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Well the results are in… we ran theses bino harnesses through the ringer some of them were brand new to us and some like the Kuiu pack we have intimate knowledge of. I’m not going to add a lot of fluff and fill in, and I’m not going to pull any punches. I’m just going to get to the point and give you an honest review. The group A or higher end category was tight race and really came down to overall preference but I will say this that 4 out of 5 of my team all agreed with me on the overall winner, but we will get to that in a moment. The group b race was a blowout on all accounts; it was clear from go who the winner would be. But before I give you the results let me give you a quick review of each pack.
Kuiu I’ve personally owned the Kuiu pack for the last 2 years and so has two of my team members it’s a very light compact design that really keeps your binos safe. However, I always had the same rub with this pack, that after a few hours of use you really know it’s there. And as a bow hunter the way the binos deploy is very cumbersome. Many times on my hunts I’ve become frustrated with the pack while I was in close range of an animals. Also not very easy to adjust while on the body or without someone elses help. Lastly there are no accessory pouches for your rangefinder and no little gear pockets on the unit itself. This pack is very sleek and sits close to the chest all in all it’s a good pack but not my first choice.
Alaskan Guide Creations This pack for me was exactly what you would expect from the name. Big, rugged and full of features, you almost don’t need a back pack. They really outfitted it with some innovative and intuitive pockets and accessories. Excellent construction and good components makes it super rugged pack. The drawback for me personally may be someone else’s plus, like one of my team members who fell in love with the pack, but for me it was a bit too much. I prefer trim, light and sleek, although, I could see having a pack like this in the arsenal for those trips where you gotta carry more. The top access is a bit cumbersome. However, the structured sides were a big plus for getting your binos in and out of the pack. As far as comfort goes this pack can be worn all day without any discomfort the straps are wide and lightly padded just enough to be comfortable without getting in the way your backpack straps.
FHF Gear This pack for me was the most comfortable and had the best rangefinder pouch. The harness itself was very well made and comfortable I had little to no fatigue on any of the hunts it accompanied me on. It was light weight and had just enough pockets to be useful. The rangefinder pouch was a perfect fit for my rangefinder easy in and out plus it came with a drop and go tether for the rangefinder which proved to be useful on my elk hunt. It had excellent components actually my favorite of the bunch. And did I mention it was comfortable! However, my biggest rub with the design is the way the bino “deploys” much like the AGC pack the top flap has a tendency to get in the way with one hand operation.
Marsupial She’s sleek, she’s light and she tough… This pack functionally is the best out of all them its kangaroo style bino hatch is ingenious. Made for super quick deployment and the ability to just set it back in without closing the hatch for those moments when you are in close. Its sits tighter to the chest then the FHF and AGC packs with none of the fumbling you have with the Kuiu pack. The accessory pockets are well placed and purposeful. Excellent construction and good components. The adjustments were easy to make to set this pack up to fit me and when I shed clothes it was easy to re-adjust. The only drawback I had with this pack it wasn’t as comfortable as the FHf or AGC packs. The straps were noticeable after a few hours of use. I believe it’s the angle of the top straps and how they are mounted sideways creates a bit of stress on the old “traps”. But functionally as a bino deployment and protection system the design is awesome.
Tenzing the pack is comfortable, it’s in expensive and it protects your binos but honestly I don’t have much to say about this pack. I am sponsored by Tenzing and I feel they make excellent backpacks, that are very intuitive, comfortable and full of features. This pack is not… I can honestly say I would not recommend it to anyone. It’s a shame because I love my Tenzing 2220, 1250 and CF Legend these are my go to packs and fit all my hunting needs.
S4 Gear this pack has some cool features and was light weight and easy to use. The harness itself was very comfortable and easy to wear. The rangefinder harness was very well thought out. Although this pack was full of features it just had too much going on for lack of better terminology it’s a bit sloppy. All in all a nice pack for the money but not my first choice.
Alps well made, comfortable, slim, light and easy to use. You get a lot of the same features of units that cost a lot more for a mere $49 price tag. The components were quality and easy to adjust and form fit to suit your body. The binos fit in well and were easy to manipulate. This is a great pack and is our top pick for the B group and really wasn’t far behind our top pick overall because of what you get for the money. Honestly I don’t see a reason why anyone who was looking for a pack in this price range not buy this pack…
I had to get critical because really all the packs in the upper category shined in one area or another so it really came down to what was more important to you, comfort, features or function.. So who was my top choice ? I Well you already know who we chose for group B but the winner of group A and overall winner is the Marsupial gear pack. The functionality of the unit far outweighed any of its shortcomings. I am very big on functionality as are most of my team members we don’t like to sacrifice anything in the field. This pack really fit this bow hunter’s needs. It was a very tough choice between the FHF gear and the marsupial packs and really I wish they would have a baby together and take the comfort of the FHF and the functionality of the Marsupial add the FHF rangefinder pouch and they would have an unstoppable combo. Well I hope this will help you make your decision wisely to suit your needs I don’t think you can go wrong with either the AGC, FHF, or marsupial depending on your style and needs of hunting.
Test parameters: A groupKuiuFHF gearAlaskan GuideMarsupial Weight/perceived weight109710 Ease of use/functionality88810 Durability9101010 Warranty10101010 Components81099 Mounting accessories09108 Comfort 71088 Totals52666265Test parameters: B groupS4 gearAlpsTenzing Weight/perceived weight9109 Ease of use/functionality986 Durability7106 Warranty101010 Components797 Mounting accessories700 Comfort 797 Totals5656450