Want to buy a great pack that will last and know that your dollars spent is going toward promoting our heritage and lifestyle?
Then keep reading my review below about an Alps Outdoorz hunting backpack. In particular this review will cover their Trail Blazer day pack. I have been using it for the past couple of years and want to share my thoughts with you.
A couple years ago I was hunting with a friend in Northern Michigan in the Huron National Forest. Side note-that is beautiful country and is a great place to visit year round. From beautiful sunsets, catching pike and smallmouth, and seeing plenty of deer I recommend putting it on your list if your looking for a new place to explore. Back to the article though.
To get to our stand we had a long trek in and with falling temperatures plenty of gear and clothes to take with us. Curtis, my friend, had the Trail Blazer backpack. To this point I’d never heard of Alps Outdoorz but was impressed with how much gear he could carry and not have a big, bulky pack as he could move through the woods without getting caught on branches.
Another attribute the pack had that caught my eye right away were the buckle straps on the back of the pack and gun sling. For this trip I had bought a cheap backpack from Walmart that just wasn’t getting the job done. After getting home from the trip I started doing more research on Alps Outdoorz and really liked what I found out.
Great All Around Pack
I’ll just get right to it. Here are my top reasons why I like this pack.
1. Large Capacity: 2,500ci is more than enough room for a day pack. I can fit multiple jackets, mid-layers, snacks, water bottle, binos, and extra socks in the main compartment no problem. It also holds weight well and makes for a comfortable haul.
It has a main large opening that accesses the large compartment. This is where you can access the H2O compartment if you have a bladder (does not come with one). It comes with a small compartment on top of the bag as well. This is a great spot for putting your tag, license, phone, GPS, calls, and other small things that you may need quick access to. What I like so much about this small compartment is the ability to organize. Once you open with the zipper there are a couple different compartments inside the small compartment so you don’t have a clump of stuff that you have to mill through to find what you want.
Another aspect of this pack I really like are the zippers. The zippers themselves are big and heavy-duty so I never have to worry about being gentle with them. They also feature a nice loop made of para cord I believe that is coated in rubber. Very easy to use when you have cold hands or trying to find a zipper in the dark.
2. Bow Straps and Gun Sling: This was the main reason I purchased this pack. Remember my hunting trip with Curtis above? To access our spot we floated down river in his boat. What really caught my attention when I first saw this pack was he could strap his bow down to the back of the pack. This made getting in and out of the boat a lot easier for him because everything was together. Again, when your trying to be quiet in the dark in an aluminum boat it’s the little things like this that can make life a little easier. I’ve started hunting more out of a canoe as well and I don’t have to worry about my bow sliding around. It’s right where I need it and up out of the water and mud that can get into the bottom of the canoe.
The design of the bow straps are what set it apart from other packs. The straps are connected to a type of spandex or stretchable material that comes off the pack in a wide U shape. I like this for 2 reasons.
First it gives you a greater surface area to cover any item you want to strap down. For example, I use Muddy climbing sticks and when I walk to my stand I strap these to the back of my pack to keep my bow in my hand should I need it for a shot. The straps do a great job of covering the sticks and containing them to keep them moving around.
Second with the wide U shape being stretchable you can cinch down on whatever item you carry. Again, with my sticks I can really tighten them down so they don’t jostle around while I walk to the stand. Also, I can stuff an extra jacket or trekking poles with ease.
The gun sling is tucked up into the area just below where the bow straps are. Hidden away I’ve yet to have it fall down when I’m not using it. To be honest I’ve only used it a couple times as I mainly bow hunt but it works great and is very handy. You can adjust the height of how low you want it to hang when using it. It is a stretchable pocket that holds the butt of the gun securely.
Another reason why I like the bow straps and gun sling is because I can climb the tree I am going to be sitting in just once. I hunt from a tree saddle and climbing sticks. My tree saddle has loops that hold my sticks and I can carry everything else in my pack and strap my bow to the back of the pack. One shot and I’m up the tree and ready to hunt. No climbing back down to grab a piece of gear or pull cord to to get my bow up.
Again, something simple that just makes it’s quicker and easier to get up a tree.
3. Rain Fly: This is one of those perks you don’t think about until you need it. This past gun season the only time I had to go out, rain was in the forecast. Perfect time to still hunt through a new area. The rain fly was great to have as it kept my pack nice and dry all morning long. Rain fly stuffs into a little compartment in the bottom of the pack that you open with a zipper and has a stretchy liner around the edge of the rain fly that holds it in place around the pack. I was walking through thick woods and brush and it stayed in place the whole time.
The rain fly color is hunter orange and gave me more peace of mind as the spot I was hunting was public land. Its nice to know you are that much more easily seen by other hunters with an orange hunch back.
4. Padded Back Support and Shoulder Straps: For being a day pack the support and adjustability on this pack is great. The whole are where the pack sits on your back is covered in 1/2″ of foam padding. The foam is covered in mess that breathes well. Inside of the shoulder straps are lined with mesh as well. Once thing that I liked about the shoulder straps in the tension straps that you can to cinch down if you are carrying weight to give you a comfortable fit.
I use it mainly for tree stand hunting but if you wanted to use this as a day pack out west or going deep into some public land I’m sure it would be comfortable carrying this pack all day. I have an antelope hunt out in Wyoming next fall and plan to use this pack all day.
5. Sid Pockets and Compression Straps: The side pockets are mesh and again have a spandex liner around the top of the pocket that allows you to fill the pockets up. I usually use one side for my knives, hand saw, and head lamp. The other I can fit a nalgene bottle in no problem.
The pockets are the same size on each side and have 2 compression straps on the side of the bag. One is just below the top of the pocket. Nice to have to tighten down whatever you have in the pocket secure. The 2nd strap in 3/4 of the way up the side of the bag. Great location if you have trekking poles, a spotting scope, or tripod/shooting sticks.
6. Waist Belt: Nothing fancy but enough to get the job done. It’s a strap with buckles but nice to have. As Ive mentioned above if you are carrying weight or utilizing the gun sling the bag can slid back and forth if you don’t use the waist belt.
I really like this pack and think Alps Outdoorz put a lot of thought into this pack. I’m happy with my purchase and would buy it again. Nothing is perfect though and this a small thing but want to give you an honest opinion.
Loud Zippers: As much as I like the zippers for their ease of use they are a little noisy. Now I could just be anal about this and I’ve not spooked an animal to my knowledge but have noticed the zippers are noisy. My guess would be because the zippers are larger and heavy-duty which I would gladly trade for a little bit of noise. Either way it is a negative but nothing that should deter you from this pack.
Save the Lifestyle
We as consumers vote with our dollar. When I can, can I like to support those companies that give back. As I was doing research on Alps Outdoorz I saw on their website their “Save the Lifestyle” page. Alps supports and works with a number of conservation and hunting organizations. For example, they work with the NWTF (National Wild Turkey Federation) on their mentor program which supports taking a new hunter or someone who used to hunt out for a hunt. Also, they work within their own company by allowing their employees a day to learn how to shoot a gun or sight in a bow. Very cool idea in my book.
They also support many other organizations like Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Shoot Like a Girl, Sportsman’s Alliance and National Deer Alliance to name a few.
If you are going to spend your money what better way than to support a company that does their part in making sure this way of life will be here in the future.
The Trail Blazer is a great pack in my mind. A lot to offer and for less than $100 bucks a good deal. I’ve had mine now for 3 or so years and still looks brand new. I have not doubt this pack with last me many more years and it has performed flawlessly so far. So much so that I am looking into their larger back country packs for extended night hunts.
If you have any further questions or would like more information please submit a question in the comment section below.
I’d be glad to help you anyway I can.