Cabela’s long company history doesn’t need explaining here; they’ve been in the game for 50-plus years now. While many of their items are geared toward a broad, mainstream consumer, some of their own label items are often surprisingly good, and their upper-end packs have been used by serious hunter for years.
When we contacted Cabela’s, we were happily surprised to learn that they had a brand new pack – the Prestige 85L – and that we’d be the first ones to review it. When it showed up, I was pleasantly surprised. The pack is well designed and intended for serious use by expedition-style hunters.
Frame/suspension: A true external aluminum frame, the design allows for quick and easy separation of pack bag and frame for meat hauling. It’s rigid enough for any size load, complete with foldout meat shelf and cloth flap to help secure it. Six total straps with nearly limitless anchor points and adjustability help keep it tight, and a light bar up high helps to ease the pain.
The suspension is quickly and easily adjustable. The hip belt and shoulder straps were adequate, but could have used more padding, considering the load the pack is designed to carry. Also, guys with bigger waists might want to check the fit to make sure the hip belt padding extends around far enough. Mesh backing allows for decent ventilation. Forward-pull adjustment on the hip belt is great.
Bag: Constructed with their quiet CT450 fabric in Outfitter camo, the pack is also accented with industrial-strength polyester on bottom and trim panels. YKK zippers ensure solid closures, and web gear loops provide a large number of tie/anchor points.
Pockets are smartly placed. Two vertical side pockets add ample storage; a large main compartment with expandable shroud provides extra room for a good camp; the lid provides extra storage; two stretchy side pockets are multi-use; and a quick access front pocket can be used either for spotting scope/tripod or for quick on/off of clothing layers.
Additional features: A gun butt scabbard drops down for securing the rifle on the side; a rain cover is supplied in the lid but can be removed if desired; a 70-oz hydration reservoir is included.
Color/camo options: Cabela’s Outfitter Camo
Best Qualities: Heck of a lot of pack for the money; external frame is ultra-solid for packing big meat loads; frame bar is always a plus for taking pressure off your hips; well planned out and does what you need it to do; supplied rifle holder and rainfly.
Could be better: Heaviest pack in review; could use more beefy horizontal compression straps on main bag; padding on shoulders and hips could be better; no supplied hip pockets.
Cost: $279. Contact: www.cabelas.com.
Similar Cabela’s products to consider: Instinct Fast Tracker (4800 c.i.; 3 lbs., 12 oz.) – $229; Instinct Extreme Frame Pack (4700 c.i.; 7 lbs., 14 oz.) -$299.