January 10, 2019
By Brian Strickland
As the ATA Show kicks off this week at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, all eyes are on the ever expanding new products bowhunters will be able to put to the test during the upcoming seasons. Although quality packs might be overlooked by some bowhunters, if you’re looking to expand to more than just a trip to your local woodlot, they really shouldn’t be. As the list of ultra-durable, lightweight and functional packs grows every year, so should your expanding bowhunting horizons. Here are a few new packs that caught my eye going into the 2019 hunting season.
ALPS OutdoorZ Contender X Whitetail
Continuing to expand their footprint into the extreme-duty hunting pack arena, ALPS OutdoorZ is offering the new Contender X Whitetail Pack this season. Building upon ALPS’s already stellar reputation, the Contender X Whitetail offers plenty of room for those all-day hunts with its spa-cious 1,850 cubic-inch carrying capacity. The large U-shaped heavy-duty zipper on the top panel makes it easy to grab gear quietly, without it dumping, and an additional pocket can be accessed both internally and externally so you can quickly grab gear when seconds count. The Contender X Whitetail also features multiple interior mesh pockets, as well as zippered waist belt pockets for organization, plus a comfortable molded foam suspension system that includes load lifters for weight distribution. Other nifty features include a hydration pocket with left or right-side hydration ports, rain cover and a built-in bow or gun pocket.
Badlands Vario Modular Pack System
After 25 years of groundbreaking “firsts” in the hunting pack arena, Badlands has brought pack system technology to a new level. The new Vario Modular Pack System offers virtually everything a bowhunter needs in a pack. Whether you are just going out for the day or wanting to spend a week in the backcountry the new Vario is adaptable, expandable and above all else, versatile. At its foundation is the unique Vario Frame. Breathable, comfortable and adjustable in every sense, the frame is designed to support three different pack sizes, and also acts as a stand-alone meat hauling system if needed. The Vario Day offers 2,000 cubic inches of space and can be used with the frame or independently with the hideaway shoulder straps. Its middle-weight cousin, the Vario 33, offers 3,300 cubic inches of space and is compatible with all accessories. And when you need to extend your hunts, the Vario 50 offers 5,200 cubic inches of packable space. All three pack sys-tems are designed to incorporate the meat shelf and pack together so you don’t have to leave any gear behind.
Mystery Ranch Sawtooth 45
Catering to the demands and riggers of western hunting, Mystery Ranch introduced the new Saw-tooth 45 this season. With the mission to design specific packs through state-of-the-art load-carrying technologies, the Sawtooth 45 features 2,746 cubic inch capacity that is ideal as a day pack or those overnight adventures. With its unique 270-degree zipper access, the Sawtooth 45 has a low-profile silhouette and an exceptional organization system designed to allow hunters to use eve-ry inch of space functionally. Built on Mystery Ranch’s new Guide Light MT Frame, the pack uti-lizes a lightweight but burly 330D Lite plus Cordura fabric that incorporates the patented Overload feature that allows you easier access to the shelf when packing out that hard-earned protein. Weigh-ing a scant 5.3 pounds and featuring a telescoping yoke for a custom torso fit, the Sawtooth 45 also has four internal pockets, side stretch-woven pockets, zippered top accessory pocket, hydration pocket and several compression straps for carrying your weapon, trekking poles or whatever you need to take to the woods.
Sitka Mountain Hauler 4000
Sitka Gear’s new Mountain Hauler 4000 is perfect as a day pack or if you need to bushwhack overnight to stay close to game. Offering 3,700 cubic inches of non-expandable space, plus the ability to expand an additional 800 cubic inches, you’ll have more than enough space to haul all the essentials. A T-6 6061 aluminum frame that provides an adjustable suspension and a strong chas-sis so you can haul loads up to 150 pounds. The Mountain Hauler also features a pair of Vertical exterior pockets that are perfect for a spotting scope, tripod, rain gear or anything else you need to access quickly, as well as numerous other pockets for organization. Add to this the hydrophobic tri-component molded foam shoulder yoke and hip belt, as well as light but tough 220-denier outer shell with 450-denier underside and back panels, the Mountain Hauler 4000 is both comfortable and built to take the demands of the hunt.