The Nexgen Outfitters Whitetail Caddy Pack is a well-engineered hunting day pack that also excels for use at a tree stand or in a ground blind.
To get Man Makes Fire a closer look, Nexgen Outfitters sent us a review unit. We spent some time with the Whitetail Caddy Pack during archery elk season. This is what we learned:
Whitetail Caddy Pack Review
The Nexgen Outfitters Whitetail Caddy Pack was designed for whitetail hunting, but a good hunting pack transcends single-purpose use. Despite the name, the Whitetail Caddy Pack is a solid hunting day pack that will work for most any kind of hunting. I tested it as a day pack when I was calling and supporting my hunting buddy after I filled my elk tag this year.
Let’s start with size. At about 30 liters of capacity, the Whitetail Caddy Pack can swallow up quite a bit of gear. It had no problem handling my elk hunting gear, including my first-aid kit, lunch, rain gear, water bladder, knives, headlamp, gloves, game bags, and camera.
It has an astounding 18 pockets, which provides some serious organizational capabilities. Some of the interior pockets are tuck pockets while others zip for security. Normally I’m the kind of guy who prefers more spartan packs with few pockets, but I must admit I appreciated the organizational opportunities here.
If you hunt from a tree stand, the Whitetail Caddy Pack has an adjustable hang loop and two flip-out pockets that provide easy access to key gear.
If you hunt from a ground blind, the Whitetail Caddy Pack has a nifty trick: It can stand upright on its own.
Seriously, most daypacks don’t stand, but the Caddy Pack has a flexible foam foundation built into the base that lets it stand. Sure, you can overload one side and it’ll tip, but the point remains: It’s surprisingly easy to balance. For the type of hunting I do, I most appreciated this feature as I loaded and unloaded the pack on the tailgate of my pickup.
Meanwhile, whether you use the pack in a tree stand or ground blind, the top lid can create a handy gear shelf. There are two loops on the interior of the lid that slip over two toggles on the inside of the pack, creating a flattish shelf. It only works if the pack is less than 80% full or so, but it’s a great idea. Pretty cool, actually.
Versatile compression straps.
Gear shelf mode.
Durability & Design
The Whitetail Caddy Pack is made from a soft and quiet high-count tricot polyester that seems plenty rugged. The main body fabric includes a water-resistant polyurethane laminate, so the contents will stay mostly dry in rain and snow.
The padded shoulder straps are plenty wide and are comfortable. They include MOLLE loops so you can attach gear you want quick access to.
All the straps, buckles, zippers and zipper pulls are durable and work well.
Speaking of straps, the Whitetail Caddy Pack has four exterior compression straps. The straps can be used to secure extra-long gear in the side pockets or even rotate around the pack and clip together. This gives you two compression straps on the outside rear of the pack that you can use to strap on a bow, a coat, or antler sheds. These straps are also removable.
The back padding is cushy with foam-structured grooves that help provide airflow. It not exactly a frame, but it’s fairly rigid. Fully loaded, the Whitetail Caddy Pack is surprisingly comfortable.
It also comes with a sternum strap, which I consider mandatory for any pack, as well as a waist belt. The waist belt is just a wide nylon strip, so it doesn’t provide much support or help carry much weight. For me, it’s best use was to help provide stability when I was covering a lot of rugged ground. When you don’t need it, you can tuck it behind the lumbar pad to keep the pack sleek.
Back panel blends cushion with stability.
Shoulder straps are wide and comfortable.
The Whitetail Caddy Pack is a great hunting day pack that will excel for many kinds of hunting scenarios. At 3 lbs 15 oz it’s relatively heavy, but it’s durable and manages to ride well when loaded. And truly, the weight isn’t critical to how most hunters will end up using this pack, likely for day trips.
I can, however, see one small area for improvement, but it’s only for hunters who want to carry spotting scopes — which most whitetail hunters do not.
I can see western big game hunters preferring larger, higher volume side pockets. This suggestion isn’t a dealbreaker because you can slip a spotting scope (in a protective case or sleeve) into the side mesh pockets and use the compression straps to secure it. The same goes for a tripod. Still, for hunters packing high-quality optics, full-coverage pockets are pretty important. Also, the main compartment is plenty big for a spotting scope. Either way, my point remains — higher volume side pockets would increase the already impressive versatility delivered by the Whitetail Caddy Pack . . . without hurting everything else that works so well.
Nexgen Outfitters Whitetail Caddy Pack: The Verdict
All-in-all, the Nexgen Outfitters Whitetail Caddy Pack is a well-designed hunting day pack that exudes quality and attention to detail. It’s an impressive pack for whitetail hunting and excellent all-around hunting day pack. Priced at just under $100, it delivers a great price-to-value ratio. Highly recommended.