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An elk hunting backpack should be light and compact enough to facilitate a day hunt but also expandable to accommodate camping gear when the need arises. After hunting, the backpack should help both the meat and any other hunting gear. Most hunting backpack does not contain all these features, which make it difficult for an elk hunter to find the best elk hunting backpack.
This is the purpose of this review, where we give you a list of some of the best elk hunting backpacks in 2022 to enable you to embark on your hunting journey with all you need. The review is based on the design, function, fit, and weight of the backpack.
The functionality of a Backpack
A backpack has several functionalities that include:
Load lifters – a hunting backpack is a system where different parts work together. Each piece has to be work efficiently to avoid malfunctioning of the entire backpack. Some of the essentials elements of this system include the shoulder straps, waist belt, load lifters, and the frame. The purpose of the waist belt is to hold the burden of the load in the pack, thus reducing the strain on your shoulders.
Load lifters move the load tighter to the back by reducing shoulder tension and increasing left/right stability. Load lifters are the straps located on top of the backpack frame, which travels down the shoulder straps. Tighten the load lifters to pull up the shoulder straps up.
Load hauling – it is essential to have a backpack that can haul meat from the kill site to the truck. Most of the backpacks today enable strapping of meat between your frame and bag. This leaves your hands free, allowing you to use trekking poles and maintain stability when walking.
Sizing – all other parts in the suspension system work efficiently if your backpack is a good fit. If the backpack is too small or too large for you, everything else is useless. If possible, you should fit the backpack when purchasing, and if it is not possible, call the vendor and enquirer about the measurements. Important areas to consider should be the torso length and the waist belt; find a backpack that has an adjustable waist belt and torso length.
Why Do You Need A Hunting Backpack?
You need a hunting backpack to carry essentials that you will need for hunting. Some of the things you can find in a hunting backpack include water, headlamp, rain gear, first aid kit, snacks/food, knife, rubber gloves, game/trash bags, flashlight, rangefinder, survival blanket, baby wipes, fire lighter, game call, and hunting license. All these items come in handy at some point during hunting.
Normal Backpacks vs. Hunting Backpacks
Normal backpacks are sometimes referred to as front-loading backpacks. They include book bags, computer bags, or the smaller backpacks that people use for day hikes. They have ample pocket availability for organizing gear logically. However, unlike hunting backpacks, normal backpacks are unfit for long walks and hunting as they are not comfortable on the hips. Their load leans away from the backpacker leading to a strain on the shoulders.
Hunting backpacks consider the user’s comfort due to the many hours the backpack may be on his back. Also, backpack manufacturers consider the load weight and make them accommodate all these. They are made to evenly distribute the load to reduce straining some parts of the body, such as the shoulders or the hips.
Editor’s Top Pick| 5 Best Elk Hunting Backpacks
1. Badlands 2200 Hunting Backpack with Built-in Meat Hauler
This backpack is light and small, but it compensates that for ease of use and versatility. It weights a partly 5 pounds and 15 ounces putting it among the lightest elk hunting backpacks. It is a meat packing backpack as it has an inbuilt blaze-orange meat shelf, internal pockets to accommodate a tripod and a scope, and a compartment that is accessible on the rear side. All the high-stress points are reinforced with high-strength aramid and Hypalon threads that are also flexible.
It is also waterproof, and it is fitted with a hip belt pistol holder and rifle boot. It has enough space where you can put some of your gear when the weather gets too hot. To top all this, it comes with a lifetime guarantee from the manufacturer where they repair it as many times as necessary.
This backpack is not ideal for overnight trips but serves a 1-day hunting trip. It also has a ThermoMold Suspension that uses molded foam ergonomically superior to match all body contours. Also, its frame provides excellent strength to weight ratio.
- Holds a lot of weight comfortably
- Reduces pressure on hips through T-6 internal frame
- Effective camo design
- Built-in meat shelf
- ThermoMold suspension
- Compression straps
- Few main pockets
- Bow boot purchased separately
2. ALPS OutdoorZ Commander + Pack Bag
Compared to other backpacks, this one is reasonably priced without compromising on quality. It has accessories such as pole and rifle straps that release quickly to enable quick access. It is not cumbersome as it is light, but it can also accommodate food for a week’s use.
The Outdoorz Commander backpack has a 65.5-liter capacity and weighs approximately 9 pounds. It is made as a military bag as it is made of 1680D nylon; this is one of the most durable materials on the market. It also comes with LED light, removable fanny pack, spindrift collar, internal divider, rain cover, bow/rifle pocket, H2O pocket, among others.
Some of the drawbacks of this backpack are that it produces noise when rubbed against trees and bushes. This is a disadvantage, especially when you need to be quiet and invisible to your prey. It is also a bit tall as it has an extra 6 inches compared to other backpacks.
- Numerous pockets for ample storage
- Hydration port and pocket
- Wide torso range at 17 – 23 inches
- Long-lasting nylon rip-stop fabric
- Large volume but still light
- Not waterproof
3. Badlands Superday Hunting Backpack
This backpack is ideal for small-scale hunts. It is rugged, reliable, and comfortable to wear with a perfect design that includes zippers, pockets, and quality materials, which is vital in a safe backpack. There are compartments to carry a bow, rifle, and a pistol.
There is also a hydration compartment that accommodates a 2-liter water bottle to keep you well hydrated during the hunt. The chamber is compatible with Badlands water reservoirs. Also, it carries your loads comfortably as it has molded foam suspension that matches the hunter’s body contours. It has load lifters for easy transport of gear.
It is made from a fabric with a camo pattern for smooth blending into surroundings and it also has easy to access waist belt pockets to serve your numerous pocket items. The KXO-32 fabric used in its manufacture is secure, quiet, and waterproof material. Due to its small size, it is not ideal for overnight hunting trips.
- Can carry heavy loads comfortably
- Strong and rugged
- Carries pistol, bow, and rifle
- Has 7 pockets
- Hydration compatible
- No camelback
- No support
4. ALPS OutdoorZ Traverse EPS Hunting Pack
This is a hunting backpack for an elk hunt that is reasonably priced. It weighs about 7 pounds with a volume of 4,500 cubic inches where it can hold a lot of clothing and gear in an organized and proficient manner. It has shoulder harnesses that are padded, a bow/gun pocket, several organizational pockets, and a safety built-in rain cover.
Considering the cost of this backpack, the quality of the material used in its manufacture is good, and it will serve you well for several seasons. There are a few drawbacks with this backpack; for instance, the shoulder straps have not been padded enough more so when you have to carry a load that exceeds 50 pounds. Also, the chest strap pops off or slides up even when it shouldn’t. Other than these two disadvantages, the Traverse backpack delivers with an unrivaled price.
- Large size
- Bow/gun pocket
- Camo pattern
- Safety rain cover
- More padding needed on shoulder straps
5. Allen Pagosa 1800 Hunting Daypack
This backpack comes with padded support panels for maximum comfort; they provide much-needed comfort even when they are carrying heavy loads for long. It also has two water bottle pockets and a water pouch. It has easy access zippered pockets located on the waist belt and it is ideal for storing your phone, chapstick, sunscreen, keys, and other vital items where you can easily reach for them without the need to take off your backpack.
The backpack is made from a fabric that does not make noise when it rubs against trees and bushes, thus helping you go unnoticed. It has a capacity of 1800 cubic inches in addition to numerous external and internal organizers and pockets that will enable you to carry everything you need. There are loops on the front for attaching more accessories on the outside of the backpack.
- Quiet fabric
- Hydration pouch with 2 water bottle pockets
- Padded shoulder straps
- Waist belt
- Sternum strap
- Small capacity at 1800 cubic inches
How to Choose the Best Hunting Backpack for Elk Hunt
There are a few things you should consider when choosing the best hunting backpack for elk hunting. Some of the considerations depend on individual characteristics, while others do not.
1.Ability to haul heavy loads
A hunting backpack should be strong and big enough to carry a load of up to 100 pounds. This is because a large elk quarter together with hunting gear weighs close to that. The backpack should accommodate all these without tearing or making the hunter uncomfortable as he carries the load.
2.Be a good fit
A hunting backpacks are available in various sizes. Some have adjustable torso lengths and waist belts. A backpack that does not fit properly can lead to shoulder strain or discomfort on the hips if it is too big for you. Fit your backpack before purchase to purchase the one that best fits your body.
3.Also, carry gear
Other than the main packing space, it should also have extra pockets and organizers for your additional items. You should have space for snacks, water, flashlight, knives, game bags, extra wear, and a rifle. You should ensure that your hands are free when walking to maintain stability especially if you trip.
If you intend to go for an overnight hunt, your backpack should accommodate sleeping gear. These include a tent, sleeping bag, and other essential items. The best backpack is one that helps smaller or larger packs on one frame; you will adjust it according to your needs.
5. Quiet and Camo
When shopping for hunting backpack, buy one that does not produce noise upon friction. Also, it should have a camo pattern that easily blends with the surroundings. You do not want a situation where your prey from a mile spots you away due to having a bright-colored backpack.
Purchase a backpack made from durable material that will not require repairs for every hunting expedition. A waterproof backpack is also suitable for protecting your gear from rain, especially when you are going for an overnight hunting trip; you need to keep your sleeping gear dry. It should also provide breathing space to prevent your back from soaking with sweat.
Frequently asked questions(FAQ)
What is a useful backpack for elk hunting?
A good backpack for elk hunting is that which meets your individual needs. It should first fit like a glove to avoid enduring discomfort when carrying your gear and meat.
What should I bring elk hunting?
You should bring a knife, flashlight, folding saw, water, cooking pot, water purification tablets, headlamp, sleeping gear and bag, and a rope.
How do you pack a backpack for hunting?
Fill air pocket gaps with small items. Place light items (clothes, sleeping bag) at the bottom and medium-light ones (food, gear) on top of the lighter gear. Heavy items should be placed in the upper part of the backpack and along your back. Essentials (first aid kit, headlamp, glassing accessories, etc.) should be placed in storage pockets.
How do you quarter an elk?
Roll the elk sideways and remove the hindquarter via the ball joint using a knife. Do the same for the front shoulder cutting on the rear of the scapula. Roll the elk on the other side and repeat the process.
How do you keep elk meat from spoiling?
Each quarter removed off the elk should be placed in a game bag immediately. This will keep away bugs and flies that may contaminate the meat while cooling it off at the same time. Hang the meat in a cool place with enough shade.
In conclusion, an elk hunting backpack is an essential item to have when going hunting. You should, therefore, ensure that you have one that will serve you efficiently by helping you carry appropriate hunting gear and other things. Go for a quality backpack that will last long while still maintain comfort when on your back.
The backpacks reviewed above will provide the comfort and ease of carrying your hunting gear. Pick one that suits you, considering your finances and hunting needs. Ensure that you pick one that fits appropriately as a bad fit will leave you cursing your hunting experience. Happy hunting!