Essays

Have Pack, Will Hunt
Excerpted from Bowhunting Magazine, September 2002
by Corey Graff

"A custom made pack designed for hunting can save the day and afford a lifetime of function, whereas a poorly made pack that doesn't fit can cause a lifetime of unnecessary, back-breaking torture. Patrick Smith is truly the John Rigby, or Fred Bear, of custom pack making... these systems integrate everything needed for the back country hunter.  Primarily, that means getting a harvested critter back out.

The difference in a production pack more often than not rears its ugly head when you're on a mountain and have an additional 100 lbs. to carry back to base camp in the form of fur and meat. It's the difference between having an enjoyable week in the backcountry and being in severe pain because your loaded pack is unbearable. A custom made internal frame will cost a bit more, but the extra expense is worth its weight in gear and equally as important as an expensive custom made weapon. This is particularly true when you're not just buying a pack, but an entire pack system.
  I applied the "pack systems" principle to solve a number of tactical bowhunting problems in bitter cold weather last season. Wearing the Kifaru Spike Camp pack... I secured my heavy wool vest and coat to the CargoChair on the way to and from my stand. This accomplished three vital improvements in my strategy.

  First, by wearing only a heavy long sleeved shirt, I found that the pack itself fit correctly and transferred weight to my hip platform perfectly. Thus, I could carry more than 50 pounds of gear and heavy clothes without significant notice.

Secondly, because I was carrying the heavy wool, not wearing it, I remained cool and perspiration-free, therby solving the age-old problem of getting "sweated up" on the way to the stand. This solved a major scent control dilemma. Last, because I arrived at my stand cool and dry, upon slipping the warm wool back on, I was starting off warm and stayed warm, thus hunting longer with greater confidence. This is the perfect case study of a pack system principle in action."
Corey Graff