Snugpak Compression Stuff Sack

| May 31, 2021
Snugpak Compression Stuff Sack Packed
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Size | XL
Dimensions | 20.25 L x 8.75 D inches
Color | Desert Tan
Country of Origin | UK
Warranty | Limited 12 Month
Price | $24.95

We gave the XL Snugpak compression stuff sack a try, in an attempt to slim down a large synthetic OF degree North Face sleeping bag, and reclaim pack space.

Our first impressions of the Snugpak compression stuff sack were very positive. The lightweight nylon material looked durable for the weight, and the included webbing looked typical for the industry. The stitching looked satisfactory, but could probably benefit from more reinforcing stitch patterns.

Opening a pack and flashing bright colors, or securing a brightly colored sack onto the outside of your pack is a sure way to ruin your stealthiness in the field. The desert tan color was a fairly light shade of brown, and a great choice for backcountry hunting or tactical operations.

The North Face Eco Trail Synthetic 0F sleeping bag we used to test the Snugpak compression stuff sack, is a bulky sleeping bag that doesn’t compress very much. It’s not a backpacking option for most, given its bulkiness, but being able to compress the bag at least 30% would significantly increase the usable space inside a large pack, or make it more viable to attach to the outside.

We stuffed the North Face sleeping bag into the stuff sack, closed the drawstring, and started to pull the 1 inch compression straps evenly. The sleeping bag ultimately compressed to about about one two thirds of the XL stuff sacks uncompressed size.

The XL Snugpak compression stuff sack exceeded our compression expectations, providing more compression than we had expected on a bulky synthetic bag. The extra large size is ideal for large bags, and the desert tan color makes it a great choice for backpack hunting.

Our only criticism is that it could have used a heavier denier nylon and a stronger stitch pattern, to make it more durable. Only time will tell if the stitching gives, or tearing starts to occur on the thin material. Like all of our Sportsman’s Magazine gear reviews we will post any relevant updates, as the compression sack gets more use.

Compressibility | 5/5 |
Weight | 5/5 |
Durability | 4.0/5 |
Price | 4.1/5 |
Overall | 4.5/5 |

Pro Tip: Never leave sleeping bags stored in a compressed state for longer than you have to, they will lose their loft, as well as their effectiveness at keeping you warm.

Snugpak Compression Stuff Sack

The Snugpak Compression Stuff Sack in the extra large size.

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Godfather Cocktail

| May 27, 2021
Godfather Cocktail
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Preparation Time

3 minutes

Cooking Time

0

Total Time

3 minutes

Servings

1

The Sportsman’s Magazine take on the Godfather cocktail consists of only whiskey, Disaronno, and a Luxardo cherry, over ice. It’s obviously alcohol heavy and has that warming factor that makes a crisp high sierra evening feel just a tad bit warmer than it actually is.

Ingredients

1 ounce Whiskey
1/2 ounce Disaronno
1 Luxardo cherry
Ice

Directions

  1. Place one large ice cube or up to 3 small ice cubes in your favorite whiskey glass.
  2. Measure 1 ounce whiskey of choice
  3. Measure 1/2 ounce Disaronno
  4. Pour whiskey and Disarrono over ice
  5. Add one Luxardo cherry, and a few drops of the Luxardo cherry jar syrup.
  6. Mix lightly
  7. Enjoy

Enjoy!

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First Tactical Tactix Waist Belt

| May 22, 2021
First Tactical Tactix Waist Belt
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Length | 61 inches
Waist Belt Pad | 29.5 L x 5.0 H inches
Foam Thickness | 0.50 inches
Material | 500D Nylon with spacer mesh
Padding Material | Closed cell foam construction
Hardware | Duraflex hardware
Size | One size fits most

We picked up a First Tactical Tactix waist belt in an effort to add comfort to an Eberlestock G1 Little Brother, when carrying heavier loads. Eberlestock’s line of hip belts has been out of stock and hard to find, so we decided to roll the dice with a little brand mashup.

While we had measured the waist belt attachment area of the G1 Little Brother pack, and compared it to dimensions of the Tactix waist belt by First Tactical, we were still relieved when everything fit. Read the G1 Little Brother review.

Fortunately, the coyote tan color we chose to purchase a pack, scabbard, and waist belt in, matched pretty well across the two brands. In passing, you’d be hard pressed to really notice much difference at all, but the First Tactical coyote tan is slightly lighter and sandier shade of brown, than Eberlestock’s darker, richer red hue of coyote tan.

In The Field

The First Tactical Tactix waist belt makes an already great pack, even better. The closed cell foam construction provides decent padding, and the fitment is just right for waist sizes down to about 30 inches. A 28 inch waist size would probably require some DIY shortening, or perhaps an additional padding to have wait properly distributed onto hips.

The Tactix waist belt utilizes First Tactical’s patented Lynx™ Laser Cut Platform to provide a plethora of MOLLE/PALS attachment points.

Center Pull Tactix Design

The First Tactical Tactix waist belt fits evenly and comfortably with a center pull design.

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a pack waist belt, especially if you don’t think Eberlestock will get more in stock for the 2021 big game season, but need one, or you have a First Tactical pack in need of a waist belt, then a First Tactical Tactix waist belt is for you. With ample MOLLE/PALS attachments, durable 500D nylon, and decent padding, the Tactix belt serves a wide range of either tactical or hunting needs.

The only caveat to recommending the First Tactical Tactix waist belt, is that it won’t fit waists smaller than 30 inches. The one size fits most adjustability, is unlikely to fit properly without modification, on any waist that isn’t at least 29.5 inches, and more realistically, at least 30 inches.

If your waist is 30 inches or larger, we think its a great buy, and good value. Anything under 30 inches, and the waist belt is a hard pass without a heavy duty sewing machine, and some serious sewing skills.

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Eberlestock A4SS Tactical Weapon Carrier

| May 11, 2021
A4SS Tactical Weapon Carrier
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
features | Reinforced Muzzle End, Drain Holes, Drag Loop, Butt Cover, Semi-Rigid Sides
Webbing | MOLLE/PALS Inside and Out
Dimensions | 36 - 60 L x 12 W inches (Adjustable Length)
Materials | 1000 Denier nylon, Hypalon reinforcement
Weight | 3.5 lbs.
Price | $149

The A4SS Tactical Weapon Carrier is a variable capacity scabbard from Eberlestock, and can be used standalone as a drag bag, a rifle bag, in conjunction with many of their packs and frames in the Eberlestock lineup, or as a back scabbard using a harness and/or accessory straps.

In The Field

Like most Eberlestock products, the overall construction of the A4SS Tactical Weapon Carrier is exceptional, and the product concept very versatile. Adjusting the fitment of a scoped AR weapon, equipped with a large compensator and fixed extended stock was very easy. You can see from the picture below, how the scabbard easily accommodates an AR15 with a full sized scope.

A4SS Fits an AR Class Scoped Weapon

A4SS easily fits a rifle length, scoped AR15 with a fully extended stock.

Standalone, the A4SS Tactical Weapon Carrier makes a great rifle bag, or drag bag. It provides more than ample protection for a firearm, has practical carry handles albeit a little flat and tight, and adjusts to a large range of rifle platforms.

The A4SS Tactical Weapon Carrier includes Eberlestock’s GSTC Butt Cover, which utilizes a sort of awkward attachment system. While other users and reviewers have complained the GSTC Butt Cover leaves a gap, it might be a situation of misuse, or simply misunderstanding the product.

Butt Cover Attachment

The somewhat awkward attachment system of the GSTC butt cover.

GSTC Butt Cover

The properly extended GSTC Butt Cover, easily covers the attachment gap, and extends down into the scabbard.

The butt cover has a sleeve that folds into itself, but when extended, slips into the scabbard, leaves zero gap, and nearly doubles the length of the butt cover. It works just fine, and leaves no gap, but is sort of reminiscent of folks that tuck their jeans into their loosely laced boots. It’s an interesting style choice, but to each their own.

The system might have been better if it went over the outside of the scabbard, versus stuffing into the scabbard. Something more akin to blousing boots. With a minor design and material change, it could have doubled as a rain cover, when used in the expansion tunnel of a pack.

We inserted the A4SS Tactical Weapon Carrier into the expansion tunnel of a Eberlestock G1 Little Brother, and secured the included ALICE clips to the MOLLE/PALS webbing inside the tunnel. Read the full G1 Brother Review, and see photos of the pack with the weapon carrier.

A4SS MOLLE PALS ALICE clips

The A4SS features ALICE clips, as well as a ton of MOLLE/PALS straps, carry handles, and a drag loop.

We hiked around difficult terrain, including steep scree slopes, high stepped, and down stepped. The pack and weapon carrier stayed where they should, never got in the way, and performed like a single unit, as if the scabbard was integral to the pack.

Conclusion

If you want a weapon scabbard that can possibly be used standalone as a drag bag, rifle bag, or a minimalist pack when paired with ACST accessory straps or a shoulder harness, then the A4SS Tactical Weapon Carrier is a good choice for you.

Where the A4SS Tactical Weapon Carrier really shines is in its pairing with a Eberlestock G1 Little Brother, or other Eberlestock pack with an expansion tunnel. The scabbard turns a multi-use multi-day pack into a great multi-day hunting pack, freeing up your hands for glassing, or traversing difficult terrain. the value to price ratio is very good. You get the typical high quality product that you can expect from Eberlestock. The butt cover design and integration could be better, but you certainly can’t go wrong using the A4SS Tactical Weapon Carrier with the Eberlestock G1 Little Brother.

Comfort | 4.7/5 |
Mobility | 5/5 |
Weight | 5/5 |
Volume/Accessibility | 4.8/5 |
Included Features | 4.5/5 |
Durability | 5/5 |
Price | 4.6/5 |
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Eberlestock G1 Little Brother

| May 11, 2021
G1 Little Brother A4SS Scabbard
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Use | 72 Hour Bag
Features | Harness, Expansion Tunnel, hydration sleeve, radio rack.
Compartments | Full Front and Top Loading
Webbing | MOLLE/PALS Inside and Out
External Dimensions | 23L x 12W x 6D inches
Internal Dimensions | 22L x 12W x 6D inches
Materials | Cordura Nylon, Polyurethane lined
Weight | 4 lbs.
Volume | 1800 cubic inches
Price | $229

The Eberlestock G1 Little Brother is a stand-alone 3-day pack that can also be used with Eberlestock’s J51 Warhammer, F1 Mainframe, or M1 Carrier packs/frames. We picked up the G1 Little Brother, in coyote brown, for multi-day backpacking, scouting, and hunting trips in the Eastern Sierra, and other rugged terrain. We also added the Endo G-Type internal frame, to give the pack more structure.

For short scouting days, the Voodoo Tactical Merced Hydration Pack has been our go to pack. However, the G1 Little Brother comes into its own on any excursion more than a few hours, and any trip requiring more than a few hours worth of gear and requisite storage space.

A few hours in the field carrying a rifle and wearing a day pack isn’t intolerable, in fact, it’s quite normal for light and fast hunting days. However, some excursions introduce more difficult situations, like loose scree fields, or technical ascents and traverses approaching low or moderate 5th class terrain. For those situations a weapon scabbard frees up hands, and also adds comfort for packing in and packing out.

G1 Little Brother Scree Field

The G1 Little Brother with the A4SS scabbard allows for free hands traveling up a scree field.

While other Eberlestock packs, like the Phantom, Operator, and Gunslinger II have built in weapon carrying systems, the G1 Little Brother does not. It does have an expansion tunnel, for use with their A4SS Weapon Scabbard, and it’s part of the reason we selected it.

We wanted a multi-use, multi-day pack that didn’t carry the extra bulk or weight of a built in weapon carrier/scabbard when not needed, but the option to have one when needed. We did pick up an A4SS Weapon Scabbard, in the matching coyote brown color, for an exclusive review on that click here.

In The Field

All the straps on the G1 Little Brother were very easy to adjust. It was a breeze to get the pack to sit securely, in the right spot, while maintaining good mobility. The amount of adjustability also allows for proper fitment of both smaller and larger torsos.

Adjusting The Harness on the G1 Little Brother

Adjusting the shoulder and chest straps of the G1 Little Brother is an breeze.

With and without the A4SS weapon scabbard, the fitment remained perfect, and load distribution was great. The length and adjustability of the weapon scabbard mounting system, allows it to be mounted at a height that still leaves plenty of room for high stepping and down stepping on steep terrain without obstruction.

The large top and full front loading panels makes gear very accessible. The brain of the pack is large enough to hold a lot of small items, with quick access, and the sheer number MOLLE/PALS attachment points makes it possible to expand both carrying capacity and versatility, with the near infinite number of MOLLE compatible packs and accessories on the market.

G1 Little Brother Open Front Panel

The full front panel on the G1 Little brother makes it easy to access gear.

Outside of wanting a hip belt to comfortize carrying heavier loads, we did not have any major criticisms about the G1 Little Brother. It is important to note that we chose the G1 Little Brother specifically for multi-day multi-use trips, and weren’t looking for a 24 hour assault bag, nor were we looking for a dedicated meat carrier, or ultralight bag.

Our expectations were very clear going into the review of the G1, because we researched then selected a pack that looked like it would meet our expectations. The Eberlestock G1 Little Brother met those expectations, exceeded them in some ways, and only came up short on the hip belt situation during our field use.

Conclusion

Fully Loaded G1 Little Brother

The fully loaded G1 Little Brother as a nice solid shape, good fitment, and remains comfortable.

Standalone, the G1 Little Brother is a great multi-day multi-use pack. The pack, for our intended use, would have received nearly perfect scores if it weren’t for a few minor things. At the price point, we feel any pack over a 20L capacity, meant for multi-day use, should include a hip belt.

The recommended HBSS hip belt can be added to the G1 Little Brother, and we would have for about $30 more dollars, if they were ever in stock. A lack of hip belt availability seems to have plagued Eberlestock and many pack owners, for at least a full year.

We resorted to purchasing another brand of hip belt, to make carrying heavier loads more comfortable, instead of holding our breath that Eberlestock hip belts would all of the sudden become available. Without a hip belt, the pack takes a lower score in the comfortability and included features metrics of our review.

For the size and strength of the pack, the weight is very reasonable. We even think it would have been reasonable to reinforce the bottom from wear, with their PU coated material, increasing durability while also increasing the weight an acceptable amount.

The G1 Little Brother combined with the A4SS Weapon Scabbard has sufficient amounts of space and flexibility, is very durable, and more affordable when compared to a similar set of products from other manufacturers.

As mentioned before, it can be attached to a couple Eberlestock frame carriers to take advantage of their frame and carrier systems, making it more suitable for a pack out situation, than it is standalone. Especially without a hip belt.

Durability, practicality, and flexibility seem to be the name of the Eberlestock game. With many expandable options, like frame carriers, saddle bags, batwings, weapons carriers, and duffels, Eberlestock offers some form of a system or pack option, to meet almost anyone’s specific use.

Comfort | 4/5 |
Mobility | 4.8/5 |
Weight | 5/5 |
Volume Accessibility | 5/5 |
Included Features | 4/5 |
Durability | 4.8/5 |
Price | 4.5/5 |
Overall | 4.6/5 |
G1 Little Brother A4SS Scabbard Side View

Side view of the G1 Little Brother with the A4SS Scabbard attached.

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Start Tenkara Fishing

| May 3, 2021
Tenkara is For Big Fish Too
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

If you don’t already know what Tenkara is, it’s a Japanese style of fly fishing that involves a long, collapsible, highly flexible fly rod that is directly attached to the leader line. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’ll definitely want to start Tenkara fishing once you have.

There is no reel or extra line to manage, and the fight is done with the spring tension of the rod. Fishing doesn’t get much more simple, or enjoyable than Tenkara.

Getting started is simple, and only requires 4 things:

Why Start Tenkara Fishing?

Tenkara fishing doesn’t limit you to small fish. Tenkara rods are just as capable as normal fly fishing setups at hooking and landing giants. The style of fishing that Tenkara lends itself to is usually faster moving small water, and streams, like cascading carved granite inlets and outlets. A bigger fish can easily fight back into deeper faster moving water, making the fight technically a lot more difficult than just netting off the side of a boat. A really large fish can break your line, which isn’t unique to any fishing setup. However, it’s also possible to damage or break sections of a Tenkara rod. Fortunately, replacement parts are commonly available for most Tenkara rods, and repairs are easy to make.

Start Tenkara Fishing

A trout caught on a Tenkara rod, with a copper john, at the start of the Sierra trout fishing season.

Tenkara fishing rods are highly portable. The collapsing of the rod makes them an ideal backpacking or mountain stream fishing rod. If you have a true passion for beautiful fish, then Tenkara fishing is for you. Mountain streams offer the opportunity to fish low pressure, wild fish. Often some of the most attractive fish you can catch, and Tenkara makes it possible.

Its easy to get caught up thinking that Tenkara is some pretentious variant of fly fishing, and we all know how pretentious fly fisherman can be. For example, the argument that nobody should give a shit about anyway, strike indicator vs bobber. Fear not, for us fisherman at Sportsman’s Magazine, and many others, Tenkara is a simple, portable, and effective way to fish, that also happens to be highly enjoyable. If you are an elitist type, and find the need to defend a strike indicator as something other than a bob, Tenkara can still save your anal-retentive soul. Tenkara itself is non-discriminatory, and you can be as serious, purist, or casual as you’d like.

Our approach to Tenkara fishing is very casual, and it’s our experience that its not necessary to overpay for some specifically branded Tenkara flies, when a good combination of elk hair cadis, mosquito, and beaded patterns like a copper john will serve you very well.

tenkara fishing mountain fish

Tenkara fishing in mountain streams for some really attractive young trout.

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