Pat’s Product Review: Eberlestock Gunslinger II Pack

I have literally lost count of the number and different types of backpacks I have owned and tried over the years. And, to be sure, there is no one backpack that suits everyone the same. I believe backpacks are a very personal thing, and you can’t select one for someone else. Everyone in my family has a different type of Bug Out Bag – always have! At one point, when I was quite a bit younger, I used a US military CFP 90 pack – and that thing could hold something like 6,500 cubic inches of stuff. Fully loaded, it was more than 60 pounds, and that wasn’t counting an extreme cold weather sleeping bag – which added a lot more weight. My CFP 90 is in the closet of my office now – retired!
Take a look at any sporting goods store backpack section, or in any sporting goods catalog, like Cabela’s or any other similar store, and you’ll be overwhelmed with the number and different styles of backpacks they carry – so much so, that your head will spin. It’s no easy task choosing a backpack. You have several considerations to think about – how much stuff do you want to carry? How much stuff can you carry – for any distance or length of time? Are you looking at long-term camping or bugging out? Or, are you looking at a 3-day BOB? Are you gonna carry extra clothing (always a good idea) and how much food are you going to carry? How much survival and camping gear are you taking with you? The questions are about as endless as the backpack selection is. My family and I have decided on a 3-day BOB – but we usually have more than 3-days worth of food in our BOB – and plenty of survival and live-off-the-land gear, for extended periods of time, if need be.
Ready Made Resources recently sent me a sample of an amazing backpack, made by Eberlestock – and if you know anything about name brand backpacks, you will readily recognize the Eberlestock name – Special Forces military guys know the name – well! Ready Made Resources sent me the “Gunslinger II” (G2) pack, and it is quite a pack, to be sure. The Gunslinger II is the hunting version of the G2M tactical pack – and be sure to check out the Ready Made Resources web site – they have a good varieties of Eberlestock backpacks to choose from. The G2M is the pack of choice for the US Navy SEALs – that says a lot about Eberlestock packs in my book. The SEALs don’t use junk.
Originally developed from the GS05 Gunslinger pack, the Gunslinger II pack has a slightly larger gun scabbard. What’s that you said, Pat? Yeah, the Gunslinger II backpack, actually has a long gun scabbard build into the pack, for carrying your favorite high-powered hunting rifle – even those with the biggest optics, can fit into this scabbard. I also tried an AR-15 and an AK-47, and they both fit (not at the same time) into the scabbard – without the magazines inserted in the rifles. The Gunslinger II scabbard is wide at the bottom, for carrying your rifle butt down, or alternatively butt up.
So, you don’t need to pack a high-powered rifle all the time, when you’re just out camping? Great, the scabbard on the G2 folds into the bottom of the pack, and is secured by a buckle. This configuration is good for not only shorter rifles, but other gear as well. You can fit a lot of extra gear into the rifle scabbard, if you’re not packing a rifle. There are also side handles on the G2, that make it easy to load and unload it from your rig – nice touch. Heavy duty compression straps always allow the G2 to ride quiet and tight. How many packs don’t allow you to snug things up inside, so they don’t rattle or move around? Not many!
There are so many pockets on the G2, that you won’t know what to do with ’em all. I never did manage to fill all the space on my G2 sample. To be honest, you can probably pack more gear in the G2 than you’d want to carry for any length of time or distance. The empty G2 pack weighs-in at 8.5-lbs. Yeah, it’s a bit heavy empty – but you have to look at the material and construction of the pack, to really appreciate how well-made it is. The bag is totally waterproof to start with…and the 1000d Cordura Nylon material is polyurethane coated. I’ve never, in my life, seen a bag that was this well-made! I actually took my gunsmith magnifying goggles out, to closely examine the construction of the G2 – and I couldn’t find a flaw in the material, workmanship or stitching – just that simple!! Impressed? You bet I was – never saw any packs this well-made.
The Gunslinger II has a sophisticated, ventilated, highly adjustable frame system – not a “hard” frame, but a “soft” frame system – you can keep hard-frame systems if you ask me – they are uncomfortable for any distance of length of time. If a pack bounces around while you’re carrying it – that’s not a good thing – ever! You need a pack that you can adjust to your body shape, and one that you can adjust so it fits “just” snug enough – but not too snug, or too loose, either. The G2 comes through in this respect.
Oh yes before I forget, there is a “butt cover” for your rifle – so you can completely enclose your long-gun from the elements – something mighty important, if you are in bad weather conditions for any length of time. There are also PALS webbing on the pack interior and exterior, to help you mount PALS designed additional packs to your G2 – I didn’t see any need to attach any exterior packs to the G2 – it held more than enough gear for my taste. However, if packing an AR-15 the top pocket assembly features a handy internal organizer, with several small pockets, pen holders and a padded pocket with effectively serves equally well for packing extra AR-15 mags.
You aren’t gonna be able to haul a Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle in the G2, but you can sure pack a full-sized high-powered hunting rifle, or some smaller .22 rifles in the carrying scabbard. And, what amazed me was that, the long gun was comfortable to carry when it was in the scabbard. I’ve tried a few other packs, that supposedly allowed you to slip your rifle into a scabbard that was built into it – nope!!! They didn’t work very well – in short order, I could fell the rifle rubbing against my back bone – not a good thing!
While hunting season was still quite a way off, I did take the G2 out on a number of hikes – with a high-powered rifle in the scabbard, and a full 3-day load of food and other survival gear. The pack, with the rifle and gear weighed-in at about 35 pounds, and that’s about all I want to carry these days. There isn’t any room for a sleeping bag with this pack – but you pack accordingly and appropriately. I’m very fortunate, in that, I live out in the boonies – I’m in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, and there are numerous logging roads and hiking trails all over the place. I only have to walk about 150-yards to the nearest closed (to traffic) logging road. I’m always taking my German Shepherds out for walks, and this afforded me the perfect opportunity to put the Gunslinger II to the test – fully loaded, and hit the gravel logging roads for a nice hike with one of my trusted companions.
I’ve had a lot of packs over the years, really cut into my shoulders in very short order, because there really wasn’t any padding in the straps to protect the muscles on my shoulders. That made for a short and aching hike – no doubt about it. The G2 is well-padded, and I never once felt the pack’s straps cutting into my shoulders, like so many other packs have over the years.
The Eberlestock line of backpacks, are available in a number of different camouflage patterns, too – and I’m sure you’ll find one to suit your taste and terrain. Without a doubt, the G2 will literally give you a lifetime of service, and not fail you in any way. The workmanship and material is second to none in my humble opinion. I just don’t see this pack failing you – ever! Sure, you can go to the big box stores, and find some “okay” looking packs, that won’t last you through a week of camping or hiking, and they’ll cut into your shoulders, and they are not very well designed or thought out, They are just plain junk, and you don’t want junk when your survival depends on your gear.
The Gunslinger II retails for $289. Yes, it is a lot of money, but it’s not a lot of money when you closely examine the pack, the design and the material and workmanship. You are getting what you pay for in this pack. And, if the G2 doesn’t fit what you’re looking for in a BOB, check out the other packs on the Ready Made Resources web site – they carry quite a few of the Eberlestock packs and they are very pleased with this company’s products. Ready Made Resources has been around for a lot of years – they provide outstanding products for survival.
If I had the money I’ve wasted over many years, buying and testing other backpacks, I could have easily purchased several G2 packs…and none of the other packs I’ve tested and owned over the years can even begin to come close to the Eberlestock Gunslinger II pack. And, like I said, if this model isn’t to your liking, I’m betting you’ll find a model that will fit your lifestyle and survival needs at Ready Made Resources web site. If there is a better-made backpack out there, I’d like to see it. Nothing I’ve seen even attempts to come close to the G2 for quality materials, workmanship and design – is it any wonder, that the US Navy SEALs use Eberlestock backpacks?
Be sure to check out all the other survival related products that Ready Made Resources carries – and they will be happy to answer any questions you might have about their products. This is a great company to do business with.