hunting link

On the tops

On the tops

Winter time

Winter time
Time for doing


'Begin doing what you want to do NOW ! We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand- and melting like a snowflake'

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Markhor Eterlou 45 Litre day pack....Review

40 Years ago a day pack to me would simply mean a Pikau. The very simplest of which would see a hessian sack being utilised. Two small stones placed in each of two corners. A length of string tied into a knot around the stones, and the remaining string looped around the top of the sack.
There is nothing wrong with that set up today either, for the bush hunter. The alpine hunter on the other hand requires a bit more out of his daypack. He carries far more in the way of gear and is therefore more than often away from his base camp for longer periods. Two essential items I first look for in a day pack for alpine environs are a means to hold water and a rifle scabbard.
Being at times a long way from water the first consideration is a water bladder which means in our pack we will need a pouch to hold it.
If you are a chamois and Tahr hunter and consequently find yourself in very steep country at times then a scabbard is a might handy piece of equipment to have on your pack also. There are often occasions when two hands are necessary for climbing and although a rifle can be slung it is never comfortable and constantly moves around and therefore snags more easily. Also if you do a lot of hunting in winter as I do there will be times when you will be using an ice axe whilst negotiating steep icy terrain. This is where the scabbard really comes into its own. In the event of a fall [heaven forbid] the scabbard again is preferable to a slung rifle.
The pack ideally must be as light as possible for we will be carrying it and all of its contents for considerable periods of time. Of course it must also be comfortable with all the necessary adjustments and padding needed to provide that comfort. The outer finish is important too, we don’t need materials that scratch and scrape to alert our quarry. Lastly some thought on compartments and pockets that are user friendly and designed for the Intended use.
Although weighing in at a hefty 4lbs my choice of pack has to be the Markhor Eterlou 45litre. Ideally I would have preferred a pound or two lighter in my day pack but as an all over package I don’t see anything currently on the market to equal it.
Its nearest rival would be the Eberlestock X1A1 but that is heavier still, it does not have a top lid [unless you pay extra] it already is a lot more expensive. It did not have the same amount of user friendly pockets and compartments and it was 10 litres inferior in volume. Pretty damned important when you are transporting that trophy Tahr head and cape down a precipitous slope
The Markhor is a sturdy, quality made pack the finish is a 100% Polyester “silent” material, finished in a cammo real tree hardwood colour. It is pre equipped for a hydration bladder and also boasts a rifle scabbard. The lack of an ice axe loop was a minor hindrance, however for the price I would have liked this to be integral. A short trip to my local saddler solved this problem.
What I like is the fact I can mount my two Buck folding knives on either side of the hip belt which means I can draw either without having to take my pack off. I like also the two elasticated pouches low down on the pack on either side at kidney level. This is an Ideal place to store your camera and compact binoculars or ammo pouch. Again these can be accessed without the need to take off your pack. There are two zippered pouches on the hip belt also. I have yet to find a use for them. Low down centre back, and you will find the zippered compartment that houses the pouch that cradles your rifle. Further up the pack at centre and three quarters up are the padded straps that support the stock of your rifle. Still lower on the pack is yet another zippered compartment and this houses the waterproof cover that fits over the pack in a deluge.
On either side of the pack at shoulder blade level there are two oval flat Zipped pockets of small volume that would be ideal for maps and compass, gloves, spare ammo etc.
The lid is of generous proportions and again zipped. There is an orange bag also that can be fixed on the lid via Velcro and tie downs and acts as a safety option. The main compartment can be annexed off with the integral draw cords if needed and there is access to the lower compartment from the outside via a zippered compartment. Using the full main compartment recently I found it handy to transport my bull Tahr head and cape out in comfort. The chest strap has an integral whistle in the buckle what for I don’t know, but its there.
The one thing I was not too happy with was the scabbard pouch. I found it to be too flimsy in its construction. Whilst returning back through very steep country on a recent Tahr hunting trip the pouch was constantly getting rubbed against rocks and scree and looked quite thread bear after only three days. This again was addressed at the saddler the same time as the axe loop and the inside of the scabbard pouch was sewn with a heavy duty canvas the price was $40.00. Still cheaper than the nearest competitor! All in all I am very pleased with my purchase. I should like to add that is a totally independent review without any material gain.
As a foot note to this article the New Zealand importers John Vaughan & Co. have Advised that the manufactures have agreed to strengthen the pouch after this article.

International gear manufacturers often under- estimate the toughness of NZ conditions. -
At a Glance Specs.
Top of the Line, High quality pack- Fully Adjustable harness- Camo Realtree Hardwood colour- 100 % polyester "silent" material- Mesh back for ventilation- Rifle Holster with 'Butt Bag'- Pre equipped for a hydration bladder- Fluoro Orange Top cover (removable)- 2 Large Side pockets + detachable Scope bag- Large multi compartment pocket on rear of bag- Pocket on waist strap- Waterproof zips- 45L Capacity- Chest strap with built in whistle- Waterproof.
I have since used this pack in the bush a couple of times and I.M.O. I find it not suitable at all. The waterproofing strips alongside the zips have worn away already and the ties attatched to the zip pockets constantly get snagged on scrub whilst pushing through which result in the pockets opening and a very high possibility of losing the contents.
It still is my number 1 alpine pack, but is retired from all bush work.

view from "Riverstone Cabin"

view from "Riverstone Cabin"
Hope River