Every year, I cover a lot of ground as a hunter. I'm continuously on the go, from the mountains of eastern Oregon in search of a bull elk to the plains and timbered valleys of Oklahoma in search of an elusive white-tailed deer. I've even hunted bears and Sitka black-tail deer on mountainous peaks and rainy hillsides in south-central and southeast Alaska. I've been carrying the same pack for years. Not because it was a top-of-the-line pack, but because my father bought it for me when I was 15 years old. I guess you could say I outgrew this bag after 17 years; it was time to pass it on.
I started looking for a new backpack in 2016 and was quickly overwhelmed by the costs. I finally decided on one from a well-known outdoor retailer. After receiving the bag, I loaded it up for my elk hunt in eastern Oregon in November. Sadly, I was ready to toss it before the first day's darkness. I was so disappointed that I resolved not to make the same mistake again. This spring would be the time to find the ideal hunting pack. I came across the Paratus 3 Day Operator's Pack by 3V Gear in my search and immediately leaped at the chance to try it out. The bag looked a lot like the one I used for 8 years in the service, and I'm not sure why I never considered a bag like this for hunting.
The group's first outing consisted of a simple shed hunting trek followed by some target shooting at a favored location. After a few minor tweaks to the Paratus backpack, I was satisfied with the fit and proceeded to load it up. Comfort and keeping a cool back were aided by the moulded EVA foam on the backside of the bag. As the temperature hit 85 degrees, being able to use a hydration pack was an important factor I was delighted was not ignored. The mil-spec MOLLE was another element I liked. As a former service member, I have a variety of pouches, thus compatibility with them allowed me to further personalize the pack to match my specific demands. Thanks to the over 2,400 cubic inches of space, I was able to pack all of my stuff for range time and my trek with plenty of room to spare.
The Rapid Deployment Accessory Sling Pack is an option not seen on many of these types of hunting backpacks. At first, I was skeptical because I'd seen this type of alternative appear weak and unable of carrying much weight. This pack, on the other hand, far exceeded my expectations in this regard. I had no trouble loading it with 400 rounds of.223, as well as other smaller shooting accessories. Extra equipment could be secured to the outside using the straps. The deployment pack did not loosely hang off the bag but instead stayed closely fastened as if it were just another pocket of the Paratus bag. When the time came, the deployment pack was just as easy to disconnect.
Now, after several travels with my 3V Gear backpack, I have to admit that the Paratus is the best hunting backpack with its versatility. I've used it for hunting, hiking, and even as a flying bag while studying for my commercial pilot's license. At this pricing point, I believe it will be difficult to find a pack that gives the user as much flexibility to modify and serve in a variety of roles.
About the Author: Ross has a strong desire to share his experiences and enthusiasm for all things outdoors with others. He's a former wild-land firefighter and US Coast Guard member who's spent the last 15 years hunting, fishing, and serving in some of the country's most remote locations. He's also a published author, with work appearing in magazines such as Oregon Hunter Magazine.