Eberlestock advice from the horses mouth

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by EXPRESS, Nov 28, 2007.


    EXPRESS Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2003
    I have been intersted in an Eberlestock pack from some time now.
    I wrote to a forum member who distributes them and also called Eberlestock to ask for some advice on which particular model might suit me best.

    "Unfortunately" they both said that the Gunslinger would suit my needs best.
    However, I haven't seem great reviews of this pack and got the impression that the Skycrane and Phantom have had a better reception.

    Now, I don't like to make a purchase based soly on what I'm told is best for me, but when I don't have the possibility to access the object for inspection sometimes it's the most valuable input I can get.
    At the same time, it's hard when you have formed idea about what you want and don't want in a product, to just disregard people's advice who are in a better position than you are to make evaluations.

    I need a pack for general and apline hunting.
    When hunting chamois in the Alps, you need a pack that you can climb rock and ice with strapped to your back, that will hold spare (bulky) clothing, and take a whole 55lb carcass back down the mountain.
    Your hands need to be free to climb, hence the locals traditionally use break open single shot rifles than can be pulled apart and stored in their packs for climbing, and why I want a pack for a bolt action rifle.

    I like the Operator and the Phantom packs.
    I don't like a single compartment top loading pack like the Gunslinger.
    I like to segregate my equipment into different pockets and compartments so that each category of gear is easily accessable without disturbing the rest.
    The fact that the Gunslingers scabbard is not removable is a bit of a hassle for me, meaning that I have to store the gun in another case while in transit. Same goes for the Operator.
    The Phantom has a removable scabbard that could double for vehicle transport.

    Basically between the Operator and the Phantom I can see the you get more space and pockets for the same weight (for an extra $100 spent).

    Unfortunatly Eberlestock don't show the measurements on their website so it is hard to get an idea for it. From the photos, it seems like they are very close, with neither being a really big pack.

    The day pack I use at the moment is a Camelbak BFM which is ok. It won't hold a chamois if there is anything else inside the pack, but it is nicely broken down into compartments and very (incredibly) tough with good external compartments but overall it is just a little bit small.

    What I'd like to ask anyone who has used either the Phantom or Operator alpine hiking and light climbing, I suppose similar to your sheep or mountain goat hunting, whether they found it to be too big or bulky as a day pack.
  2. ST42

    ST42 Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2007
    Hi there. This is my first post on this forum, have been a lurker for some time now. While I'm new to this forum, I am not new to high altitude, backcountry hunting. So take all of this as one man's, free at no cost to you, experience

    I have an Eberlestock J104. It will haul everything that you could possibly want to take up to altitude. It is a well designed and built pack, not as good as the J107, as is the Gunslinger. If you are looking for total protection of your rifle, than you won't be disappointed. I have handled the Gunslinger just about every time I go into my local sporting goods retailer. But I just can't talk myself into buying it. It is a top loader as you have stated. And it's only 2900 cu. inches and weighs in at 5 lbs. But it just doesn't have the handiness to load up game and equipment. It would make an excellent tactical / day hunting pack, sans carrying your game.

    However, I can recommend the following pack.


    I have personally hauled out two Mule Deer bucks and gear with this pack with incredible comfort and ease. Well, with as much ease as is possible with 145 lbs of gear and venison on you back. The Gun Bearer system works very well, and is extremely convenient. The added bonus of it is that it allows you to rapidly remove your rifle should game present it self at a moments notice. Unlike the GS . I can carry three days of food and all my camping gear with this pack and I still have a bit of room left over. Now my camping gear is all very light weight and compact. And I replace gear as soon as something lighter and as effective comes along. But this is one great pack. The front panel loading is terrific. Unzip, open, take a look at the entire contents of the pack. No searching at arms length to find what you may need. Internal sleeve for a 3 liter water bladder, Removable camo, and built to your specifications. The best part, 4200 cu inches and just a tad heavier than 4.5 lbs.

    Lastly, I don't work for Kifaru. I wish I did, I'd like an employee discount. But I sure have bought my share of gear in search of the "right gear". I hope this helps.

    Good Hunting to you,

  3. Willys46

    Willys46 Well-Known Member

    Oct 4, 2006

    I could not find the model number that I have. I purchased it 3 years ago. It is the top loading like the Gunslinger. It has been a good pack but I would not buy it again if I had the choice.

    Good Qualities--
    Holds a lot of gear, Quality product, held up over rugged hunts.
    Things I do not like
    Never can get the pack to fit comfortably. Its not adjustable for a longer torso and the waste strap hits way to high off the hips. The large compartment is hard to find anything and all the weight goes right to the bottom.
    Longer barreled guns stick up way to high over your head. Not enough compartments for little things.
    Without a external or internal cage it would not be fun to pack out an animal.
    This has just been my opinion and think if I could adjust the belt strap to hit on the hips it would make it more comfortable. Just a personal thing.
    The pack I am looking at to replace it is the The Ultimate Hard Core Hunt Pack form Adventure Outfitters. Janssens Adventure Outfitters
    They are more expensive but have a lot of the features that a long range hunter would like. Compartments for a spotting scope and tripod. External frame that is lightweight and flexible. Completely adjustable for different height people.
    Give Kip a call. Nice guy and will give you the straight scoop. FYI I have no dog in the fight but found there product to be superior.

  4. Alan Griffith

    Alan Griffith Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2005
    Sorry Express, I use the J107 "Just One". No experience with what you ask. Here I am packing out two full elk rib cages and back straps, my 7.5 lb 30-06 Ackley w/ 26" barrel and various sundries for the day. Oh yeah, 100 oz Camelback H2O bladder fits just right.


  5. Brown Dog

    Brown Dog Writers Guild

    Sep 26, 2003

    Well, I'm a former gunslinger owner. Do a search on 'brown dog' and 'eberlestock' and you'll see my assessment of that pack.

    I haven't handled the other models you mention...but I would point out (particularly for alpine use!) that the phantom is quoted as weighing 8lbs empty!

    ..and from my gunslinger experience I'll wager that the 8lbs isn't found in robust materials and design...it'll be fancy extra zips, nugatory extra straps, shiny nylon linings...and probably a padded sunglasses pouch too!

    Another important point for alpine use, is that the rifle scabbard on these packs means that you are, in effect, wearing your pack 4" further away from your back than is the case for a conventional rucksac..and that has an obvious effect on balance and CoG....not good on a narrow ridge in a high wind!

    I think a genuine alpine pack with something along the lines of a kifaru gun bearer (you could put a satisfactory one together with a few nylon web straps) may be a better choice.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
  6. DocGlenn

    DocGlenn Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    I've got the J104 and it is good if you are not going to carry a heavy load. I'm taller (6-2) and with anything over 30 lbs, it really starts to hurt my back. I used a Mystery Ranch NICE Frame and crew cab for my Stone Sheep/goat hunt in BC this fall and it worked really well. It is not cheap, but it carries weight well, is very well made, and it can be adapted to carry your rifle. Kifaru is the only other company I know of that makes really good stuff designed for hunting (there may be others, but I have both MR and Kifaru packs and can vouch for them).

    Go here and do a search, you'll find a lot of info about hunting packs:

    24hourcampfire: Backpack Hunting
  7. elksack

    elksack New Member

    Mar 3, 2009
    Might aughta look into the "Gunslinger Corral". You all seem to be beatin' a dead horse regarding carrying a rifle or shotgun with a pack. The Original Gunslinger Pack System from the Gunslinger Corral Guarantees to be the best system for carrying a rifle or shotgun (with or without a pack) you'll ever try or money back. Better Mobility & Quicker Access by far..It's around $40 bucks and works with ANY Pack![​IMG]


  8. azsugarbear

    azsugarbear Well-Known Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    I've used an Eberlestock Gunslinger for the past year on three different hunts. I couldn't be more pleased with fit, comfort, practicality. You just need to remember the different/limited uses for each of his packs. I don't believe the Gunslinger was ever designed for a heavy "pack-in" type of use. It is more of a day pack, light duty hunting pack. A rifle, spotting scope, tripod, water, food & some light clothing makes for a pretty full Gunslinger. There is no way you can carry out your rifle, camp gear and a boned-out deer in a Gunslinger in a single trip. For its intended use, it does extremely well. If you are wanting a deep country backpack, any of the J-107 series is what you are looking for.
  9. threethreeeight

    threethreeeight Member

    Mar 4, 2007
    I studied a few different packs for alpine hunting(Himalayan Tahr and chamois in the south island of new zealand).I thought the gunslinger a bit small for my body size with no adjustment for back length.
    I settled on a j105 and lost it in a river crossing with all my gear and have just purchased a j107.
    However I don't really like the scabbard on it as it is offset to the lefthand side,unlike the gunslinger which places it in a central position,I do not have a need for a quickdraw but for pack balance,I carry a Blaser LRS11 338 LM with a nightforce 5.5x22x56,so it is quite a heavy rig,and I have to balance out the weight of that with my spotter,camera,water bladder,etc.
    I have measured the overall weight of my pack with Tahr skin,head and backlegs and it was just short of 75lbs,the scabbard on a steep downhill catches the back of my left leg and after a while it gets very tiresome.
    I love the freedom of the integral scabbard but would like it in the centre as the gunslinger is.
    I dont have any other issues with the pack it would appear to be holding up well to carrying plenty of weight,unlike myself ( I have just had a knee op for wear and damage).but am looking forward to getting back to it ASAP.