The first thing I noticed about this pack was the completely out of the box harness system. I’m talking about the part that touches your back. There is an incredibly simple but effective set of straps that can be adjusted to “ping” the bag away from your sweaty back, therefore creating airflow around those hot spots. I really appreciate this feature. Tatonka calls it their ‘X Vent Zero Carry System’.
My first test for the Tatonka 22 was for a boot run alongside my dogs. I had minimal weight in the bag (mid layer top, phone, wallet, dog leads, poo bags, 1.5L water, car keys). Even when running, the bag stayed firm on my back with the chest and hip belts deployed. There’s a small loop sewn into the small compartment, which I clipped my keys to. However upon arrival at the truck 30min later, I discovered that perhaps more than just one compartment in the small pouch could have been useful…the action of running had resulted in my phone case being repeatedly scratched against my hanging keys. Bugger. Also, the loose contents were noisy.
Second test run was for a jetboat trip. Basically the only requirements are for your sack to carry bulk food, thermos, and be waterproof. Tick, tick and tick. (There’s even an included rain cover for added protection as zips are not waterproof and do not have storm flaps.)
Subsequent test runs have been for day hunts, both bush walking and more open tracks. Although this pack isn’t hunting specific, I found that any bush-on-pack noise isn’t really much more than bush-on-rifle noise. I’ve been finding over more time bush hunting that sound such as hopping over a log and strongly landing on the ground with a hefty, resonating thump or any metallic noise is much more detrimental than scrub noise or fabrics crinkling.
To sum up, on face value this pack is very basic. And that is exactly what I have been after! Every strap actually has a job! The side compression straps have a simple but effective clip that keeps the tail ends in check when everything is tightened up. This pack is water bladder compatible, but roomy enough for 1.5L water bottles if that is what you prefer. The volume is less than my previous day bag, yet the configuration (one main compartment with only a small front pouch) means I can easily fit more stuff in the Tatonka.
Things I would change if I could:
· Different colour rain cover (the actual pack colour is an excellent safety colour, yet the rain cover is rather drab and has no reflective features)
· Added flap inside small compartment for small item stowage
· Mind blowingly simple but awesome airflow harness system
· Minimal style resulting in maximum usage
Oh – one last thing – the main compartment has TWO ZIPS that can meet at the top, or wherever the heck you want them to meet. (Unlike my other packs, where the zip ends up down in a corner, usually under a tight compression strap, somehow in the most frustrating and annoying position it could possibly be in). I know this seems like a very simple thing, but when you are tired and hangry and just want to get to your god damn cashews and the &#)@*@ing zip is blocked under a strap and you can’t get your digits in there and then it starts raining and your jacket is inside this monstrosity and you’ve got to start undoing fiddly wet straps with too much webbing and then you discover you’ve approached this whole cluster(#&#(& situation from the wrong side and the zip is actually over there and….
Thank you, Tatonka, for your second zip. Seriously. Thank you.