My budget is limited, and I am betting yours is too. Which means that for multiple years I did my best to stretch things like packs from my big game system and just grind it out with a pack from that world. Then Todd loaned me his Full Choke Pack from Sitka and my belief that purpose built products are worth the money was reaffirmed.
Let’s start with the pockets and the specific waterfowl hunting design that make this pack stand out. Shotgun shell boxes are awkwardly shaped, so much so that we have whole systems at the range designed to make moving them around the skeet and trap fields easier. The largest compartment next to the back of the Full Choke pack is built the exact same width as a box of shells. No more broken shell boxes spilling their contents all over. Other items like Mojo wings and poles fit nicely in this space as well.
Next up is the mid pocket that always seems to hold the majority of my gear that I need fast access to and is the most essential to a day at the blind. This includes my mid layers on a cold day, snacks, and of course a Yeti full of coffee to help me grind out those early mornings.
This pocket also functions well for quick access to my calls. Nothing is worse than having my lanyard around my neck and then a Russian Olive attempt to strangle me with it as I navigate my way in the dark to the river. My calls sit nicely on top of my mid layers and won’t get snagged in the brush as I make the trek to the X.
Next up are the small pockets that hold essentials for every waterfowl excursion. At the very back is a small pocket that my Leatherman, gun cleaner, gun lube and of course my license and stamps reside in. The best part about this pocket is that it has a small zippered mesh area that functions like a tag holder.
Now let’s move to the technical side of the latest models. In typical Sitka fashion every feature is thought out, like the waterproof YKK Zippers that are built with ease of opening in mind when my hands are covered by bulky gloves. Losing precious heat from my extremities on a January hunt with green heads dropping into the spread is unacceptable. These well thought out lines are easy to open and incredibly durable, taking all of the abuse I can throw at them.
Moving to the outside of the pack there are two features that stood out and made my waterfowl season far more comfortable. The first is the straps on the outside that made bringing my Dakota Hoody along an easy process. Simply run it under the straps and cinch it down and the heavier wind breaking insulation is along for the ride! These straps have also hauled out quite a few birds when my bird strap was loaned out.
Wrapping up this pack is the shoulder harness and overall durability. The harness is beyond comfortable for the hiking that I have to do to my favorite spots and has plenty of adjustment for my larger frame. The durability is great and this pack will be with me for years to come. At a price of $249.99 this pack should be a staple for years to come in your waterfowling kit!