Guest Writer: Ryan R.
A rifle, some ammo, my strapping and able 17-year-old son and his shiny new adventure vehicle… big hopes today for a black bear! Off we go with an exciting new prospect to our existing gear – The Park Pack by Uncharted Supply Co. My initial impression of the Park Pack includes descriptors like ‘handsome, tidy, sturdy and well put together’. I intentionally loaded this pack with several heavy items including a small stainless steel revolver, a multi-tool, my phone, a small survival pack and more to see if it really wouldn’t sag or bounce. Size matters! This is delineated as a hip pack, not an expedition pack. Though it is small (175 cubic inches/2.8L storage), it would certainly be welcome on a larger excursion as an accoutrement to your larger bag. It certainly is compact and stands at the ready for short, on-the-fly trips to a ball game, the Zoo or to the neighborhood kiddie park with the littles.
The two water bottle receptacles are deep and snug enough so that there are no worries about the proverbial water bottle flop and drop. This hip pack comes with two adequate plastic water bottles with sippy tops. A big plus is that the receptacles receive our own larger capacity, thermal bottles as well. Should you decide to nix the bottle receptacles, the manufacturer states that “Both hip straps feature MOLLE straps, allowing both water bottle holders to detach, leaving room for alternative add ons – bear spray, fishing net, holster, etc. Inside the pack is a slim pocket fitted perfectly for our Triage Kit – covering your first aid and gear repair essentials (sold separately)”.
The word ‘fanny’ seems to have dropped out of the industry vernacular for this style of bag. I, however, happen to wear mine just north of my derriere. Surely the most comfy pack of it’s kind that I have worn. It rides firm and high, so horseback or biking with the Park Pack would be very doable.
Our day hunt put it through mild to moderate testing. I noticed minimal amounts of lower back sweat even at a high exercise levels. The plan was to hike in about a mile along the side of a mountain using game trails. It was then time to sit and glass the other side of the mountain. I had the opportunity to lean back against the mountain as we sat and scanned for our quarry. The back of the hip pack with its pillowed design actually doubled nicely as a place to rest the back of my head. The hunt/hike became more like a climb/slog after my son spotted a big bear! The situation got rather rigorous. We were in some rugged terrain (if one doesn’t possess paws or hooves), but for the shoe leather express it was quite unwelcoming.
My nimble son took off for a better location to get a shot at the bear. I followed after and found myself climbing up and down rock rubble and patches of thick brush. The Pack proved itself as I had to stay close enough to my son in this rough country. My thoughts turned more toward safety than excitement so the Park Pack just became part of me and I noticed that it did not get snagged as I crawled through the brush. It held up well when scraped against the rocks as I slid down. Things got kind of dicey and the Park Pack took some abuse, but was not burdensome! It took some definite scrapes to the chin, however, the dirt, dust and minor scratches cleaned up nicely with a moist towel.
While the Park Pack ultimately scored high on our adventure, some possible imperfections are that the phone pouch (while perfectly positioned atop the pack) was just a hair small for my phone, however, it’s a great place for credit cards or cash and the like. I wasn’t able to test the water resistant aspect, but the zipper design did indeed keep the dust out. Perhaps a minor drawback to the clever zipper design is that it is very stiff to open and close. While closing the phone pouch portion I even bent the zipper pull tab. The bear still roams freely, but we got back to the vehicle safely and immensely enjoyed the testing of this quality product. Another Park Pack perk is a happy spouse! Though disappointed with no bear for her crock pot, my lovely wife got to do her own test on a 5 mile foothill hike and she was a very happy camper.
The Park Pack from Uncharted Supply Co is priced at $119.00 (without the survival kit) ; Seems a little spendy, but I believe that you get what you pay for and this is truly a product we will be thankful to use for many years to come. The Park Pack also comes in three colors- Olive, Black and Gunmetal. Pictured is the Olive color. We would recommend this product to the hiker, biker, seasoned adventurer and the beginner.
Ryan & Family