SJK is the new branding for the Slumberjack Gear Company, an old name in the world of outdoor equipment. This rebranding isn’t just a catchy marketing gimmick, it represents the companies return to their roots… A product line dedicated to camping, hiking, hunting, and overland expedition. When we met one of their account executives at the Outdoor Retailer 2015 we quickly learned of this production shift back to our kind of equipment, we swapped a few overland expedition stories, and we left with some gear for testing and review. One of the things we received was an SJK carbine 2500 pack in Kryptek highlander.
Overall, this is a great light to medium hunting pack. The pack itself is lightweight, fully adjustable, well designed, and well made. The Carbine 2500 maintains its light weight mainly via two features: the streamlined essentials-only design and the choice of nylon over cordura material in its construction. By choosing to produce the pack out of nylon instead of cordura SJK was able to keep the weight and price of the pack down. Many people prefer nylon over cordura for durability reasons as well. Although Nylon is not necessarily as “heavy duty” as cordura it stretches and has more give to it, this can prevent it from tearing in situations where cordura would. The various Kryptek camo patterns this pack is available in, although not ideal for military or security contract work, is very well suited to hunting. The hard lines and sharp angles make this pattern relatively easy to pick out in rural environments to the trained eye, but with the right pattern for your area you can be as good as invisible to most game animals. The storage areas of the pack are also well designed and can easily carry a full 72 hour kit. The main compartment is large and easy to access, the smaller compartments are well placed and can keep important items like medical equipment, water bottles, and ammunition very handy. The pack easily carries a rifle or carbine and makes a great shooting rest, complete with easily accessible soft loops for rounds. The open area between the main compartment and smaller pouches on the back can also be used to carry a sleep system or the head of a trophy game animal after a successful hunt. These features make the pack excellent for stalk hunting. This pack adjusts to fit a very wide range of individuals, and therefore carries well when properly adjusted. It does not contain a frame system so we don’t recommend using it as a heavy pack. I found anything over 50lbs to be uncomfortable for extended trips. During testing I carried the pack approximately 30 miles over varying terrain with varying loads over one particular two day period. The pack now contains a 72 hour loadout and stays in the storage system of the Bone Tactical Overland Expedition Vehicle for overnight hunting or hiking trips. It took the place of a US Military three day pack.
The one negative we found with the pack was that the base/bottom of the pack was not reinforced with a denser or thicker layer of fabric. We believe packs should have a reinforced bottom because of the increased abuse the base of a pack often receives during descents from elevation. When descending from elevation at a sharp grade that in climbing terms would be considered a “scramble”, one often has to resort to sliding down on the buttocks. This is a sure way to tell the quality of material of your pants, and the bottom of your pack. We have ripped many pairs of pants and many packs. I wear pants made out of fire hose material for this very reason. The lightweight nylon this pack is made out of is simply too easy to snag on sharp rocks and debris. We recommend this pack to anyone who is a stalk hunter or hikes any distance to their tree stand or blind. Because of the material not being reinforced at the base, we can’t recommend this pack to anyone who would be using it in extremely mountainous terrain.
Light, well made, functional, carries a rifle well and makes an effective shooting rest, moderately priced.
Bottom of pack not reinforced for abrasion during descent from elevation.
8 out of 10 Bones.