Product Review (submitted on August 13, 2010):
I saw this pack on a Youtube video and was intrigued. It was not yet listed in the Duluth website and the video responses said it was a custom pack. I received an email from Harpoon who informed me the pack was listed on the site. Details showed it was designed by Mike Lummio of Bushcraft Northwest who also designed the BCNW-01 Bushcraft Knife which I own and is one of my favorites.
Like many bushcraft practioners, I am always on the lookout for practical, durable gear. I own several backpacks, but they are either too large or too small. As mentioned in an earlier post, recently my outings are 2-3 days usually 2-3 miles into the woods, so I'm not looking for aerospace suspension and superultra light weight materials. I need a tough, practical mid-size pack. I was also gravitating towards traditional materials like a Duluth type pack. I've grown tired of mil-spec OD green and SWAT black nylon.
Enter the Duluth Bushcrafter. I emailed Mike Lummio and he gave me some details about the pack. Based on his recommendation, I placed an order. Found out that the base price of $370.00 went up to $395.00 in waxed canvas. I was going on a canoe trip in Maine and thought this could be the pack.
A few days later, I received a call from Molly at Duluth who advised me that I was the first person to order this new pack. I told Molly when I needed the pack by and she assured me they would try to make the deadline as the packs are made one at a time.
The pack arrived 3 days prior to my departure date which gave time to play. First impressions;
Very heavy duty 18 oz. waxed canvas. Straps are leather and securely stitched and also heavy duty. Side compression starps , nylon with fastex type buckles. Weight on my digital fish scale 4 pounds, 9 ounces. The capacity is listed as between 3900 and 4200 cubic inches.
I like the two front pockets with sleeves behind for a folding saw or similar items. An axe sleeve which I like as axes are sometimes hard to pack and secure. On this pack just slip it into the sleeve and it's secure and protected. I packed the pack for my trip. It carried sleeping bag, pad, tent and poles, tarp, clothes, all tools, water and cooking gear. I didn't line the pack with plastic as I wanted to test the water repellency of the waxed canvas. All items were in waterproof stuff sacks as a precaution.
The pack carries well even with upwards of 40 pounds of weight. Tha padded leather and canvas which feel great. The hip belt also helps stabilize the load.
How did it perform?
The pack did great!! When placed in the canoe, it was wet from rain and river water, yet didn't absorb much. No water was transferred into the pack. On portages, it carried very confortably compared to traditional canoe packs. I was never in fear of damage when it was placed on the wet, muddy ground. Though dirty and used, it gained character and has more of that "just belongs" look of Duluth products. For me personally, this pack fills a void in my equipment allowing flexibility for many outings from overnight to longer trips. This is my new favorite go to pack.
Hats off to Mike Lummio and Duluth Pack.