Obviously when it comes to hunting packs there is no single solution that covers every situation. What is needed to support a quick day hunt out of a tree stand is typically very different than what a hunter might require if he is planning on spending a week in a spike camp in the Yukon. I’m also a bit of a bag junkie and can’t seem to ever have enough packs, handbags, or luggage. So when I ran across a new Tenzing TC1260 on clearance at Gander Mountain a couple of months ago I picked one up (I also have a hard time resisting a great sale!).
I’ve needed to replace the pack that I usually carry on short hunts where I know either the camp or the truck is pretty close by for a while. My old pack has served me well, but now has a couple of small tears, a place where the stitching has busted, and a zipper that likes to stick. I was hopeful that the TC1260 would help fill this requirement.
For me, there are five things that need to be considered when selecting a pack; size, organization, price, material, and weight.
The very first thing that drew me to the TC1260 was its small size. I find most daypacks to be oversized for the job. At about 21 liters, or just under 1300 cubic inches I think the TC1260 is just about perfect for a day in a deer or turkey blind. I can easily fit everything I need from food and water to my knives, binos, rangefinder, a first aid kit, flashlight, and a host of other small items and still have room to spare without having to carry anything larger that is just going to take up valuable real estate in my little 50” square hunting cube.
The TC1260 is also extremely well organized. With 8 separate pockets and compartments its easy to find anything I am looking for without having to dump everything on the ground or dig through just a couple of compartments where everything is stowed. I like pockets, and the TC1260 has plenty of them for its small size.
With an MSRP of about $160, the TC1260 certainly isn’t the cheapest option for a pack of its size, but it’s not the most expensive hunting day pack on the market either. With Gander Mountain closing its doors and marking the TC1260 down to just under $85, I think I got a great bargain. I have certainly paid more for lessor quality packs in the past. My only regret after coming home and really getting to dig into all this pack has to offer is that I didn’t buy all of the TC1260’s they had on the shelf that day. I did manage to pick one up for Dave too though and felt walking out with 2 packs for just barely more than the MSRP for 1 was a pretty incredible deal.
While the price was certainly right, and I love how well the pack is designed organizationally, and the overall size was just about perfect, none of that is what I think is best about the TC1260. What makes this pack stand tall above others in its price range is in its material in my opinion. For stand and blind hunting I’m not too worried about tearing a pack up. My last pack lasted for ages, and I’m not typically carrying the bag for long distances or over really rough terrain. I just need something that help me get all of my necessary equipment where I need it be, comfortably and as QUIETLY as possible. This is where the TC1260 really excels. It is far and away the quietest pack I have ever owned.
Small packs are inherently stealthy, but the TC1260 takes quiet to the extreme. Tenzing uses DYNEEMA panels to give the TC1260 strength, and then covers the entire pack in super soft and silent TRICO fabric to absolutely deaden the sound of anything inside the bag that might shift or anything that might brush up against the outside of the pack.
All of this, and the TC1260 is also really comfortable to wear. It’s not on the super lightweight side for its size, but at just 2lbs 6oz it’s not unreasonably heavy at all. The back of the pack is well ventilated, the waistbelt has plenty of padding and uses a system of concealed elastic straps that allow the pack to be adjusted to fit people of any size and build. I’m fairly small at 5’3” tall with a medium build. Dave is closer to “huge” at 6’4” and is very big framed. Both of us think the TC1260 is comfortable to wear and easy to carry.
Additional features include not already mentioned include both horizontal and vertical compression straps, plus an additional 5 lateral compression straps to help you secure your load, and a side mount for attaching a quiver for the bow hunters among us.
Needless to say, I am impressed by this pack and can’t wait to get it out to the woods with me in a couple of weeks when I go do a little scouting for deer sign. This is the first Tenzing product I have purchased, but I’m guessing it won’t be my last. I’ll keep you updated and maybe update this review at the end of whitetail season and let everyone know how it’s performed after a couple of months in the field. Here’s to hoping it helps me land the big buck I’ll be looking for in East Texas this year. It has already escorted me on a couple of trips to the dove field this year and did a great job!