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Why not increase archery sales by offering special-purpose packs?

Why Not Increase Archery Sales By Offering Special-Purpose Packs?

Bowhunting and backpacks go together. Gun hunters tote packs occasionally, but every serious archer owns one or two. The reason for this is simple. A bowhunter carries several times as much necessary day-gear as any rifleman -- far too much to stuff in pants or coat pockets. This paraphernalia includes standard stuff like hunting knife, canteen, lunch, flashlight, and firestarter. In addition, archers need fluorescent trail marking tape, spare bowstrings, extra broadheads, spare bow sight pins, treestand steps, odor masking scent, deer calls, wind direction powder, rattling antlers, and a myriad of other special-purpose items. Such archery aids add up to considerable bulk and several pounds of weight -- which makes some sort of pack a must.

Bowhunting packs can be segregated into three basic categories. Belt packs provide minimal storage room for one-day hunts. Frameless backpacks allow gear-toting for several-day jaunts about the countryside. These are also handy for serious day hunts where a spotting scope, survival gear, and camera might be part of your preferred equipment. A third sort of pack is a full-sized, expedition-quality model with external or internal frame -- a pack capable of carrying remote country gear and the meat from big game animals. Here's how to stock your archery store to accommodate these basic bowhunting requirements.

Belt Packs

Belt packs, sometimes called fanny packs, are extremely popular with bowhunters. These vary in size, from diminutive, single-compartment models that attach to your belt, to sizeable packs with multiple compartments and integral nylon belts. Dozens of companies currently sell belt packs, including large archery firms like Bear, Hoyt, Martin, and PSE.

When stocking your store with belt packs, you must remember two important things. First, archery packs should be camouflaged to conform with close-range hunting requirements. Small fanny packs need not be leaf-print or TreBark in pattern to help archers take game, but customers tend to prefer camouflage patterns nonetheless. A second consideration of fanny packs is quiet exterior. Many nice-looking packs are made of ripstop or Cordura nylon -- materials that scrape and whine as a bowhunter walks along. Fortunately, many packs are now offered in quiet cotton or Polarfleece fabric. These are most practical for bowhunting use.

Belt packs make excellent impulse items in your store. They are relatively inexpensive, and really do help an archer on foot hunts or for ones sitting in a stand.

Most archery companies and general backpack firms offer at least one or two models worth checking out.

Frameless Backpacks

Small, frameless backpacks are the most popular bowhunting choice. These hold at least two cubic feet of gear -- enough to allow efficient hunting with a bow. Treestand archers need frameless backpacks because these will easily haul a dozen treestand steps, a folding stool, a treestand safety belt, hoist rope, and related items. All-day foot hunters prefer such a pack because it can be carried comfortably and shed instantly whenever stalking needs require packless walking. Archers in inclement weather and/or remote areas require such a pack for spare clothes, an emergency shelter, and first-aid gear plus ordinary bowhunting items.

For best sales, your frameless day packs should be moderate in size with two or three zippered pockets to help segregate gear. Ideally, such packs should be narrower then your body, and no higher than your shoulders when loaded with five or ten pounds of equipment. This allows a bowhunter to slip through foliage without the chance of frustrating, potentially noisy hang-up on trees and brush. A pack that rides even with or below shoulder level also lets you prop your bow across one shoulder like a rifle as you walk. This is a must for walking comfort afield. As in belt packs, the very best frameless backpacks sold for bowhunting are made of silent material. Polarfleece is best--a durable but extremely soft space-age fabric widely used in today's archery packs. PSE, Martin, and others sell extensive lines of Polarfleece packs in green woodland camo, autumn leaf-print, white-and-brown snow camo, and TreBark patterns.

Full-Sized packs

A growing number of bowhunters enjoy serious hunting in remote, roadless areas. For elk, mule, deer, caribou, and other back country species, a taxing backpack away from roads often ensures solitude and superior hunting for trophy sized game. To reach prime archery areas, woodsmen must use pack animals or walk 5 to 20 miles away from vehicle access points. Since most bowhunters do not own horses or mules, the common procedure is walking with a big, sturdy pack on your back.

A number of companies sell expedition backpacks with strong alloy frames and multi-compartment sacks attached. Most sacks are made of nylon, but this is no handicap for bowhunters because packs are normally shed once remote camping sites are reached.

My personal favorite for heavy-load backpack bowhunting is the camp Trails Freighter Frame with a large, nylon sack attached. Jan-Sport, Kelty, Peak I, and others sell similarly sturdy models. With such packs, bowhunters can carry 40 to 70 pounds of camping and archery equipment with minimal strain. Load weight is distributed evenly at the shoulders and hips with three-padded straps. You should never sell large packs unless these incorporate a wide, padded hip belt. Second-rate setups with shoulder straps alone grind and fatigue the shoulders with even moderate loads of 30 or 40 pounds.

One of the most innovative bowhunting packs sold today is the Dwight Schuh Hunting Pack. This has a silent, unbreakable plastic frame with two Polarfleece sacks attached. When hiking to and from a remote hunting camp, you load up both sacks for large-capacity transport. Once you reach your destination, you detach the larger upper sack and leave it in camp as a storage bag. The plastic frame and small lower sack can then be carried afield for day-hunting in place of a small frameless backpack. If you manage to bag your animal, you can tie boned-out or quartered meat above the lower sack for efficient transport out of the woods. The Dwight Schul Hunting Pack is available in green-leaf, TreBark, and snow camouflage.

Final Thoughts

You can certainly increase archery sales by offering a variety of special-purpose packs. Most savvy dealers stock belt packs and frameless backpacks in several camo patterns. Many find it best to sell full-sized expedition packs on a special-order basis. Serious bowhunters require one or two well-made packs, and you might as well be the one to fill this need!

PHOTO : A small frameless backpack is ideal for most archery gear-toting needs. Such a pack must

PHOTO : be camouflaged and silent to wear.

PHOTO : Treestand bowhunters require some sort of pack to carry screw-in steps, hoist rope, and

PHOTO : other necessary daygear.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Publishers' Development Corporation
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Adams, Chuck
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:column
Date:Mar 1, 1989
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