Rambling Review: Eberlestock X2 Hunting Pack
One of the most vital pieces of equipment for the western hunter is the hunting pack. An uncomfortable, poorly constructed pack can be the bane of the outdoorsman’s experience. The name “Eberlestock” is well known in the hunting community as a producer of high quality gear. I had the esteemed opportunity to carry their Eberlestock X2 hunting pack on many journeys into the field and on the water over the past several months.
Design – The Eberlestock X2 is a top loading pack with a lightweight aluminum frame which makes it capable of comfortably carrying a heavy load in and out of the backcountry. At the same time when it is completely compressed, this pack is a perfect option for a daypack for the bowhunter. When the compression straps are unclipped, the two wings of the pack open up to reveal the main top-loading compartment of the pack. At 1800 cubic inches, I have plenty of room to pack in a sleeping bag and hammock as well as my other necessities for an overnight stay.
The extra long compression straps allow the hunter to utilize the Eberlestock X2’s aluminum frame, and lash a heavy load to the pack in order to get their prize out of the field. I have seen pictures of hunters with a whole elk quarter securely stowed on the X2. Match up the load bearing aluminum frame with a cushy waist belt, and this pack will do some serious hauling.
Pockets – The Eberlestock X2 an extremely well thought out pocket structure with two easy access pockets on the top roof of the pack. Perfect for storing gear that the outdoorsman needs quickly and quietly. Their are also two roomy pockets on the hip belt which I usually use for my GPS on one side and my digital camera on the other.
The real prize when it comes to pockets are the wing pockets. Unzipping them reveals two hydration compatible pockets complete with hooks to keep the hydration bladder upright and holes to run the hose out and down the shoulder straps. On the inside of these pockets are two open pockets that are plenty big enough to hold a tripod, spotting scope, or, in my case, my safari sneakers. When the compression straps are cinched down, there is no danger of anything tumbling out of these open pockets.
Water-proof/Quiet – I find it uncommon to find gear that is waterproof and quiet, but Eberlestock builds their packs out of their NT-1 Waterproof Microfleece fabric that is not only waterproof and quiet, but tough as nails.
I have carried the X2 on many different occasions: fishing small streams, hunting whitetails back east, javelina hunting in and even a couple of days up scouting for Arizona bison. It always takes a little bit of time to organize a new pack and figure out where your essential gear should go, but I was really pleased with how well the pack carried in the field.
Fishing – I wore this on several small stream trips where I was headed back in a little farther than usual. What I noticed on the uneven bed of the stream was that this pack rode very tight and comfortable on my back. Some of these bigger packs have the tendency to ride very bulky and cumbersome, which can make for a long day
Treestand hunting – I am a bit of an over-packer when it comes to hunting in new locations. My philosophy is that I want to take everything I need to the stand so I can sit as long as possible, instead of getting to the stand, freezing my butt off and having to leave early. So, on the hunt back in P.A., I carried the Eberlestock X2 loaded to the brim to the tree and stayed toasty and well fed on those long cold sits in the windy hardwoods.
Western Hunting – The Eberlestock X2 pack was built to hunt the West and, although it is extremely versatile to handle many different outdoor scenarios, the X2 really shines in the big sky country of the West. I have strapped the Eberlestock X2 to my back on a couple of different scouting trips and hunts and have been very happy with the performance of the pack. The number one thing I like about the pack is that it rides very flat across my back instead of like many packs which seem to hang on my shoulders and off my back. Another aspect of comfort that Eberlestock built into this pack is the full mesh backing that is separated from the main pack which creates a large air gap. This is essential to hunters in a hot climate or those who spend a good part of their day hiking mountains to find those elusive animals.
This was the perfect pack to carry while hunting javelina this past season. Depending on the unit that I am hunting, temperatures can start out in the teens and can end up in the 50s and 60s later in the day. Needless to say, a day pack needs to be able to accommodate for plenty of gear, water, and food for a full days hunt, and I felt the X2 meet those needs. I had the opportunity to put a stalk on a herd of javelina and felt great about how the pack rode on my back.
The one negative thing I did notice about this pack is that it does tend to have the slightest creak if the load is not perfectly balanced. Once I took the pack off and readjusted some of the contents, it carried nice and quiet.
Waterproof and Quiet
Aluminum Frame for Heavy Loads
Roomy, well placed pockets
Accommodates Eberlestock’s Bow Buttbucket or Rifle Scabbord
Slight creak when not loaded properly
Prognosis: If you are looking for a pack to do it all, the Eberlestock X2 should be at the top of your list. A quality product from a quality company.
The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. The Eberlestock X2 was provided to Arizona Wanderings for the purpose of this review. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.