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When it comes to choosing a hunting backpack, nowadays there are many options on the market. If you are like me you may have 3 different backpacks for the different types of hunts you go on.
For myself I have a chase/archery day pack that is used when I know I will be in situations where I will be out for the day or will need to be close range when taking my shot like my bow.
I have my overnight/elk bag. This backpack has a built-in meat shelf and is about 3,300 cubic-inch bags which I use overnight in the backcountry or on my elk hunts so I can carry quarters out right away because of the built-in shelf.
Then I have a deep country bag which I use for long hunts in the wilderness that will last more than 3 days and typically go 10 days. This bag is 6,100 cubic inches.
Picking the right type of hunting backpack can make or break your hunt and determine the amount of time you can spend in the field and have all your essential gear especially if you are planning on doing spike camps during your hunt.
The first thing you want to do when determining what pack will be what type of hunt are you going to go on or what type of hunting you do are you just going to be going on day hunts or will you be staying in the backcountry. Also the budget for hunting backpacks can get expensive especially the bigger they get.
If you plan on going on a day hunt or half day hunt and not going too far from your starting point or sitting in a blind or stand, you will need a few things for your pack. Most important is water. Will you want a pack that you can put a hydration bladder in (suggested for hunting out west) Or are you ok with a water bottle pocket on the side of your bag. Also what type of gear are you going to carry? Do you just need a skinning knife,binos and some snacks or are you going to pack in a spotting scope, binos and a whole bunch of other equipment. Also to take in consideration will be what type of hunting you will be doing. Will you be bow hunting where you will need to close the gap quickly and silently or will you be hunting open areas with a rifle where you will be able to take long shots?
For a daypack if you plan on carrying lots of gear but will need to move quickly I would suggest a smaller pack that you can carry just the essentials in.
But if you are taking long shots and want to have an easier carry out or have a frame or meat shelf attached to the backside of the pack itself that is something to consider. These packs are typically bigger and make moving closer to your target harder but the pack out easier. Usually with these types of packs I only use these as a daypack if I am rifle hunting and will be able to take 100+ yard shots or will have to carry out an elk bear, or another large animal as it will help limit the trips. The plus side of these packs as well are if you plan on doing spike camps or overnight hunts typically you can remove one bag from the frame and attach a bigger bag to accommodate all the gear you will need for a backcountry hunt. Or if the last second you decide you want to do a quick overnight in the field there is plenty of room for overnight gear
If you are heading into the deep country chasing elk sheep or any other animals and you plan on staying the multiple nights out in the wilderness choosing a backpack that is one sturdy and 2 durable is very important. This will be your home on your back. When you are looking to select a backpack for these types of hunts you will have a lot to take into account. Such as how many days are you planning to stay out. How much gear do you need to bring, are you packing a tent or just a tarp and so on. When selecting a backpack for this type of hunt I would suggest purchasing everything you are going to need for this hunt or as much as you can before hand and lay it out and weigh it. Also don't forget to include your gun and ammo. By doing this you will be able to visualize the amount of gear you are bringing as well as understand how much weight the bag will need to support before you harvest your animal. When it comes to these bags the framing system is just as important as the bag itself. The framing systems nowadays many companies offer carbon fiber frames now this will up the price tag but it will save you on the weight category if you are carrying a lot of gear. For these types of hunts I would suggest the back pack to be at least 6,100 cubic inches.
When it comes to choosing the best hunting backpack there are a lot of options to weigh and a lot of different companies that will tell you their backpacks are the best. But it comes down to comfort and price range. Do some research online about different packs you think you will like for each situation.
Once you have a pack you think you will like and will fit your needs. Head to your local hunting shop and see if they have it and try it on. Walk around the store, pull the straps and look at all the pouches it has. Having a quality pack can make your hunt 100 times more enjoyable while also being sure you have all the necessary equipment needed to keep you out in the field as making the pack out easier.
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