While it's easy to just grab any multi-use bargain backpack and hit the whitetail woods, investing in a high-tech pack with advanced features — similar to those typically found in Western-hunting styles — can greatly improve the quality of your treestand hunting this fall.
A robust load-hauling system intended for packing out big game might be overkill for your deer hunting jaunts, but that doesn't mean you should overlook some of the qualities that make these workhorses indispensable to backpack hunters. As you search for the perfect pack for this fall, keep these must-have features in mind.
Whitetail country often overlaps with some tough terrain, so a rugged construction that stands up to the elements is a necessity. Burrs, briars and thorns can destroy a flimsy pack and cut its season short after just a single use.
Look for durable fabrics, quality zippers and secure stitching to ensure your pack resists abrasion and can take a beating in the field.
When hanging 20 feet above wary whitetails, you need a pack that uses silent fabric and provides easy access to bowhunting essentials for minimal movement in the treestand. Rummaging through a noisy, cluttered bag at the wrong time could be enough to send a buck bolting.
Select a pack that can help you go unnoticed without weighing you down while providing a comfortable fit as you make the trek to your stand.
While you might not need to load up a week's worth of supplies to survive the backcountry, treestand hunters still need plenty of essentials for a successful trip afield. From calls to a rangefinder and even snacks, a successful day of deer hunting demands more gear than a bowhunter can carry.
Choosing a pack with a variety or pockets and compartments will help you stay organized and prevent gear from rattling around or damaging costly optics. And a sturdy strap for hanging from a branch or tree hook means you won't have to leave any gear that you can't stuff into your pockets on the ground as you climb to your post.
Mystery Ranch Treehouse
One new-for-2018 pack perfectly fits the bill for whitetail hunters — the Mystery Ranch Treehouse.
Already a proven powerhouse in Western load-hauling systems, Mystery Ranch employed the same high-quality standards and mission-specific design to engineer its first dedicated pack for treestand hunters.
The Treehouse features a durable 500D Cordura fabric exterior with a quiet nylon/cotton blend lining that won't get you nabbed as you rummage through the pack to locate hand warmers or a rattle bag.
Featuring 1,892 cubic inches of total storage, the Treehouse sports external pockets on either side to stow water bottles or a spotting scope as well as a front stretch-woven pocket for additional quick access.
Waistbelt pockets are perfect for stowing a wind checker or cell phone, while internal and external MOLLE webbing allow for customized accessory attachment.
Two internal zippered pockets and three internal sleeves offer organization for calls, a rangefinder and other bowhunting essentials.
The main compartment features two-zipper access and a reverse attached lid — ideal for limited mobility while harnessed up in a treestand and you're trying to be stealthy.
The pack can securely hang by its top haul loop, and two fiberglass rods allow the face panel to open remain open at 45 degrees, preventing gear from spilling out while providing easy access to contents.
Compression straps on the front of the pack allow for hands-free carrying of your bow or a lightweight treestand — no need to hoist up bow or lug a stand through the woods.
The internal frame is rigid yet flexible, and the waist belt system with belt wings cinches the load onto your helps and evenly distributes weight.
All this functionality tips the scales at just 4.6 pounds and incorporates a telescoping yoke for a comfortable, tailored fit.
Hydration-reservoir compatible, the Treehouse is available in Birch Bark or Coyote.
With Mystery Ranch's commitment to quality and product guarantee, it's the only treestand pack you'll need to buy.
If you've ever spooked a deer by rustling through a noisy pack or watched a buck walk away as you reached for a buried grunt call, you understand the difference a truly functional pack can make. Don't skimp on quality and use this checklist to find a treestand pack that will work just as hard as you do.