Why do I love my Optics Hunter Pack? Oh, let me count the ways…

I’m not going to tell you all the ins/out of this pack. You can go check it out for yourself: http://outdoorsmans.com/outdoorsmans-optics-hunter-pack-system/

What I will tell you, through pictures, is how I’ve used this pack for the last 2 seasons and why it’s my #1 pack of choice. I’ll give you a rundown of hunts from the last 2 year and the reasons I keep using this pack.

1)      Southern Idaho archery mule deer 2012:

  • It is comfortable enough to be used as a ‘day-pack’ during 100 degree heat in Southern Idaho.  I hunted mulies for 11 days from mid-August til the end of Sept. All 11 days were day hunts from a base camp.
Optics Hunter Pack

Here I left my pack and boots as I crawled in on an Idaho mulie.

  • The pockets are built for a tripod and glassing stool. They fit perfectly and are very accessible. They don’t call it the “Optics Hunter” for nothing.



Good glass on an Outdoorsmans Tripod is a recipe for success!


  • You can fit all your gear AND a whole mulie buck on this pack.

After shooting this mulie at dusk on my last day, I was able to quarter him (gutless method) and get all 4 quarters + a game bag full of backstrap, loin, and grinder meat + the head and cape + my Heli’m bow all secured to this pack for the 2 mile hike out in the dark

2)      Central Wyoming elk hunt for my 13 year-old daughter, Kenz 2012:

  • You can pack enough gear for you and 2 daughters to be comfortable when the temps change from 25 degrees up to 65 during the day and you only see the vehicle when it’s dark.
  • Your 2 daughters will have more gear than you. I think this is just a given!

Here Kenz catches some z’s while I’m on my Outdoorsmans tripod looking for her an elk. Apparently you need enough clothing to put on the ground and also enough to cover almost every square inch of you!

3)      Central Wyoming mule deer hunt for Kenz 2012:

  • This was mostly a ‘truck’ hunt where we got up on big vantage points and really glassed.                                                                                                                                           8

The main take-home message from this hunt has nothing to do with my pack; it is a LOT cooler watching my kids get excited about hunting than it is for me to hunt on my own!


Kenz with her first mule deer. Ten year-old Paige with the assist. Dad was just a spectator!

4)      Central Wyoming mule deer 2012:

  • I spent a few days bowhunting this tag and learned the same lessons I learned in Idaho. I harvested a buck right at dark in the badlands, on my first evening of rifle hunting. I quartered him (gutless method) and was able to pack him and all my gear out in one big load.

I guess my big take-home lesson from this hunt was to be grateful you have your trecking poles in a side pocket. I leave them in this pack permanently whereas, with other packs, I was always taking them out and then putting them back in. Two miles in this country in the dark will make anyone appreciate trekking poles!


5)      Southern Wyoming pronghorn 2012:

  • If you’re going to take 4 girls hunting on the same trip, you better have enough jackets for all of them. Temps during mid-day were in the upper 50’s. Unseasonably warm for early November. Temps dropped 30 degrees as soon as the sun started to go down. I was grateful I had enough coats and gloves for everyone. Kenz and I killed bucks from the same spot. We hiked out to my buck and took pics in the warm November sun. By the time we got mine quartered, the sun was going down and when we got to Kenz’s it was downright cold!



All 4 of my daughters with my pronghorn shot during with the sun still up


By the time it was processed and they started working on Kenz’s buck, the sun had set and temps had dropped.

  • I learned that it is pretty easy to fit a whole pronghorn into the Optics hunter pack, especially when every jacket is taken out and being worn. I also learned that it can be adjusted rather quickly so that my 11 year-old can wear it.

I knew she was tough, but to pack a whole pronghorn and help her 2 younger sisters to the 2-track over a mile away was pretty cool for this old dad to see.

  • I learned that if your 11 year-old takes your pack and you don’t want to make an extra trip back, the best way to pack a whole pronghorn is by yourself!

Kenz had the video camera and rifle and left me to pack her buck by myself. I’ve told my daughters that I’ll pack anything out of anywhere – as long as they never bring a stupid boyfriend home. So far, so good!

6)      Idaho elk 2012:

  • I learned that you CAN’T put 2 full hind quarters from a 9 year-old bull elk in this pack at one time. You can put 2 full fronts, however. I believe I could have put 2 hinds in if he was a 3 or 4 year old bull. It was really close.

I was able to get two front quarters from this bull into my pack for the ride out of the canyon.


  • I (re)learned that Core4Element Torrent rain gear is very good during blizzards. You never know what Mother Nature is going to throw at you. I always left my rain gear, extra jacket, and etc. at camp when I was using a different pack. There is enough room in this pack, especially for day hunts, to throw in a couple extra items. The days I’ve needed them have far outweighed the times I haven’t and left them in the truck.

7)      Wyoming archery elk 2013 (2 trips combined)

  • I learned that this pack is versatile enough to go from a badlands archery mule deer hunt to a quick 3-day wilderness elk backpack trip in the same day.

45 pounds is a comfortable load for this pack, even at 10,000+ feet.

  • I learned that a good pack has always got your back – especially while glassing for roving bulls.


  • I learned that this pack can haul almost as much as an F-150.


  • I learned that this pack will haul enough gear to last 4 nights on the mountain, without the extra pod.


  • I learned that it is nice to have pouches for your optics and tripod that are accessible.


  • I learned that bulls like this would love to go for a ride in my optics hunter pack, as long as I don’t screw it up!


  • I learned that bulls like this one are lining up to go for a ride in my Optics hunter Pack.  Use restraint!


  • I learned that once you’re on top of the mountain it is awesome to have a pack that is comfortable and lightweight enough to double as a day pack or meat hauler. This trip I didn’t get to use it as a meat hauler. Go back and look at the picture of that big bull. I missed him…..

My Optics Hunter Pack is comfortable enough to use as a day pack. It is still big enough to haul all my gear and some extra goodies, like Wilderness Athlete Hydrate and Recover to use after filtering water at a high mountain seep.


  • I (re)learned that I love having a dedicated pocket for my tripod. I’m a much more effective hunter with good glass on a good tripod.


8)      Wyoming archery mule deer 2013

  • I learned that 30 inch velvet bucks look even better strapped to the back of my pack! This was a day hunt from the vehicle and I was able to quarter and load the whole buck plus head and cape on this pack for the joyride out of the hills.






  • I also (re)learned how easy it is to spray this pack’s ‘meat’ compartment off with a hose after hauling a whole deer out of the hills.

9)      Wyoming pronghorn hunt 2013

  • I learned that my Optics Hunter Pack looks really cool in a photo of my 12 year-old daughter Paige notching her first big-game tag!


  • I (re)learned that the Optics Hunter pack makes a great rest. This time I laid it down so Paige could rest the Weaver Rifle over the top to shoot a doe at 225 yards. Be sure to look for the little white dot (dead antelope) above her head.


  • I learned that Vortex Optics and an Optics Hunter Pack look really good together. Again, look for the white dot above the barrel on my Weaver Rifle


  • I learned that Paige gives the ‘thumbs-up’ for her dad having an Optics Hunter Pack as his pack of choice and yup, there’s still a white dot behind her


Both Kenz and Paige have good mule deer buck tags in their pockets. All three of us also have November cow elk tags. I have a November bull elk tag only because I shanked a shot in September with my bow. I’m sure there will be new experiences that will help me learn new items about my pack. I hope so.

Is there anything I don’t like about this pack?

  • I wish it was 4 pounds lighter. Who doesn’t?  I also wish my truck would get 30 MPG. Just doesn’t happen for a good quality pack. A touch over 7 pounds is acceptable to me for a pack this versatile and strong.
  • I struggle with carrying my rifle over my shoulder with the ‘hard’ exterior frame. I’ve seen several people that loop their sling over one of the posts on the external frame, but that isn’t a ‘perfect’ solution for me.  It straps very nicely to the back of the pack and rides great for hikes in the dark but I want it more accessible when game is around. I’m still working on a solution.
  • Sometimes it feels like there are too many places to tie something on the back of this pack, or even too many straps to help cinch it down. As soon as I’m strapping a mulie buck on or enough gear for a 5 day hunt, I am grateful for the straps. Again, the benefits of having them on your pack for the times you really need them far outweigh the benefit of not having them there!
  • Sometimes I wish I had a smaller pack. With 4 daughters that get out in the hills with me, sometimes it feels like I get stuck with every coat in the house in my pack. A smaller pack might alleviate that! ok

All 4 of my daughters were in on this hunt with family friend, Tom Pickren, when Tom harvested this cow. Kenz harvested her first elk about an hour later. A smaller pack might have saved me the bulk of carrying some of their extra gear! Nah, it was worth it to make sure my girls are as comfortable as they can be when we’re in the hills

If some of these lessons sound like what you’ve been looking for, I’d challenge you to put this pack to the test. See if it becomes your go-to pack. I have not been disappointed yet. Click here to learn more about the Outdoorsmans Optics Pack.