When it comes time to head out to the woods, I usually take a few minutes to think about what I’am going to be doing and what kind of gear I may need. If I’am going on a simple day hike, I might bring the Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy, if its an overnight trip I might bring the Vulture-II and if its a short trip or hunting trip I’ll bring the Maxpedition Noatak.
Lets start with the Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy – which is my favorite dayhike / warm weather overnight bag. Even though the Falcon-II Pygmy has capacity of only 1,400 cubic inches, for you ultralight backpackers out there that should be plenty of room.
One of the reasons why I like the Falcon-II Pygmy so much, its a light pack that is not big enough to bring the essentials. From time to time I see people post in the hiking and camping forum about some of the stuff they bring on a camping / hiking trip, and I just have to ask myself “why?” There was this one time a couple of my buddies and I went on a boating / camping trip on the Bayous near Orangefield, Texas. One guy brought a 5 gallon water cooler – like you may see on a construction site. Inside the cooler is where he had his snacks – chips and other junk food. Instead of bringing a sleeping bag, tent,,,,, other supplies he brought a water cooler, with a blanket inside and junk food.
Some of the stuff that I took on my last hiking trip with my son and nephew:
18″(H) x 9.5″(W) x 5.5″(D) Main Compartment
12″(H) x 7.5″(W) x 2.75″(D) Front Pouch
12″(H) x 7.5″(W) Slip Pocket
Capacity: 1400 cu. in. / 23 liters
Maxpedition Vulture-II – Lets say that the weather is going to be a little cooler and I need a sleeping bag, or I just need to carry a few more supplies – then its time to break out the Maxpedition Vulture-II. Even though some people consider the Vulture-II a 3 day pack, I see it more like a 2 day pack. You could probably get 3 days out of it, so I’am not saying its “not” a 3 day pack. In my personal gear line up, the Vulture-II is a 2 day pack.
Some of the things I like about the Maxpedition Vulture-II, its big enough to carry what I need, but not “too” big. Once again, having a pack of limited size makes the hiker/camper decide what is important and what should be left behind. Some of the nice features of the pack – shoulder straps with plenty of padding, place for a water bladder, webbing for attaching extra pouches and compression straps only to name a few.
While testing the Maxpedition Vulture-II, I was able to fit enough gear in it for a for a nice overnight trip:
I did not do this during the test – but a sleeping pad could be strapped to the bottom of the pack.
Main Compartment: 20.5″(H) x 16″(W) x 7.5″(D)
Front Pouch: 15.5″(H) x 12″(W) x 2.75″(D)
Slip Pocket: 15.5″(H) x 12″(W)
Capacity: 2810 cu. in. / 46 liters
Weight: 3 lbs , 8 oz
Hydration: Up to 100+ oz Bladder
Noatak Gearslinger – which has quickly turned into my favorite grab and go pack. If the Noatak was worn on the hip instead of that back, it might even be considered a man purse. But its not worn on the hip and its not a man purse – its a gearslinger. Meaning, its worn on the back, one strap is released, and the pack is twisted around in front of the wearer.
One thing that I noticed about the Maxpedition Noatak, its easy to put on and take off with cold weather clothing. During on of my test, it was about 38 degrees outside, and I was wearing a heavy coat. Instead of having to wiggle both of my arms through the shoulder straps of a conventional backpack, I put one arm through the single strap of the Noatak, and then snapped the second strap into place. Its also possible to drop the Noatak with only 1 hand. So if your out hunting, and have your firearm in one hand, just reach up with the other hand, unbuckle the single chest strap and drop the pack.
My standard Noatak load includes:
32 ounce water bottle
Main: 11” x 7” x 4” with numerous internal pockets
Front: 7” x 7” x 2” with internal keyper and sleeve pockets
Front sleeve: 6.5” x 6.5” with anti-theft device on zipper
Rear compartment: 8” x 12”
Water bottle pocket: 7” x 2.5”; fits 32oz/1L bottle
So there ya go, the list of my favorite Maxpedition packs, and why their on the list.
Post your comments in this forum thread about the three best Maxpedition packs.