reviews

Alaska Guide Creations Bino Pack Review

AJ Iaquinta

For years Alaska Guide Creations (ACG) based out of Salt Lake City, Utah has set the standard for bomb proof bino harnesses. Bino harnesses/packs have been a long time staple of western hunters and have caught on across the country in recent years. The market is currently loaded with harnesses designed for every style of hunting and hunter but ACG’s offerings continue to represent some of, if not the toughest, most versatile, and feature rich designs out there. The biggest and baddest of these is their Kodiak C.U.B. (Compact Utility Bag) with M.A.X. pocket.  

Now if you are looking for a lightweight minimalist bino pack look elsewhere. ACG bino packs provide a semi rigid frame wrapped in Cordura and reinforced seems. Their packs feature multiple molle and daisy chain points throughout and the main compartments are lined with a fleece like material to further protect your optics from damage during hard use. It’s not a light bino harness by any means but this pack isn’t looking to fill that niche it’s designed so you can carry the kitchen sink on your chest for an entire hunt and doing so comfortably knowing all of your gear is safe, secure, and easily accessible at a moment’s notice. I actually decided to switch to this harness after running a low profile bino pack for most of 2018. 2018 was the first time I ran a bino pack and during that time I always wished I had more real estate for time sensitive hunting gear. And this is where the ACG harness shines. 

The rear mesh pocket it perfect for tags, maps, a wallet or any other flat pieces of equipment. The dual elastic pockets on the lid of the harness can hold everything from a cell phone, GPS, Turkey reeds, windicator, small grunt tube, whatever you might want to stash or get to quickly. The lid of the bino compartment is held in place by a shock cord and the compartment itself is semi rigid meaning it won’t collapse on itself when the bino’s are removed. These features in combination makes one handed operation extremely easy. The compartment is sized to accommodate most modern binos in the 10X42 variety. The front pocket works well enough as a range finder pocket and the shock cord which keeps the lid down, extends into this front pocket allowing you to make the other end into a retention cord for said range finder or whatever else you might store in there. The side pockets are surprisingly roomy and the diagonal zippers help keep things retained. These pockets are perfectly sized for release aids, windicator, headlamps, small flashlights, or other smaller accessories. The M.A.X. Pocket (where this harness gets its name) is located at the bottom of the harness. It is 1 inch tall runs the length and depth of the harness. I typically just make this my snack pocket and stash a whole bunch of RX Bars, trail mix, fruit snacks, or whatever else I feel like noshing on in the woods.

  

Like the rest of this rig the harness and shoulder straps are a combination of mesh materials and Cordura. A lot of users have commented that the wide shoulder straps lead to increased sweat. Having worn this harness on several Florida hunts I have not noticed this but maybe I was just sweating too much to even be able to tell. Regardless, I have found the straps to be comfortable especially over long periods but I will concede they are a bit wider than I would prefer and the Molle like straps are so flimsy they don’t really serve any functional purpose outside of maybe running a hydration hose under them. I spoke with Jac, the Sales Rep for ACG, to give my feedback and also see if they have anything in the pipeline for an update to their system. Apparently, based on the mixed reviews these shoulder straps have received, ACG is in the midst of designing and testing a more minimalist harness system. No word as to whether this alternative harness will be an option when buying or strictly an add on but regardless it sounds like another great option for an already superb product. 

An often overlooked feature of every bino harness is its hardware. Like the rest of the ACG harness the clips used on the Kodiak C.U.B. are robust and feature rich. The male and female clips have a retention feature that keep the straps in place. They also allow for removal and replacement thanks to a quick disconnect feature. I did notice that the top clips on my shoulder straps started to squeak after a few weekends of use. This was an easy fix. Once I set my straps to my desired length I rarely unclip them so I simply removed them entirely and tied my straps to the pack with some D loop material. Unlike the clips, the zippers seem to be holding up extremely well and I have zero complaints with the rest of the hardware used throughout the pack.

Overall I’m a big fan of the ACG Kodiak C.UB. with M.A.X. Pocket. It checks all of the boxes for what I was looking for in a bino harness. For short excursions or day hunts I can leave most of my gear in the truck and simply venture out with what’s in my bino harness. I just strap a liter jug of water or throw a small hydration pack on (see our Kuiu Stalker 500 review) and I am good to go. No bulk, high speed, low drag.

ACG manufactures all of their products right here in the USA and offers a host of accessories including replacement parts and a hydration pack which utilizes the same hardware so it can be integrated into a super tough and streamlined stalking system. The Kodiak C.U.B. with M.A.X. Pocket MSRP’s for $104.99 which is insanely competitive considering the build quality, features, and materials used.

You can check out more and order directly from ACG’s website:

https://alaskaguidecreations.com/


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