“Well, it’s different.” Those were the words from Ryan Avery who was trying to describe the Rokman packs to me over the phone. I don’t recall exactly what we were talking about but Ryan, as usual, was pressed for time. He was in the process of reviewing other products for Rokslide so he asked me if I could do a review on the Rokman pack system as he knows that I am primarily a backpack hunter. I was more than eager to as I had a couple of hunts coming up and as many Roksliders are, I am always looking for the next best and greatest thing, especially when it comes to packs (hey, at least I admit it that I’m a gear junkie. So, there.)
Several days later a HUGE package shows up at my place–and I mean HUGE. I pull out the pack system and my first impression was, “Hmmm, this IS different. Looks like I’ll be wearing luggage on my back.” It wasn’t love at first sight and I really didn’t think that I was going to like it, but it was still kind of like Christmas morning as I was unwrapping it all and laying the system out on the floor.
I had also researched the packs and scoured Rokman’s website looking for information before the packs had arrived just to give me an idea of what I would be reviewing. Ryan had introduced me to one of the owners, Zach Hillman through social media. We talked on the phone about their company and products. Zach is a super informative person, plus they are located in my homestate of Idaho….very cool.
I had learned from the website that this was an all exclusive pack system but one could use each independently if one desired. And I saw the price—–YIKES! $1499.00. Now it seems like that is a lot of money, which it is, but if you were to go out and price these individual items with a comparable pack company, you’d be in that ballpark.
Rokman’s website is very detailed and I will cover the basics but their website is very good and detailed. You can find more information at the Rokman Gear Website. I recently spoke with Zach about some product details. He mentioned that Rokman is about to release an updated and more interactive website.
Rokman Pack System
The Extreme Combo System consists of the Core Flex Harness, Carbon Fiber Pack Frame, Basecamp 5000 pack, Pinnacle 2500 pack, and the Bino Case and Harness which can be clipped into the shoulder harness or be run separately.
You can purchase the entire system or each component individually. The system is made in China and the weights are as follows per my scale:
- Bino Case and Harness–14 ounces,
- Core Flex Harness–3 pounds, 4 ounces,
- Carbon Fiber Pack Frame–3 pounds, 10 ounces
- Basecamp 5000 pack–4 pounds, 12 ounces
- Pinnacle 2500 bag–3 pounds, 12 ounces
- Total System weight– 16 pounds and 4 ounces.
Rokman’s concept is to have your camp in one bag and when you arrive at your destination, you can dump that bag off and be ready to go with your hunting gear. The 2500 basically “piggybacks” the 5000.
Frame and Harness
I’ll cover the frame and the shoulder/core flex harness first. My personal experience and opinion is that the frame is the heart of a pack. If the frame sucks, the rest of the pack is useless and that’s pretty much the problem I’ve had with packs. I’ve had just about every pack system there is on the market and as you all know, some are good, some are bad and some are ugly.
The frame and harness are made of carbon fiber with heavily padded shoulder straps, waist belt, and back support. The frame basically attaches to the Core Flex Harness via Duraflex buckles and clips mounted on the bottom of the belt.
At the core of the Rokman system is the quick-change part of the system which consists of a metal stud that is attached to each of the packs and the frame. This stud goes into a corresponding hole that is on the shoulder harness frame sheet and this sheet has an attached pin which then goes through the stud and secures/locks the system into place. It literally takes seconds to change out the components and it is very secure.
The Carbon Fiber Frame stay has a series of five slots that the buckles from the shoulder straps fit into for individual adjustment which totals five inches. This gives the wearer ample room for adjustment and it is a very nice feature which is easy to do.
The waist belt is very padded and has substantial lumbar support however, it is not adjustable for thickness. Both sides of the waist belt have accessory straps so that the user can attach side pockets, holsters, etc.–the really cool thing about this strap is that it is attached via a buckle that clips into a tab. Super fast and easy to take things on and off without having to wind your way through a maze of straps and buckles–I really liked this. The belt attaches via 1.5” strapping and it does have power pulls. For me, it was very easy to adjust and it was comfortable.
At the time that I received the pack, Rokman only had one size belt which was just a wee bit small for me as I am a 38. I would have preferred a larger waist belt and Rokman has other sizes in the works.
The frame is made of carbon fiber, has a folding cargo shelf with a series of three straps with buckles to secure your item in place and has a removable top bar. The shelf can also be used as a chair as it has a removable foam pad integrated into the bottom of the shelf and it is adjustable by using straps on the side…another nice feature. Rokman lists the carrying capacity of the frame at 250 pounds although I don’t know how that was tested.
Now comes the part that is unique with Rokman and it is a very ingenious way to carry game, rifle or bow. Rokman calls it the “nose-hole” game strap. One can use their imagination on how to carry quarters, heads, bow, rifle, etc., using this system. The basic concept is that it is a load shelf incorporated into the bottom of the frame and each of their packs so that no matter what system you are using, you’ll always have the nose strap with you.
The one drawback to that is it is extra weight if you are using more than one component as each one has it. When the user needs it, a small compartment is unzipped, the nose-hole strap is pulled out, buckled into the corresponding buckle on the frame or the packs and the item being carried is secure. I was able to connect on a nice mule deer buck on one of my trips and I was able to utilize this system. It works VERY well and it’s super easy to work.
As of this review, there were only two packs available, the 2500 Pinnacle and the 5000 Basecamp. But Rokman just released another one called the Scout at 3800 cubic inches. That was one of the things I talked about with Zach about when we were discussing my likes and dislikes–they needed something in between.
The 2500 and 5000 are very similar with the main difference being their sizes. There are multiple compartments on each and they are made of a high strength 420B Denier bonded material that is 100 percent waterproof. I found the material to be “stiff” and even stiffer when it was colder. It is also somewhat noisy, but I did not find it to be annoying or a detriment.
One can obviously tell these packs are very well made just by picking one up and examining them. To me, they resemble a drybag or a piece of waterproof luggage. Matter of fact, although I may be dating myself, anyone remember the old Samsonite luggage commercials where they throw a suitcase into a cage with a gorilla and then the gorilla stomps on it, throws it around and beats the snot out of it?? That’s what these packs remind me of as I’m not sure a gorilla could destroy them.
One of my dislikes about them was that when they reach capacity, that’s it, no more. No more stuffing anything into them as there simply is no give. Both packs have two full-length spotting scope length pockets on the side with four external pockets and two internal pockets. Lots of variations to organize stuff. I really like the scope pockets…..easy to get a spotter in and out and they are secure. As the names imply, capacity is 5000 and 2500 cubic inches. The 5000 has three wrap around compression straps, the 2500 has two. Each pack has multiple loops and tabs to tie on or down other gear.
As mentioned before, this is designed as a system and the Bino Case is no exception. It actually clips into the shoulder straps on the top and on the bottom which provides for a nice secure mount. I find that with some of the bino harnesses on the market, they tend to slip down and since this one is actually attached to the shoulder straps, it stays in one place. One can also run the case with the provided X-type harness that clips together with two clips. It’s a nice design and comfortable with soft mesh material.
I ran the Nikon Laser Force binocular. There was ample room for them, but it might be a tight fit for larger glass. The lid is adjustable for tension and it has a tab which allows the user to pull the lid up and out, fast and easy. There are two internal mesh storage pockets for smaller possibles and tabs on the sides that one could clip items onto. I liked it although I personally prefer a bit more storage as I carry enough items in my bino case to spend the night out if I needed to.
The Rokman extreme combo system does exactly what it is designed to do and it is well made. The variations are endless in what configuration you could use in the backcountry. I tried all of the ways one could use it and what worked for me was running the 5000 Basecamp with just the shoulder harness and Bino Case.
As I mentioned earlier, I shot a mule deer buck about three miles from my tent and I was able to get all the boned out deer, my day gear and rifle easily loaded into the pack and the head on the outside using the nose-hole strap. It was wonderful. It kicked my butt, but I was able to get out all 120 pounds or so in one load. And this was just with the pack and shoulder harness as I did not have the frame with me. The packs do have load lifters which work really well and I did not have any barreling whatsoever. I was a happy camper at how well this pack carried weight and was pleasantly surprised.
If you are a backcountry dude or dudette who packs rice crackers, counts individual M&Ms, cuts straps off, uses both sides of the toilet paper, etc, to save weight, this system is probably not for you. However, if you want a tough reliable pack system that is waterproof, can carry weight extremely well, organizational friendly, and can probably survive a gorilla attack, you may want to rock the Rokman.
You can comment or ask Randy questions here.