This review of the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger should be able to answer most of the questions that people have about the pack. First of all, when the Sitka was received, it was well packaged. Inside the box was a large packing slip that was easy to read and everything was spelled out. The toll free phone number is located in the top left hand corner of the packing slip – so its easy to find.
First impressions: This is everything you might expect to find in a daypack – and more. There is a pouch on the outside for a 32 ounce water bottle, a compartment for a water bladder, the main compartment is big enough for a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE), or an Eversafe meal, rain poncho, some tent stakes (for setting up an emergency shelter), water filter or water purification tablets, and a few other odds and ends. The large outside pocket is big enough for a small first aid kit, TOPO maps, flashlight, matches,,,. The small outside pocket is big enough for map compass, medium sized GPS and maybe a couple of other small items such as a swiss army fire starter.
The reason why its called a “GearSlinger” is because the pack has one shoulder strap and another strap that goes under the opposite arm. The under strap is released and the pack can be “slung” under the right arm and positioned in front of the wearers chest. The pack is designed to be unzipped in a horizontal position while being worn.
Lets get started with the amount of gear that can be carried in the Sitka. Just to show how much this pack can carry, an assortment of dayhiking equipment was rounded up.
This list includes – 2 quart water bladder, 32 ounce water bottle, Meal Ready to Eat (MRE), home made first aid kit with a custom logo custody of my daughter, toilet paper, rain poncho, GPS, TOPO map in water proof case, map compass, water filter, bible, hand sanitizer, insect repellent and strike anywhere matches in a pill bottle. Two things that were overlooked was some cord to build an emergency shelter with and a cell phone.
This should be everything that anyone might need for a warm weather hiking trip. The MRE has enough food for 2 meals – 3 meals if its stretched out, the poncho can be used to build an emergency shelter or worn during a rain storm, water filter to refill the water bladder and water bottle, first aid kit of minor cuts and scraps, bible for reading material, toilet paper for taking care of business in the woods.
Now lets get this pack organized.
Inside the main compartment we have the MRE, first aid kit, rain poncho, matches, bible, toilet paper, first aid kit and hand sanitizer. Notice that one of the internal compartments is not even being used right now.
Keep in mind, that this is just for demonstration purposes. The smaller items can be put into a plastic bag to keep them from falling out of the pack – just in case the zipper opens up. But with heavy duty YKK zippers, its unlikely that the zipper on this pack will work its way loose. Its also a good idea to keep the zippers on the top of the pack when its zipped up.
In the two outside compartments of the Maxpedition Sitka we have the rain poncho, insect repellent and water filter in the larger outside compartment. The GPS, TOPO map in water proof case and map compass are in the smaller outside pocket.
The plentiful Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) makes this pack expandible and flexible. If you need room for more gear, just add an extra pouch, or two, or three.
The items that are used on every rest break are kept on the outside pockets – water, insect repellent, map, gps and compass. When it comes time to stop and take a break – that that time to rehydrate (drink plenty of water), if ticks and other biting incests are a problem then put insect repellent on. Get the map, GPS and compass out and check your location. If any water sources are nearby, take the time to refill the water bottle and water bladder at every rest break.
There are several things that can make or break a pack. Sometimes its the simple things, such as self repairing zippers, and having good padding on the shoulder strap and backside of the pack. The Maxpedition Sitka takes care of this and lots more. The backside of the pack and shoulder strap have plenty of padding.
Notice how the tube for the water bladder goes over the shoulder and then through the straps on the shoulder strap. This put the nozzle at almost perfect position to be pulled up and inserted into the mouth. Water bladders help keep the pack balanced as compared to wearing canteens on each side.
Conclusion – the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger is a well built, well designed pack. It should fit the bill for just about anyone looking for a heavy duty pack. There are a lot of “day packs” on the market, but few are as well built as the Sitka. With heavy duty YKK zippers, 1000 denier cordura, the internal seams have been taped and finished, paracord on the zipper pulls, treated with Dupont Teflon for water resistance, has an approximate capacity of about 618 cubic inches, plenty of room for day hiking equipment, PAL attachments for extra MOLLE and ALICE gear.
Post your comments in the Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger review thread of the forums
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