/Rifle Pack (http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/pod/horizontal-pod.jsp?_DARGS=/cabelas/en/common/catalog/pod-link.jsp_A&_DAV=MainCatcat20712-cat20770_TGP&rid=&indexId=cat20770&navAction=push&masterpathid=cat20770%3Acat20716%3Acat20712%3A&navCount=2&parentType=index&parentId=cat20770&id=0014814).

Cabela’s Elite Scout Pack (http://www.cabelas.com/hprod-1/0010074.shtml).

I realize that one of the above packs gives you hands-free capability by storing your bow/rifle, while the other pack does not offer this “feature”. I don’t mean to compare apples to oranges with these two packs, it’s just that I have no experience with a bow/rifle carrying “feature”. Therefore, I’m unable to discern if this is in fact something I’d use, or one of those things that is neat to have, but never gets used as it’s too much of a hassle.

I’m looking to you guys for advise in that area – those that have used a pack capable of carrying a rifle/bow. How well does it work (or not work), and how practical is that sort of feature.

In the past I’ve never used a pack specifically designed for a hunter. I’ve always used some general pack. They work fine, but I’d really like to upgrade a bit into something a bit more tailored for the job.

Thanks in advance.

September 11, 2006, 11:54 PM
You might check out the Eberlestock gear - made in the US and good quality:


September 12, 2006, 07:12 AM
Thanks, FirstFreedom. I'll definitely look into the Eberlestock gear before making a purchase. Oddly I've never heard of them. Are they newer, or just not well advertised?

Seeing as how you received yours in July, I'll assume that you have not been able to put it through the rigors of hunting and abuse... but would you say that after inspection it seems well made with durable seems...etc?

Have you at least loaded it up, and put it on your back to test it's comfort? If so, how'd it feel?

September 12, 2006, 10:29 AM
Well trip, Bass Pro stocked 3 different products from their extensive line (the "Just One", the "X1", and the "Slingshot"). That's where I bought this one. No, I have not tested of course, but inspected it thoroughly before buying and after, and it certainly seems very well put-together, with double stitching in the right places, etc. Comfort, I dunno - haven't used it yet with any loads. Tried it on but it was empty. There sure seems to be nice thick padding in the appropriate spots. And to look at them in person, they are impressive with both features and quality of construction. Guess the jury is still out.... keep us posted on your decision.

This is a good page to start from for all backpacks, both hunting & "tactical":


The ripcord feature of the "X1" that I have, and others, allows you to quickly get the bow off your back, without taking the pack off - it's kinda cool.

The "Gunslinger" pack is pretty slick too. Won't hold a bow, but has a "scabbard cover" that covers the top (butt end) of the rifle if you like. You can get the gunslinger in either a hunting pack (camo) or spec ops (desert tan).

September 12, 2006, 12:27 PM
...with double stitching in the right places, etc.

That's the sorta thing I'm interesting in knowing with regard to quality. Thanks, I'll definitely give them a serious look.

September 12, 2006, 01:20 PM
I have the Cabela's elite scout and have used it for 3 years for bow hunting elk and rifle hunting deer. The internal bladder is very useful for me during early elk season, when the weather is warm. It has held up to normal use and abuse excellently for me.

Only down side with a water bladder is weight. With a full tank and a normal day's stuff, it gets heavy if you are not drinking the water. Now I only fill it completely when I think I am going to need it (early season hot weather), otherwise 1/2 full is plenty.

And it is not a pack frame. I leave those at camp and get them if needed.

I prefer to have weapon in hand rather than stuck on my pack, but others may find it handy.

September 12, 2006, 06:53 PM
I've only been hunting for the past 5 years, 3 of that seriously, so I'm short on expirence.......and most of what I do is deer in rural Maryland. But I went on a week long bear/moose/woodland caribou hunt in Newfoundland last Sep.....the most physically demanding thing I've done in 10 years...at least 10 miles a day slogging through bogs that was like walking on a sofa or a bed...and wet all the time. I had a large day pack I had picked up at BassPro...a trailtech I think....but my guide (a guy over 60 that was tough as nails) had a surplus swiss pack that I liked so much I bought one when I got back and used it the rest of the season....simple, built like a tank, water proof, not a bazillion pockets to look through......and big enough to pack out a lot of meat....and best of all it was really cheap.....SG has them 4 for less than $20:


September 13, 2006, 10:23 AM
I believe I've made my decision. Dick's Sporting Goods has the Camelbak Striker for sale at $55.24 with free shipping (http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1868522).

I've heard great reports about this brand. It appears the back will be big enough, but not too big, and it comes in my favorite Mosey Oak New Breakup.

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and advise.

September 14, 2006, 11:49 AM
That looks like a real good choice, Trip. I pulled out my Eberlestock, as a result of your thread here, and looked it over and tried it on again, and I just want to reiterate to anyone reading here that this thing just shouts 'quality' in every way; little details. It's quite impressive. But then again, it should be, as much as they charge for it. I paid $99 plus tax for the "X1" model.

September 14, 2006, 03:31 PM
I was really considering your suggestion, FirstFreedom. But since my initial post my perspective has changed slightly. Not because I'll be doing anything different than before, but because of some suggestions and thoughts by you guys (and others on THR).

I think at first I got caught up in this, "I'm gonna get me a dedicated huntin' pack!!!" mentallity, and I was shootin' for the stars. I toned it down slowly but surely and began re-evaluating my circumstances and necessities.

If the pack I chose ends up limiting my experience or options, I'll upgrade with no qualms. I'm sure the pack I chose could still serve a purpose in the family, and at it's relatively modest price, it's not a big deal.

The brand you suggested seems to be quite rugged, and no less suitable for hunting. If I develope a need to upgrade, it may well be an Eberlestock.

Ultimately, my need to be gone for no more than a 16hr period coupled with the decision that I would not use a rifle carrying feature for these particular whitetail hunts made me opt for the Camelbak.

September 14, 2006, 04:19 PM
Cool. Yeah, no need to spend a lot if you don't need the gun scabbard feature. That's mainly why I bought the Eberlestock. As I say, to have hands free when climbing creek banks, rocky/steep surfaces, etc. Particularly sling-less leverguns, but even a slinged rifle does not work right with a pack on - it's awkward to say the least.

By the way, I'm now thinking I may want a full-sized frame pack, for 2 or 3 day overnight backpacking trips (used to do that but haven't in years), whether hunting or non-hunting - so now I'm considering the "SkyCrane" or "Just One" from Eberlestock, among other makes.

Gearing up is 1/2 the fun ('specially the guns)! :)

Fat White Boy
September 14, 2006, 05:46 PM
I use an old indig ruck sack I brought back from SE Asia...