A few years ago I had an experience while out hunting with a buddy that taught us a lot about the importance of using the right equipment. I arrowed a good bull elk and we did not have the right modular pack system to get the elk off the mountain. We ended up sleeping on the cold ground under a tree that night. We were lucky we didn’t freeze to death. Or something worse like getting eaten by a bear with all that meat around us.
The reason I tell you this story is because it could have all been prevented if we would have been prepared. Our biggest problem is that we didn’t have the right equipment on our backs. Since that time I have done a lot of research on packs and what the best option would be to help prevent this type of situation from happening again. I have found what I believe to be the best option. Modular Pack Systems.
What I mean by modular pack systems is a system that can be added to or taken away from to get what you need out of your pack. There are many different brands of modular packs out there. For the most part, they are all good quality packs from companies that have a reputable brand. I have used many different packs since that experience, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
My choice, and what I run on my back now, is the Horn Hunter Full Curl System. This pack is very versatile and can adjust to what you need very quickly. The pack consists of 3 parts: Frame, Day Pack, and a Big Bag.
The Frame has wings on the side that can fold out to create more space. The shelf can be collapsed and stored out of the way to help support the weight when hauling heavy loads. The 3 pockets are great for a verity of smaller items you want to get to quickly. The Frame has a hydration pocket so you can put your bladder in with an adjustable torso. The Day Pack can be clipped into the frame and has plenty of space to organize all your gear for a longer trip. The Big Bag has a huge cargo opening for expanded storage. This gives you room for things like sleeping bags, tents and other gear for long trips into the backcountry. You can then unclip the big bag when you hit camp and leave it. This allows you to now compress your pack down to a smaller size.
We have used this pack for everything from Shed hunting to Hauling out our animals to 50-mile backpack trips into the wilderness. It was really put to the test just recently as I was able to harvest a moose here in Utah. We started the day running just the frame of our Full Curl packs. We had food, water, and necessary things in the wing pockets, enough for our day trip. As we hiked up the trail, we cut a Bull Moose track and followed it for about 4 miles. We found him, harvested the bull and prepared him for the pack out. Going back to camp or the trucks for a different pack wasn’t necessary. We were ready.
We unclipped the wing pockets on our frames, let down the freighter shelf and loaded the packs. Then we used the wing pockets and their compression straps to hold the moose in for the pack out. We loaded my sons pack with a front quarter (Bone still in), a back strap and some extra meat. His pack was about 100 lbs. My pack had the cape, head, and horns and we figure it was right around 150 lbs. These packs handled the weight great. With the help of some other friends, we got the moose out all in 1 trip!
These packs are very versatile, comfortable and can take and modulate to any situation you put them in. Their quality is great and the company is 1st class. The packs come with an excellent Lifetime warranty, and for the price, you cannot find a better pack out there, in my opinion.
Although my experience years ago makes for some great memories with a hunting buddy, being able to go from a frame pack to a full on meat hauling machine would have been a huge blessing that night. If we would have had a modular pack systems we could have gone from spotting the elk with small compressed daypacks on, to hauling it out that afternoon with our meat hauling packs. We could have processed the bull, put it in our packs and hauled it out before dark and skipped the experience of sleeping on the ground and almost freezing. As you can see from this years’ experience, we learned and it worked great.
Next time you are looking at packs, remember our experience and seriously consider getting a good Modular Pack System. We would definitely recommend the Full Curl System by Horn Hunter. Anyone else had similar success with this pack?