The Maxpedition Noatak fits a wide range of needs. It is big enough to take on a day hike, go fishing, and go the 4-wheeler riding. The Noatak Gearsling design makes it easy to put on and take off while wearing heavy clothing, which makes it one of my favorite backpacks for deer hunting.
A Gearslinger design means there is just one shoulder strap, so when your wearing cold weather gear, you just have one strap to put on and take off.
Specs from the Maxpedition site:
* 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
* 1000-Denier water and abrasion resistant light-weight ballistic nylon fabric
* Teflon® fabric protector for grime resistance and easy maintenance
* high strength zippers and zipper tracks
* UTX-Duraflex nylon buckles for low sound closures
* Triple polyurethane coated for water resistance
* High tensile strength nylon webbing
* High tensile strength composite nylon thread (stronger than ordinary industry standard nylon thread)
* #AS-100 high grade closed-cell foam padding material for superior shock protection
* Internal seams taped and finished
* Paracord zipper pulls
* Stress points double stitched, Bartacked or “Box-and-X” stitched for added strength
Maxpedition Noatak Main Compartment
- Sure-Pak MRE
- Rain poncho
- Katadyn Vario Water Filter
Maxpedition Noatak Outside Compartment
- TOPO map
- Garmin Etrex GPS
- Suunto A-10 compass
- Gerber Multi-tool
- AA LED flashlight
- Toilet tissue
- With some room left over
- 32 ounce water bottle in the Noatak water bottle pouch.
This list of contents would be just about everything that I would take on a dayhike – except maybe add some matches, camera, signal mirror and cord. The cord and poncho could be used to build a temporary rain shelter or overnight shelter if a hiker became lost.
If a water bladder was used instead of a water bottle, then the water bottle could be filled with more gear – instead of water.
During one of the field test, the outside temps in the upper 30s and I was wearing a heavy coat. When putting the Maxpedition Noatak on, it was easier to put on then a standard 2 strap backpack. You just throw the shoulder strap over your arms, and buckle up. With a standard 2 strap backpack, you have to wiggle your arms through the straps when wearing a heavy coat.
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While on a hog hunting trip with the Noatak I had a Beretta 92F 9mm strapped to the right hand side of the pack, and a 32 ounce water bottle on the other side. After walking what seemed like 2 or 3 miles, it became apparent that the Noatak wore very well and was very comfortable.
Things I Liked About The Maxpedition Noatak
Just the right size for taking out on a hunting trip
Just enough room for the essentials
Comfortable to wear
Easy to put on and take off
Conveniently placed grab handles
Water bladder compartment
Water bottle holder
Webbing for attaching more pouches
Para-cord zipper pulls – easy to pull with gloves on
1000 Denier construction
Things I Did Not Like About The Maxpedition Noatak
If I had to list something, maybe a little more room in the main compartment for gloves, or cold weather head gear.
Besides having just a “little” more room in the main compartment, I did not see anything wrong in the overall design of the pack. With its compact design, the Noatak is designed to fill a targeted niche, and I think it does the job very well.
Over the years, the Noatak has turned into one of my favorite all around daypacks. Whether it is heading out to the deer stand, or going on a day hike with the dogs, this pack is at the top of my list.
Full disclosure: The Noatak was sent to me free of charge for testing and evaluation.