What’s the best backpack for hunting?

A good backpack is a necessity for hunting in Colorado.  Up until a few years ago I always used the typical blue-light special backpack. You know the kind. The flimsy nylon kind with the shoulder straps that barely fit and they only hold about 1000 cubic inches of gear. At the end of the day it would feel like your arms were going to fall off because the straps had cut off almost all of the blood that was flowing through them. So last summer after reading reviews and fit testing a number of packs, I bit the bullet and spent the big money on a day pack. I am not necessarily trying to plug a particular brand.  I am really telling you what a great pack I show you that a quality pack can make a huge difference in your day in the field.  I had several “must have” qualities that my pack had to have before I would even consider looking at it:

  1. At least 2200 cubic inches. Size is important because I am a fairly big guy –  6’1” and 260 lbs.  I need something that I can wear over a fleece and a sweatshirt.
  2. Water bladder compatible (meaning it had a water bladder or I could add my own.)  Water bladders have become a necessity for me.   I was introduced to them back when I used a rudimentary homemade kind in the SFAS class in the service. There we just took some surgical tubing and stuck it through the top of our 2qt. canteen and then used a golf tee for a stopper. It worked fairly well, but after using the ones that are on the market today there is no comparison.
  3. Comfortable shoulder straps, a hip belt and a chest strap. I can not say enough good things about having these. I can wear my pack all day, with or without a load and my shoulders still feel fresh at the end of the day.
  4. Lots of exterior pockets. This is a must. I can’t speak for everyone else but I am constantly needing a place of easy access to put extra shells, compass, food, knives, and the ever important TP!
  5. Built to haul a load of meat out of the back country. Load bearing. If I am a few miles back in from camp, I need a pack that I can haul a load of meat out on the first trip.

After much research and budget minded searching I bought the Badlands 2200. It is 2200 cubic inches and it fits a 96oz. water bladder.  The shoulder straps and hip belt are molded to fit the contour of your body.  It has 5 exterior pockets.  I have used it now on 12 hunts and carried it more miles than I care to think with no problems.  If I got to talk to the designers, I would ask them to make the two exterior wing pockets full size instead of tapered.   Other than that, it is perfect for me.

I know that there are several other great brands out there such as Eberstock and Kifaru to name a couple.  I would enjoy hearing your views about them.

One Response to “What’s the best backpack for hunting?”

  1. a Wellington Back pack can be a great one.

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