Hunters know the benefits of a good sling and the shortcomings of a lousy one. So do the designers at The Allen Company, evidenced by the introduction of their new-for-2016 line of Baktrak slings for rifles, shotguns, and crossbows. Why do you need one for your next hunt? Read on.
What is Baktrak?
The Baktrak sling name refers not to the outward looks of the strap, but rather, the soft, tire-tread design of the back. Per the company, the Baktrak pattern is built for the combination of noise reduction and extreme grip. Regardless of style, all Baktrak slings wear the same tread pattern rear, have a thumb-loop, are one-hand quick-adjustable, and include a pair of 300# tested swivels.
Both Allen and Baktrak branding is done subtly and tastefully. Likewise, packaging is simple and clean, with the slings coming mounted through a cardboard hanging display. Stitching is all heavy duty with double stitching in key areas. Retail prices vary by model, but hover around the $20-$35 range on the open market.
With currently a dozen different Baktrak slings hitting retailers for 2016, there really is something for every taste, whether you favor leather or synthetic materials, solid colors or Mossy Oak and Muddy Girl patterns. We had the pleasure of trying out a few different models of Baktrak slings. The one thing that’s certain — that Baktrak backing keeps the sling in place on the shoulder, period.
Baktrak Crossbow sling
The crossbow-specific sling adjusts from 28” to 37”, and it’s the wide adjustment range that makes it friendly to all makes, models, and sizes of crossbows. Best of all, it’s adjustable with one hand, and makes toting a crossbow to and from a hunting stand not only safer, but more manageable. Though this version is mostly black, there are minor accents of orange with the same treaded rubber back. A small orange crossbow on the front makes it easily recognizable when hung with your other slings. MSRP on the crossbow strap is $34.89.
Baktrak Bullet sling
The black-on-black Bullet sling is perhaps the most practical of all the designs for hunters. It’s also the most cushioned of all the models we tested and is set apart by its four elastic rifle cartridge loops. We tested the loops with multiple rifle rounds from .22-250 to .300 Mag and they held firm through heavy use, purposeful abuse, and movement. The location of the loops on the sling puts them at easy reach for hunters on the move needing to reload. The neoprene face material is especially soft, silent, and unassuming. MSRP on the Bullet sling is $34.89.
Baktrak Leather sling
Traditionalists like myself will be pleased to see several leather trimmed slings in the Baktrak lineup. The full-grain leather face sets this model apart from the rest with classy looks. Because the rubberized tread backing of these slings is so soft and flexible, we were worried that the leather front would not hold up well to the constant flexing and bending, but our qualms were unfounded. The leather is equally soft and supple, yet held up to regular hunting use without undue wear. A buck skull stamped in the leather is a nice touch for hunters. MSRP on the Leather sling is slightly higher at $46.99.
We found only two shortcomings with the Baktrak slings. First, the swivels on our test models were polymer rather than metal, but nonetheless held up well. Second, though it doesn’t affect performance in any way, the Baktraks are made in China while most other Allen products are made in the USA.
All in all, we found the Baktrak sling line to be more user-friendly, lower-profile and lighter weight than comparable rubberized slings on the market. And best of all, these slings grip and keep the gun on your shoulder so you can focus on the hunt. After all, that’s why we’re out in the field to begin with. Allen has put the days of worrying about re-adjusting the rifle on your shoulder a thing of the past and built a sling that does what they’ve been supposed to do all along.