Best Day Pack for 2016
Why choose a frame? These type of packs are phenomenal because they keep the majority of the weight off your shoulders and on to your hips, helping to evenly distribute weight. When carrying heavy loads or packing for long distances proper weight distribution is crucial. Packs with frames also help keep your back straight and are more breathable, which is especially nice in warm weather. Each of the packs in this review were loaded with approximately 25lbs and carried for a minimum of five miles in rugged terrain. Each pack was tested for versatility, comfort, and overall function.
Stone Glacier Solo
Coming in at the largest bag capacity (cubic inches) of our reviewed packs, the Stone Glacier Solo. The Stone Glacier Solo is a great all around pack. With a carbon frame this pack is also the lightest pack reviewed. For the ounce-counter, this pack could be the difference in making or breaking a hunt. To make things simple Stone Glacier has equipped the solo with two ways of entry; a very large expandable rack sack and a backside pocket. In addition, this pack also offers a meat shelf. Making it light enough to stalk an animal and then expandable to help pack it out. Efficient, durable, and expandable, Stone Glacier did not cut any corners.
Kuiu Icon Pro 1850
The versatility with Kuiu’s frame, bag, and harness system is almost unmatchable. Kuiu truly has gone the extra mile to fit hunters for all shapes and sizes. Each pack can be customized to fit the needs of every hunt imaginable. The Icon Pro 1850 is the only pack in our review the has a full carbon fiber frame equipped for 150lb load capacity. This pack is durable, rugged, and accessible; it makes for a great go to pack for day to overnight hunts. This pack also includes a meat shelf, increasing the versatility and function of this great pack.
Sitka Flash 20
Engineered to help hunters in all situations, the Flash 20 fits a wide variety of individuals. The Sitka Flash 20 sits off your back to allow air to flow freely, this helps keep your back cooler in warmer weather. The design fits perfectly to make your entire upper body feel more mobile. The taper of the shoulder straps and hip belt fit very comfortably, and with it suspended off your back makes this pack hard to beat. They have upgraded their light-weight toggle bow suspension system. This system is much better than previous models. While this pack was not the quietest pack in our review, there were no squeaks or weird noises coming from the pack while hiking either. This pack was mobile, cool and built to last, Sitka definitely put in some sweet upgrades to the Flash 20.
This military style looking pack is one of the best in its field. Fortunately, Mystery Ranch put in the effort to design a pack for the modern day hunter. The curve in the shoulder straps was notably more comfortable under heavy loads. The overall comfort level was off the charts; this pack truly molds to your body making it a fierce force to be reckoned with. This pack also includes a load sling or meat shelf. A load sling is an area between the frame and pack that can be expanded. This is used to increase the overall carrying capacity. It is extremely useful in the field when needed to pack an animal out. This makes it possible to carry a lighter or smaller pack with expandable option available.
Backed by Badlands unbelievable warranty, the 2200 is one of the most comfortable under heavy loads. Badlands warranty is as good as it gets. It is a no fault warranty, meaning anything breaks—your fault or theirs—and they replace it. With the meat shelf included, this pack distributes and holds weight extremely well when packing out animals. For all the archery hunters out there, the material used on the Badlands 2200 comes in at the quietest of all the packs reviewed. The way this pack is designed is very nice, it folds up tight when it is empty and when a heavy load is needed it expands and fold out while maintaining the majority of the weight close to your back. This pack comes with a lot of well thought out organized space. Quiet, Organized, and Equipped, Badlands 2200 created a pack for a true outdoorsman.
After spending a considerable amount of time with each pack, it was clear all these packs have some very nice features, but there wasn’t one pack that stood out from all the rest. Each pack was designed with a specific feature in mind and while some people like a lot of features others do not. If you are an archery hunter and noise is your main concern the Badlands 2200 may be your top choice. If you want as much carrying capacity as possible with the least amount of weight then the Stone Glacier Solo would be a sweet option. If you like to ability to change out different size bags with one frame then the Kuiu Icon Pro would be a great choice. If comfort is at the top of your priority list, then I would look into the Sitka Flash 20 or Mystery Ranch. The point is they all have something that makes them stand out, but one thing is for sure, you can’t go wrong with any of these packs.