Slumberjack Carbine 2500 Backpack, Kryptek Mandrake
Editor: Cory McLaughlin
Just the Facts:
- Torso:5″ – 19.5″
- Volume: 2,450 cubic inches
- Weight: 4 LBS 5.5 oz
- Height: 25″
- Width: 15″
- Depth: 12″
Basic Description from SJK:
- Stowable and versatile multi-weapon carry system easily transports your bow or rifle
- Front pocket panel doubles as trophy carry system & provides compression
- Built-in rifle rest provides vital stabilization for improved accuracy
- Multiple organization pockets
- Large twin side pockets for optics, bipod, and other essential
- Comfortable and supportive single stay suspension
- PALS and paddle holster compatible hip belt
- Hydration compatible
- Zippered pocket with key fob inside lid keeps your license, maps or personal items safe
- Front pocket assembly is backed with foam padding to protect your rifle when stowed
- Self canting shoulder straps automatically adjust to your shoulders for improved comfort
- YKK zippers
Ahh, September! Arguably my favorite month of the year. This is the month of archery season in the western states. This is when the hours spent scouting and sweating in the hot summer sun are all worth it. The focus is now on the hunt. Animals are moving from the harvested fields back into the hills and the bull elk are starting to rut. September is a glorious time of year for game and man alike. Being that this was the season for love I had a date with the Idaho elk woods and I was ready to go.
I arrived in Idaho late on a Friday. After meeting up with a friend we drove to a place in the National Forest and spent the night in the truck. Our plan was to hike to a water hole that was about 2 miles from the road. There we would make camp. This was a short trip and only an overnight stay so I had no need for a large pack. This was my second trip to Idaho for the season as fires had really put a damper on my plans for multi-day backcountry adventures.
When I pulled out my SLUMBERJACK Carbine 2500 my buddy shot me a puzzled look. He was questioning my judgment as to the size of the pack and its ability to carry the necessary equipment. I put his fears to rest as I told him the pack was already loaded with everything that I would need for the overnight adventure. We locked the truck and headed into the woods.
The SLUMBERJACK Carbine 2500 is a unique pack. It has some really neat features that I like in a day pack. The first is that it has three small external pockets. The pockets are attached to a panel with compression straps that loosen to create a large space for carrying meat, tents, coats, or anything else you can think up. The three small pockets are incredibly useful for small items such as batteries, snacks, and lights. For the rifle hunter there is even shell holders in the middle pocket. The gap that is between the 2nd and 3rd pocket would provide a great shooting platform as well. At the bottom of the pack there is a roll out stock support to allow for secure carrying of a rifle. This is a very versatile pack.
The main compartment is spacious enough to hold everything needed for any day hunt and capable of holding gear for a multi-day minimalist load as well. I found there to be plenty of room for my overnight gear load. The two side pockets are great for holding water bottles, trekking poles, spotting scopes, and whatever else you choose to stuff in them. As an added bonus the side pockets also have zippered pockets attached to them. I kept my Power Bugle in one and it worked great. The 2500 is also Hydration compatible as the interior of the pack has hanging strap and divider for water bladders. The lid also has a pocket for keeping things like keys.
Other features of this pack include integrated webbing loops for attachment of accessory pouches or use for securing items to the pack. The packs belt is side arm compatible and offers a wide strap and belt clip for comfort. The integrated suspension system is comfortable and the polymer frame sheet helps to provide support for the load.
This pack is loaded with features and is one of the most versatile packs that I have used. The ability to cross over to any style of hunting is fantastic. SLUMBERJACK has hit a home run with its incorporation of meat hauling capability in a day pack design. I am 5’ 9’’ and found this pack to be a perfect fit for my frame. This truly is a great pack though I did find some room for improvement.
My pack was loaded and I was hiking. The Carbine 2500 stuck with me without a hitch. This little pack got me in and out of the woods with absolutely no problems. I did find that the lumbar pad is slightly undersized for my liking. The packs fabric is attractive but it is loud as branches and brush run across it. It does not feel as durable as I would like but only time will tell if it will hold up. (See 2017 notes below) I found the suspension to be adequate but have some doubts about top shoulder attachment as it looks to be a weak point. The shoulder straps themselves are thin but comfortable.
In the end the Carbine 2500 performed well and was capable of doing everything I needed. The packs ability to work for both archery and rifle hunters is a very exciting feature. I found the pack to be simple to use and functional. I was not able to test the meat hauling ability of this pack as I was not fortunate enough to harvest and animal. I do have faith that it would prove to be an adequate hauler for lighter meat loads. I would not want to haul more than 30-40 pounds with this pack for long periods of time. I think its wheel house is around 15-25 LBS. Luckily, SLUMBERJACK does offer other packs that are suited for the heavier loads. The clips and zippers all function well and look to be of high quality. To provide some peace of mind SLUMBERJACK offers a limited lifetime warranty against manufactures defects.
I have faith that any hunter could take this pack to the field and it would only add to the great experience of being in the wilds. The question is not of functionality as this pack preforms wonderfully. If there is a question at all it is of the durability of the pack and that is something that only time will tell. I am happy with this pack thus far.
I have to say it really is nice to see a company take a product that is on the edge of being a winner and make the changes the help push it closer to the top. SJK made a tweak to this pack that I love. New softer and more importantly quieter fabric that also seems to be a bit more durable! The Max-1 Quiet Touch Fabric is a huge improvement in my eyes. There is a weight trade off from the original pack but I feel it is worth the extra 10.5 ounces. You may also notice (though unlikely) that the depth of the pack is an inch less than the Kryptec version of the same pack.
All the same features from the above review are present in the updated pack. I’ve been using this pack for 2 years now and the updated MAX-1 pack for the 2017 archery deer and elk season. My opinion of this pack as a great daypack has not changed and I use it frequently. This pack is a great buy.
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What can be done better?
The SLUMBERJACK Carbine 2500 is a great pack. It is definitely best used as a day pack. I would like to see SLUMBERJACK extend the limited warranty to cover the packs hardware as that seems to be the weakest part of all packs from all manufactures. The suspension system is functional but could use some slight upgrades. In the end this is a nice comfortable pack suitable for both hauling gear and meat. At a price point of $199 I see it as viable option for most hunters. I would say that this is a pack worthy of consideration by any perspective buyer.
I upgrade this pack to 4.25 stars from the original 3.75 out of 5 as I feel the upgraded fabric is worthy of a higher rating. I also have extensive use of this pack in both styles and it is still holding up well.
Fine Job SLUMBERJACK this is a great pack that has some innovative features and I am sure will help make many outdoorsman’s days in the field very pleasurable.