Tag Archive for 'hunting backpack'

Eberlestock Warhammer J51 Hunting Backpack reviewed by SandSarchery.com

I just had an opportunity to take out and test a new pack for Eberlestock which will be called the Warhammer J51.  This pack is based off of Eberlestock’s extremely popular J79 Skycrane II tactical pack but is a stripped down version designed with lots of versatility in mind. I took the backpack on a solo two day backpacking trip after some High country Mulies.

At first glance the Warhammer looks beefy and tough much likes it’s name implies.  The design concept isn’t much different than Eberlestock’s other packs like the JP9 Blue Widow and J107 Dragonfly, able to go in light and come out heavy.  The biggest difference is the lack of a mesh compartment that the other packs have.  While this seems like a limitation it actually enables the pack to essentially haul any load you can strap into the pack no matter how big.  In today’s hunting market there aren’t too many packs that will be able to handle all of the tasks this pack can.

The backbone and frame on the Warhammer pack is the extremely popular ALICE frame that has become the Military standard for backpacks.  The ALICE is a compact frame that is built like a tank.  One of the problems with a lot of today’s internal frame packs is that the frame will bend and flex under heavy loads.  This WON’T be a problem with this pack, no matter how much weight you throw on it the frame will keep it’s integrity which will in turn transfer into more comfort for the user.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pack just like the other “J” Series packs unzips in the middle which allows the two outer pockets of the pack to roll out and exposes the middle of the pack.  Inside of each wing there are two pockets (4 total) one larger one and one smaller.  The larger of the two pockets on each side is designed to hold a water bladder.  About my only complaint with this pack is that these pockets are too small.  You would be able to fit a 2l Bladder in there but not if it was completely full.  Once the pack is expanded the sky is the limit or more appropriately how much weight your legs can carry.  You will also notice an internal zipper when the pack is expanded.  This is designed to accept Eberlestock’s spike duffel, super spike duffel or the G1 Little Brother Pack.  You also purchase separately the L1 removeable fanny pack to put on the top lid for more storage options and flexiblity.

As with all of Eberlestock packs there is a multitude of MOLLE webbing on the pack which will accept just about all of the accessories Eberlestock makes.  On my hunt I had an A1SP pouch attached to the right hipbelt and the ARCG Butt Bucket attached on the lower flap of the pack for carrying my bow.

In conclusion I am extremely happy with this pack.  It bridges the gap between the newer style internal frame packs and the traditional external frame packs that most hunters would agree can’t be beat for hauling heavy loads.  While I wish it wasn’t 8.5lbs it does an exceptional job at carrying weight and at the same time is very comfortable to wear all day long on day trips.  In the end with the goal all hunters share hopefully we have meat on the ground and this is when the J51 Warhammer will outperform just about any hunting pack on the market.  Unfortunately on my hunt I wasn’t lucky enough to take advantage of this feature, one small pine tree prevented me from taking a nice 4×4 Muley.

Eberlestock J34 Just One pack review

UPDATE:

The Eberlestock J34 is back in stock on my site, www.sandsarchery.com.  It is available in Hide Open Rock Veil and Mossy Oak Brush.

 

At first glance many people would not consider the J34 Backpack or any other of Eberlestock’s Just One packs as ultralight but I would like to convince them a little differently.  Granted it’s not a 3lb ultralight Osprey or Gregory backpack, the specs do have it at 6lbs 14 oz.  In comparison with other hunting packs based off the daypack mode of the J34 pack at 2300 cubic inches it’s not light.  When compared to the other packs on the hunting market that are in the 4000 ci + range the J34 Just One is actually on the lighter side.  But what the J34 can do that others cannot is with the simple unzipping of one zipper transfrom into a meat hauling pack capable of handling loads much great than your legs can carry all the while at the same time carrying your rifle on your back.

I put a Just One pack to the test last year packing out my Idaho Archery Bull Elk, with both hind quarters de-boned and stuffed into the pack I had a load of over 125lbs pounds of pure meat.  I can say the pack handled it with ease, not so much so for my legs after the 4 hour hike out.

The ability of the J34 to have so many different combinations is what makes the pack to me considered to be ultralight.  I know more than a few guys who will actually strap a pack frame to their back and then load on top of that a daypack that they can hunt from once they get to camp.  They are taking two packs, a meat hauler and a daypack and when combined in weight are probably looking at 10+ lbs of just packs.

The picture below shows the transformation of the pack.  First in it’s 2300 cubic inch daypack mode.  Second how easily it can carry a bow.  Third it’s ability with the build in rifle scabbard to carry a rifle on your back.  Fourth with the main zipper undone showing the built in mesh pocket.  Fifth with the mesh pocket folded out and stuffed and finally with the Super Spike duffel zipped onto the pack and strapped in at over 7500 cubic inches.  Eberlestock also makes a Zip in Panel that will zip onto the outside of the pack to cover up the mesh pocket creating a 2400 cubic inch space perfect for backpacking gear.

So far I have yet to really talk about the built in rifle scabbard.  The ability to carry a rifle on your back with this pack goes unnoticed by some people.  They do not quite grasp the concept of how simple it really is to just reach back and pull the rifle out of your pack while it’s on your back.  The guys who do and came from carrying their rifle on a sling swear by it and will never go back to a sling.  The added benefit of having both hands free to navigate through rough terrain is also a great positive.  If you’re headed after bighorn sheep and rock climbing your way up to them having the rifle secure in your pack and both hands free to grab and climb you will fully appreciate the value of this pack.

Last but not least is the ability of the pack to fit any body size and shape.  The harness system is fully adjustable up and down to allow for different torso lengths.  The two Aluminum stays that make up the frame are removable and can be bent to conform to the shape of your pack (refer to this pack fitting video).  If you still need more adjustments Eberlestock makes small and XL hipbelts and shoulder harness to accommodate you.

Throw in the waterproof fabric, bullet proof construction and lifetime warranty and you have a pack you can count on for years to come.

Please watch the video I did on the Eberlestock J34 for more information.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDwgwyEfhVY&feature=player_embedded

Eberlestock X1E Euro Back pack

Today I am going to do a write up on the newer X1E for Eberlestock.  The X1E is based off of the X1 platform.  Basically what it came down to was a lot of people requesting the X1 without the bow bucket/pouch.  Eberlestock answered and came up with the X1E.  It has the same overall layout of the X1.

Starting with the suspension it’s like most other Eberlestock packs in that it’s fully adjustable.  The torso has almost 4 inches of adjustment and the waist belt is removable if you need to purchase a small or XL belt.  Also different shooters harness’ are available in small and Xl sizes as well.  This will allow the X1 (e) to accommodate from children all the way up.

The rifle scabbard is located right against your pack on the left hand side of the pack if you are wearing it and on the other side of the pack is two pockets, one for a hydration bladder and one miscellaneous.   The bottom of the scabbard folds out for use and back in when not needed.   The main body of the pack is about 2900ci and is one compartment but does have a divider on the inside that will separate them in two, an upper and lower.   On the outside of the pack on both sides there are mesh pockets ideal for holding water bottles or misc. gear that you might need quick access to.  I usually stuff my headlamp in there for quick access while hiking on the trail.

Where the X1E differs from the X1 is the front of the pack.  On the X1E there are two larger pockets, one on top and the other bottom.  Both unzip and expose internal organizer pockets ideal for holding small items like calls, tags, knives, etc.   There is also another pocket on the outside of the lower one that has a waterproof zipper.

The X1E comes in Mossy Oak duck blind, Eberlestock’s Dry earth and ranger green.

Eberlestock Blue Widow

Update: For 2013 all Eberlestock packs come in all camo, the webbing and fabric will match the pack color.

JP9 Blue WidowYou can see pictures of the patterns on my site, www.sandsarchery.com.

 

 

(Update) I have just finished up a pack fitting video with Eberlestock.  It will be on my you tube Channel, Sandsarchery4.

In this Blog I am going to do a full review of the Eberlestock JP9 Blue Widow pack.  This backpack along with Eberlestock’s other “J” series packs are some of the most universal hunting backpacks available.  The “J” series is designed around the principal of “Just one pack can do it all.”  For the Blue Widow that means a daypack, a fanny pack, a high volume backpacking pack and a meat hauler.   This can transform into just about anything you would need while hunting a variety of situations.

To start off the suspension and frame is fully adjustable, if I ever talk to someone who says that the Blue Widow just didn’t fit them they didn’t try very hard.   The shoulder harness has 4″ of vertical adjustment and the hip belt it also adjustable up and down an 1″.  A large lumbar pad keeps the majority of the pack off you pack to allow for ventilation as well as comfort.  The hip belt is very well padded and comfortable.  And to add to the adjusment if the standard hip belt doesn’t quite fit  you there are smaller and larger sizes available.    The shoulder harness is a thinner wider harness that is very different from others on the market.   Glen Eberle when designing the packs tested numerous harnesses and found this combinaion to be the most comfortable under all situations.  Basically the thinner pad is more flexible and conforms to your body instead of being a think pad that puts pressure in one spot.   The Eberlestock harness distributes that load across your shoulders and chest, you’ll really start to notice the comfort with a loaded pack.  The last adjusment available is the two alumninum stays that make up the frame.  Located just behind each shoulder harness you can remove these stays and bend them to fit the contour of your back.  If you feel like the pack is digging in too much into your hips simply put more curve into the stays.

The fabric on all Eberlestock hunting packs is called NT1 waterproof fleece.  This is one of a few pack companys on the market that says waterproof and means it.  This last hunting season I spent more days in the rain and snow than just about all other seasons combined.  Not once was I ever worried about what was inside my pack getting wet.  The fabric is also very quite and sublte.  It doesn’t make excessive noise when going through the brush and doesn’t become stiff when the temperature drops.

The packs overall design is quite brillant.  Starting at the top there is a removable fanny pack that laces into the top panel.  It has three pockets including a pocket for a water bladder.  A great lightweight option if you’re hunting out of a spike camp and don’t want to take a full backpack with you.  You can also remove the fanny pack to lighten up the main pack when you don’t need it.

The main body of the pack is made up of two long tubular pockets that run vertical.  There are access points running along the outside and top of both pockets.  In this mode you are looking at a 2200 ci pack.  Next there is a heavy duty zipper that runs along the middle in between the two main pockets.  Unzip this and the pack folds out into a 4700 ci pack.  At this point there is a mesh fabric that is designed for hauling meat and keeping it cool.  Also located inside the mesh pocket are two pockets that will fit hyradtion bladders with clips at the top to prevent the bladder from slipping down.  Eberlestock also makes a zip in panel that can zip over this mesh and create a waterproof pocket.

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In this picture you see the full transition from daypack to hauler.  The first picture is of the pack with the fanny pack removed.  The next with it attached.  The third is with the butt bucket accessory attached to carry a bow and then with the A2SS rifle scabbard slipped into the back panel for easy access to your rifle.  The fifth picture shows the main zipper unzipped with the next picture showing the mesh pocket that folds out and the compression straps clipped together to secure everything.  The final picture is the pack in expanded mode with the J2SD spike duffel zipped onto the outside for an additional 3000 ci of room.The last picture shows just a few of the accessorys that are available for this pack.  Just off the top of my head there are 4 different accessory pouches, the butt bucket, 3 different scabbards, rain flys, the zip in panel, two different attacheable duffels,  extra accessory straps and a 2L and 3L water bladder.jp9