Hot Gear: Best Backpacks for Big Country Trips

Whether you’re stalking whitetails or mule deer in open country or heading to a stand in the Southeast for an all-day hunt, having a quality backpack for your gear can make a difference to comfort and success.

Being prepared for a hunting trip covers a range of needs, whether you’re going for a quick afternoon trip with a bow to a specific stand or a longer outing to the woods that requires a bunch of gear.

Some days I head to my hunting spot with my PSE bow and Scott release, gloves and mask, penlight flashlight, and that’s it. Just a quick hunt, minimal gear, with my other necessities in the truck should I get fortunate. I don’t even need a backpack for that because I won’t be gone long.

Other times, I’ll be in my Field & Stream ground blind or a box blind for five or six hours, or perhaps all day. I grew up doing all-day hunts from dawn to dark, so that’s not unusual. I enjoy that as long as my backpack is loaded with my gear that includes fluids, snacks, toilet paper (hey, just in case), binos, rangefinder and other gear. Whether I’m sitting with my Barnett Whitetail Hunter crossbow or have a rifle, I’ll be set for the long haul.

If you’re not a backpack hunter, that’s fine. But I like having my gear secured, ready at a moment’s notice and in a tough, durable pack. Some of the best are from Tenzing including the larger 3,000- and 6,000-cubic inch models designed for western mountain hunting. Of course, they’ll also work anywhere else should you be going in for a long trip or think you need more gear.

Here’s the release from Tenzing about these packs:

Mountain hunters face a variety of unique challenges, the greatest of which are the increased physical demands created by elevation and steep terrain. Mountain hunters must wholly commit themselves to the physical and mental training required to perform in these beautiful, game-rich, yet challenging environments. Gear must be equally up to task.

Since the brand’s launch in 2012, Tenzing has endeavored to design and manufacture the best high performance hunting packs available – packs that execute flawlessly in every situation, while removing unnecessary limitations to allow hunters to go further, hunt longer, and apply their abilities without fear of gear failure. Their full line of premium hunting packs includes models for any hunt and any hunter. For 2017, two of these prime packs are now available in one the most effective high-country camouflage pattern ever conceived: Mossy Oak Mountain Country.

Inspired by the mountains you hunt, not the digital world you’re out there to escape, Mossy Oak Mountain Country employs realistic, three-dimensional elements to perfectly match the high-country environment – the same way your determination matches the special challenges mountain hunting presents.

Tenzing’s TZ 3000 backpack has ample room for your gear.

“Mossy Oak Mountain Country is an incredibly effective pattern in most high-country areas,” says Jay Rogert, Tenzing’s Director of Product Development and Idaho native and accomplished wilderness hunter. “We aren’t living up to our mission if we fail to offer our customers the latest camouflage options that, in many ways, are as technically advanced as the remarkable packs we produce. As hard as today’s hunters work, they deserve and expect to be offered a variety of choices that fit their particular terrain and hunting styles.”

Big and nimble are two qualities rarely found together. But Tenzing’s TZ 3000, released in 2016, is extraordinarily mobile, given its generous size and hauling capacity. Designed to fill the void between limited-use daypacks and extended-use big game packs, this impressive hybrid provides ample storage for a day trip or an overnight spike-out.

With 3,100 cubic inches of total storage in nine specialized pockets and compartments, the 6.8-pound TZ 3000 is built to capitalize on opportunities, not limit them. Born of Tenzing’s industry-leading design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities, and loaded with high-end amenities, the versatile TZ 3000 can carry a full elk quarter in its main compartment. Like a snake unhinging its jaws, this pack has the ability to open up away from the frame to take in a much larger load. The zipper remains open as specialty compression straps extend to hold in and balance the haul.


  • Mossy Oak Mountain Country Camo
  • Two Internal Fluted Aluminum Frame Stays
  • Padded Lumbar Pad and Waist Belt
  • Channeled Air Cooled Back Pad
  • Foldout Bow and Gun Carry Boot
  • Fold Out Rain Cover
  • H2O Compatible 2 or 3 Liter
  • Backed by Tenzing’s Limited Lifetime Warranty


  • 3100 Total Cubic Inches in 9 Total Pockets and Compartments
  • 6 lb. 4 oz. Total Weight
  • Main Compartment: 23.5” x 11” x 9”
  • Top Compartment: 10” x 10” x 2”
  • Face Compartment: 14” x 10” x 2”
  • Hip Pockets (x2): 5” x 9” x 2”
  • Mesh Side Pockets (x2): 6” x 7.5” x 2”
  • Internal Side Pockets (x2): 19” x 6” x 5”
  • MSRP $309.99

Large backpacks designed for mountain and open-country hunting give hunters great options for hauling gear and big game.

Bigger, stronger and lighter than any comparable pack on the market, the workmanlike TZ 6000 is the ultimate long-range hunting pack. This pack takes away any and all limits, allowing hunters to go further, hunt longer and carry back the rewards of a successful trip.

With 4,400 cubic inches of storage that can expand to 6,013 cubic inches, it’s hard to believe that this monster pack weighs less than 8 pounds. The TZ 6000’s 12 compartments and pockets, including its large expandable meat pocket, allow the long-range hunter to carry all of his or her gear and still bring home an enormous trophy kill.


  • Mossy Oak Mountain Country Camo
  • Fully Adjustable Torso Suspension
  • Two Rigid Internal Aluminum Frame Stays
  • Padded Hip Support
  • Channeled Air Cooled Back Pad
  • Separate Sleeping Bag Compartment
  • Detachable Fanny Pack/Lid
  • Foldout Bow and Gun Carry Boot.
  • Foldout Rain Cover
  • H2O Compatible (3 Liter)
  • Triple Entry Into Main Compartment
  • Two Expanding Side Compartments for Scope or Tripod
  • Expandable, Breathable Meat Compartment
  • Five Specialized Zip Pockets
  • Five Lateral Compression Straps to Secure Load
  • Two Lower Compression Straps to Attach Extra Gear
  • Backed by Tenzing’s Limited Lifetime Warranty


  • 6013 Total Cubic Inches in 20 Total Pockets and Compartments
  • 7 lb. 10 oz. Total Weight
  • Main Compartment: 28″ x 11.5″ x 8″
  • Meat Compartment: 25.5″ x 11.5″ x 5.5″
  • Expanding Side Compartments (2):  21″ x 6″ x 4″
  • Face Compartment: 10″ x 7″ x 2.5″
  • Hip Compartments (2): 4″ x 9″ x 2″
  • Mesh Compartments (2): 8″ x 5″ x 2.5″
  • Top Compartment/Fanny Pack: 9″ x 11″ x 3″
  • MSRP $429.99