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Hybrid or Cruzr or Recon

HappyChappy

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Joined
May 19, 2019
Messages
250
Hey folks. Indecision here. Appreciate any help!

I am looking for an upgrade from my kite size 2.
I’ll be hunting miles deep on mountain WMA land in VA. Looking for comfort, ability to pack out deboned deer, ease of use, and obviously lightish carry weight.
I really want to hike in hands free so I can use trekking poles if necessary. That means bow and everything goes on the back. I don’t have a pack that can carry meat out and all my gear, so if I go with a soft saddle, I’ll need to also buy a quality frame pack.
Frame packs are expensive. Add that to the cost of cruzr XC or recon and I can easily go over the cost of the hybrid.
But if I go with the hybrid, I’ll probably want to change my climbing method from lw sticks to one that works well for one-sticking and rappel. This would offset the carry weight of the hybrid. I would also need a ROS. I can get three from treehopper for $35.

Ultimately, I could go with a soft saddle but not change climbing method or platform (predator), but id have to buy a frame pack. Or for same price or less, I could get a hybrid.
Thoughts?

The big question is: which is most comfortable between the recon and the cruzer xc? I know the hybrid is supreme in this category, but how much difference is there in comfort between it and one of these others?
Your answers to this one question may ultimately help me make my choice.
Thanks!
 

Jtaylor

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Dec 25, 2018
Messages
1,109
I vote Cruzr XC between that and the Recon. I know a lot of people like the Hybrid too but it just didn't work for me with some of the trees I hunt and the style I hunt. The Cruzr XC and a frame pack fits that niche just right for me. I've always had a frame pack from camping in the summer and "western" style hunting so that cost wasn't added for me. I like having a separate frame pack so I can use it for camping and backpacking in the off season.
 

HappyChappy

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May 19, 2019
Messages
250
I vote Cruzr XC between that and the Recon. I know a lot of people like the Hybrid too but it just didn't work for me with some of the trees I hunt and the style I hunt. The Cruzr XC and a frame pack fits that niche just right for me. I've always had a frame pack from camping in the summer and "western" style hunting so that cost wasn't added for me. I like having a separate frame pack so I can use it for camping and backpacking in the off season.
That’s a great point. Having a designated frame pack would be more versatile than just the jx3. I do quite a bit of camping/hiking throughout the year. Hmmm...
 

predatorhunter

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Joined
Aug 14, 2018
Messages
275
Location
Central Virginia
I have to agree with Ontariofarmer. I hated the knees on the tree. No level of knee pads of just pad would make it comfortable for any length of time. I really like the minimalist of a Cruzer of Flex (which I have both) but always go with the JX3 solely because of the knees, and I dont have bad knees.
 

Apex7

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Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
3,059
Location
Pittsburgh Pa
I like all three but my favourite is the hybrid. Bad knees. No knees on the tree. I carry my bow on my Jx3 or multiple sticks. Or one stick


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
I don't have the JX3 but I do have the Guido's Web and still use it from time to time. It's super comfortable. That's one saddle I will never part with.
 

KeithinPA

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Joined
Oct 30, 2020
Messages
32
I hunt public land in PA and rarely go in less than a mile and usually twice that. I've used a TX5 and a Recon and both fit in my pack of choice, a Mystery Ranch Pop Up 28, with no issues. With the expanded load shelf you can get your sticks, platform, and extra clothing in there and have plenty of room in the bag for whatever. It's worked out extremely well and I couldn't be happier with the way it hauls. I haven't hauled any meat on it yet but I still have the late season up here to try and make that happen. I believe Go Hunt may be having a sale on the MR packs and puts the price around $250 which is a great number for a quality pack like the Pop Up.
 

kyler1945

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Joined
Dec 4, 2016
Messages
3,741
Location
Baton Rouge, La.
I have been having a very slow season from a deer sightings perspective. That changed last night when I saw something like 20-25 deer. I had a group of 8 move in a way that I thought they'd be approaching from my weak side. They were a ways off, so I made the move to address them. Then, another group of 4-5 decided to play by the proper script. I glanced over my shoulder and saw a fat grey ghost of a nanny goat heading my way. I was able to turn on the fork of the hybrid to get in position, but it left me at an awkward angle. I sat, motionless, for 30 minutes while she stood there surveying the scene at about 40 yards, looking through me. She was a savvy old hag. Another doe worked into about 35 yards and offered a shot. But I had made up my mind I was taking the matriarch, or I was going home empty handed. Finally, she committed, and looked like she was going to walk right under me. I had an easy shot if she did that, and an opening if she would turn towards the feed trees. Once she cleared that opening, she would be in the wide open at under 25 yards, and if I repositioned to take her there, she'd see the movement. She turned into the opening, I pulled the trigger on the HC mini, and heard a delayed thwack from much farther than the deer was standing. I felt like I missed, and they ran off blowing.

She even came back down the ridge towards me stomping and snorting to about 50 yards, then took off again.

I managed to nick a branch across bottom of the opening, and square up a persimmon tree. It took a good ten minutes to find my arrow which almost poked me in the forehead. I missed her high by a good 6-8' due to the deflection.

The moral of the story: If I had repositioned in any of my soft saddles, then got surprised by that deer now coming behind me, and turned to address her and had to hold that awkward pose, I would've had to adjust and she would've busted me, no doubt. The hybrid allowed me to sit there comfortably for over a half hour, then execute a good shot - minus the branch that disagrees with me on the topic.

This was after I walked a mile in 80* sun, after a 20 minute bike ride with the hybrid on my back.

Comfort is not even close. There are tradeoffs, largely covered by me and others on this site. But my choice is easy.

14E94EF0-C795-4CB9-BFBB-4D0B5D0B49A0.jpeg

persimmon tree would probably say buy a soft saddle though...
 
Last edited:

HappyChappy

Well-Known Member
SH Member
Joined
May 19, 2019
Messages
250
I have been having a very slow season from a deer sightings perspective. That changed last night when I saw something like 20-25 deer. I had a group of 8 move in a way that I thought they'd be approaching from my weak side. They were a ways off, so I made the move to address them. Then, another group of 4-5 decided to play by the proper script. I glanced over my shoulder and saw a fat grey ghost of a nanny goat heading my way. I was able to turn on the fork of the hybrid to get in position, but it left me at an awkward angle. I sat, motionless, for 30 minutes while she stood there surveying the scene at about 40 yards, looking through me. She was a savvy old hag. Another doe worked into about 35 yards and offered a shot. But I had made up my mind I was taking the matriarch, or I was going home empty handed. Finally, she committed, and looked like she was going to walk right under me. I had an easy shot if she did that, and an opening if she would turn towards the feed trees. Once she cleared that opening, she would be in the wide open at under 25 yards, and if I repositioned to take her there, she'd see the movement. She turned into the opening, I pulled the trigger on the HC mini, and heard a delayed thwack from much farther than the deer was standing. I felt like I missed, and they ran off blowing.

She even came back down the ridge towards me stomping and snorting to about 50 yards, then took off again.

I managed to nick a branch across bottom of the opening, and square up a persimmon tree. It took a good ten minutes to find my arrow which almost poked me in the forehead. I missed her high by a good 6-8' due to the deflection.

The moral of the story: If I had repositioned in any of my soft saddles, then got surprised by that deer now coming behind me, and turned to address her and had to hold that awkward pose, I would've had to adjust and she would've busted me, no doubt. The hybrid allowed me to sit there comfortably for over a half hour, then execute a good shot - minus the branch that disagrees with me on the topic.

This was after I walked a mile in 80* sun, after a 20 minute bike ride with the hybrid on my back.

Comfort is not even close. There are tradeoffs, largely covered by me and others on this site. But my choice is easy.

View attachment 39993

persimmon tree would probably say buy a soft saddle though...
@kyler1945 thanks for the input and great story. You’ve highlighted the ins and out of the hybrid on here and YT very well, and I always learn something from your posts/videos.
I’m leaning heavily towards the hybrid, but my main concern is if the hybrid will restrict my pulling my bow back or reduce shot opportunities. Have you found this to be the case compared to soft saddles? Your point about staying still in an awkward position is a good one. Do you find awkward positions are more common in the hybrid?
Thanks!
 

kyler1945

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Joined
Dec 4, 2016
Messages
3,741
Location
Baton Rouge, La.
@kyler1945 thanks for the input and great story. You’ve highlighted the ins and out of the hybrid on here and YT very well, and I always learn something from your posts/videos.
I’m leaning heavily towards the hybrid, but my main concern is if the hybrid will restrict my pulling my bow back or reduce shot opportunities. Have you found this to be the case compared to soft saddles? Your point about staying still in an awkward position is a good one. Do you find awkward positions are more common in the hybrid?
Thanks!
It may be my familiarity with the hybrid, and before that the guido's web. But I have no issue executing any shot that I can in a soft saddle.

On occasion, deer hunting requires you to make a very fast, violent movement in order to get in position for a shot. If you're standing or leaning in a soft saddle, you will be able to execute this faster than in the hybrid. This is because you're sitting, with most of your weight on your butt. The same as you would be if you were sitting in a soft saddle. I can think of maybe 3 times this has happened to me in 20+ years of hunting.

Being caught in a compromising position for long stretches by deer being weird has happened way more often.

I have no trouble shooting any shot that I can shoot out of a soft saddle. The hybrid does not prevent you from standing/leaning on your steps or platform and walking the tree, pivoting, etc. The only way for you to know this is true is to try it yourself. And if you just strap a hybrid on with no thought in your yard and try to start making any shot, it won't be that easy. It does require a little thought and tinkering, just like going from a stand to a saddle. But with a little yard time, you'll see it's no different.

The point of the hybrid is to be able to address MOST directions a deer comes to you, with absolute minimal movement and noise. On a 12" diameter tree, and my feet on either side on a step, I can pivot on the fork and shoot from 6:00-1:00 by simply pivoting on the fork. I can raise my bow over bridge, and shoot from 12:00-3:00. This is all with minimal movement of my body or feet. I can reposition feet and fork and shoot from 3-6 - the same as I would have to do with a soft saddle.

Again, speed is all a soft saddle gives me, personally. If a deer is in bow range, at 5:00, the last thing I want to be doing is swinging wildly into position to shoot them. I'm ok not having that ability for a very low percentage of shots.

The other point of the hybrid is to have your butt in a tree as long as possible. I have a high tolerance for pain. I can sit in a kestrel on a ring of steps from daylight to dark. But I actually WANT to sit in the hybrid, and it doesn't require any fiddling to enjoy it.

If you want to stand in the hybrid, stand. If you want to lean, lean. It doesn't prevent you from doing those things. It just adds the ability to sit in comfort.

The only people who might really have issues shooting out of the hybrid is really short folks. The reason is simple - the harness height is fixed on the sides of the hybrid. I'm 6'3, so I have a long torso, so that webbing is about 6-8" below my armpit. Someone really short may have that cause interference trying to shoot angling forward. And for going over the bridge, everything would be in their face. I can't see this being an issue for someone over 5'8 or so. But I'm purely guessing.


I'll be completely honest, I know I'm biased because the complaints about shooting out of the hybrid don't even make sense to me. I can make any shot I ever have out of a saddle. But I'm one guy. I can't speak for folks who have trouble with it.
 

SnakeEater

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Joined
Jan 12, 2020
Messages
888
I’ve had both and liked them but found the latitude method to be more comfortable than both. Maybe an option to look at, it’s been nothing but good sits with it this year.
 

Jtaylor

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Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Messages
1,109
It may be my familiarity with the hybrid, and before that the guido's web. But I have no issue executing any shot that I can in a soft saddle.

On occasion, deer hunting requires you to make a very fast, violent movement in order to get in position for a shot. If you're standing or leaning in a soft saddle, you will be able to execute this faster than in the hybrid. This is because you're sitting, with most of your weight on your butt. The same as you would be if you were sitting in a soft saddle. I can think of maybe 3 times this has happened to me in 20+ years of hunting.

Being caught in a compromising position for long stretches by deer being weird has happened way more often.

I have no trouble shooting any shot that I can shoot out of a soft saddle. The hybrid does not prevent you from standing/leaning on your steps or platform and walking the tree, pivoting, etc. The only way for you to know this is true is to try it yourself. And if you just strap a hybrid on with no thought in your yard and try to start making any shot, it won't be that easy. It does require a little thought and tinkering, just like going from a stand to a saddle. But with a little yard time, you'll see it's no different.

The point of the hybrid is to be able to address MOST directions a deer comes to you, with absolute minimal movement and noise. On a 12" diameter tree, and my feet on either side on a step, I can pivot on the fork and shoot from 6:00-1:00 by simply pivoting on the fork. I can raise my bow over bridge, and shoot from 12:00-3:00. This is all with minimal movement of my body or feet. I can reposition feet and fork and shoot from 3-6 - the same as I would have to do with a soft saddle.

Again, speed is all a soft saddle gives me, personally. If a deer is in bow range, at 5:00, the last thing I want to be doing is swinging wildly into position to shoot them. I'm ok not having that ability for a very low percentage of shots.

The other point of the hybrid is to have your butt in a tree as long as possible. I have a high tolerance for pain. I can sit in a kestrel on a ring of steps from daylight to dark. But I actually WANT to sit in the hybrid, and it doesn't require any fiddling to enjoy it.

If you want to stand in the hybrid, stand. If you want to lean, lean. It doesn't prevent you from doing those things. It just adds the ability to sit in comfort.

The only people who might really have issues shooting out of the hybrid is really short folks. The reason is simple - the harness height is fixed on the sides of the hybrid. I'm 6'3, so I have a long torso, so that webbing is about 6-8" below my armpit. Someone really short may have that cause interference trying to shoot angling forward. And for going over the bridge, everything would be in their face. I can't see this being an issue for someone over 5'8 or so. But I'm purely guessing.


I'll be completely honest, I know I'm biased because the complaints about shooting out of the hybrid don't even make sense to me. I can make any shot I ever have out of a saddle. But I'm one guy. I can't speak for folks who have trouble with it.
I'll admit I probably never gave the Hybrid a fair shot and sold it only after a few sits so I can't really give it a fair assessment. I had/have a pack and a turkey chair and really didn't have any need for everything the Hybrid had going on. Have you sat in or owned a Cruzr XC? I've never tried a Latitude Method but it seems like it gets great reviews as well.
 

HappyChappy

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SH Member
Joined
May 19, 2019
Messages
250
It may be my familiarity with the hybrid, and before that the guido's web. But I have no issue executing any shot that I can in a soft saddle.

On occasion, deer hunting requires you to make a very fast, violent movement in order to get in position for a shot. If you're standing or leaning in a soft saddle, you will be able to execute this faster than in the hybrid. This is because you're sitting, with most of your weight on your butt. The same as you would be if you were sitting in a soft saddle. I can think of maybe 3 times this has happened to me in 20+ years of hunting.

Being caught in a compromising position for long stretches by deer being weird has happened way more often.

I have no trouble shooting any shot that I can shoot out of a soft saddle. The hybrid does not prevent you from standing/leaning on your steps or platform and walking the tree, pivoting, etc. The only way for you to know this is true is to try it yourself. And if you just strap a hybrid on with no thought in your yard and try to start making any shot, it won't be that easy. It does require a little thought and tinkering, just like going from a stand to a saddle. But with a little yard time, you'll see it's no different.

The point of the hybrid is to be able to address MOST directions a deer comes to you, with absolute minimal movement and noise. On a 12" diameter tree, and my feet on either side on a step, I can pivot on the fork and shoot from 6:00-1:00 by simply pivoting on the fork. I can raise my bow over bridge, and shoot from 12:00-3:00. This is all with minimal movement of my body or feet. I can reposition feet and fork and shoot from 3-6 - the same as I would have to do with a soft saddle.

Again, speed is all a soft saddle gives me, personally. If a deer is in bow range, at 5:00, the last thing I want to be doing is swinging wildly into position to shoot them. I'm ok not having that ability for a very low percentage of shots.

The other point of the hybrid is to have your butt in a tree as long as possible. I have a high tolerance for pain. I can sit in a kestrel on a ring of steps from daylight to dark. But I actually WANT to sit in the hybrid, and it doesn't require any fiddling to enjoy it.

If you want to stand in the hybrid, stand. If you want to lean, lean. It doesn't prevent you from doing those things. It just adds the ability to sit in comfort.

The only people who might really have issues shooting out of the hybrid is really short folks. The reason is simple - the harness height is fixed on the sides of the hybrid. I'm 6'3, so I have a long torso, so that webbing is about 6-8" below my armpit. Someone really short may have that cause interference trying to shoot angling forward. And for going over the bridge, everything would be in their face. I can't see this being an issue for someone over 5'8 or so. But I'm purely guessing.


I'll be completely honest, I know I'm biased because the complaints about shooting out of the hybrid don't even make sense to me. I can make any shot I ever have out of a saddle. But I'm one guy. I can't speak for folks who have trouble with it.
This is great stuff, thanks. I didn’t know that leaning was a possibility in a hybrid. Of course, I doubt I’d find myself wanting to very often if that seat is as comfy as it looks.
Your thoughts on movement are solid and I agree with the sentiment of forfeiting quick movements in a soft saddle for a being able to sit absolutely still for a 5min stare down.

I keep going back and forth in my mind on either a new softie and a frame pack or the hybrid. The hybrid is all in one—which simplifies the entire setup...
Dang it man, I hope you’re making commission!
 

HappyChappy

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May 19, 2019
Messages
250
I’ve had both and liked them but found the latitude method to be more comfortable than both. Maybe an option to look at, it’s been nothing but good sits with it this year.
Just when I thought I had narrowed it down to just three choices...lol
So you found it more comfortable than the cruzer xc? Hmmm...if that’s the case, it certainly is more streamlined and lighter weight (the metal-less one anyway).
Thanks for the input.
 

SnakeEater

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Jan 12, 2020
Messages
888
Just when I thought I had narrowed it down to just three choices...lol
So you found it more comfortable than the cruzer xc? Hmmm...if that’s the case, it certainly is more streamlined and lighter weight (the metal-less one anyway).
Thanks for the input.
Yes sir, I traded my Cruzr for one. The cruzr was comfortable don’t get me wrong but with long sits it gave me hip pinch which most saddles do for me aside from 2 panels. I like the bridge loop connections that are static on the method compared to the recon. You can really dial in comfort and helps with one sticking and rappelling.
 

Jtaylor

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Dec 25, 2018
Messages
1,109
Ha! I keep thinking of things to say and want to add I'm in no way affiliated with Cruzr. I just really appreciate a well made product that works for me when I'm spending my hard earned cash on a product. The Cruzr XC gives me personally zero hip pinch. My knees start to get sore from sitting against the trunk all day but I generally take a break between standing and sitting and have found a Hawk seat pad strapped to the tree alleviates this for all day sits. I'll just use my knee pads for the shorter half days.
Ok so back to the Hybrid! Maybe @kyler1945 has a method that works for him he'd be willing to share or already has. I didn't really find a great way to carry the multiple small items I carry with me on the Hybrid without having a backpack or some other pack that I would then attach to the Hybrid anyways. There's a pouch on the Hybrid a ring of steps will fit in and maybe a water bottle but I carry a decent amount of other things as well as layers of clothes I like to keep dry where a pack and a soft saddle combo excels for me.
 

HappyChappy

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May 19, 2019
Messages
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Ha! I keep thinking of things to say and want to add I'm in no way affiliated with Cruzr. I just really appreciate a well made product that works for me when I'm spending my hard earned cash on a product. The Cruzr XC gives me personally zero hip pinch. My knees start to get sore from sitting against the trunk all day but I generally take a break between standing and sitting and have found a Hawk seat pad strapped to the tree alleviates this for all day sits. I'll just use my knee pads for the shorter half days.
Ok so back to the Hybrid! Maybe @kyler1945 has a method that works for him he'd be willing to share or already has. I didn't really find a great way to carry the multiple small items I carry with me on the Hybrid without having a backpack or some other pack that I would then attach to the Hybrid anyways. There's a pouch on the Hybrid a ring of steps will fit in and maybe a water bottle but I carry a decent amount of other things as well as layers of clothes I like to keep dry where a pack and a soft saddle combo excels for me.
Well we all have different styles and I’m just glad there’s enough on the market now to keep all styles comfortable and happy.
In my case, I have a soft saddle already that’s satisfactory, and I run it with a HPG Connor, a predator, and modded lw sticks. That system works well together, but I lack a means to pack meat out. This isn’t always an issue; I just go back to the jeep, drop my gear, grab a cleaning kit and a sled, and go take care of business.
This doesn’t work well in the mountains...I learned this year that sleds are a pain in Laurel thickets and hills.
If I can make a hybrid work in this application and haul a few supplies, some climbing sticks, and my bow, it would be just as cheap or cheaper than getting an all out pack/frame combo from exo, stone glacier, kifaru, etc.
Plus, honestly being able to sit all day in comfort with no knee pads is a huge selling point for me. In the former system, everything is a la carte (saddle, framepack, platform, knee pads, etc.). Trying to hang a pack frame in the tree is gonna get in the way. Removing the bag each time and leaving the frame at the bottom of tree might get me busted and is more fiddle factor each hunt.
With the hybrid, the pack is the harness. The pack is your saddle. The pack is your turkey seat. The saddle is your frame pack.
Idk, the more I give it thought, the more it just makes sense to me. Certainly would be less versatile than a frame pack/soft saddle combo, but it’s simpler and fewer parts to bring every hunt...not too unlike a climber in that regard.
 

kyler1945

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Dec 4, 2016
Messages
3,741
Location
Baton Rouge, La.
Well we all have different styles and I’m just glad there’s enough on the market now to keep all styles comfortable and happy.
In my case, I have a soft saddle already that’s satisfactory, and I run it with a HPG Connor, a predator, and modded lw sticks. That system works well together, but I lack a means to pack meat out. This isn’t always an issue; I just go back to the jeep, drop my gear, grab a cleaning kit and a sled, and go take care of business.
This doesn’t work well in the mountains...I learned this year that sleds are a pain in Laurel thickets and hills.
If I can make a hybrid work in this application and haul a few supplies, some climbing sticks, and my bow, it would be just as cheap or cheaper than getting an all out pack/frame combo from exo, stone glacier, kifaru, etc.
Plus, honestly being able to sit all day in comfort with no knee pads is a huge selling point for me. In the former system, everything is a la carte (saddle, framepack, platform, knee pads, etc.). Trying to hang a pack frame in the tree is gonna get in the way. Removing the bag each time and leaving the frame at the bottom of tree might get me busted and is more fiddle factor each hunt.
With the hybrid, the pack is the harness. The pack is your saddle. The pack is your turkey seat. The saddle is your frame pack.
Idk, the more I give it thought, the more it just makes sense to me. Certainly would be less versatile than a frame pack/soft saddle combo, but it’s simpler and fewer parts to bring every hunt...not too unlike a climber in that regard.
One other thought to consider, is to buy a cheap heavy duty frame pack. I say cheap relatively speaking. But get something with no bags.

Cabelas outfitter frame pack comes to mind. Throw all your crap on it and hike to within 2-300 yards of where you hunt. Deer will smell your ground scent anyway. Drop it there, and continue on with daypack and such. If you kill, it's 300 yards away. If not, you're not dealing with it at tree.

I spent the time/effort to make my hybrid as effective, if not moreso, for packing than my dedicated frame packs. Would I use it on a western backcountry hunt? Probably not, because the seat is an extra 2 pounds I don't need for that type of hunting. But if the seat were removable, I'd strap my regular pack to it in a heart beat.
 
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