As regulars to this site would know – I tend to think a lot about how I carry equipment around while in the bush. On every trip out, I have been trying to reduce weight and achieve the goal of being able to hunt while carrying everything I need on my back. The ability to stalk all day, then stop and set up camp whenever it suits, means a lot more flexibility in where you go and how you plan your trip. No need to head back to camp at the end of the day; no need to return to any centralised point.
So – in the quest to reduce and simplify, I got a couple of the Hunters Element Edge Pouches to play with.
The Three Pouches
Hunters Element Edge Pouches
I had a particular plan for these – but wasn’t sure what I would need – so I got one of each.
You won’t fit a box of ammo in the small, the medium, one and nearly a second, and the large will take three – with space on top – I tried putting a fourth box in there, but it won’t zip closed at that point.
All the pouches have a mesh divider on the back face and sewn-in ammo holders.
All are made out of the same material as the packs, the DRYstealth water-resistant material. So – not going to make too much sound when pushing through the bush.
They are all designed to be put onto a belt (generally a wide one) and have a decent amount of padding on the back where they will be pushing into your hip. Of course – I was never planning on using them as originally intended!
Replacing the Ribz
Now, those who know me, know I do love my Ribz Front Packs. In fact, I import and sell them over at the Gearlocker – however, never content – I was interested to know if I could get away with leaving it at home – considering I was now planning on carrying the pack with me at all times. The Ribz Pack weighs 315 grams – so it’s not that heavy – considering it gives me around 11 litres of storage, readily accessible. I think that was the main consideration – readily accessible. The one issue with just using a pack – I would have to stop to get things like the map, GPS and so on out of it. Sure, you can put them in a front pocket if you are wearing a jacket – but most of the time, I am in a long-sleeved shirt – not something that can carry a lot in it.
So, while the Boundary Pack I use has a front hip belt pocket on it – I was keen to increase the amount I could carry on my hips – in the hope, it would be enough to replace the front pack.
So, only the large pack will fit over the hip belt. The medium is just going to be too tight. Not really an issue, though, as I quickly ascertained I would want to use the large pouch anyhow.
One of these is on each side, and I think I will be a long way towards enough storage. Map, compass, snacks – that’s all I need to have handy. It’s not a lot, but I don’t want to have to stop to get them.
That’s the medium on the left, large on the right – the medium doesn’t slip back far enough to be usable. Initial impressions are that it won’t be sticking out too much on the sides – but it will take a couple of days of bush bashing to assess that.
While playing around – I also found I could put the small pouch up on the shoulder straps. It sits up high – just below the collarbone – but could be another spot for a few small items. I initially thought the GPS – but I would prefer not to have it on the pack – just in the truly dire situation where I need to ditch it for some reason.
Realistically – I would now have a pile of unneeded padding going on – but it should achieve what I want it to do. Ideally, the bag would come like this – without the too-small to-be-a-useful pocket on the left and the (personally) useless rifle-carrying system on the right. Mount the pockets directly to the belt and make the pack that much more friendly to an overnight lightweight bush-stalking rig.
However, one little issue would remain. One of the awesome aspects of the RIBZ pack is the ability to be able to drop the main pack and still have the essentials on you. This certainly decreased as an issue as I have reduced the pack weight and made it viable always to carry the backpack anyhow – but I am still wary of having all the kit in the pack. I still liked the idea of at least having the basic survival essentials separate and on my person at all times.
It occurred to me that due to the low weight of the pack, I tend to lift the whole system up a bit higher – not needing to sit on my hips to transfer weight. Therefore, I have the trouser belt available underneath the hip belt of the pack.
As it turns out, a simple solution – the small pouch will be enough to carry the PLB, compass and first aid/survival basics. It can live on the belt and will mean that those basics are right there when I need them. No. I won’t be wearing jeans out into the bush anytime soon. Cotton kills – remember?
Overall, while not made for it – it does look like the pouches will work. However, now I need to find a spare weekend where I can head out and test the theory!