View Full Version : Honest Opinions

06-28-2011, 01:40 PM
I am looking for a pack to use for 2-7 day trips for blacktail. I want honest opinions between the BC G11, badlands 4500 and the Eberlestock Blue Widow. I have narrowed it down to theses 3 packs and I am curious which one you guys would go with.

I like the detatchable fanny pack idea with all these packs. The G11 and 4500 have plenty of compartments to keep things organized. The BW seems to be a total workhorse that is built well.

Im a little worried that the G11 might not be built for longer trips. The BW seems to keep weight a little farther out and back then I would like and I wish it had more accessable optics pockets. I have heard a few people say the 4500 is noisy. Give me harsh honest opinions.

06-28-2011, 10:06 PM
The cold hard truth is that few people have been privileged enough to use each pack for the duration of a 10 day hard core hunt to intelligibly make any real conclusion... My own opinion is that the Badlands 4500 is a winner in the back country... Yes, there are lighter packs but you compromise integrity with light packs. You can truly abuse a 4500 and still be good to go for next season.

They are NOT noisy... If you have a noisy one, then you got the exception not the rule for that pack and need to send it in for repair. It is water resistant and quiet... Realistically, you won't be stalking anything with a 4500 on your back anyway and if you choose to make a shot at something while the pack is on your back, be sure to practice with 50lbs on your back... It will most likely throw everything out of whack if you try to without practice because of how your body compensates for it's center of gravity. You will most likely have to adjust your third axis too.

The pack can pack out a whole boned out buck with all of your equipment, provided you don't tag out on day one or two... The pack has many adjustments and lets you strap your bow on the back! I cannot say enough about it, quiet material too. I have never used the others mentioned, so I am biased but I will continue to use what works well for me and won't likely deviate unless something needs fixing... Good luck!

06-28-2011, 10:12 PM
Here's a picture of the 4500 loaded down from last season...

06-29-2011, 12:12 AM
I just picked up a Blue Widow that I will be using here in Norcal as well as across the west. Havn't got to try it out yet but everything looks and feels great so far.

06-29-2011, 07:09 AM
Dump the Badlands idea and go with the BW if those are your only three choices. I've used two different badlands in the past and they fell apart......I'm not impressed.

Personally, on long back-pack trips into the wilderness (10 day trips), I don't use a "hunting" pack......I use a backpacking pack designed to carry A LOT of weight comfortably (external frame). Currently, using a Kelty Tioga 5500......although the Kiui 6000 pack may replace it if it ends up carrying the weight as comfortably as my Kelty.

06-29-2011, 07:23 AM
I have the older style 4500, and have used it for 5-6 day trips for deer and elk. The pack has worked well. I have loaded to pack upwith as much weight as I can carry, and only herd one or two squeeks. Was able to carry out my boned out deer last year, with most of my camp. The only grip I have is the waist belt. It is hard for my to sinch it down enough when I have a heavy load. When I bought it there was only one size back then. With that said, it is possible I might be getting a BW. On longer trips I agree with BOHNTR.

06-29-2011, 01:14 PM
Personally, on long back-pack trips into the wilderness (10 day trips), I don't use a "hunting" pack......I use a backpacking pack designed to carry A LOT of weight comfortably (external frame).

Roy, I am curious about the differences you have experienced yourself with this pack. The 4500 was designed originally as a mountaineering pack by Vortex outdoors group prior to becomming a hunting pack and utilized on expeditions to K2 and Everest for years prior to becomming the Badlands that we know today.

Outside of that, I am always up for good insight from guys like you because I know your information is sound and backed by hard hunting with lot's of field experience, so I find it valuable and maybe I can pick something up to assist my own back country exploits...

06-29-2011, 08:43 PM

The pack was comfortable with minimal weight. In my opinion it's not suitable for boned out meat loads of 80-95 pounds. It's an internal frame design, which in my opinion does not carry heavy loads as comfortably as a quality external frame pack does. I own 7 different internal frame packs from various manufacturers (Gregory, Badlands, Mystery Ranch, Eberlestock, etc.) and some are better than others........but none carry heavy loads as well as some of my better external design packs (at least for me and my body design). Again, this is just MY personal experience.....others may love them and work well for them. if so, trek on and love it while you can. :cool:

What really turned me off from the Badlands is the stitches that came undone, the buckles that broke under heavier loads. I can't afford that to happen when I'm 7-9 miles away from my truck above timberline. Anything over 45 pounds in that pack was uncomfortable for me. I'm not the only person who has experienced failure on their stitching and buckles either, as a few of my hunting partners have experienced the same. I will say, they are a great pack for local type hunting when we pack out our local "rat sized" deer. :)

There are not many internal frame (expedition) style packs that provide enough room for 10-12 day backpack trips, as most of your weight (space) is going to be for food. Those that are capable are HEAVY when empty. I've heard the saying, "no one can tell the difference between carrying 70 versus 80 pounds." My response is, yes I can. If you don't have to add additional weight from the beginning, and you have a comfortable pack that can carry a lot of weight, why wouldn't one utilize one with less dry weight? (maybe because some of those are not camouflage and therefore not cool looking?)

That's why I'm excited about testing the Kuiu Icon 6000. It's similar in dry weight as my Kelty Tioga 5500 (5.5 pounds)......hopefully it's as comfortable as the Kelty.......and it comes in a cool camouflage color. :) Hopefully the carbon fiber frame is durable enough for several years. Time will tell.

While I understand the original designers of Badlands may have tried to design and market their packs as a true mountaineer pack.........has a Badlands 4500 ever went to Everest?

06-29-2011, 11:17 PM
While I understand the original designers of Badlands may have tried to design and market their packs as a true mountaineer pack.........has a Badlands 4500 ever went to Everest?

Roy, I love the insight... My hope is that the boy's at Badlands will read this thread and inform Zebco to make the quality control inspections more rigorous and things like stitching, zipper pulls as well as buckles more durable so the brand might fortify it's name and reputation...

As for the K2 and Everest question... The answer is yes, Vortex outdoors cut it's teeth as a mountaineering pack company out of Salt Lake City, Ut. The 4500 design was a pack that has travelled to both mountains and has been a staple of expedition leaders from before it was marketed as a hunting pack. The owner does not hunt and only brought the Badlands brand to market as a way to diversify. Hence Vortex Outdoors sprouted Badlands, which was recently acquired by Zebco as of last year. You can see where they state the pack has been on these expeditions on page 36 of their owners manual.

You have me thinking about the external frame though and wonder if I should try an OX... I always figured if it isn't broken, don't fix it :) I am curious to see what you think of the Kuiu 6000 after your high country hunt this season...