An Eberlestock X2 backpack will NOT be your most essential piece of hunting gear — but it could become essential for carrying that essential gear! And that is essentially the message of this Eberlestock X2 day pack review.
There was a time when a deer, bear or elk hunter went afield with a gun in his hands, a knife on her belt, a coat on his back and a sandwich in her pocket. Now we can’t seem to leave the cabin without a regiment’s list of gear:
Deer Hunter’s Checklist in Need of an Eberlestock X2
License and tag
Gun and ammo
Knife and sharpener
Otis cleaning kit
Rapid Rod barrel restriction remover
Brite Strike APALS signal lights
Kestrel wind meter
Spare batteries for everything
Doe bleat call
Doe-pee & estrus scents
Scent killer spray
First aid kit
Lightning Strike fire starter
Rain jacket and pants
Yup. We need a pack. Not too bulky and heavy, but roomy enough and with enough pockets to organize all that gear for quick access. For me the Eberlestock X2 with its 12 compartments has been a darn good fit.
Years ago I wore an earlier version of the Eberlestock X2 for several hunting seasons — so much that I wore holes in it. You can see it online in a bunch of the old Winchester World of Whitetail TV shows like this one from South Dakota. This new X2 model I’m testing now looks equally functional with a few improvements and additional features. Let’s go through them:
Let’s Review the New Eberlestock X2
Volume: 1,830 cubic inches (enough for all my junk and maybe even yours.)
Weight: 4 pounds, 12 ounces (I’d like a pound less, but can’t fault this pack for toughness.)
Oversized compression straps: (For strapping elk quarters or half a deer to the pack. These I’d trade for less weight.)
Tubular aluminum Intex internal frame: Well, partly internal. You can see some of the tubes along the sides under the shoulder straps. I love this frame. It gives the pack structure, helps it stand upright and adds support and stability for sitting to shoot. If I fold out the bottom flap (what Eberlestock humorously labels a Big FlexChassis) and sit on it, the pack is anchored. The flap provides a bit of protection against wet ground. I then wrap the belt strap around my legs to support them as a platform for my elbows. My portable bipod under the rifle’s forearm completes the package and I’m steady for a sitting shot out to at least 450 yards.
If I’m in a hurry I can stand the pack in front and rest my arm or forearm stock over it. For prone shots I merely lay the Eberlestock X2 lengthwise to get padded support for nearly the entire length of the rifle plus some of my chest and arms.
Comfortable Considerations of the Eberlestock X2
Vented back: Keeps your back away from the pack material to reduce sweating.
Padded hip belt: This is covered in nylon mesh to reduce sweating, too. It’s padded with just the right stiffness and cushion. Two external pockets with zippered top access are perfect for little supplies like knife, headlamp, fire starter, lip balm, extra cartridges, etc.
Long, front-zippered side pockets: At 17 inches tall and 7 inches wide, these hinged “wing pockets” are snugged against the side of the pack via compression straps with quick snap buckles. Loosen the straps and the wings flare out to expose side walls with PALS-style webbing for Molle gear attachments or for simply tying things on. Eberlestock calls this its PadlockTM system and it covers several areas of the pack. The wing pockets themselves have full length, waterproof zippers. They are just the right size for spotting scope, 100-400 Canon zoom lens, small tripods or a rain jacket rolled up. There is an external, nylon, drawstring pouch near the bottom of each wing pocket for holding a water bottle, rangefinder, spare gloves — whatever. A deeper sleeve on the other side of each wing can hold a 70-ounce hydration bladder or anything else you want to slip in there.
I find these side wings perfect for holding a rifle or tripod against the main compartment. I just slide the rifle between the main pack pouch and side pouch, putting the bottom in the hydration pocket. Snug down the compression straps and everything rides tight. I often slip my Rattling Forks under the compression straps, too, and in dry weather I love carrying my spotting scope already mounted on the tripod strapped to the pack.
That Big FlexChassis bottom flap is also useful for strapping a coat, tent, sleeping pad, etc. to the bottom of the pack. Its two compression straps snap to the top lid to snug these together. The top compartment (sort of a lid to the main pack compartment) is itself a large pocket in which I might carry a camera, range finder, snacks, first aid kit… A small, flat, zippered pocket on front of this top compartment and another on the face of the main pack compartment are nice for licenses, tags, spare ammo or maps.
The main pack compartment is a top loader about 18-inches tall, 10-inches wide and 6-inches deep. Plenty of room for stuffing vests, coats, seat cushions, sleeping bag, small stove, more lunch, another camera, a hind quarter or fresh cape (now there’s a welcome idea!) — your choice. And if you need more room, there’s a light nylon extension collar with a drawstring closure that adds three or four more inches of space.
If you want additional ways to pack in a gun or bow, you can add Eberlestock’s ARCG ButtBucket or Side Scabbard.
I rarely use the ice ax loop straps on the bottom corners of the pack, but I use the sternum strap to snug the shoulder straps together. I love the load-lifter straps atop the shoulder straps for pulling the pack closer to my shoulders. Quite comfortable. There is no vertical adjustment feature to tailor the pack for various torso lengths, but I find it a comfortable fit, and I’m the old average American male at 5’ 10”.
I got this new Eberlestock X2 pack in Eberlestock’s own “Doppleganger” camo which looks retro cool to me. I don’t think it will mean a thing to game, but most of us know camo is designed to fool us, not the game we hunt.
By the way, this pack’s dimension are such that it qualifies as a carry-on with most airlines as long as you don’t overstuff it. I use it routinely when flying and haven’t been told to check it yet. Of course, given current airlines trends, carry-on size could be reduced to your wallet.
Perhaps you’re one of those rare hunters who can fit your essential gear in your pockets, but if you’re like most of us, I’m betting you’ll appreciate the organizing and carrying features of the new Eberlestock X2 day pack. If you’re looking to buy, 1800GunsandAmmo.com or 1800Gear.com has them. Save $20 if you use the code SPOMER.
Ron Spomer started backpacking in 1975 and enjoyed his first backpack elk hunt in 1976. He’s since tested and carried more packs than he can easily remember, but he finds the Eberlestock X2 just about perfect for day hunts.