Before you can go on a guided hunt, you need to go on a gear hunt, and one of the top things on your list should be a backpack. We can’t tell you what to buy because it’s not about finding the best hunting backpack on the market. It’s about finding the right pack for you, so in that case, here’s what you need to consider to find the perfect pack.
Comfort and Durability
You’re going to be carrying meat, traversing slopes, and doing it all at 9,000 feet. Above everything else, you need to rely on your pack to do two things: not hurt you, and not catastrophically break.
We get it. Packing 100 lbs at altitude is not a walk in the park. But it’s not supposed to be. However, if your pack is painful, then you’ve got a problem. For the most comfort, choose a pack that has:
- A strong and stiff vertical frame
- A frame that is tall enough to raise the shoulder harness off your shoulders
- A hipbelt that does not slip, bruise or rub
Durability is simpler to achieve than comfort. Double-check the whole pack, zippers and pockets included, for quality and sturdiness. Keep in mind a heavy pack doesn’t make it the best hunting backpack or even means it’s the most durable. A light pack doesn’t make it fragile, either.
Volume and Weight
It’s simple: your pack is either big enough for your gear, or it isn’t. The volume of your backpack is important because you need to be able to fit all your gear for your entire guided hunt, plus it needs to fit meat when the time comes. It makes sense to have a pack with plenty of space for all your gear than trying to squeeze everything into a too-small pack.
Weight isn’t as necessary as volume when deciding on a pack, but it should still be a priority. If there are two packs that offer similar comfort, durability, and volume, go with the lighter pack.
Why? Because after gaining 2,000 feet in two miles you’ll be thinking of all the ways to drop weight. Your pack is always worn during a hunt, and if your total pack weight is heavy, it slows you down. Going lighter means going faster. It means instead of being sore the next day, you’re ready to go out and hunt like the day before. All this becomes more important as we age especially as recovery time gets longer.
Fabric and Materials
The fabric you choose for your backpack matters quite a bit. When you’re on a guided hunt with us in Colorado, weather can change pretty rapidly so a waterproof hunting pack is essential. Besides water resistance, other things you need to consider is tear strength, abrasion resistance, and noise.
There are many options for pack materials out there, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Fleece-faced fabric is very quiet but has low tear-resistance and terrible water resistance. Cordura and packcloth are strong, inexpensive, moderately quiet, and have moderate water resistance. However, some packs that use these fabrics are higher in cost. Weigh the pros and cons, see the packs in person, and make your decision from there.
The Best Hunting Backpack for the Best Guided Hunts
With this information, you’ll be able to pick the best hunting backpack for you and your hunting needs. Good thing too, because you’re going to need that when you come with us on a guided hunt. At Soap Mesa Outfitters, we provide the best guided hunts in Western Colorado. See you soon.