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