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ALPS OutdoorZ Elite: Best New Ultralight Frame Pack System for Backcountry Hunting

by HuntStand

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ALPS OutdoorZ set out with a vision to build a modular, ultralight frame pack system that will stand up to the harshest demands of the toughest backcountry hunts. Their product developers enlisted a group of hardcore hunters for the testing and development process, and Team HuntStand was part of the crew. Now, after 2 years, the Elite pack system is finally here.

What sets this pack apart from the competition? Well, in adhering to their core mission, the folks at ALPS have once again come to the table with a pack of uncompromising quality and durability at an extreme value. The best frame pack systems are notoriously expensive, but the Elite comes in at the most affordable price point given its rich features. Whether you’re a dedicated big game guide in the mountains of Montana, or you’re an eastern whitetail hunter looking to head west for one epic elk trip, the Elite will deliver.

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Here’s an official rundown of the Elite pack system directly from ALPS OutdoorZ:

The Elite system centers on the all-new Elite frame, which improves the structural integrity by approximately 30 percent, providing a lighter and stronger pack frame. In addition, this new frame hits higher benchmarks of performance and ergonomics thanks to an adjustable torso length, fully adjustable load lifters, contoured lumbar support, anti-sway waist belt, and a quiet and breathable 3D air mesh suspension with an anti-slip lumbar pad.

The Elite system is designed so that the frame can be used as a standalone solution for hauling meat and capes. A large front load panel and two side panels feature buckle compression straps that allow the hunter to properly balance and secure heavy loads without shifting. What’s more, the loaded Elite frame can accommodate one of two Elite pack bags, which use compression straps to secure to the frame over top of the meat load. This allows the hunter the option of packing their game and gear out in a single trip.

Two-pack bags are offered with the Elite system. For short trips or for ultralight bivouacs, there is the Elite 1800 pack bag, weighing 1 lb., 12 oz. with the included rain cover and drop-down weapon pocket. For multi-day backcountry trips, the Elite 3800 pack bag is the optimal choice. This pack features a 3,800 cu-in capacity, weighing 2 lbs., 7 oz with the rain cover, drop-down pocket, and spotting scope pocket on the exterior of the pack bag.

Both the Elite 1800 and the Elite 3800 pack bags are intelligently designed to meet the specific needs of backcountry hunters. The main compartment, for example, features zippers along both sides of the pack so that the compartment can be fully exposed to access items anywhere in the bag without having to ‘fish around’ and pull out gear (unlike the typical top-load bags). Inside the main compartment are five mesh pockets to keep smaller items organized and within easy reach. Additionally, the bags feature a zippered top compartment for storing quick-access items and three exterior stretch fabric pockets with buckle adjustment straps for securing larger, more awkward items. Integrated into the bottom of the pack bags are a quick-deploy rain cover and a drop-down pocket that lets the hunter secure their bow or rifle for hands-free walking and climbing.

The Elite frame and pack bags credit their lightweight and “ready-for-adventure” sturdiness to the 500D Cordura fabric. This lightweight material is exceptionally strong and abrasion-resistant and is PU coated to make it highly water-resistant and fast to dry.

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