Eberlestock X1A1 Pack Review
I purchased the Eberlestock X1 a couple of years ago during the AZ January archery deer season. A couple of friends had one at the time, and I’d seen almost a whole coues deer stuffed into one (quartered out) and so I was impressed with how much it held. At the time, I was using a Badlands 2200 pack for most of my archery hunting. I was predominately glassing on my late archery hunts, and I was tired of undoing two-three buckles on my 2200 every time I wanted to put my tripod away or get it out, as I was only moving 200-400 yards every time before sitting down to glass. I also had the Eberlestock J104 pack, but it felt like too large a pack to carry while archery hunting. The Eberlestock X1A1 pack seemed like a good compromise of being able to carry everything I’d need and have quick access to my tripod if I used the gun scabbard to hold my tripod, but in a smaller size than my J104.
The Eberlestock X1A1 is a medium sized pack that can hold everything you’d need for an all day hunt, early or late season. It is a panel loading pack, with a divider that velcros in place to turn the main compartment into two separate compartments. There are two access pockets to the lower portion of the main compartment on each side of the pack, just above the mesh side pockets. The hip belt is the traditional Eberlestock style waist belt that allows you to have the webbing belt exposed over top of the padded waist belt to be able to carry a holster or some other case or scabbard. The webbing belt can also be run underneath a section of fabric with PALS webbing that will allow the attachment of optional accessory pouches. The pack has an adjustable harness to allow for torso adjustment. It comes with a non-removable built in rifle scabbard on one side of the pack, and also has a ‘bucket’ pocket on the back that allows for easy carrying of a bow and comes with the ‘Quick Draw Bow Tether’ that holds a bow in place. The pack also has 2 small ‘X pockets’ near the top of the front main pocket panel that help hold a bow in place. On the opposite side of the pack from the scabbard is a zippered hydration bladder pocket with a tube port at the top. There is no rigid internal frame, but a flexible frame sheet with padded back panel.
The manufacturer listed weight is 5 lbs. It is made out of a proprietary NT-1 Waterproof Microfleece fabric and 1000D Nylon. The manufacturer lists the pack as 2100 cubic inches.
- Carries rifle or tripod very well in rifle scabbard
- Good modular waist belt that allows you to add pouches or attach holsters, gps or camera cases, or knife scabbards.
- Internal divider in main pocket allows good organization of gear
- Bucket pocket allows easy carry of bow or the ability to strap a front or hind quarter or jacket on the pack
- Hydration bladder compatible
- Adjustable torso length
- No internal frame or stays; just a flexible frame sheet.
- When loaded the pack expands away from the body.
- Load lifter straps are more load stabilizing straps. The straps are angled on the shoulder harness not allowing them to function well. (My pack is a couple of years old and the newer model seems to have addressed this issue, but I haven’t used it and can’t say for certain.)
- Lack of built in straps on the bottom of the pack. The pack has webbing to put your own straps, but built in ‘bed roll’ straps would be nice.
- X pockets are too small for more than a granola bar or two.
Uses and experiences with pack:
I predominately used this pack for late season archery deer hunting, late season rifle and archery hunting while helping others, and pre-season scouting for myself and others. I mainly used this pack as a glassing pack where I carried my 15’s and tripod while either hunting or scouting. I think this pack would be good for any rifle hunt or bow hunt, early or late season. I never did rifle hunt with this pack as I chose to use my Eberlestock J104 pack for rifle hunts.
Function and Activity Matrices:(For a description of the rankings and the pack matrices, click here.)
Summary and Recommendations:
I tend to flip flop on how I feel about the Eberlestock X1A1 pack quite often. Sometimes I think it is a great pack, and other times I’m not all that impressed with it. My overall impression is it is a well made, functional pack, but does not ride well for me with heavier loads. It does what I wanted it to do pretty well, but I don’t think it makes a good load hauler. My hesitation before buying it was how well it would haul meat and/or quarters since it didn’t have a designated meat shelf or something similar. I already had an Eberlestock J104 for a meat hauler if I needed one, and I was looking for something smaller than the J104 for archery hunting that would be similar to a Badlands 2200. I feel that the X1A1 could haul a quarter on/in the bucket pocket, but I don’t think the pack is very comfortable with over a 25 lb load. My main reason for saying that is the load lifters function more as load stabilizers due to the overall height of the pack. Even as stabilizers, they don’t seem to pull the top of the pack as close to my back as I’d like, leaving a small gap up near my shoulder blades. The load lifters are stitched into the shoulder straps at an angle, which I think is part of the problem. (I don’t have the latest model on the market, and from looking at the newer pack it looks like this problem may have been addressed, but I haven’t personally tried the newer style.) For me, a fully loaded day pack with optics and gear for the day is usually between 20 and 30 lbs depending on how much food, water, and clothing I will need throughout the day. It carries the 20-30 lbs well, but I don’t feel it would carry heavier loads that comfortably with the flexible frame sheet it has. I think with the addition of one or two aluminum stays in the design and better load lifter straps, it would probably handle heavier loads better.
This pack does allow quick and easy access to a tripod when it is carried in the rifle scabbard. I often utilized the main compartment divider and carried my 15’s in the top portion of the main compartment. I really like the Eberlestock style hip belt as it allows many items to be easily attached to the hip belt.
Overall, as I said above, I have mixed emotions about this pack. I think the overall design of the pack is sound, but could still be improved, but as always, would come at a cost of weight and overall cost. I’ve worn the pack quite a bit and it has held up wonderfully (as all my Eberlestock packs have). I think it is a durable, general all purpose pack for the archery and/or rifle hunter who doesn’t want an overly large pack for day hunts. I would give an overall grade of a B- to this pack.
|View of shoulder harness, hipbelt, and adjustable torso.|
|Top panel zip compartment with internal divider flap in place.|
|Hydration Bladder Compartment|
|Bottom of pack and scabbard.|
|Hip Belt with PALS webbing exposed.|
|Hip Belt with Webbing exposed.|
Pack in use pictures...