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What to Consider When Choosing a Backpack

  • 4 min reading time

The development history of hunting backpacks has been around for a long time. They become stronger, lighter and more customizable. A good backpack is one of the most important pieces of equipment in hunting, second only to a pair of high-quality boots for the hunter. Today's backpacks come in all kinds and sizes, so how do you choose the right one? What you need to decide first and foremost is what am I looking for in a pack? What will your main use cases be: day hunts? Extended backpack hunts?  Any and all of the above? Also, what criteria must the pack satisfy to meet your needs?


Personally I think one of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re in the market for a new pack is ‘what do I plan to do with it?’ I think it's important to be honest with yourself when answering this question. If all you plan to use the pack for is day hunts, don’t opt for the 8000 cubic inch pack. In the meantime, if you know you'll be using the pack for day hunting as well as night hunting (or even multi-day hunting), I would suggest sizing up.


Fit is one of the most important aspects of a new backpack. You first pay attention to the stay length of the frame.A taller frame usually carries heavy loads better, but if the frame is too high for your torso, it won’t ride right. Also, if you have a frame that is too high, it may hang from branches and other objects as you move around the tree. Shorter frames are sleeker and won’t present the same issues in terms of catching on branches and limiting mobility as tall frames will, but shorter frames also naturally shift more of the load onto your shoulders than taller ones. Generally speaking, following the manufacturer's guidelines to determine the dwell length or frame height will be your best option.


Another important aspect of a backpack is the waist belt. You need to make sure your size is correct. It would be better to choose a smaller size. If you opt for a large size, you may find that the waistband sticks out of the bottom when carrying weight (meaning you can't tighten it any more). A good quality belt has good tightening ability. It can be cinched down tight once the hip buckle is done up by pulling away from the buckle on the straps on either side. 


Load lifters are another very important aspect of a hunting backpack. Load lifters can help you take the load off your shoulders. By bringing the top of the weight toward your shoulders, you are helping to bring the weight toward your center of gravity. Load lifters work hand in hand with your waist belt to keep the weight of your pack on your hips and off your shoulders. In general, the greater the angle of the load lifter strap to your shoulders, the more it will help you carry the weight. 


The ability to organize and access different parts of the package is another important feature. If a backpack has long center zippers, it will ease of access to items inside when the pack is loaded up. Other organizational features I like include zippered lids, belt pockets for quick access to specific items like a rangefinder or headlights, a water bottle holder, and even easy access to a water bladder and hose.


Adjustability of the overall package is very important. From being able to adjust the length of the shoulder straps, the height of the weight bearer, or the position of the lumbar pads, it's important to be able to fine-tune the bag to fit your body. Not all game packs offer the same adjustment options, so carefully research what each game pack has to offer before buying.


The weight of the pack is also something to watch out for, prioritizing fit and comfort over weight. Don't sacrifice comfort or functionality to save a few ounces. If you opt for a bag that skimps on important features, like a high-quality belt, in order to lose a few ounces, you could get in trouble.


When you're in the market for a new backpack, be sure to try it yourself. It is best to simulate the effect of heavy objects inside. In addition to paying attention to the above seven aspects, you will be able to choose your favorite and suitable backpack!



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