November 22, 2017
The perfect 3-day hunting pack durable, comfortable and spacious.
Looking for a pack that's built for a three-day hunting blitz into the backcountry? You'll find it among these five outstanding models we tried. All are roomy enough to carry all of your essentials and all are designed to carry whatever game you harvest back out to the trailhead with you.
Kuiu Icon Pro 3200
Built on the first-ever carbon-fiber frame, the Icon 3200 is light and strong with a horseshoe zipper opening, which allows the pack to open wide for easy packing and access. Pockets can be found throughout (11 to be exact), and straps adorn the pack from all angles to secure a load tightly for a more comfortable carry.
I found there were almost too many straps, but I'd rather have too many than not enough especially when packing meat out between the frame and the pack (another highlight of the Icon Pro). The hip belt is thick and cushioned for comfort, and additional hip belt pockets are available for purchase. Overall this pack looks good, feels good, and performs exceptionally.
Weight: 4 lbs., 4 oz. (full kit), Volume: 3,200 cu. in., $150-$425; kuiu.com
Mystery Ranch Pintler
The Pintler is built with the minimalist in mind: no frills or fancy items. Different from all of the packs in our Field Test, and, scoring extra points in my book, it features a 3-zip access that opens the pack wide for easy packing or when you need to find a piece of gear hidden deep in the main compartment. I really liked that the lid of the pack opens separately for quick access to essentials without having to open the entire pack.
Built on Mystery Ranch's new Guide Light Frame, it is light and features a thin hip belt that cuts down on bulk something I look for in a pack. Plan on having room to pack meat out with what Mystery Ranch calls the "Overload Shelf" space found between the bag and the frame.
Weight: 5.35 lbs., Volume: 2,500 cu. in., $475; mysteryranch.com
Seeker Outside Revolution Fortress 3900 With Talon Daypack
Built on a lightweight frame, the Fortress is a water-resistant roll-top bag with no zippered pockets. For additional pockets, pair it with the Talon Day Pack, which connects to the front of the pack. The Talon has its own shoulder straps and a zippered lid.
Meat can be carried between the frame and the pack and between the pack and the Talon scoring extra points in my book. Only being able to access gear from the top of the pack lost Seek some points, but with the Talon, small items can be easily accessed.
Weight: 4 lbs., Volume: 4,900 cu. in., $599; seekoutside.com
Sitka Bivy 30
Sitka has cut down on pockets to reduce weight, but luckily, the Bivy 30 has some necessities, such as a built-in rain fly and a sleeping pad (albeit thin, it is better than not having one). The pack features a large opening at the top and a removable lid.
A zipper on the side allows access to the middle of the pack, but you'll have to undo buckles to easily reach the inside. The pack fits comfortably with the frame off your back and space in between, but it doesn't leave a ton of room for meat. Plan on using game bags inside.
Weight: 5.80 lbs., Volume: 3,000 cu. in., $349; sitkagear.com
The Badlands 2200 is built on a concealed aluminum frame. It features a horseshoe-type zipper that opens the bag almost completely, while two wing-shaped flaps buckle across the front. The "wings" feature a pocket for a spotting scope and an additional mesh pocket.
Eight other pockets can be found on the pack, as well as a hip belt handgun holster. To my liking, Badlands added a built-in blaze orange "meat shelf." The pack is available in three camos, including Badlands' new Approach pattern.
Weight: 5 lbs., 15 oz., Volume: 2,250 cu. in., $280; badlandspacks.com
Cabela's Instinct Fast Tracker 40L
The Instinct Fast Tracker is built on a lightweight frame, with a mesh fabric separating you from the frame, but with no room to fit anything extra in that space. Everything on this pack was ideal except that the only access to the main compartment is through the top.
A separate, zippered storage section can be found at the bottom, and a large pocket sits on the side of the pack for a spotting scope. Added bonuses include a removable water bladder and game bag, rain cover, and gun/bow sling.
Weight: 5 lbs., 13 oz., Volume: 2,440 cu. in., $245; cabelas.com