I’m a pack whore. Now that we have that out of the way, here’s a first impression on the Eberlestock J-51 Warhammer pack. In an earlier review I reviewed their G-1 Little Brother pack. The J-51 and G-1 are made to build together a larger pack by means of zippers along the whole length of the pack.
The J-51 is the evolution of the J-79 Skycrane with larger wing pouches. This means that the J-51 can be used on its own as a 3 day pack. On itself the J-51 has a capacity of 2050 cubic inches which is on par with the size of most assault packs out there. Over the middle there is what Eberlestock calls the cargo bay. The cargo bay is covered with MOLLE webbing so the user can either customize this portion of the pack with either MOLLE pouches, hydration carrier or one of Eberlestock rifle carrier. The top and bottom lids feature zippers so the rifle bag can pass through. When ran on itself, the two wing pouches can be zippered together to form a regular pack. Should you choose to put MOLLE pouches on the cargo bay, the wings will not be able to zip together but don’t worry there are two inch compression straps which will keep the wing pouches closely together. The wing pouches feature a top zip as well as lateral zip for access to the inside.
Now what made me choose this pack over many other is the ability to combine the G1 Little Brother to make as said earlier a much larger pack. Simply unzip the wing pouches and zip in the G1. You then add another 2000 cubic inch and end up with 4000 cubic inch of storage. It is easy to organize your kit in a way that you can just take out the G1 that contains certain pieces of kit and press on or vice-versa. In my case I use dit for hiking where I had all my overnight kit in the wing pouches and the everyday kit in the G1. I simply dropped the J51 at the tent site and pressed to hike summits with only the G1.
Another aspect I really like about the J51 is that it’s halfway between a full external frame ruck and internal frame ruck. With the wing pouches system you can load unconventionnal loads. A good exemple of this would the carrying of Karl Gustav rounds. These come in two rounds plastic carrier (at least for the Canadian Forces) and is awkward to strap to many packs whereas with the J-51, the carrier sits securely on the frame bottom and with the 2 inch compression straps you tight the carrier against the cargo bay back. Another use would be as a meat hauler for use by hunters. The straps are long enough to enable you to carry very large loads.
I haven’t used the pack a whole lot yet so this is really only an early review. A more complete review to come in the coming months. This pack is available in dry earth (like mine), coyote brown and military green, multicam and unicam. Retail price is at 299.00USD