Several years ago, while touring one of the many trade shows that dominate my late winter, I stumbled into the ALPS Outdoorz booth. There, I discovered a group of people who were undoubtedly keen on the needs of sportsmen and women and what they are looking for in a hunting pack. Whether you are climbing high in the Rockies for elk or sheep or ambling to your tree stand behind your barn, there is a pack for you.
Through the years since that first introduction, I have seen ALPS Outdoorz grow as a brand and as a pack designer and manufacturer. No detail is left unnoticed. From the large Traverse and Crossfire in their Extreme line to a modular Pathfinder, and even the Big Bear and little Bear fanny packs, you can find a pack to suit your needs. Now, my wife would say, “Why do you need another pack?” To which I answer, “The same reason you need another pair of shoes.” I don’t need it, I want it!
For the “one-pack person,” it is hard to beat the Pursuit X in either the coyote brown or one of the camo patterns that are available. This pack has it all for day hunts, and even enough room for an overnight spike-camp hunt. With an internal capacity of 2700 cubic inches, there is plenty of room for that extra jacket, gloves and beanie. A hydration bladder pocket, quiver holder, and even a heavily padded hip belt makes this one tough pack. The smaller outer pocket has just enough storage for that snack, a call or two and the essentials. Two features that really sold me on this pack are the standard drop-down pocket that will carry your bow or rifle on the pack and the built-in rain cover. Having hunted where walking a few miles before I began was required, I have learned the value of the integrated drop-down pocket for your bow or rifle. This enables you to use your hiking poles for more efficient walking, and when arriving at your destination, sticking your hiking poles into one of the side pockets and securing them with a side strap similar to your quiver. You are set.
Recently, I was able to test the Crossfire X of the Xtreme line in Veil Wideland Camouflage. This pack is a completely different design, and one thing I noticed immediately was the ventilated back. This pack places a mesh material against the back of the carrier and moves the pack itself several inches off of the back to increase air flow. This does not seem to alter the carrying ability of the pack at all. If anything, it made it far more comfortable in the heat of south Florida where I tried it out. Marketed as the perfect all-season, all-species pack, this pack is just as comfortable in the turkey woods as the whitetail woods. With a carrying capacity of 2325 cubic inches the main compartment has ample room while not being too big and bulky.
One big feature of the Crossfire X is the removable accessory pocket. This pocket can be used in three different places on the pack itself making it modular and readily accessible. It can be clipped to the rear of the pack, attached to the shoulder straps or carried alone, which is convenient when in the deer stand or turkey blind. Like the Pursuit X, the Crossfire comes with the gun/bow carrying system, hydration pocket and rain cover.
For those longer expeditions, or for getting your elk or mule deer out of the back country, the Traverse X is defining how packs are to be made. With 2900 cubic inches of storage in the pack itself, the backcountry suddenly becomes more accessible. This large pack will carry everything you need for extended stays in the backcountry. Tents, sleeping bags, and all the gear necessary can be easily carried into the most remote locations.
When success comes and you have to get your animal out, the Hybrid X can be removed from the frame with buckles and lashing straps to convert to an efficient meat-hauling frame. If needed, the pack bag can also be attached over the meat to get out of the back country. The front pocket unzips directly into the main compartment – especially handy when your pack is filled to the brim.
To compliment all of these packs, ALPS Outdoorz also carries a wonderful binocular harness that not only keeps the binoculars readily accessible but also protects them from the harsh elements. Available in several patterns, Veil Cervidae and Wideland are included in the offerings. When married to the range-finder pouch, I found this to be a great system to keep my optics safe and accessible.
Suffice it to say, when it comes to packs of all sizes, shapes and desires, ALPS Outdoorz has everything you need, and in the camouflage options most desired.