By Jared Bloomgren
As backcountry hunters we are always looking for the best way to remove our animals from the terrain in which we take them out of. We look for improved gear and anything that will make the pack out more comfortable. A pack is very important and I am going to talk about an external frame pack that I have been using for the last 7 years with great success. But it is nearing that time when this pack needs to be replaced as it has seen plenty of wear and tear while packing out thousands of pounds of venison over the years. About the only type of company that I do not have a sponsorship from is that from a pack company. I am a free agent so to speak!
The pack I speak of is the Cabelas Alaskan Guide external frame pack. Granted it is not a Kifaru or any other kind of sought after pack. But it is a pack that is worthy of notable and proven features that have proven themselves to me time and time again. As described, the pack is made of 420-denier Oxford nylon rip-stop material and 5,000-cu.-in. capacity. Five exterior storage pockets, including a 22″L x 7″W padded spotting scope pocket. Easy-access steel rod loading system; unlike traditional frames that use noisy, hard-to-adjust pin-and-ring attachment systems, the Guide Model’s lightweight yet tough aluminum frames have quiet, simple-to-adjust webbing attachment points to guarantee not only complete in-the-field silence, but ultra-quick adjustments as well. The holster-compatible hip belt and shoulder straps are heavily padded for comfortable carrying. And the belt is Nylex-lined to prevent perspiration buildup in warmer conditions. A built in rain fly will keep your contents dry during those downpours and snow bouts. Removing the pack from the frame leaves you the option of using just the frame to carry your meat out of the backcountry. The adjustable meat shelf allows you to distribute the weight in the correct spot and keeps your load from shifting.
I have never had trouble with not having enough space for even hunts as long as 17 days with this pack. The variety of pockets and a zippered internal shelf allows me to get at my sleeping back from an external pocket down below. Various locations of straps allow you to attach more gear to the outside if you so wish. Compression straps also help to keep things from shifting and moving. If you remove the pack from the frame, the pack still has built in shoulder and waist straps. This means you can still use the pack detached from the aluminum frame. Another great feature!
Although I am hoping to replace this pack soon as it is getting worn I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this pack to someone who is trying to find a pack that can really pack a heavy load and a lot of supplies or meat. The price is right too for those hunting for an external frame pack on a budget.
Jared “J-Rod” Bloomgren is a hardcore Do-It-Yourself bowhunter who strives to better himself each year in the outdoor community. As a professional hunter, freelance writer and photographer, he likes to relive his outdoor adventures through written expression and photography making the reader feel as if they were along on the hunt. He attributes much of his success to the vital education he has learned from the various big game animals that he hunts. He is quoted as saying, “In each and every hunt, success or defeat, I learn something from every outing and that I can put in my arsenal of knowledge to use at a later date, a later date that will again put my wits against that of my prey.”