Heading into the outdoors for a hunt presents a number of obstacles for which you must prepare. Many of these are resolved with a tool or other bit of kit you take along. All of that kit requires a good pack for hauling it around.
ALPS OutdoorZ has an ingenious backpack system called the Hybrid X. It allows you to easily tote a lot of gear over a long distance plus provides a great way to pack out the meat from any harvested animal. In this review, I take a look at the ALPS OutdoorZ Hybrid X and consider in what kind of hunting it might work best.
The name Hybrid X suggests this hunting backpack is a blend of concepts. Sometimes blending ideas doesn’t work out while other times they go together like peanut butter and chocolate.
To me, the ALPS OutdoorZ Hybrid X is an amazing blend of pack styles.
Fundamentally, the Hybrid X is made of two major components: the frame and the pack. The frame can be used alone or with the pack. In most cases, hunters will use them together but alter their configuration during the hunt. Let me explain.
ALPS OutdoorZ designed the frame with an intricate, but easy to use, network of compression straps. These straps connect the otherwise normal pack to the frame.
You can also introduce slack into the straps to move the pack away from the frame. Additional compression straps can then secure a second package to the frame and cinch the pack on top of it.
For a hunter packing out meat, this is where your butchered game would go – close to the body for even weight distribution and protected by the pack. Of course, you can also elect to carry other cargo here.
The Hybrix X pack is large enough for a day or overnight hunt. It also has a special pocket that works with the compression straps to secure your bow or rifle. The waist belt does a great job of distributing weight across the hips and has additional storage pouches for easy access. You can also secure a pistol like the 10mm Springfield XD-M to the waist belt for bear protection.
Once you harvest your game animal, you wrap the meat for transport and sandwich it between the frame and pack. Then, you hike it out. It’s a straightforward concept, and one that works well.
Part of the reason it works so well is the suspension system that helps support the weight. The Lycra shoulder straps use molded foam to cushion the load while the frame, waist belt and sternum strap all help to distribute the weight for that long march back to the truck.
Best Use Case
While I used the Hybrid X for hunts in the Eastern U.S., the Hybrid X is probably best suited for excursions out west.
The heavy-duty frame and and suspension system are well-suited for a long hike with a heavy load. When weighed down with harvested meat or antler sheds, a pack can get very heavy. But the ALPS OutdoorZ design makes carrying the additional weight much easier as you work your way back down the trail.
I did mention antler sheds for a reason. While the obvious benefit to the Hybrid X is to pack gear in and meat out, the system also works very well for shed hunting.
Deer sheds in my corner of the world are fun to find, but pale in a size comparison to the elk sheds in Montana and Wyoming. If you completely remove the pack from the Hybrid X frame, you are left with the perfect elk shed transportation platform.
The compression straps on the frame allow you to strap several large elk sheds to your back while the weight is handled by the Hybrid X. The side pockets on the waist belt allow you to bring snacks and other important bits with you on the shed hunt.
I used the Hybrid X during multiple hunting and scouting trips to West Virginia and South Carolina.
The Hybrid X’s hydration pocket/port were put to good use during the warmer times of the year while scampering around looking for game sign and travel patterns, especially down in South Carolina.
Hybrid X Features
- 2,750 cubic inch pack – top loading with a front access panel
- 1680D Nylon and other heavy-duty materials for long term durability
- Suspension system with Lycra shoulder straps and molded foam
- A pocket on the pack that allows you, with the compression straps, to carry a rifle or bow securely
- A waist belt that distributes the weight across your hips plus has attachment points for a handgun or bear spray
- Adjustable chest strap
- Rain cover
- Pocket for a Camelbak or other hydration system
The ALPS Outdoorz Hybrid X is a remarkable piece of hunting gear. While it may not be the best hunting backpack for every adventure, it is a superb option for many hunters who anticipate hauling harvested meat – especially over a long distance.
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