View Full Version : Day Pack and GPS recommendations

David Walter
07-18-2003, 11:52 PM
I just moved out west, and in the move my Bianchi Endurance pack and Etrex Vists GPS "came up missing." the movers gave me the $$ to buy new ones.

What pack would you recommend for hunting/daytrips? MUST have a hydrocell of some sort.

Which GPS unit is the best value, and which is the best in the field? Anyone mount theirs on their bike?

What do you think of the Rino (GPS with FRS/GMRS radios built in)?

dww mr_walter2@yahoo.com

07-19-2003, 07:14 AM

I'm not familiar with the specific bianchi pack you mention.

I bought a daystalker...it's everything it's supposed to be & more...the cargo chair and gun bearer system is awesome..my only complaint (my fault-not Patricks') is that I should have bought the next size up..i still get intimidated by the vastness of our place in co. and tend to err on the side of too much stuff. (but i'm getting better)

I replaced a garmin 12xl, and motorola talkabout radio with one of the new rino units last year, as did my brother, father, and hunting partner.

In general, we like the units, but there are a few concerns.

The gps operation is not as "intuitive" as the 12xl..this may be more a function of how many years we had used & gottem familiar with our old gps units.

The joystick operation is terrible...very hard to change functions/screens accurately, esp. with gloves on, and none of us have "huge" hands.If they update this model with a rocker style switch like the other garmins' my son will inherit this one and i'll have a new one.

The radio performance is good, but is not quiet..very annoying "static squawk" before & after conversation..not a big deal if your just hiking/camping, but potentially very frustrating in a hunting situation. The motorolas didn't have this problem. I contacted garmin w/this concern and their advice was to use the earpiece..that wasn't really the answer i was after.

We really like the fact that you can combine 2 pieces of equip. with one.

The units are lightweight.

The gps seem to orient itself much faster and be more accurate than our old ones.

the vibrate feature for the radio is handy.

The fact that you know where everybody is when they are talking to you is a huge benefit..if you've ever tried to tell someone exactly where you were after following a blood trail and realizing that while you weren't exactly lost, you weren't precisely sure where you where, either, you'll know what i mean. What did Brian Keith say in The Mountain Men..that he'd "never been lost, but he'd been tolerable confused for 6 months or so"

The bottom line is that just like any other "multi-function" tool you have some compromises..i don't dislike it to the point that i've went back to carrying the 2 separate pieces, and it may be that garmin has fixed some of the nitpicks..mine was one of the first available (it was pre-ordered forever)units from cabelas...we waited almost a year for them.

After my experience with the people at Kifaru and the pack they made for me, i would highly endorse anything that they make, and plan to purchase from them in the future.

I would spend my money again on the rino, it has a few issues, but i think the positives outweigh the negatives.

hope this helps,


07-19-2003, 09:27 AM
I have a Spike Camp, and it's a wonderful daypack. My longhunter is equally good as a full frame pack. But if I were to buy a new daypack today I'd seriously consider the Late Season because of the better frame. I pack out elk quarters with the Spike Camp, and it works just fine, though. In either case, get the cargo chair, and a possibles pouch, as that's where you put the "get it now" items.

For a daypack, 2000 cubic inches is all you need. I find the older I get, the more I carry, but I did fine without all this stuff in years past. Either one will be an excellent daypack, and will haul all you need. Loads over 100 lbs are pushing it for me. But the little Spike Camp will do it well.

Jim T
07-19-2003, 11:55 AM
I'll second what Kevin said about the Spikecamp. I have only had it little while, but I love it. The nice thing about it is that it will haul a lot of stuff, but will also qualify as an airline carry on. I looked at the Bianchi Endurance, but am sure glad I bought the SC.

I have a Garmin GPSMap 76S, and I have been very impressed with it. It has more memory than I will ever need. Famous last words. We all said that about 20 meg hard drives in the mid 80's.


07-19-2003, 01:01 PM
Being a gearphile, I have a Bianchi, a Spikecamp, and a Long Hunter. The Bianchi hangs on a peg in the shed between turkey seasons. My usual day-hunt setup is the Spike Camp and Top Pack strapped to the Hauler portion of the Long Hunter until I get to the ridgetop. I leave the frame and top pack with gamebags, and (if snowy) rolled up plastic toboggan in a tree so I'll at least save a 2200-foot climb if I have game by the end of the day. Structurally speaking, the Spike Camp clearly can handle a heavy load. However, I have to be honest and say that I'm a little less enthusiastic about hauling even a bone-in muley quarter with that pack because I generally strip down to a single layer when hiking and the straps tend to get a little uncomfortable on my shoulders (even with the hip belt cranked down). I'd like to see a wider and thicker shoulder pad on that model and I may have to see what I can devise this fall. On the other hand, the Long Hunter (or Hauler) is a game packin' machine. I've gotten incredibly spoiled having the Cargo Chair to save my buns when glassing or taking a break, so don't even consider not selecting that option. I'd have to say that the Spike Camp is also the best backcountry skiing pack I've ever used.

07-21-2003, 11:01 AM
Daystalker or Spikecamp they really work and can carry a lot of gear. All the add ons are great for setting you up for a long day or short night. Simply great products!