Which Seek outside setup

outdoor_matt

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
161
Location
Lethbridge, Alberta
Hi all, I’m about to try a SO pack setup and for those who have one, I’d like some advice.

Here in Alberta I do a lot of day hunts for mule deer, and then several 3-6 day hunts for elk, with plans on going for bighorn sheep next year (max 5 or 6 days likely as I have a young family right now). I both rifle and bow hunt. I carry a spotter and tripod A LOT and like quick access to those tools. I do a bit of late season multi day hunts as well, so snow is generally involved.

For my circumstances which setup?
Brooks or the Goshawk with lid and Merlin daypack? I do already have the Merlin and really like it on it’s own.

Or could someone even do a 5 day sheep hunt with the peregrine 3500?

I will also note that I most often have a partner for the multi day hunts. Some solo stuff.

Thanks!


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netman

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Mar 30, 2018
Messages
181
Location
Indiana
I have the SO Saker. With its two outside side pockets stowing your spotting scope is no problem. Quick access! The Saker is similar to the Brooks in size. However the Saker separates from the frame to carry meat or whatever to avoid blood in the bag.
After three separate trips out west for elk, mule deer and antelope this year I never separated the bag from the frame. I just piled the game bags full of meat into the pack and got to humping.
 
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outdoor_matt

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Jan 19, 2014
Messages
161
Location
Lethbridge, Alberta
Awesome, thanks for the tip! Yeah my thinking was if I am going with a bag as big as the Brooks, there is no way I need the breakaway feature. The bag will hold more than I can carry, I'm sure. The only advantage with going with the Saker, it seems, is that it gives me the option of putting a smaller bag (like the peregrine) on it in the future. The more I read about the brooks, the more it seems like such a simple and clean design, with so many configurations. The only thing is I could see it being a bit large for a summer scout pack, but the Merlin may be decent in that role.
 

Dkd

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Jul 12, 2017
Messages
31
Location
North CA
I have the Brooks, my son has the Saker. I’ve had mine longer and love it. It is extremely flexible if you only want to deal with one pack. It compresses down perfectly for a day pack by just relocating several straps. We packed out an elk and the one thing with the Saker is my sone stripped off the bag and just used the frame and meat shelf for a couple trips. Also think the Saker will frame will come in handy for packing odd loads like a float tube or sim. The 2 long side pockets I feel give the best options for gear. We haven’t tried it but I believe there was a discussion about Saker being able to run bladder between bag and frame, another consideration. We hang in 1 side pocket and it works just fine.
 

Jimbob

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Feb 27, 2012
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781
Location
Smithers, BC
Hey Buddy

I am really thinking about the SO packs as well. The Goshawk with a lid is so close to perfect, just needs to be bigger. I really like a big main bag. Hunting with Josh I have extra stuff of his to carry, also I went on a hike with Abby this year and it was nice to have a large main bag to carry her stuff. Next summer we are going on a family hiking trip and I know I am going to be loaded down big time for that. So if you think you might be doing family backpack trips in the future then a large bag is the ticket.

So the Goshawk the same size as the Brooks is my dream pack. If I had to buy a SO pack right now I would probably go for the Broadwing then cut off the upper side pockets and leave the bottom ones. I don't like big side pockets and want side compressions straps as well, reason why the brooks doesn't appeal to me.

Also, I would add a lid. It gives a little organization and easy to get to items quickly. More importantly, though, I find it cinches things down better and a way to attach items like horns and antlers. Also, throw a spotting scope or rain gear under the lid and it is so quick to get at. I just find it a very useful and versatile component of my pack.

Last but not least, Kevin (the SO owner) is easy to contact here on Rokslide. I chatted with him and he gave me some good insight. IMPORTANT the packs are very conservative in their ci specs. Just compare dimensions of SO packs and Kifaru packs and you will see that something doesn't add up. Basically, Kevin said that 4800 ci size of the Goshawk is going to be much bigger than a typical 4800 pack. No funny business by anyone just things are measured a little differently from each company.
 

netman

Senior Member
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Mar 30, 2018
Messages
181
Location
Indiana
I ran my bladder in one of the external bags. I have a lid for my Saker too. I used the lid for two headlamps, folding knife and snacks. I keep a poncho in the same pouch as my bladder for sudden rain burst.
More than satisfied with my Saker.
I would love to attend at outdoor show or two this winter where SO has a booth. I would like to chat with them about getting more out of my pack. It’s like a IPhone way more going on than what the eye can see.
 

wiiawiwb

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Messages
268
Location
In the mountains
I come from the backpacking world and was used to having a myriad of pockets and access to the main bag by way of a zipper. When I looked at SO bags I immediately discounted the Revolution 6,300 as it was zipperless.

Thankfully, I rethought my process of using the pack and got the Revolution 6,300. Added a top lid, two large belt pouches, and a Talon and I have plenty of capacity without having to access the main bag. That means everything inside it stays pristinely dry. On day hikes, the main bag rolls down into nothing and out of the way.

In your case, you don't need a Talon as you have the Merlin. Add the Revolution and you've got a awesome setup. The Saker, Brooks, and Goshawk are also fantastic options. It's just a a question of which setup fits your needs best.
 

Huntingpreacher

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Aug 8, 2017
Messages
245
Location
Castle Rock, Co
Of the options you listed I'd go with the Brooks or Saker. It's all the pack you'll ever need and, as mentioned, compresses to a 2400 ci day pack. I've hauled two elk with the Brooks. It has an internal load shelf that is super helpful.
 

WyoHnt300

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Feb 18, 2015
Messages
112
Location
Wyoming
I ran/am running the SO Peregrine, lid and Merlin this year. Have day-packed with the Merlin alone, several times in different weather. Two 4-day runs with the whole setup one was fair weather and the other was cold and really wet, never had an issue with the pack. Still using it for late season elk and whitetail, rifle and bow. I have nothing to complain about. I really like how a rifle sits in/on the pack for easy access when on a bomber day trip. I don't know if the design was intentional but a sling fits great over the top of the stays and the rifle rests against the pack/you with very little if any movement.
Have packed three animals thus far, pronghorn, deer, and elk. The meat shelf is simple, dynamic, and a must.
Overall I've found the set-up near perfect for what I've done this year, including shed hunts and summer fishing trips. I would love to see SO take a run at a bat-wing modular similar to the EXO Horn Hauler. I've been trying to persuade Lee to test this project out but may end up having to fabricate one for myself.
 

Kevin_t

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Dec 2, 2012
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501
Location
Colorado
The rifle with sling sitting in head scoop was intentional .. also works pretty good as a field rest (the scoop) .

Batwing, we have done just the wings of the brooks as a tester. It works fine on its own. The reason we have not offered it , is we feel people may go a little crazy with it and get a little out of hand in a Jed Clampett sort of way and that it may be hard to support all the weird iterations (I'm running a lid / talon and two long side pockets over a saker while using the load shelf and it's really strappy anything you can do sort of thing ?) . Otherwise, we would offer it and it works well .

As a side note: Lee actually used that setup on our Escalante pack rafting trip with a pack bag . In the end, brooks and saker were easier for big loads and keeping it all contained
 
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Wrongside

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Jun 3, 2012
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416
Location
AB
I've been using a Evolution Fortress 6300 pretty much since they came out and when I wear it out, it'll be replaced with as close to the exact same setup as I can get. I carry a spotter and tripod a lot- just strapped in between the Talon and main bag. Usually just leave the spotter on the tripod.
 

Lee Harrison

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Nov 16, 2017
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Bozeman, MT
Batwings were difficult to use. Not bad with full loads but once you had less gear it was just weird. I used it with horns (from my dad's barn, I rarely go shed hunting) and even packed turkey decoys into a spot.

I've ran a few different set ups on different length trips. Hands down my favorite so far is Goshawk with Top Lid and Merlin. I stick my spotter in a side water bottle pocket with the angled eye piece going down and the scope pointing up. Good to note that I always keep that little cover on my spotter. In the other side is my small tripod and water filter. I can reach back and grab my spotter and tripod without taking my pack off. I use a water bottle holster for my Nalgene. In my opinion the Lid and Merlin add enough space to the Goshawk that would make a 7-8 day ultralight trip doable. However, if you are pushing to 10 days the Saker, Brooks, or Broadwing are what I'd be looking at.
 

Ridge Ghost

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Mar 21, 2012
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754
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Missoula, MT
I hunted with a Goshawk this year and really liked it. For what you are looking for, you can do it with the Goshawk and lid. For a longer hunt though you would probably want a larger pack.
 
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outdoor_matt

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Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
161
Location
Lethbridge, Alberta
Fantastic feedback, everybody. All the perspective is great.

James, I am kind of in the same boat as you. I think if the Goshawk was maybe a 5500-6000 CI size, that would be just about perfect. I love the giant water bottle pockets on each side of these bags-that's what I am missing with my SG Sky archer. The sky archer really is a great pack but for me I want the large pockets on each side-especially for the purpose of placing a spotter on one side and a tripod on the other.
I am certainly tempted to try the fortress 6300, as some of you gentlemen have alluded to, but I do think I would miss the side zip, especially when in day mode.
I really like the large side pockets of the peregrine, but the front of it I could without-I think I would actually prefer just running a talon anyways.

So, as I should have my sky archer sold by tomorrow, I plan on making the decision by the end of the week.
Maybe my question should include
Which bag is better in day mode?: Brooks or Goshawk. I get the Goshawk obviously has less material and is lighter, but is the Brooks more handy when in day mode?
Anyways, I don't think an eight day trip is in my future anytime soon, so I'm sure I could get away with the Goshawk size. But like you say James, as the family gets a bit older we will be doing hiking trips, and the extra volume of the Brooks would certainly come in handy.
Lots to consider, again I appreciate all the feedback.
 
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outdoor_matt

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
161
Location
Lethbridge, Alberta
Well I went with the Goshawk, as I got it with the free pack bundle when they had that code running. It came today, and I haven’t had a ton of time to play around with it, but everything about it seems extremely well made. I also am a huge fan of the gatekeepers, the versatility with them is phenomenal.
I’ll write a little review once I use it more and get it dialed.


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wiiawiwb

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Nov 12, 2016
Messages
268
Location
In the mountains
I was very skeptical about the gatekeepers before I bought my Revolution Fortress 6,300. All of my packs, and there have been many, used buckles. I would never go back to buckles. I love the gatekeepers.

Good luck with your Goshawk, you'll enjoy it.
 
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