Small hunting backpack


October 30, 2012, 12:50 PM
I was carrying my fanny pack this weekend with all my black powder tools, and other stuff and what not....and it got a little heavy and started falling down a lot. So I am thinking that I want to upgrade to a small back pack for hunting. Something small enough to just carry some essentials, maybe a seat cusion and maybe some clothes that I might want to shed off.

I was thinking about those new sling packs you see out there from Maxpedition. Or some of the camo sling pack from Cabelas. Or just a small camo backpack from bass pro or Academy.

Does anyone have any experience with carrying a backpack and a rifle over the shoulder?

Does a sling pack help or a backpack get in the way when you want to sling your rifle?

Any good suggestions?

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October 30, 2012, 01:59 PM
I usually use a day pack of some description for hiking and hunting, or a Camelback. This year, I broke down and bought a Camelback H.A.W.G. I thought about the Mule, but decided I needed a little more capacity. Puts a 3 liter water bladder on my back, plus plenty of cargo capability.

Yes, a slung rifle can get snagged on a backpack. I will be posting a discussion about that in the next day or two, because that fact and my own poor choices cost me an elk a couple of weeks ago.

I would not want to go hunting/hiking with a single strap sling pack. I think it wouldn't balance well, and certainly wouldn't evenly place the load.

October 30, 2012, 02:58 PM
Horn Hunter MAQ with a quiver. It retails for $139 at Cabelas. The quiver is detachable and a nice accessory since it retails for $40 as a stand alone. The pack itself is relatively small, holds a good sized camelback bladder, and will hold a bit of gear inside, but not much. The external straps are good enough that when I hike in I strap my outer jacket to the pack so I won't sweat as much. There are more external straps than I usually know what to do with. It is a great pack and has held up well over the last two seasons. Highly recommended.

October 30, 2012, 03:14 PM
I bought a $9.95 camo back pack from Wally World ... serves the propose as good as a $60 pack ... for what you are asking... I keep my flash light, bug spray, T. P., small rope, and it has a side pocket for a water/coke bottle. It also has a smaller zip pocket for little items. I used a fanny pack like the one you said you used ... it was always slipping around or down ... the back pack works much better...

October 30, 2012, 04:54 PM
I'd NOT suggest the $10 Wally World bags. They are poorly constructed with poorly designed suspension systems, cheap zippers and ill fitting. Most are made for kids and will not fit an adult properly, especially with any weight in them or while wearing a jacket. You'll be buying a new one each year as you wear them out.

I'd suggest you not buy online unless you have actually tried on the exact model to make sure it fits you. Everybody is built different and what fits you, may be a poor choice for me.

I would suggest looking around at stores or websites such as instead of places that cater to hunters. Many of the better packs designed for hunters are very expensive. The cheaper versions (Walmart) are just interested in which camo pattern is on them. A daypack from a reputable company in a green, black, or other subdued color works just fine for hunting and you can get real quality for only a little more than the Walmart camo bags. You can often find discontinued models or colors for very good prices.

Look for a bag that is slim. Some are wide and will interfere with slung rifle, but the slim versions work much better. Another option is a military surplys 3 day assault pack. I have found those for as little as $25. Just make sure it is genuine military issue. There are a lot of cheap Chinese made knockoffs.

Here are a few possibilities that are good quality bags that won't break the bank.

October 30, 2012, 06:06 PM
I've used a small backpack for years, I think it was made by Bianchi but I don't recalll the model. It's a soft material that is quiet, it's slim so you can still sling a rifle, it has a hip belt to handle weight, and it has both open and zippered pockets. Much better than a fanny pack -- also is better if you wear a holster belt with a sidearm or knife on it.

October 30, 2012, 06:54 PM
I. Usually hunt with my Kelly freighter frame and an orange dry bag to hold my stuff. The pack also works as a great hard rest.

When I'm not using that, I use my Osprey Talon 22. I love osprey packs. The talon 22 is light with light suspension. The straps support the weight you'd have Ina pack that size and they are pretty thin to not interfere with shooting your rifle. It's like a summer weight day pack.

October 30, 2012, 07:07 PM
I've been using the Camelbak Ranger. There maybe a newer version but it works great and has enough capacity for a night out Siwash style (no sleeping bag).

I also like the Kelty Redwing for minimalist over-nighters. VERY comfortable pack and enough room for gear. Lately I've been using it even for day hikes.

If I'm hauling out quarters, I'm taking a frame pack. It might just be the frame and a smaller pack with gear but when you get over 30# (IMHO) you're better off with an external frame. I haven't tried any of the excellent Kifaru packs though.

October 30, 2012, 07:47 PM
I've been using a camelbak for a few years too. It's great in MN as I bought it for snowboarding so the water hose and pack is insulated so it doesn't freeze. There are straps etc to hold other things and it has zippers running along the outside that will compress an extra layer etc in the main cargo area. there is a small waterproof pocket on the outside that is great for other accessories. it's not camo, but it works great.

As for my rifle, I do carry it slung over my shoulder often. It's one more strap to deal with, but it hasn't been a problem. The strap actually helps to keep the rifle sling on my shoulder. Just make sure to pay attention to which strap you're trying to take off...

October 30, 2012, 07:58 PM
I just use my old Blackhawk trama bag. Its expandable, camel back compatible, room enough to carry everything I need for a 72 hr get away, and fully padded and adjustable.

October 30, 2012, 08:56 PM
I use a Jansport "half-pint" backpack when I go hiking and hunting.

I feel like I should state that I live in Alabama so there isn't a rough/mountainous terrain test for me. Also, my extent of hunting is limited to setting up blinds or going to my ladder stand to exterminate pests and annoyances like coyote, a random pig or two and anything that digs up my property like armadillos, possums and raccoons. I don't deer hunt enough to claim it and I don't have a lot of the fun stuff some people have like elk, bear etc.

I have carried a rifle with a sling and also a chest holster from Diamond D. Both worked fine as long as you're not wanting to take the pack on and off a lot. The sling sitting on top of the backpacks shoulder straps adds an extra layer of cushion in my opinion. It holds plenty of stuff I'd say, especially if you've been doing ok with a fanny pack. Just think of it as half the size of a standard Jansport, sorry I don't have volumetric dimensions or measurements.

October 30, 2012, 09:08 PM
Camelback Striker is what I carry most of the time. It's the pack that I keep coming back to.

I also sometimes use a horn hunter sling pack. I like the pack as a whole but they tick me off for not making a left handed version. I keep looking at the maxpedition sitka packs. However I have a problem dropping a $100 on something I have never seen in person. Call me crazy but I have been let down by so many packs in the past. My wife calls them my collection of man purses.

October 31, 2012, 12:25 AM
I was given a super nice North Face back pack with zillions of pockets, but it weighs almost two pounds and I would forget which pocket my stuff was in.

So I use the cheap light kid's school book back packs to carry my deer pulling harness.

October 31, 2012, 09:35 AM
I use a small ALICE.................

October 31, 2012, 12:10 PM
Well I have had no problems with my Cheap Walmart pack ... served me as well as one that cost way much more ... and if it goes bad I can replace it many times for what some of the other bags cost...

If you are using a pack for "real" backpacking .... go spend some $$$ and get the best you can afford ....

If you just need something to throw a few things in to take to the stand... look at the Walmart bag ...

By the way my 10 yr Grandson uses one for a school book bag ... if it can take the abuse that a kid can dish out .... it'll work for a hunting bag....

October 31, 2012, 12:54 PM
Does anyone have any experience with carrying a backpack and a rifle over the shoulder?

I've been struggling to find the ideal setup for bear guns for years. Right now I've modified a 511 backpack to have a carbine scabbard stuck down through the back. It's very handy. In general, the closer you can bring the rifle to your center of mass, the less felt weight it will have. It's the hammer-in-hand principal. If your rifle is way out on the back side of pack, it's going to leverage down on your shoulders and end up riding further and further down as the day goes by.

I've come up with two general solutions. For large rifles, sling over the pack and shoulder together. To avoid snags I will put a brass quick-release on the sling. You can get these at any tack or kennel store. They're used to "launch" guard dogs. So they are built to hold the strain. The design is like the release on this leash:

For carbines, I stick them in a scabbard held as close to the centerline of my back as possible. These will carry almost weightlessly.

October 31, 2012, 12:59 PM
I agree. I use a cheap old backpack that I used for school 20 years ago. It works just fine for me, and slinging a rifle is no problem while wearing it.

Most importantly, look for a pack that will be quiet in the woods. Avoid things like velcro and loud zippers. Straps or draw strings are better while hunting.

October 31, 2012, 02:21 PM
To aid in carrying a rifle and a pack, a buddy had a pretty sweet setup called "The Gunslinger". I liked it so much that I bought one. It is pretty excellent, as it has a lower hook type of thing that holds your rifle's butt stock, and an upper strap that utilizes your backpack shoulder strap to keep the rifle sling from sliding off the shoulder. Google "gunslinger", and I believe they have a demo on the website. It allows you to carry a shouldered rifle without your hands being needed to hold the sling or constantly adjust it as the sling slides off the shoulder. I would highly reccomend this system.

October 31, 2012, 10:10 PM
Costco has a really well made backpack that is a two part so you have the fanny pack and the upper shoulder pack, you can leave together or separate.

The upper is set up to put your camelback water container in it and it has a place to route the water tube and a holder on the shoulder strap.

I took mine elk hunting this year, worked great. I have a seat I like to carry which I just hung on the back pack. Most of the time I just wore the upper half.

They are $40 and very well made. Great pockets and zipped compartments. There is even a rifle holder which I did not try to use.

There is a latch between the shoulder straps that goes across your chest so it never slipped off when carrying my rifle which was on a sling.

Beats anything I have seen that is comparable by $10 to a lot more.

October 31, 2012, 10:21 PM
I use a "3 day assult pack" style pack when I hunt. The type have many compartments and pockets for organizing, compression straps to keep it tight and small and many adjustment straps to get it to ride comfortably on my back. I walk with my rifle slung no problem. African carry, american carry and over my right shoulder and across my back carry. no problems.

Here is the maxpedition version

I got a cheap version, $40 I think. I will upgrade to the maxpedition when I have the cash. Great colors to choose from too.

My only gripe. I wish it had an internal frame or some kind of removable rigid support that could go into the waterbladder storage compartment.

November 1, 2012, 10:53 AM
I have carried a Blacks Creek fanny pack for years. It has full shoulder and hip suspension and converts to a daypack. At present it weighs in at about 14# with what I carry in the field and last year I actually packed out a bulls hind quarter in it.
Nothing wrong with a fanny pack if it is built to the task and has the proper suspension, they are much less restrictive than a pack and doesn't snag up and make as much noise when moving through the brush.
I have also been known to carry a Kelty Frieghter or a Badlands 2200, usually if I am just going along for fun and not packing a gun.

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