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January 5, 2020 Comments Off on Outdoorsmans Long Range Pack Review Blog Entries, Reviews

Outdoorsmans Long Range Pack Review

The long range pack with tripod and trail rod affixed during our Sarvis Creek trip.

I picked up the Outdoorsmans Long Range Pack for the 2019-2020 upland and big game seasons in Colorado and put it to the test as I made the jump from car camper to backpack hunter. Much of my gear changed during the transition time, from sleeping bag, to meal prep, as well as going from a day pack to this.

I had a chance to put it through its paces during the Sarvis Creek scouting trip, and again for some backcountry bird hunting in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.

Features

  • Built in hydration bag pouch (bladder not included) and rear exit hole for bladder hose.
  • Optics pouch built into pack lid will fit up to 15’s, it stores my 12’s comfortably.
  • Gatekeeper accessory clips on the hip belt allow you to detach the outer strap and affix your hunting knife, MOLLE pouch, or other kit.
  • Side bungee pouches and accessory straps to strap your tripod, spotting scope, trekking poles or other items.
  • Detachable pouch for bow or rifle storage while in motion on the back of the pack.
  • Pack separates from the frame with toggles.
  • Load straps at the top allow for changing how the pack rides on the frame.
  • Multiple zippered external pockets.
  • Blaze orange flag for when you’re hauling meat or racks.

The pack is available in three different color finishes, I chose Multicam because it most closely matched my FirstLite Fusion. Also available is Coyote or True Timber.

Durability

This thing is stout. The pack is well designed and despite shipping with no instructions many of the features were intuitive. It’s been banged around in the woods and thrown in and out of my truck. The plastic frame gives it rigidity and imposes a slight arch that coupled with the pack straps and kidney belt add a little air flow.

Pack Fit

The kidney belt should ride just above your hips and be nice and tight. For me this meant ensuring that layers either ended above the belt or well below it while hiking. The shoulder straps should have a little bit of room, call it a thumb width between the top of the strap and your shoulder available, most of the weight is going to want to sit on your hips rather than your shoulders. The sternum strap should be just tight enough to allow the shoulder straps to ride the center of each shoulder and not slop around.

The load itself can be adjusted closer or further away with load lifters, all straps have adjusters you can thumb with the pack on in order to loosen, or you can pull the tag end of the nylon webbing to tighten. Pretty straightforward stuff.

The frame itself is modular with slots available in order to adjust the pack on the frame itself.

Overall

The pack more than does its assigned task. It’s not only built but a little overbuilt which is how I like my equipment. Also in the pro column for me is that it’s designed and built in the US of A. The pack also comes with some detractors in that it is heavier than some other frame packs on the market. I’ve detailed some of my frustrations with the pack design below. However, I think that given the field of options I was between this pack and the significantly more pricey Stone Glacier offerings — and chose this one. I’ve been able to modify the pack and add several features that fit it to my hunting needs.

This pack might not be well suited to a simple weekend trip where a frameless or internal frame might be better, but this workhorse will haul meat all day long on a pack out. It’s been extendable to handle packing for a 7 day hunt, and it’s way more comfortable than the ALICE pack it replaces in my gear room.

Using my rifle rest as a flyfishing rod holder while I rig the rod.

Some Frustrations

The Outdoorsmans Long Range pack is great and I intend on keeping it in the lineup for quite some time. The pack doesn’t come without it’s share of frustrations however.

Some other packs have a bottom zipper to allow for easy access to the sleeping bag or other bottom packed kit. The Outdoorsmans offering has one, but it’s somewhat small. This means that when I decided to drop camp prematurely I needed to basically unload the entire bag. The biggest gripe is that I cannot fit my stuff-sack’d 0 degree bag through the opening without a great deal of fussing. Had I known in advance I was going to do that, I would have packed much differently. Similarly there is no side zipper to reach into the pack. It’s from the top, small items from the bottom, or nothing at all. To make up for this there are several zippered pockets on the outside, and you can accessorize to add storage how you see fit.

On rare occasions the pack toggles become loose and you may experience a pack failure. This happened once to me in the field, but it’s something to be aware of. The most likely chance this has of occurring is when you’re shouldering your pack and there’s no tension on one side.

The kidney belt has a webbing strap on each side that allows accessories to be mounted to it. However the closure they use is a Gatekeeper style closure. For those of you not familiar with them they’re a semi-rigid piece of plastic with a metal hoop that when under pressure keeps items in place. In theory it’s awesome, but in reality with cold or gloved fingers they become difficult to operate. I hate them, I hate them so much.

Accessories

I recently accessorized with a Outdoorsmans Accessory Pod which adds an extra 2000ci to the pack and enables me to put both my sleeping bag and tent into it. That means I can establish a drop camp and keep hiking or hunting for the day.

On the hip belt I carry my Alaska Guide Creations pistol holster that affixes using the accessory belt.

For a hydration pouch I’d recommend going with a Source WXP 3Liter bladder. The folks I know who are always doing GoRuck competitions love ’em and they’re overbuilt and puncture resistant. Get the one with an insulated hose and it’s less likely to freeze in chilly situations.

For hauling meat there’s a meat sling available for the pack frame, or you can add an Atlas Trainer for the off season — where you can haul Olympic weights on the back.

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