I originally bought the Treehouse with the intention of making it my dedicated treestand/whitetail pack but it has become my “Go-To” trail cam checking, range day sending, treestand hanging, do-it-all bag. The Treehouse features a rigid square design for easy access whether on the ground or in a tree. The pack frame is adjustable thanks to simple but strong hook & loop which connects the shoulder straps to the pack frame. When sized correctly most of the weight will rest comfortably on your hips. The ergonomically shaped and generously padded shoulder straps and belt do a great job of keeping everything comfortable and stable even under moderate loads. Besides hikes to and from my stand or ground blind, I wore this pack all day at both the Utah and Vermont Total Archery Challenge events where it was filled with 2.5L of water, lots of snacks, clothes, miscellaneous swag I purchased at the event, and lots of KOTA apparel to hand out. For most of the day I forgot the Treehouse was on my back until I needed something from it. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a western style backpack it is very capable of pulling double duty as a day pack whether hiking the mountain or up in a tree. This is after all a Mystery Ranch pack. They design kit for the Military, Firefighters, and other first responders and this pedigree of durability is evident in all of their products from their fanny packs to forest fighting rigs.
Most of the pack is a durable Cordura material with sections of soft, almost fleece like grey patches and stretching nylon utilized in some of the pockets. The small zippered hip belt pockets are good for tiny items like wind checkers, headlamps, para-cord, releases etc… The front panel unzips and opens to a 45 degree angle to facilitate loading, unloading and one handed manipulation or retrieval of contents when up in a tree. The pack’s lid pocket is accessible from either an exterior or internal zipper which is perfect for stowing smaller items you might want to grab quickly regardless if you are mid hike or hanging 20 ft up. The lid can be secured either by two clips or a literal hook and loop for easy and silent opening.
The top grab handle is perfect for hanging the bag and can be hidden beneath the lid when packing out. There is a second interior mesh pocket located at the top of the pack which also makes for easy access when up in a tree. The other interior pockets are sewn on the back and side panels of the pack. These pockets funnel down from the opening which sucks contents towards the sides of the pack ensuring gear is held tight and not rattling around when on the move. There are two exterior side stretchy pockets on both sides of the pack that can fit a large water bottle and the retention straps above them make them usable for holding a quiver full of arrows, camera arm, hanging sticks or any other longer pieces of gear.
The retention straps and rigid frame also make the pack capable of hauling either a lightweight treestand or bow but to be honest, it’s not the most practical or comfortable method of transportation. If you do have to carry a stand in with you the retention straps will definitely work for climbing sticks and the boxy shape of the pack makes the top lid perfect for resting a bow behind your head. This is how I usually hike up and down the mountain anyway and leaves my hands free to carry a stand or whatever else.
The stretchy pocket on the outside of the pack is good for gloves, a hat, bow sling or smaller item but it’s too small and loose to be effective for much else. This pocket is my only gripe about the entire pack. I wish it was deeper and hade either a cinch or retention strap so it could be used for larger items like rattling horns, Ozonics, rain gear or even a moderate sized puffy jacket. But that is my only negative mark for the Treehouse.
I am sure a lot of people are considering this pack alongside Sitka’s whitetail centric pack offerings; the Toolbox, Toolbuck, and their new 2019 Fanatic Pack. The best I can do to help you make that decision is to unhelpfully point out that each of these packs is highly specialized to meet the specific needs of the discerning and notoriously picky whitetail hunter. Each has a unique set of features that will either apply to your treestand hunting style or not. For example my Dad, Guy, tends to run relatively minimalist and demands absolute silence form his kit. For him, the smaller, silent Fanatic is his current pack of choice. For me, because I live in Florida most of the year and I have a propensity to catch a chill even on 40-60 degree days which leads me to overdress by most people’s standars. I usually walk to the stand in my baselayers with my insulation and outer layers in my pack. The Treehouse has enough room for my lunch, 2L of water, snacks, pee bottle, bow arm, med kit, a hoody, and my outer layers which right now consist of the First Lite Sanctuary Bib and Woodbury Jacket (the Woodbury has since been discontinued but see the current Sanctuary jacket for an adequate size reference). I love being able to bring all of this quiety, comfortable, and conveniently with me into the tree or ground blind. Once I get situated in my stand I simply unzip the lid and all of my gear is easily accessible and organized. The Treehouse does everything I need it to and that is really what you have to ask yourself when you are looking for any pack. Which will meet your style of hunting or the style you would like to hunt.
I’ve carried this pack around for almost a year and I really do love it. The treehouse lives up to its name but isn’t pigeon holed by the niche for which it was designed. Its combination of features make it the perfect Whitetail or Eastern style hunting pack. It was not designed for western mountain hunting and I definitely noticed some instability when it was fully loaded and I was bushwhacking through the steep slopes of the MTN OPS course at the Utah TAC event. But for hiking your gear into a ground blind or up a tree you would be hard pressed to find a better option.
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