Bison Gear pack...it doesn't get much better for a bushcraft / hunting pack

Discussion in 'Badger Claw Leatherworks' started by badger claw, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. badger claw

    badger claw Guide Vendor

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    [​IMG]

    Bison Gear "First Trip Explorer"

    Part 1: Initial impressions.

    Received my Bison Gear pack today and right out of the box I was impressed. I will start by saying after going over every inch of this setup I'm convinced its far and above the best Bushcraft and hunting pack i have ever seen.

    Croatoan has talked many times and reviewed his Bison Gear as well which is where i learned of them. Talked directly with Angelo the owner of the company and what a great guy. Placed my order and 3 days later here it is as promised.

    This one is in natural hemp which Angelo "antiqued" with a coffee and wine mixture. The webbing is green and all the buckles and snaps in black. Overall the construction is bullet proof. The materials are all heavy duty and well stitched. For the complete specs click here: http://www.bisongearonline.com/page/page/2957669.htm

    So lets get on with the pictures!

    The hemp material may look dirty but its not...thats the coffee antiquing.
    [​IMG]

    The shoulder and hip padding is very generous and comfortable.
    [​IMG]

    The left hip has a zipper pocket...big zippers with nylon pull attached easy to manipulate with gloves on.
    [​IMG]

    The right side on a normal model would have another pouch but this one has these two webbing pieces with snaps. Angelo had originally made this one for himself and wanted a place to put a knife sheath, gun holster or similar on the hip. The snaps are directional...they only pull off one way so they are very secure.
    [​IMG]

    continued...
     
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  2. badger claw

    badger claw Guide Vendor

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    The two side pockets have ample space for a large water bottles with room to spare.
    [​IMG]

    They are also modular and can be detached.
    [​IMG]

    4 loops of adjustable webbing allow the whole pack to be strapped to a frame.
    [​IMG]

    Under the top lid is a zipper pocket.
    [​IMG]

    Plenty of room for gear in the top compartment along with the expandable "game bag"
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
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  3. badger claw

    badger claw Guide Vendor

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    With the game bag expanded. This adds a ton of capacity to the pack.
    [​IMG]

    The tabs allow you to attach the top of the game bag to your shoulder straps. Genius of an idea!
    [​IMG]

    Bottom compartment
    DSC_0122-9.jpg

    Two organizer pockets in the bottom, one with a zipper.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
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  4. badger claw

    badger claw Guide Vendor

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    Angelo also threw in this binocular bag that attached to the front of the suspension system
    [​IMG]

    Its spacious enough for a large pair of binos, hand gun, navigation equipment, snacks...limitless possibilities. A second little pocket is also location inside.
    [​IMG]

    The bino bag attaches at 4 anchor points
    [​IMG]


    I am VERY happy with this pack so far. Part 2 of my review will be once its loaded and how much gear I can stash inside. I will be packing it up for our 3 day Texas BCUSA gathering this weekend. But i can tell you right now I'm gonna love this pack. Angelo has a few other of his packs in stock otherwise they are made to order and more importantly...100% MADE IN THE USA!!

    Thanks for looking!! Stay tuned!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
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  5. Mr.LCV

    Mr.LCV Knife Snob Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Wow their boonie hats are cheap!!!
     
  6. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Told ya you'd like it man.

    Before I got my Lost River I was trying to decide between the First Trip Explorer and the LR. In the end the LR one out because with the front pocket to hold shelter + water filtration the interior space was big enough for the Mor's Pot plus food plus possibles kit, tracking kit, fire kit, meaning I can get three days out of that bag when combined with my Mountain Serape or my Kelty 0 down bag for colder weather.

    Hands down best pack I've every purchased. It gets used more than its big brother the Lemhi.

    There's nothing wrong with the pull tabs but I swapped them for paracord on mine, just have a better feel and easier to use if you're wearing gloves in the frost. Here's what mine look like now.

    [​IMG]

    Those side pockets are great, they'll hold a 48oz silo bottle, and when I'm going where it's dry I'll often use that set up. When not I pack my zoom lenses in one of them plus a bacho folding saw and a field strop.

    That under lid zippered pouch is where I keep my field guides, maps, and first aid kit. I took the first aid kit and broke it down into three different sized zip lock bags and they fit nicely in that lid. One for blood loss, one for snivels, one for misc.

    BTW, the game bag can be used for more than that obviously. It attached to the back harness and the pack, I've used it more than once to bring back some unexpected finds while out beating the bush. Chaga primarily but also other things as well as game.

    I'm looking forward to seeing it in the field!!
     
  7. Airth

    Airth Scout

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    That's pretty slick! Let us know how it is after some miles in the dirt, too :)
     
  8. badger claw

    badger claw Guide Vendor

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    awesome Cro thanks!! Good idea on the paracord upgrade. I used some thin gloves to test em out but thinking ahead when im up north and have my thick gloves on it might be nice to have the paracord.


    Finished updating the original thread with pictures and info!
     
  9. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    By the way, the way that bino case attaches is also one of the ways the piece I am working on with him can be used. Like that, or with a stand alone harness...
     
  10. Kerri

    Kerri úlfheðnar Hobbyist Bushclass I

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    Ive been eyein em since i saw Croatoan's.
     
  11. badger claw

    badger claw Guide Vendor

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    ya he mentioned you had a little project in the works...cant wait for you to spend some more of my money :)
     
  12. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    heh, I hear ya.

    I hope it lives up to your expectations.

    My first week I went up and down until I figured a few things out with the any which way straps and harness.

    The amount of ways you can carry gear is superb, you'd never think that system can do what it does. Mine has both the top and bottom straps for securing sleeping bag, or rain gear, or bed roll or whatever. It just works.

    Then when you get to playing with it and mount it on a rigid frame!@ Yeah it's awesome and I can't say enough good stuff about all aspects of their business and products.

    BTW in case you missed it, but I'm sure you didn't, here's a pic of your pack on a external frame.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. gdpolk

    gdpolk Guide

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    You two are costing me money
     
  14. badger claw

    badger claw Guide Vendor

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    wasnt me
     
  15. J

    J Bushwhacker Bushclass I

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    Im really diggin their stuff. I love yours. Thx for sharing.
     
  16. BigDaddyHoss

    BigDaddyHoss Supporter Supporter Bushclass II

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    How about a picture with it on, for scale? I am interested in their Elk Hunter pack but the web page is terrible for scaling anything and not much info on dimensions. Unless I am looking in the wrong spots. Maybe an inside the pack, loaded up, photo also. Thanks and Happy day
     
  17. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Not trying to steal Badger's thread, the First Trip and the Lost River are very similar in sizes, the difference being the LR has a middle pocket on the back and the side pockets are not detachable.

    It is tough to find good scale images of any of the pack really. I will tell you that Angelo will gladly talk to you and answer any questions and probably is the only guy to talk to about the Elk Hunter. From my perspective the Lemhi is the best full size pack as it incorporates all of the excellent design features and layout of the Lost River but with much more interior space as well as a second middle/back compartment, it also has internal stays and a good belt. If you're looking for something at 3000ci to 3200 it it the pack for that. I don't have first hand experience with the Elk Hunter but a few friends of mine have them, they like them well enough it seems.

    Here's my Lost River loaded, and then on a frame. If there are other pics or angles I've got more so just ask.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Hey BDH,

    Here's some pics of the Elk hunter.

    [​IMG]

    Completely filled out it's capable of some significant hauling.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Mtnfolk Mike

    Mtnfolk Mike Supporter Supporter

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    awesome Badger.. congrats.. Bison Bear makes some amazing goods.. I have quite a few bowhunting/archery friends that use them..
     
  20. badger claw

    badger claw Guide Vendor

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    hey Cro what kind of frame did you use?
     
  21. mikejd

    mikejd Scout

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    I have been looking at these for a few weeks now. They look like great products. Only concern is that they are made of wool which is great for a quiet hunting pack I just don't know how it will take abuse like canvas. Only time will tell. Keep us posted.
     
  22. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    For best results I've heard a Peak1 frame is the way to go, Ang even has a attachment kit for that.

    In this case I don't even know the name of the frame, I've forgotten it. I used the straps that came with the LR to attach it, if you look at the way the straps on the back are arranged you'll see how they can be easily mated to a frame.

    If I can get some time this weekend I'll put it on another frame, I've got several to choose from and see if I can't get some detail pics for you.
     
  23. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Not just wool. Website isn't the greatest but if you call you'll get top shelf help and treatment.

    He's testing a new replacement for bucksuede, and also offers something called wolfskin. Both of these products are exceptionally lightweight and wear hard. There are options beyond wool. And for the record, I've not gone out of my way to take extra care or caution with mine and it's been plenty durable. I'm a Frost River user too and I've had my hand in more than one of their 18oz waxed canvas packs. Pound for pound wool is slightly lighter in weight and mine is just as durable or very close to it. I've not been able to wear out either of them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  24. badger claw

    badger claw Guide Vendor

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    Im pretty sure i could drag this hemp pack behind my truck around town and it would survive.
     
  25. ajhummel

    ajhummel Tracker

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    ok i want one. Not sure on the light color though, not exactly ideal to be wearing color similar to the chest of a deer when out during hunting season. Time to check the website! Great informative post guys
     
  26. mjh

    mjh Supporter Supporter

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    When and IF mine wears out I'll be buying another one, can't remember how old mine is (it is an old pack Idaho one)but I'd say close to 15 years, it is my go to hunting pack always stocked and ready go, I've had to do a little repair work on some fabric above a zipper, not the zipper tape area but above, but hey some upholstery thread and needle and its good to job some more....good designs...good products...good folks to deal with......money well spent!
     
  27. gdpolk

    gdpolk Guide

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    Lol, no. It was both of you! ;-) In all honesty though, I've been trying out the haversack vs fanny pack thing for a while now and really prefer the fanny pack. I'm not in a big enough hurray that I feel that I need immediate access to everything in my pack while in the woods, which is the biggest pro for the haversack/man purse/versipack things. With that said, I like the feel of an evenly distributed load and being hot natured prefer a large fanny pack over a backpack because it isn't as hot. I've been looking at the Bison Gear stuff for a long while now. As soon as I have some spare cash, I think I need one.
     
  28. Morlog

    Morlog Scout

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    Made in America, Solid colors, and a hybrid beyween a true backpack and a hip pack,this is awesome. Only drawback I saw was the size limitations. The Hemp is awesome, but I didn´t see that option on their site.
     
  29. badger claw

    badger claw Guide Vendor

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    Since pretty much everything is made to order I'm sure he can get it. By size do you mean capacity? with expandable bag and being able to attach to a frame...it leaves you a lot of options to increase your load and how it's distributed.
     
  30. Morlog

    Morlog Scout

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    No, I meant size like big n fat guy sizes for those of us with a little more padding around the mid section. Since it is made to order, I imagine he can handle that issue as well.
     
  31. mikejd

    mikejd Scout

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    That's great to hear. Thanks for the info.
     
  32. MJDavis

    MJDavis Unworthy Field Participant Supporter Bushclass I

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    Does the wool offer any water resistance?
     
  33. Morlog

    Morlog Scout

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    I definitely think that once I can afford it, I have found a platform for the patch I ordered from Skog yesterday...
     
  34. brian7498

    brian7498 Guide Vendor

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    Man that thing is nice!!
     
  35. badger claw

    badger claw Guide Vendor

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    Just loaded it up with the following contents....

    2 stainless water bottles (20oz each)
    Stanley stainless mug with nesting cup
    ember lit stove
    complete Hennessy hammock setup
    BCUSA UL tarp and 550 cord
    shemagh
    bahco folding saw
    MP hatchet
    Lucky 1-2 Sutlery canvas fire/tobacco kit bag
    Lucky 1-2 Sutlery canvas "lunch bag" with food and utensils
    Thermarest NeoAir Trekker
    small first aid kit
    nav kit
    fixed blade knife (Turley SR)
    billybass forager pouch
    Kelty Ridgeway fleece bedroll/sleeping bag liner
    Turley LRRP hat
    Adahy kuksa
    COFFEE!

    The binocular bag is still empty and i have room for more food in the side pockets and i didnt even use the zipper organizer pocket in the bottom compartment. And all this is with the game bag compressed. For just throwing it together the load is distributed nicely. I will update it with the weight shortly, as well as get some pics in use this weekend.

    Had my 7 year old take an iphone pic for now...
    [​IMG]

    Im not a big guy by any means...wear a 32-34 waist pant...168 pounds. There is PLENTY of room in the adjustment of the straps for a larger frame person.
     
  36. Woods Bexar

    Woods Bexar Banned Member Banned

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    I saw this pack in person. I've never really seen a pack like it and it was really, really, nice. The coffee and wine gave it a great aged look. Can't wait to hear more about your thoughts after this weekend.
     
  37. BigDaddyHoss

    BigDaddyHoss Supporter Supporter Bushclass II

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    Thanks for the photo and info Badger Claw. Now to invision someone twice as big wearing it.:33: I like the look of the Elkhunter and I might put my Kifaru daystalker up for grabs and look into getting one. I need something a little bigger, big guy big gear. Happy day
     
  38. sidmand

    sidmand Bacon is food duct tape

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    Thanks to you and Croatoan, I have placed an order for a FirstTrip Explorer - sans the side panniers. I don't know if I am mad or thankful right now, as I have never spent that much on a pack before. I'm sure I will love it though, I have heard nothing but glowing reviews of BisonGear's stuff. So, thanks! Now the hard part, waiting for it to get made!
     

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