Seek Outside Merlin

mtwarden

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Oct 18, 2016
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7,226
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Montana
I purchased a lightly used Merlin here some time ago; my thought was a standalone daypack, add additional volume on longer trips, use it to compress loads that are on the outside of the pack bag and possibly rig it up to the frame as a day hunting pack.

So far I've got two of the things checked off :D

I've used it several day hikes as a stand alone pack. It's a svelte 12 ounces and carries very nicely with a standard day hiking kit- 1.5 liters of water, lunch/snacks, little extra clothing and some emergency bits- probably 7-8 lbs . I added a waist belt by simply adding a couple of their straps- not for distributing load, simply to keep the pack stable when bouldering.

TAtfMVs.jpg


I had an antelope trip coming up and thought it would be nice to have a daypack AND a frame. I played around with my Divide and couldn't find a way to separate the frame from the bag and still attach the Merlin. I perused SO's site and saw the Revolution panel- turns any of their integrated frames into a breakaway frame, so I ordered one. I removed the Divide bag and the one cross stay (the panel comes with two cross stays) and put the panel on. The panel also comes with a load shelf. I decided to remove the frame extensions that were on the frame as antelope aren't overly heavy. For deer/elk hunting if you wanted to keep the frame height more compact, but still wanted the extra frame length, you could stick them in the pack and if you harvested something they are easily added at that time.

I rigged the load shelf on the panel and attached the Merlin. The Merlin attaches easily (the panel comes with a half dozen asst straps/gatekeeps). The Merlin's shoulder straps tuck into a mesh sleeve on the rear of the pack- I also keep my sitpad and a emergency Blizzard blanket in the sleeve.

I decided to save room in the pack to store my game bags and a Stone Glacier load cell secured in the load shelf and behind the Merlin.

GnkvFkN.jpg


Putting it in hauling mode is easy- unattach the top gatekeepers, lengthen the lower straps and fold the pack out and away from the frame

7IGeCdJ.jpg


meat load into the load shelf and tighten the straps

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bring the Merlin back into position, reattach the upper gatekeepers and tighten all straps

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Got to try it out antelope hunting and it worked pretty slick. We made dozens of low crawl sneaks and eventually got to haul out some meat with it.

lVPJHni.jpg


Anyways, one more option for a day hunting rig.
 

Kevin_t

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Good right up. That is really how our system is designed.

One of the benefits of the Merlin approach , I have found is , I can have day gear there .. use it most of the time .. and throw my "backpack gear" in the bag ..add the merlin and I'm good. The Merlin is sized around being compressible on the frame. Also works nice as a summit pack etc .. or stalking pack

The next step up for daypack on frame is wing pockets .. similar weight , more space but can't be used on its own.
 
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mtwarden

mtwarden

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Oct 18, 2016
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Montana
Kevin I looked at the wing pockets, they're showing 1200 cubic inches each, which comes out to about the same as the Merlin- in videos they appear larger than 1200?????

Also I think it might be worthwhile showing a video of reattaching the shoulder harness. Now that I have it figured out which way to route the strap it's pretty easy, wasn't easy the first go round :)
 

sndmn11

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Mar 28, 2017
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Morrison, Colorado
Kevin I looked at the wing pockets, they're showing 1200 cubic inches each, which comes out to about the same as the Merlin- in videos they appear larger than 1200?????

I think their volume measurements are correct. They are more of a D cylinder than a O cylinder and matching that out gets me to a little over 1200.

 

merthussein

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2021
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41
Sweet write up and setup @mtwarden! Do you mind if I ask, when you were on your antelope hunt, what did you manage to carry in the Merlin? I'm trying to determine if it would be suitable for day hunting for my set of gear. Do you think it could carry all of:
  • Spare clothes - rain jacket, puffy jacket, windbreaker, beanie, gloves
  • Kill Kit
  • Possibles pouch
  • First Aid Kit
  • Jetboil
  • Days food
  • water bladder
  • sit pad
is there any logical place to carry a tripod, spotter and trekking poles when it's rigged for day hunting or would you realistically add a wingspan to achieve that?
 
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mtwarden

mtwarden

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Oct 18, 2016
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Montana
I had a small spotter (Leupold 25X) and a small tripod on the thin pocket- my 65mm would never fit in it though (nor my "regular" tripod).

The little bungee cord setup on the pack I carried a Sitka Active hoody and by adding a little bungee setup underneath I carried a light rain jacket. The larger pocket went a liter of water, beanie, gloves, lunch.

The small top pocket was my kill kit, first aid, headlamp and a few other small bits. I have two of there pockets on the hip belt so stuff like snacks, ammo, range finder etc went in those.

In the mesh pouch where you can stash the shoulder straps went a sitpad and a large emergency blanket. I think a small bladder would fit in it w/o any issue.

Jet Boil- maybe but it would take a lot of the real estate in the larger pocket.

Trekking poles I think you could lash to the frame (and outside the Merlin) w/o too much trouble.

If you're using a breakaway frame I think there are some options for carrying gear between the pack and frame.

I think as the season goes on and the colder weather comes, I'll go back to my Divide bag and just cinch it down- I try to carry enough gear to eek out an unexpected overnighter.
 

merthussein

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Sep 13, 2021
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41
Rea
I had a small spotter (Leupold 25X) and a small tripod on the thin pocket- my 65mm would never fit in it though (nor my "regular" tripod).

The little bungee cord setup on the pack I carried a Sitka Active hoody and by adding a little bungee setup underneath I carried a light rain jacket. The larger pocket went a liter of water, beanie, gloves, lunch.

The small top pocket was my kill kit, first aid, headlamp and a few other small bits. I have two of there pockets on the hip belt so stuff like snacks, ammo, range finder etc went in those.

In the mesh pouch where you can stash the shoulder straps went a sitpad and a large emergency blanket. I think a small bladder would fit in it w/o any issue.

Jet Boil- maybe but it would take a lot of the real estate in the larger pocket.

Trekking poles I think you could lash to the frame (and outside the Merlin) w/o too much trouble.

If you're using a breakaway frame I think there are some options for carrying gear between the pack and frame.

I think as the season goes on and the colder weather comes, I'll go back to my Divide bag and just cinch it down- I try to carry enough gear to eek out an unexpected overnighter.
Really useful breakdown thank you!
 
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