Backpacks, like Goldilocks’s ursine friends, come in three sizes. The bigger the better may sound logical, yet the more room you have, the more gear you tend to pack, and it’s easy to quickly carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Other important elements of a pack include the shoulder straps and waist harness, accessible side pockets, a hydration option, weather resistance, fabric noise, and zipper functions. Although you may not be able to match every variable to your hunting style, the better the fit the greater your satisfaction.

Easton Outfitters has introduced a line of packs that run the gamut form baby bear to papa bear, each with a host of such important features as a Tablight internal light system; double-stitched, reinforced seams throughout; a safety whistle conveniently located on the chest strap; and oversized zipper pulls for easy access with gloves. The pack is constructed of lightweight, water-resistant material in Realtree X-tra and accented in nylon khaki.

I’m gearing up for a do-it-yourself elk hunt in Wyoming and a quality backpack will be a critical piece of gear. I need the essentials for safe and effective hunting, yet I want to keep the cargo to about 25 pounds.

GameTrail_FeatureThe Stake Out is my choice and is equipped with a convenient, integrated Tablight that can be switched on to light the pack interior before dawn and after dusk. The Tablight can be removed from the pack for replacement or to be used as a distress strobe in emergency situations. It feature 80 hours of battery life. The fold-out pad/seat sealed the deal for me, as I’ll be watching wallows and waterholes frequently.

Colorado Elk 2010 330Easton offers six packs that range from a incredibly light 17 ounces in the Game Trail model up to the Fullbore that weighs 4.5 pounds and will carry about anything. The latter is exactly the kind of pack I want my buddies to use. The Game Trail was designed for day hikers and tree stand hunters to save weight, and is equally useful transporting and stowing gear in the tree stand or ground blind. With a capacity of 1,100 cubic inches, the Game Trail has enough room for your hunting essentials and is just the right size to convert into a zipped “pillow” for spike camp outings. The pack is equipped with two internal pockets, four external pockets, and quick-stash side pockets with compression straps to securely hold items like rattling horns. A versatile removable back pad is integrated to give Game Trail rigidity and can be removed to use as a comfortable seat pad or as a clean, dry surface for organizing gear. Other Easton packs offer increased room, yet all of these important features.  For the full line, check the manufacturer’s brochure of all packs, available on their website.

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.