The search for the perfect mobile whitetail hunting pack.
For the past several years as I have tried to make myself more mobile as a whitetail hunter In this quest, I have used just about every deer hunting pack on the market. My first season while hunting with permanent tree stands I used any old backpack I could find. As I began to use climber stands and then hang-ons with sticks I found my pack was holding me back.
With the climber, the options for a pack are either attach the climber to your backpack, or to use the shoulder straps that come with the stand and attach your pack to the frame. While the latter works well enough, it is not a perfect solution as generally wearing a climber is not the most comfortable thing and even if you secure your backpack with bungees, the weight of it on the stand tends to move around a bit.
When using a hang-on stand and climbing sticks you have a few more options for packs. The average stand/stick combo is about 17 lbs. You can use a frame pack and attach the stand to the load (or meat) shelf, or strap your stand and sticks to the back of the pack using straps. Load shelves work well for hauling a stand, but typically require some manipulation in the field to open and close the load shelf. They are also not made for tree stand hunting and forgo many of the whitetail specific features that make some packs so easy to use while in your stand.
Different Types Of Packs
There are three main types of packs we are going to discuss. Let’s start with a discussion of the simplest and smallest pack: the daypack. In Part 2 and Part 3 of this series, we will discuss treestand specific packs and full-on backcountry frame packs.
The Day Pack
Mystery Ranch Front
1221 cubic inches
Day packs are small packs of usually 2000 cubic inches or less. Lacking external frames and lid hauling abilities they typically just feature fabric construction, 1-2 main pockets, and several smaller compartments as well. The frameless design and small bag mean they weigh less, with some coming in at just 2 pounds or less. The packs are also less rigid and can be stuffed into small spaces easier. You likely have several day packs already laying around your house. If you hunt pre-hung stands and don’t need to carry much gear in, this is a great option. Many of the “hunting pack” companies like Eberlestock, Mystery Ranch, Sitka, Stone Glacier, and Kuiu make small day packs now if you want a bag in camo or from your favorite brand. Day packs start at $75 and go up from there.
Other daypacks to check out include:
Eberlestock – X2 $250
Stone Glacier – Avail 2200 $289
Kuiu – Venture 1800 $189