Recently I spent some time with Jay Robert, a man who has a spent a lifetime hunting in the steep mountains and been a pack designer for a lot of years. He currently designs packs for Tenzing, a company that incorporates latest high-tech materials and design features for mountaineering. As someone who has hunted out of a backpack a lot, believe me when I tell you these new bags are worth a look.
I asked Robert to explain what a hunter should look for when selecting a new hunting pack.
“First and foremost, make sure the pack is designed specifically for the kind of hunting you do,” Robert said. “Whether it is tree stand whitetails, a day-type pack for short hunts or a full-sized pack for deep penetration into wilderness areas, the bag has to be designed for that kind of hunt.”
According to Roberts, here are the top 5 things to look for in a new pack:
• Size: Make sure the bag is big enough to pack everything you need comfortably and efficiently without wasting space.
• Fit: The pack must fit your body perfectly or you will end up with undue fatigue and discomfort in the long haul. The best packs are fully adjustable, with shoulder and chest straps that snug tightly to your frame.
• Zippers: Never choose packs with inferior zippers. It may seem like a little thing, but zipper failure is one of the backcountry hunter’s biggest nightmares. Also, zippers should open and close quietly.
• Quality construction: Today’s best packs use space-age materials like the Dyneema Strength Panels. Dyneema is 15 times stronger than steel yet light enough to float on water. It is almost impossible to rip or tear this stuff.
• Features: Specialized compartments for items like spotting scopes, numerous internal and external compartments that close securely, outer tie-down loops, built-in rain cover, hydration-compatible systems and similar features make today’s hunting packs more than just a bag.