Gear Review: Alps OutdoorZ – Big Bear X

Alps OutdoorZ Big Bear X Lumbar Pack

“Based on the wildly popular Big Bear from our ALPS OutdoorZ line, the Big Bear X is an upgrade in all facets of the design. Constructed using 1680D ballistic nylon and featuring Hypalon at the stress points, this pack is tough and durable. Featuring a hidden day pack that can be rolled into the lid of the lumbar pack, this pack is really two packs in one. A molded foam waist belt and removable, adjustable bow hanging hook round out the design on this very comfortable, versatile pack.”

– AlpsoutdoorZ.com

Company/Brand: ALPS OutdoorZ

Company/Brand Location: New Haven, MO

Manufactured/Made in: Vietnam

MSRP: $139.99

Product Number: 9973110

Colors Available: Brown / Realtree Xtra

Sizes: One Size Fits All

Listed Features: 

  • Two Packs In One
  • Fanny Pack Expands Into Day Pack
  • Lycra® Shoulder Straps For Added Comfort
  • 1680D Nylon Ballistics Used Throughout The Pack For Unmatched Strength
  • Hypalon Used At Lashing Points
  • Molded Foam Waist Belt For Added Comfort With Two Easy To Access Pockets
  • Adjustable/Removable Bow Hook Allows You To Hang Your Bow By Your Side While You Rest
  • Bow Hook Also Attaches To Either Side Of The Waist Belt For Right Or Left Handed Shooters
  • Two Side Pockets, One Front And Main Pocket

Weight: 3 lbs. 10 oz.

Listed Capacities:

  • Fanny Pack Capacity: 800 in³ / 13L
  • Day Pack Capacity: 1900 in³ / 31L
  • Total Capacity: 2700 in³ / 44L

Scoring criteria:

  1. Craftsmanship & Design
  2. Performance & Durability
  3. Fit & Sizing
  4. Pricing & Affordability

Scoring will be out of 5 for each section and then calculated as a percentage out of 100% for ease of comparison.

Craftsmanship & Design

The concept of the Big Bear X pack is fairly simple in my opinion. A huge lumbar pack that can turn itself into a day pack if needed. The design incorporates a very well thought out harness system that allows a person to comfortably and quickly change between the two configurations. The one thing that I love about this pack is there are very minimal pockets. Sometimes, it’s best just to have everything in one place and not have to fuss through a million pockets in the dark for your calls,lenses, headlamp, etc. In terms of craftsmanship, the pack feel solids, rugged, and hefty when picked up. The waist belt is comfortable and easily adjustable. The buckle is wide and can be comfortably snapped on with gloves…no one likes those small wimpy ones that you have to pinch with two fingers! I certainly love the design and its ability for simplicity and versatility to perform in any situation.

Score: 4.5/5

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Performance & Durability

In the field, this pack pretty much handled anything and everything that I tried to throw at it, into it, and on it. In the back of my truck, hanging from a treestand, and sitting on the grounds of wet and muddy blinds.The two pack system really works out for a hunter, as one can pack the essentials into the lower lumbar pack and layers into the upper pack. Once you’ve worked your butt off to get to your hunting spot, simply pull out all the layers, put them on, and fold the upper pack away to reach your hunting essentials. The one thing that I have always been impressed with ALPS is that all their packs are extremely durable. I’ve had many ALPS packs in my lifetime, hunting and mountaineering ones, all of which I still have and love to use. Small game, deer hunts, waterfowl, photo assignments, you name it and it will perform for you. There was only ONE thing that really peeved me about the pack…and that was the bow holder. Everywhere I went, it seemed like the hook would get caught to absolutely EVERYTHING. Eventually, I just took it off and was back to being an extremely happy camper.

Score: 5/5

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Fit & Sizing

Look, I’m a small guy – so I won’t be going around complaining about things not fitting me – the market isn’t going to change for just one person. However, what this pack did that I loved so much, was that it had options to fit according to whatever size and shape you may be. The harness, waist belt, and everything else can be adjusted to size. It sits comfortably on your body and does a good job of staying tight and close. The worse thing a pack can do is flip-flop around while you walk to your hunting spot in the morning.

Score: 4/5

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Pricing & Affordability

Coming in at an MSRP of $139.99 on Amazon, the price for this extremely versatile pack is GREAT. In one season, you will definitely see it’s worth in not only hunting situations, but day-to-day things as well. The ability to change,shift, and adapt to pretty much anything you throw at it can quickly justify the value of the pack. In the grand scheme of things, this pack is priced fairly well around its competitors and could potentially out-perform and out-value them. In my opinion, you’re actually getting two packs! A  huge lumbar pack and a small day pack if needed.

Score: 4/5

 

Overall

We really put this pack through the wringer this year and we always are extremely critical of gear we test and review. This pack truly shined for me and it became a game this year to see what I could potentially stuff in it so I wouldn’t have to carry an extra bag around. It followed me on pretty much 8/10 hunts that I went on. Truck, canoe, on top of the roof rack in the snow – it performed in every single environment that I was in and it thrived. It holds the versatility to be quick and adapt easily to what you want it to hold and do for you. Towards the end of the season, it actually became a camera bag too! Once I figured out that the lumbar portion was large enough to hold my foam liners from my camera bags – it quickly became my go-to for outdoor assignments!

I truly think that this bag upholds much of its value through its abilities to mold into anything you want it to (within reason) and should definitely find itself into your gear list next year or even this summer while scouting and doing pre-season activities!

I truly enjoyed this pack and I would recommend it to anyone in the market for a great lumbar and day pack.

Overall Score: 17.5/20

87.5% / 100.0%

Detail Photos

Field Photos

 

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