Cabela’s Shasta 98 Backpack

I have hiked with external frame packs forever. My trusty Kelty has hundreds of backpacking miles, and many camping trips. We ended up buying internal frame packs for the kids, and I used Ian’s on several backpacking trips, including my Yosemite 30 miler last year.

I ended up buying the Shasta 98 from Cabela’s last Fall. I gave only $98 for it on sale. I’ve had it on five weekend camping trips since then, and weekend before last I took it on a 21+ mile backpacking trip in the Ouachita National Forest.

The pack was very comfortable. The hip strap carried the weight very well. I never had any back problems with the pack. I never got “sweaty back”; there was enough air circulation that I wasn’t running sweat down the back all day.

The pack has a builtin raincover. I took it out to make sure it works OK, but I’ve not used it in the rain. The pack has two zippered compartments that I just discovered before the backpacking trip. One of them divides the lower compartment from the main compartment, making one loooooong compartment. The other gives access to a compartment that runs along the entire length of the pack next to your back.

This pack has 6000 in3 of space. I was able to get all my personal gear, the troop gear I was carrying, and the food I was carrying in the pack, and I never even needed the top-of-the-pack extension. I had lots of spare room in the lower compartment. I rolled my closed-cell pad up and lined the inside of the main compartment, so I had nothing at all on the outside of the pack.

The very top compartment was about 70% filled with stuff, including my Sawyer squeeze water filter and bags (the big Sawyer bag fits very nicely in the hydration pocket when filled with water, BTW).

The mesh side pockets each fit a Nalgene very well, and are easily reachable while wearing the pack. You have to make sure that stuff in the lower compartment doesn’t bulge out to the side – it makes the water bottles fit poorly.

I kept the tent, fly, and stakes in the lower compartment, and had room left over. I put the poles in the main compartment, along one of the corners close to my back.

There is a large, but pretty thin pocket on the back outside of the pack. I have repair stuff in there, including rope and the like.

Here is the pack loaded up, right before we hit the trail.

There are a couple things the pack needs. A map pocket somewhere is needed, accessible while wearing the pack. I think that the hip belt could use a couple small pouches. I’m going to add some of those myself before my next trip.

The pack could use at least one deeper pocket on the upper side of the pack. This would be great for some of the smaller things that you don’t need immediately, or that a companion could get to quickly.

I’m very happy with this pack. I inspected it very closely after this last trip, and I have not found any sign of wear that might indicate a failure in process. I paid particular attention to the hip belt, since if it fails you have a serious problem. The seams are all solid as well. I’m going to carry it partially loaded on a couple 10-mile shakedowns over the next month in preparation for a trek in New Mexico in July, and check it again after each. But I don’t think it will exhibit any issues.

The Cabela’s site for this pack is here.

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