December 27, 2018
Not too big, not too small, these packs are just the right size to serve as both a daypack and a meat-hauler after an animal is on the ground.
Alps Outdoorz Hybrid X
The Alps Outdoorz Hybrid X does double-duty in the field. Strap the 45-liter nylon pack to the aluminum frame to haul in gear and meat out or use the aluminum frame independently. The frame incorporates a cargo shelf and wing-style pockets to compress small and large loads. The top-loading pack features a front pocket for access to the main compartment and a drop-down rifle and bow pocket, while the waist belt includes additional pockets and anti-sway straps.$250; alpsoutdoorz.com
- Pros: Large meat-hauling shelf | Cons: Heavy
Mystery Ranch Pop-Up 28
This 1,700-cubic-inch daypack is compact enough for comfortable hunting in dark timber and other dense cover, but it has an expandable aluminum frame that folds out like tent poles to provide enough support for a full load when coming out heavy. Plus, it has all the features that make Mystery Ranch a favorite, including the Rip-Zip main-compartment access, smart pocket placement, and a fully adjustable yoke to fit nearly every size of hunter. Available in Coyote, Foliage, and Desolve Bare. $300; mysteryranch.com
- Pros: Adjustable yoke | Cons: A bit small for big jobs
Tenzing TZ 3000
Don’t let the size of this pack scare you—the TZ 3000 is actually nimble for its size. An internal aluminum frame provides a sturdy structure while a padded lumbar pad and a waist belt keep things comfortable on your lower back and hips. A large main compartment is big enough to carry a full elk quarter, while nine specialized compartments are perfect for organizing gear. Compression straps found on the outside of the pack secure your haul, whether that’s limited day gear or fully loaded. Available in Realtree Max-1, Kryptek Highlander, and Mossy Oak Mountain Country. $300; tenzingoutdoors.com
- Pros: Large main compartment | Cons: No overload shelf
KUIU Icon Pro 3200
The Icon Pro 3200 serves as a daypack or provides enough room for up to three days off the grid. A horseshoe zipper allows you complete access to the pack’s main compartment, while pockets are found throughout for organization. The Icon Pro is paired with KUIU’s Carbon Fiber Frame and Icon Pro suspension kit—both made specifically for heavy-load-carrying capabilities. When you’ve got an animal on the ground, a load sling can be made between the pack and the frame to haul meat or other essentials. Full kit: $480; kuiu.com
- Pros: Lightweight | Cons: Pricey
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.