Win out West. Waylay a rutty whitetail. The year’s best new packs take specialized pursuits to a whole new level.
ALPS OutdoorZ Hybrid X. Here’s a western-inspired pack backcountry elk, mule deer and bear hunters will appreciate. Why? It’s compact and lightweight yet holds enough (2,750 cubic inches) for an overnight stay, and also doubles as a meat hauler when you score. The Hybrid X ($339.99) combines an internal frame meat hauler with a detachable 2,750-cubic-inch top-load pack. The frame also features a shelf and compressed wing-style pockets to accommodate small or large hauls. Strength and durability come from its 1860D Nylon Ballistic and Robic Nylon fabrics, with Hypalon-reinforced construction. You’ll also find a molded-foam suspension system and Lycra shoulder straps that offer comfort and stability over rough terrain, and a drop-down stock pocket for easy rifle/shotgun toting. More nice touches include a rain cover and integrated hydration pocket.
Mystery Ranch Pop Up 38. Hardcore hunters spoke; Mystery Ranch listened. In response to requests for a larger pop-up style pack the company has introduced the Pop Up 38 ($350; 2,746 cubic inches), featuring a large main compartment that can be accessed via a top-loading shroud, or by the full-length side zipper. The two-part lid keeps key items within reach while helping to secure and protect spotting scopes and tripods that are stashed in the outer, compressible pocket. Dual side
pockets are ideal for trekking poles, water bottles and other items, but, where this pack separates itself is in its unique telescoping frame that transforms from a low-profile look to a maximized load-lifting system, in seconds. Designed utilizing trekking pole technology, the new 2020 Pop Up frame is an improvement on MR’s original Pop Up design that mirrored a tent pole connection. This upgrade will now be seen on all Pop Up models.
Tenzing Hangtime Day Pack. Whitetails watch out. Designed specifically for treestand hunting, the Hangtime Backpack ($199.99; 1 pound, 12 ounces) solves frustrating failures once and for all—with a rigid, EVA-molded shell that holds it shape for simplified use in the field. Store lunch and an extra layer in the 750 cubic inches inside the large main compartment, and react quickly with easy one-handed access through the front or top. Specialized storage space is plentiful for every piece of hunting gear imaginable: from specialized optics and game call pockets, to quiver attachment points and a removable bow carrier.
Knight & Hale Run-N-Gun 100 Chest Rig. As its name implies this unique pack was designed for ultra-mobile, run-and-gun turkey hunters. It’s a bold departure from traditional vests; the Chest Rig (On Sale Now for $42) centrally locates essential gear for fast and easy retrieval. A rigid front hatch flips forward for easy viewing and call retrieval, while strong magnetic snaps keep the hatch quietly and securely closed. You’ll also find an internal striker holder and pot-call pocket, and plenty of room for locator calls, gloves and a face mask. Four external mesh pockets hold mouth calls and a large zippered pocket is for license, wallet or cell phone.
SITKA Gear Mountain Hauler 4000. Attention backcountry elk/mule deer hunters: This sweet new design begs to go in light and come back heavy. The Mountain Hauler 4000 ($495; 5.75 pounds, 4,500 cu. in. max volume) is ideal for day hunts or overnight stays when you need the ability to carry gear, meat and antlers out of the field simultaneously. The pack provides 3,700 cubic inches of non-expanded volume for easy hiking, with the capability to expand 800 cubic inches when needed. The T-6 6061 aluminum frame provides for an adjustable suspension and a strong chassis, enabling you to carry monster loads upwards of 150 pounds. Available in Optifade Subalpine (shown) and Open Country.