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Leader of the Packs at Cabela's

Leader of the Packs

Author: Michael Faw

Ever backpack to your favorite remote hunting location to spend a week hunting? Ever downed a big game animal in a remote region, and needed a pack or frame to haul the quarters or hide and antlers? If you can answer yes to those questions, then I have found an answer to your needs-Cabela's Alaskan Outfitter Frame Pack.

Cabela's Alaskan Outfitter Frame Pack is a must for the serious outdoorsman.
The first thing I noted about this large and roomy pack, was that it arrived in my favorite color--Advantage Timber camouflage. Next, I took note of the adjustable suspension system with its well padded hip and shoulder straps. You can tweak this backpack numerous ways to achieve a true custom fit. Almost anyone in your hunting camp, or on your hunting adventure, now has no good excuse for not shouldering their share of the packing routine!

The next impressive feature of the Alaskan Outfitter Frame Pack is the sturdy exterior frame. It's constructed of reinforced aluminum, is adjustable, and can be used solo as a meat-packing frame. The bottom shelf helps secure any load, and prevents items from slipping down and tripping you. The upper bar extends to provide an anchor point for your sleeping bag, or as a way to securely fasten any load of any size. The frame also has an attached, blaze orange, compression pod to make sure that you're visible and safe during hunting season.

I wished I would have had this backpack and frame when I went into the Appalachian Mountains to hunt whitetails with a bow. The distance was too far to walk in the dark, and too steep to climb with out being totally drenched in sweat, so I decided to hike in, establish a rough camp, bath in a small mountain stream and then get up and head for my treestand in the early morning hours. The hike to the stand would be across a small ridge and then downhill. My plan worked, and I arrowed a buck. I remember one thing about this hunt: I had to make several trips up and down the rugged mountain that day, to pack out the deer and my gear. This pack would have been the ultimate solution for that adventure.

I also plan to put it to the test the next time I head for the wilds of Alaska. Part of the standard hunting ritual in the land of endless tundra and constant raindrops-anywhere in Alaska-is having to move camp. This pack will make that task a breeze, and you can easily stay organized. That translates into less time digging in the pack to find gear, and more time trekking across the tundra to find game. Enough said!

The Alaskan Outfitter is big enough and has enough pockets for all your gear.
Ever need an extra pocket on a backpack to store something like a map, compass, hatchet, ammunition, rain gear, gloves, canteen, first aid kit or any other item that you did not want to just drop into a large hole on most packs and have it disappear until you unpacked? Well, this pack solves the storage problem with no less than five outer pockets, including one in the pack's upper hood. If you have an item that you want to store inside the pack to avoid breaking, like a spotting scope, then the pack's massive inner cavity is divided by a floor that can be unzipped to create one huge chamber! The pack also has a built-in rainfly in the hood to keep the pack and frame safe from moisture.

No less than a half-dozen exterior straps will help you lash on extra gear, and one neat feature is a rifle holder with a pocket to cradle the butt of your stock. On the back of the pack, is a series of crossed stretch chords which will--you guessed it--hold even more gear! And to help micro-adjust the Alaskan Outfitter Frame pack to your personal needs, and to secure any shape, size or weight load, there are no less than two dozen buckles and straps to make the adjustments. Other features along this line include nearly a half-dozen draw cords to help secure gear, and quiet the load.

Ok, suppose the pack is packed, and you need to reach something in a hurry. The zippers have corded pull tabs with open loops to accommodate a gloved finger. These are also quiet, and void of the metal-to-metal clink that could spook wary game animals. Another great feature is the easy access to the lower section of the pack's main internal compartment through a lower horse-shoe shaped, zippered opening. No reason to unload the pack to find something on the bottom. There's an exterior hydration pocket to hold most any size bladder so that you'll not have to slow the pace to take a sip of fluid.

Obviously someone put a great deal of thought into all the extra features that went into this package (frame and pack for $209.99, item XB-515117), and how compatible the frame ($99.99, item XB-515116) and pack ($119.99; item XB-514987) are together. The pack's exterior is constructed of durable 420 denier rip-stop nylon. If you do have to stash the pack while hunting, the Advantage Timber pattern will help conceal it in almost any hunting terrain!

This is one serious backpack that will be great for your Alaska adventure, or if you're heading to a favorite backcountry trout lake in the Rockies. The same side cradle that will hold a rifle, will also conveniently hold and protect a flyrod in a tube. This is one large pack-5,300 cubic inches of inner space-and in an emergency, you could possibly use it for a sleeping bag or shelter. The only drawback that I could determine was the slightly heavy weight (12.5 pounds), and having to buy enough gear to fill it before I left on the trip. Oh well, I'm sure a trip to the Owatonna Cabela's mega store will solve that dilemma.

Click here to see the Alaskan Outfitter Frame Pack.

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