Texas-based Pack Rabbit Products and California’s Sandpiper team up for a great seat-pack experience. (Photos: Jared Morgan, Guns.com)
It’s not uncommon for SHOT Show attendees to walk upwards of 15 miles a day during four days of what’s billed as the world’s largest gun show, so I was pretty excited at the prospect of testing out all the chairs our team came across. Most of the sitting apparatus I quality checked weren’t for sale and they probably belonged to the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.
One chair I found, however, provided quite a bit of relief to my tired dogs and it’s one you can actually buy, if you’re into sitting like we are. But sitting isn’t our only thing. When Guns.com writers and editors aren’t at our desks, lackadaisically typing away, we like to fish, hunt and target shoot, which is why just any old folding chair or office swivel won’t do. In fact, I’m writing this review while sitting on the Pack Mule from Pack Rabbit Products and plan to take it out to the range and camping pretty soon.
Not only does the Pack Mule give you a comfortable seat that would likely provide your rump a respite on any terrain, it’s also designed to make your load easier to carry. With Sandpiper of California’s mesh cargo carrier clipped to the frame system, I was easily carrying about 40-50 pounds of camera equipment and other miscellany the two-mile walk from the expo center to our hotel. No, I didn’t take a rest on the way, though I should have.
The frame itself is a composite material with foam padding. It has an ergonomic design and a loading deck that can support up to 140 pounds of your gear. The backrest provides lumbar support and pivots down to offer a seat for your meat, which I also initially tested on the expo floor for a few minutes. I’m not very close to pushing the 250-pound maximum weight rating for the seat functionality and am able to lean back at about a 45-degree angle for more comfort. Extending my legs out provides a little bit of discomfort while resting my back completely on the frame, as the seat digs into the back of my legs. However, that was easily remedied by moving my butt to the edge of the seat in a modified recline. The seat is held in backrest position by a flex strap that seems durable enough and can be moved up and down to allow for the backrest to stay in position.
All you youngsters out there should be good to go sitting on the ground for extended periods of time. I imagine some of the older folks with knee and back issues could have a problem sitting for too long and getting up from a ground position, but you’d never admit it, you tough, old bastards.
With the shoulder straps, hip belt and cargo net attached, the unit weighs just over five pounds. The cargo net has adjustable straps, which allow for gear compression and includes MOLLE and PALS compatible panels.
Sandpiper advised against carrying your children in the frame — in fact, one of the reps seemed on the verge of fainting when I suggested it — so you probably shouldn’t do it. We’ll do it so you don’t have to and post an update. That’s right, a Guns.com editor is risking the safety of his kid to keep yours safe. Remember that.
Full disclosure, I bought the Pack Mule system during the convention, albeit at a discounted show rate. The frame, straps and cargo net will cost you around $150.
While few of us ever thought we’d have a blacked-out lever-action hunting rifle on our wish list, here we are with not one, but two. The Marlin Dark series was followed by the Henry X-Model, both American-made levers.