Hello all. A while back member shootbowtech, ran a contest to name his hunting cart product. he liked my name suggestion, and sent me a rack packer for free. It arrived at my house and figured I would put up a full review for you all to check out. I will go over my impression on the product from, when it first arrived, to when I got to test it out on a friends deer.
I was on my way out to go hunting with my friend when the UPS truck pulls in. It was my rack packer. I grabbed the box and had to set it in the garage until we got back from the hunt. the box was high quality thick cardboard, with the rack packer logo and such on the box. Box was packaged very well and no damage to the package. The attention to detail and packaging was impressive to me, and not some fly by night job. Very legit, and official looking.
When I came back from the hunt I decided that I would put it together after I put my son to bed. All of the parts where easy to establish and the instructions were simple to follow. I am not a man of great mechanical ability but put it together in less than a half an hour. Not many tools were needed, a few sockets, and a crescent wrench were all that were needed. I am not that good with straps, so this is where most of my time was spent.
All of the parts to this product were quality. The craftsmanship on the welds is also very good. No cheap components were found with my model.
I folded it up and set it with my other hunting gear for the next day. My friend picked me up and we were off to his brothers. His brother had his own deer cart, a standard wheel barrow type. This cart took up a ton of room in the bed of his truck, an extended cab ford f-150 with 4 doors and the smaller bed. There were also 2 climbers and a lonewolf hang on with sticks, multiple book bags, and a bow case. The rack packer slipped in right on top of the other climbers, and hardly took up any room. The rack packer also can fit between the seats of my car for a solo hunt. I can see this as a great item to have on longer trips where a lot of gear is needed. Its compactness really shines on this aspect. I think it would be a perfect, room saving item to add on any trip.
The morning hunt was unproductive and I opted out of the evening hunt. My buddy shot a nice doe in the evening and I set out to help the with the recovery and try out my rack packer first hand. I found my friends about a mile back in hill country. I met them up on a ridge, and decided I would help drag to put the rack packer to the test.
Here is a photo of all of us back at the truck, notice no sweat or anything on me, ugly guy on the right.
Here is a photo of the size of the doe, a solid 120 ish doe, I am guessing min 1.5 years old and 2.5 year old max.
We had unstrapped her just before I snapped the photo, however, this is not how you strap the deer to the cart. You fold her legs in and keep the deer's legs tight to the cart.
I started the down hill drag in a very thick section of woods, with many brush piles around. I could easily stop the drag and use the single wheel to pivot through the brush piles. You have a full 360 degrees of motion to spin to navigate around obstacles. A traditional cart would not be able to keep up with the speed of this function. You would have to go back and fourth to get the cart to spins and negotiate obstacles. This was one of the best features of the rack packer.
The rack packer also keeps the load uniform and in place. It was very stable and I never had any tipping issues, even on the steep terrain. Once at the bottom of the steep terrain we hit and old tram road and level ground. This is where the rack packer really shined. I must add that I was also carrying a small handheld flashlight in my hand at the same time.
Negotiating logs that are off the ground was not very hard as well. If the rack packer would stop on a log, I could simply back up, and give it a little more force and it would pop right up over the log. The straps kept the doe In place and her legs were not getting hung up on any trees to the right or left of me as well. I took on some larger diameter logs, and multiple logs that were stacked and had no real issues, I simple added a bit more force when approaching these items. The rack packer did slide on a few logs, but a simple lowering one arm, would stop this and make the wheel roll up on top of the log.
I was able to get through a few steep cuts, and creeks as well without any issue. We did go through a swampy, boggy, spot and I did not notice any slow down in the drag. One of the straps did come loose but that was due to me not having it assembled correctly. I also went through some rocky spots. I pulled the rack packer tight against my body, and would bump it right along.
When we reached the end of the trail, I was not winded, and barley broke a sweat, even with the mile long drag. I can see this very beneficial for anyone with blood pressure or any heart conditions. Getting the doe in the truck was a breeze. My friend grabbed the handles, and his brother and I each grabbed a side. We lifted her up and rolled her right in. I believe that this is also a great feature that is not shown on the website. A solo hunter could pull the rack packer up to the wheel and set it on the tail gate, and let the handles rest on the ground. The hunter could then walk to the back of the rack packer, grab the handles, and roll the deer right into the truck. I wish I would have attempted this on my own, but in the excitement of the harvest we did not think of it. I think that this will be a great option for solo hunters who try to load a 150+ pound deer into their truck. With conventional dragging/loading methods the deer would be flopping all over and be getting caught on the tailgate, and other obstacles, with the rack packer everything is secure, and load is much more manageable being uniform and strapped in.
When we got her back to the house for butchering, it was also great to see no debris at all on any of the meat or inside of the chest cavity. No leaves, sticks, or dirt at all was present. This is another great feature of this product. This debris can hold bacteria, and can increase the risk of spoiling meat.
All in all I believe this is an outstanding product. I feel it is suited best for a solo hunter, who likes to hunt deep in the woods away from others, but also can see real benefits for anyone with a heart condition or blood pressure issues. I plan to leave mine in the car during archery season, but pack it in and strap my book bag to it in rifle. I will take my tree stand and other supplies back to the car, and bring the rack packer in by itself. My friend had strapped his bow to the rack packer and it held tight, and never came loose, upon my arrival we decided to carry it out by hand, but it would be possible, to drag the deer, your tree stand, and strap your bow to the cart.
light weight, easy to pack into downed game
takes up little room in a vehicle
easy to get the deer into a vehicle
easy to strap deer to cart
very sturdy, did not overturn once
keeps debris from the inside of your deer
does not ruin hide, or damage cape of game
easy assembly with easy to follow directions
wheel can sometimes get stopped or stuck on larger logs, or other obstacle (easy fix by applying a little more force to pop it over)
I would give this product a 9.5 out of 10. The only issue was very minor, and was easily over came. Compared to tradition rope dragging methods it is 500 times easier. Not getting out of breath, and barley breaking a sweat for me, an average fit individual says a lot. I did not get to attempt any up hill drags on this session, but may do so with my own deer.
Special thanks to shootbowtech for picking my name and giving me one for free, I can assure you all that it will get its use.