For most of deer season, I prefer a lightweight lumbar pack. Things change around Halloween. At that point, I need enough room for an extra layer of clothing and the essentials to help me make it through an all-day sit in a lock-on stand, like a Thermos of coffee, a book, lunch, and toilet paper (admittedly, parts of the kit do require climbing out of the tree to be of use). I carried the new Contender X pack from ALPS this past deer season, from November on, and it was excellent. The pack isn't overly heavy at just under 5 pounds, but it has 1,853 cubic inches of space, which is plenty enough to carry everything I need without the undue bulk of a full-sized framed pack. It has a U-shaped top zipper pocket that allows you to access the pack from your stand without unzipping the entire compartment, as well as a pocket for a hydration system and hose ports on both sides of the pack. The hip pockets are perfect for carrying essentials like a rangefinder and headlamp, and the molded suspension system is rigid enough for hauling meat out of the woods if needed. It includes a rain cover, and though the pack wouldn't be my first choice for a backcountry elk hunt, it could work to haul out a heavy quarter in a pinch. I've seen lesser packs work for the task. For an all-around pack system that you could use for about anything, this one is a pretty good bet. ALPS Outdoorz —W.B.