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How do I choose the proper back pack?

Backpacks fall into four basic categories

  • Fanny pack
  • Daypack
  • Internal Frame Packs
  • External Frame Packs

Fanny Packs

These packs are used for single-day archery, scouting trips, short hunts, or hikes. In general, fanny packs are small enough to carry a few items and some even have the ability to carry hydration bottles. Average size is 500 cu in to 800 cu in. Very light loads normally up to 10 lbs. Great for archery, not bulky, lightweight and easy to move.

Day Packs

These packs are used for single-day hunting, scouting trips, and hikes. In general, daypacks are soft-backed or normally frameless. Daypacks are lightweight and intended for light loads (10 to 25 pounds). Good daypacks have hipbelts to prevent the load from thumping on your back with each stride. Some even have a vented back area raised off your back to increase ventilation on hot days.

Internal Frame Packs

These packs are used for bigger, heavier loads (15 pounds and up). Frames--either aluminum stays, plastic framesheets, curved Delrin rods, or combinations of those things--are located within the packbag (as opposed to external frames; see below), and when properly fit, they hug the contours of your back, thereby cinching the load in close to your spine. The main job of the frame is to facilitate weight transfer to the hip area, which is where we are most capable of bearing it. So a good, supportive hipbelt is also critical. Some of the lighter packs boast their lighter weight but you normally find they lack in a good hipbelt.

External Frame Packs

Used for big, heavy loads, these packs are best for back country hunting and hauling meat. That's because the packbag is hung off a simple exterior frame, so the load is positioned farther away from your back on the older packs, most of the newer ones do a better job at keeping it close. . (Tip: Use hiking poles for stability.) External frame packs have a higher center of gravity than internal frame packs, which has two advantages: It gives excellent weight transfer to the hips and it allows you to walk with a more upright posture (with big internals you have to lean forward to counterbalance the load). Plus, some offer lots of airflow between the pack and your back, great for long, sweaty days on the hunting trail or anywhere that heat is a factor. Externals are known for their plentiful pockets and ultimate trail-livability, but there are still a few tricks to loading them.

If you need help in choosing the right pack for you, please call me any time 928-978-1999