Outdoorsmans Optics Hunter Pack System
Specially curved, flexible frame pack designed to give you the stability of an internal frame but the carrying capacity of an external.
Just The Facts:
The Outdoorsmans Optics Hunter Pack System was designed for a hunter to adequately carry their tripod, spotting scope, and large binoculars. The carbon fiber rein-forced polypropylene frame is rigid enough to handle a 200 lb. load, yet has enough flexibility to twist with your body while climbing or twisting through brush. The frame itself only weighs 2 lbs with the complete pack at 7 lbs 3 oz.
There are 8 different attaching points on the frame for the suspension system so that this pack will fit anyone from 5’2″ all the way up to 6’10”. Underneath each pack bag is a load carrying system that is part of the frame. This is ideal for meat packing or caching food and water for longer hunts. The Outdoorsmans has built into the frame a V- notch rifle rest that allows for a solid shooting rest from the sitting position due to the solid base of the frame/pack system. The rifle carrying system is built right into every pack and will securely hold any size rifle, bow, or muzzleloader. The size of the pack at 4600 cubic inches isn’t condusive to multi-day backpack hunts. It can be purchased in Real Tree Max 1 camo. This pack system was built so that each of it’s built in components would complement each other and contribute to the ultimate in balance and load control.
I was asked to field test the Outdoorsmans Optic’s Backpack earlier this winter. With plenty of snow on the ground in southern Utah I was limited to cramming 75 lbs of weighted sand bags into the pack and hiking for several hours each weekend in the low foot hills around my home. This gave me a good feel for the pack as to how it fit my body and what adjustments needed to be made for it to ride comfortably.
However, as the months of early spring have blown in I scheduled some tough scouting trips for desert sheep into a region of very rugged country. I wanted to purposely “abuse” the pack as much as my body would physically stand for! I’ve definitely put this pack to the test during the past month in difficult terrain and under some very ugly weather conditions this spring.
The Outdoorsmans Pack, because of its large, thick hip belt and shoulder pads is quite comfortable. For me, however, it did take some adjustments so that it fit my body correctly. I found that I really had to cinch the shoulder pads down and pull the load lift straps as far as possible so I could to bring the load against my back. This kept the bottom half of the flexible frame from digging into my lower back/glute muscles when I had a lot of weight in the pack…75 lbs plus. You can also easily move the pack up and down on the frame at various attaching points to help fit your height and build. Overall, this pack is very capable of standing up under really heavy loads. Beneath the pack bag is a load carrying system that is part of the frame. This is nice for meat packing or caching food and water for those long hunts. As I looked at this feature I didn’t feel like the meat sack on the frame was big enough for my needs to place a deboned animal in. However, you could attach quarters and your own meat sacks easily to the frame for packing.
In that the Optics Pack is only 4600 cubic inches, I found that it isn’t big enough if you are going to be spending multiple days backpacking out in the wilderness which is often the case with me. For a two day trip I really have to stuff the pack’s bag to get in my sleeping bag, food, small stove, and few other necessities. I had to lash my one man tent onto the bottom of the frame with a couple of makeshift straps of my own . The Outdoorsmans strap may have been big enough to secure a small sleeping pad but not for a tent. To fit my extra clothes on the pack I used an attachable “pod” from Outdoorsmans that attaches to the outside. I can cinch the pod up very compactable with a series of draw strings. To attach and detach the pod you have to use what I felt were cumbersome little clips that slide through the top and bottom of a daisy chain. I felt the clip could have been designed better. As I’ve gotten use to the clips I can say that they work a little better than what I thought initially. I really liked the large outside pockets on this pack to put my spotting scope and tripod in. A small strap on each side closes these pockets off so you don’t lose anything. Two small pockets on the bottom sides of the pack can be snapped shut to secure a radio, camera, or other “possibles” that you may need. I have always preferred to carry a Nalgene bottle, with an electrolyte mix in it, within one of these pockets on my other backpacks. The pockets on this pack were not big enough to do this. I can fit a smaller water bottle in these pockets however. The top pack lid is cleverly angled so that when you cinch it down it covers the top of your pack completely. Nice job guys with this feature!
As stated earlier under “FACTS,” the Outdoorsmans have very conveniently built into the middle of the pack bag on the outside, a system to attach your rifle. It distributes this extra weight very nicely so you don’t find your pack lopsided. However, with the pod attached, if I had to get to my rifle off the pack in a hurry, it would not be a “one snap” process. Without the pod it would work just fine. The V- notch rifle rest designed in the top of the frame allows for a solid rest while shooting from the sitting position due to the solid base of the frame/pack system. I’ve tried this out while target practicing and it works quite well. Some hunters believe that with practice this rifle rest is easier, faster, and more accurate than many of the seated bipods on the market.
On the inside of the bag there is a hydration bladder compartment, with a small hole in the back where you can slide your sip tube out then across one of your shoulder straps. I do wish there was a small clip or Velcro strap to keep the tube secure. Outdoorsmans has attached some clips on the pack that will keep the extra length from you waist belt or shoulder straps from “flopping around” loosely so that they don’t snag on branches.
The Outdoorsmans advertises that “they are constantly working on new designs and upgrades to the pack bag to address the various demands of hunting.” The best part of their pack design is that once you own a frame you will only need to buy the new bag when they come out with a different design because the pack bags will always be completely interchangeable. I like the thought process for this design a great deal because I would personally prefer a larger cubic inch backpack bag when the Outdoorsmans comes out with one. I need the extra cubic inches for additional gear on my long backpack excursions.
I’ve found the material on the Outdoorsmans pack to be very tough and durable. The zippers have held up to my heavy loads. Quality service and material is always very important to me when purchasing expensive gear. In the past I have found that the Outdoorsmans has always provided excellent service when I have sent various items back to them to be worked on after a lot of use. At $399.00 for the Optics pack on the Outdoorsmans website you should expect an excellent warranty.
What They Could Do Better
- Design a larger water pocket bottle on one side of the pack.
- Design an easier clip system to attach and detach the pod accessory to the pack.
- Attach a larger draw strap on the bottom of the pack frame so that it will secure a tent or large pad.
Outdoorsmans Hunter Pack System Review