Eberlestock J34 Just One backpack review by RangerMade
The Eberlestock J34 Just One is a hunting pack and is a pretty unique pack in one respect. It has the capability of transforming from a daypack of around 2300 cubic inches, all the way up to 7500 cubic inches. Unexpanded it has 2300 cubic inches, weighing 7 pounds.
Unexpanded, it’s already a great daypack, capable of holding your rifles, it has a built-in scabbard, and it’s simply awesome. It’s perfect for going out one afternoon and checking out the sites and doing some packing. But how does it morph itself into the monster 7500 cubic inch pack?
Let’s first go over some basics. The harnesses are really well designed, with shaped contours and thick padding. The hip strap has padding to fill the small of your back and the hip belt itself has got really nice padding. On each side of the belt there is Molle webbing, if you want to attach your small or larger accessory pouches.
The shoulder straps are comfortable and well padded, but not to the point where they become bulky, which is useful especially for guys who are shooting instantly and don’t have the time to take the pack off. So the strap is not going to disrupt you that much, but it’s just enough to give you that comfort you need. In the center of the straps we have the chest buckle to tighten the straps, and down on the bottom we have the adjusters, if you want to cinch the load once you get it on.
The shoulder straps can also be adjusted up and down to accommodate a larger torso, by undoing a Velcro loop and moving the strap on a kind of a ladder, then tying back the velcro.
On the sides of the back there are two aluminum stays that can be pulled out and bent to take the shape of your back. There’s also a handle on the top back of the backpack that allows for it to be grabbed and carried around like a bag.
The top hatch has Molle webbing on it as well, great for cinching things down, adding things to it. If you’re completely loaded up, the molle is the perfect place to roll, cinch and attach your sleeping bag to. On either side, the top hatch has individual pockets that don’t communicate into each other. These are good to separate your gear and know better where things are, and have quick access.
All zippers are waterproof, which is another neat feature. Also in the top part, there is the opening to the rifle scabbard. The scabbard is not normally extended, and needs to be pulled down from the bottom of the backpack. The scabbard can fit a full size rifle, or a tripod – you can stick the legs inside and leave the spotting scope mounted to it for easy access and without taking the pack off. Really handy feature.
Once the top hatch is opened, you need to undo the two straps to get to the main compartment. It’s all in one piece, without inner pockets, and is tied with a string at the top. With the vertical front zipper closed, the main compartment has 2300 cubic inches, but can be expanded to 4600 cubic inches by unzipping the zipper. That’s enough storage room for 3-4 day ventures. The the main compartment is made of a mesh that will stick out through the zip opening when expanded, and keep your goods well ventilated.
Two large vertical pockets are found on either side of the Eberlestock J34 pack that can fit a lot of items, not just small ones, but also things like a tripod, scope, water bottle, snacks, and the nice part is being able to itemize. On top of these pockets there is an external open pocket on each side, for really quick access to snacks, a thermos, and other such things.
All in all, the Eberlestock J34 Just One is a handy backpack, very neat, well thought-out. It is hydration-compatible too. On the right side of the pack there’s a zipper opening to slip the bladder in, and bring the hose up the top, while on the opposite side is the rifle scabbard. Just below the hydration bladder pocket there is another small pocket with a zipper, again great for storing small things you need quick access to.
Earlier I mentioned this pack can expand out from 4600 to 7500 cubic inches. In order to do that, you can add the SuperSpike Duffel, also from Eberlestock. The Super Spike Duffel is designed to be used with the J-series packs, and increases your pack’s capacity by 2900 cubic inches. It is made of the same NT1 fabric that all Eberlestock’s hunting packs are made of.
There’s a couple things you can do with this duffel bag. You can pack it full, put it on the inside of your backpack, while keeping the main compartment of the pack not expanded. Basically the duffel bag will be your main storage unit that you live off of, and the backpack will become a daypack. Or alternatively, with the main pack expanded, the duffel bag attaches to the side zippers that are left free to use, to perfectly cover the main compartment. You get maximum capacity and better camouflage this way. If you’re a hunter, you’ll find this is a well thought-out design: you get your animal down, skin it out, bone it out, stuff all the meat in the main backpack, now you can go back to camp, you can load your tent and clothing into the duffel bag, and attach it to the outside of the backpack. Now you have your meat and your goodies, you’re completely packed up, and you’re back on the way.
At this point you may think, I really like the J34 backpack, but I don’t need the duffel bag, and I don’t like the mesh of the main compartment sticking out and ruining my camo. You’re covered in that respect too: Eberlestock makes available a zip-in panel that completely hides the mesh, and that’s available for purchase separately.
Once the bag is completely loaded up, all you’re left to do is, put the compression straps together, pull to tighten, and cinch down the load real tight. The compression straps are also handy for a couple different reasons. Firstly, they give you a new area to attach things like a tripod, your bow (if you’re bow-hunting), or trekking sticks. Secondly, the compression straps are also great for quieting your pack. If your pack is expanded out, and you got some items in there that are loose and rattling around, you can cinch the straps – top and bottom – and it will help you to secure your load, make it quieter, and also greatly reduce the chance for your pack to get caught in branches, sticks, brush etc.
The Eberlestock J34 Just One backpack comes in four different camo colors, and these are: Hide-Open Western Slope, Mossy Oak Brush, Hide-Open Timber Veil, and Hide-Open Rock Veil, so you have a choice to better match your backpack to the kind of terrain that you’ll be hunting in. Check out this page for a detailed presentation on Eberlestock’s colors.
Here ends our Eberlestock J34 backpack review. If you enjoyed it or have anything to share, write a comment. And don’t forget to use the social buttons below. Check out product details and more reviews on Amazon