- Buyer's Guide
Drive By :: Boreas Bootlegger
When Boreas first introduced their Bootlegger series, it was hard to not take notice. Finally a fresh concept in carry, taking the idea of modularity to the next level. The system is flawless and hopefully paves the way for an entirely new category of versatile carry systems. For the adventurous, the three pack styles perfectly coincide with a short hike, day trip and overnight stay.
Who It Suits
Someone who wants a pack that easily scales up or down to take on any task/adventure.
Who It Doesn’t
Someone who wants more of a say in the pack details, be it organization, layout or style.
Super Tramp Modular Technology
It would be impossible to talk about the Bootlegger without talking about the modular pack system known as “Super Tramp”. It’s simple, efficient and it never took more than a minute to transition from one pack to another. It was great to be able to use the same pack system regardless of what adventure I was embarking upon. It might be a dream but I hope they continue to build off this platform and give us more packs to purchase over time as well – you can never have too many options!
“It was great to be able to use the same pack system regardless of what adventure I was embarking upon.”
Here’s how it works: each pack has buckles at the top with a pouch to slide the top harness into. Once those are attached, you slide the bottom of the harness into the corner slots and voila, you’re good to go. The entire process takes about one minute, maybe.
A few extra details and notes: the back support is incredibly comfortable and it’s worth noting that while testing on days that crept into the triple digits (Fahrenheit) my back wasn’t overly swampy or sweaty. The system was designed with the same rugged construction and comfort you’d find on your typical overnight bag, with dual shoulder adjustments, a hip belt and sternum strap.
“The back support is incredibly comfortable and while testing on days that crept into the triple digits (Fahrenheit) my back wasn’t overly swampy or sweaty.”
The Torpedo is the smallest of the pack trio, coming in with a 13L capacity. It is truly an ultralight pack (9 oz) that when used with the Super Tramp system seems a bit like overkill for its size. That might be a real complaint on this bag to be quite honest.
Perfect for a short day hike, the Torpedo can fit up to a 100 oz hydration bladder so you’ll never go thirsty. A handy slot on either side gives you easy access to the nozzle while internal buckles can be used to secure it in place. One of the things that I came to love about this pack was the 2-way stretch front panel. It has just the right amount of give to let you shove in that extra layer. The zippered top pocket is large enough to throw all of your essentials into while giving you quick access to a Clif Bar so it doesn’t get buried at the bottom of the pack.
“One of the things that I came to love about this pack was the 2-way stretch front panel. It has just the right amount of give to let you shove in that extra layer.”
I found the Hopper to be my trusted ally and go-to size for my needs. There are so many details on this pack that can easily be overlooked that make it truly killer when you’re out in the field. For one, the top pocket is waterproof, protecting your valuables should a spring shower or storm come your way.
“There are so many details on this pack that can easily be overlooked that make it truly killer when you’re out in the field.”
One of the features I came to love was the two front-facing external pockets with the same 2-way stretch fabric as the Torpedo. The pull tab makes access a breeze and the compression straps ensure that bulky items stay in place. My only complaint might be the small hole at the bottom corner of the pocket. It’s a bit unnecessary.
Like the Torpedo, the Hopper has internal buckles to attach a bladder but the pocket is also big enough to stow your laptop. Hydration ports are also placed on either side.
One of the features that I never used but can see the utility of is the daisy chain. For me, I found it to be unnecessary but if you’re using it as an overnight you’ll want that access. This pack was the perfect size at 28L for a long day hike, trip to the grocery store or heading off on an impromptu adventure.
The Scrimshaw is a silent killer. Its 30L capacity makes it just big enough to perfectly fit the Hopper so it can stay dry without having to reorganize or switch bags. Here’s how it does that: it’s a roll-top dry-bag that’s completely waterproof (and submersible). It accomplishes this through seam-tape construction. It has a rib cage construction design in the same aesthetic as the Torpedo
At first I didn’t fully understand the Scrimshaw. It just seemed like a big empty sack. All of that changed when we got hit with a sudden rainstorm out of the blue and I was able to within minutes prop the Hopper inside to keep it dry and find shelter. By the time we got back to the car, I was soaking wet but my gear wasn’t.
Others to Consider
There really isn’t another company or pack system that does what the Boreas Bootlegger series does. Osprey makes some…
To me, the Bootlegger series is really the future for outdoor carry. It fills the need of being able to do more with less. I did my best to find the system’s weak points but couldn’t find any. And for less than $200, this system is a steal.
“To me, the Bootlegger series is really the future for outdoor carry. It fills the need of being able to do more with less. And for less than $200, this system is a steal.”
* Yosemite photography by: Brad Stapleton
*Close-ups by: Raymond Rudolph