Hefty, Feature-Rich: Pnuma Outdoors Crestone Mountaineer Pack Review

The Pnuma Outdoors Crestone Mountaineer Pack is a hardy backpack with some cool features. And it’s capable of coming out of the mountains heavy.

Backpacks are a notoriously difficult product to perfect. When it comes to hunting packs, that demand for perfection grows exponentially. Pnuma Outdoors has done a pretty epic job with this bag, particularly for being so new to the hunting gear scene.

The quick detach system allows you to load the meat shelf without a bunch of cumbersome strap work. It has a high-quality, durable feel with serious padding for comfort. Storage options are ample, and it has a cool look.

Save for a few minor attachment point issues; it’s a good bag.

In short: The Crestone Mountaineer Pack is a durable, capable backpack for most mountain hunting situations. There are certainly some areas that could be improved, but at half the cost of many other comparable bags, it’s a worthy contender in the hunting bag game.

Pnuma Outdoors Crestone Mountaineer Pack Review

The Pnuma Pack Basics

Pnuma Crestone Mountaineer Pack
(Photo/Pnuma Outdoors)

The Crestone Mountaineer Pack Specs

  • Size: 3,500 cubic in.
  • Materials: CORDURA 560D tactical nylon with PU waterproof coating, YKK AquaGuard water-repellent zippers, 2 aluminum frame stays
  • Design: Traditional top load, large U-shaped zipper
  • Waist belt: Adjustable
  • Straps: Padded shoulders, adjustable sternum, adjustable load lifters
  • Features: 
    • Quick-detach system separates the pack from the frame, and a bottom shelf to support
    • 4 Adjustable shock cord loops for shooting sticks, trekking poles, or included solar panel
    • Side or rear mounting weapon harness and attachment straps
    • Hydration reservoir compatible
    • 5W solar panel stores behind the lumbar padding and can be used to adjustable shoulder yoke for a custom fit
  • Pockets and storage:
    • Large zippered front pocket with CORDURA 500D stretch nylon
    • Detachable top organizer lid with stretch exterior pocket and mesh interior pocket
    • Side stretch pockets for water bottles, shooting sticks, or other accessories
    • Removable Molle hip pouches
  • Weight: 6.2 lb.
  • Price: $300

Crestone Mountaineer Pack: First Impressions

Pnuma
(Photo/Savannah Schleining)

The bag felt heavy. Right out of the box, it was the first thing I noticed: it is a stout backpack.

At 6.2 pounds, it has some heft over other comparable packs in the hunting space. For example, the Mystery Ranch Metcalf is 5.7 pounds, and the Stone Glacier Sky 5900 is 5.5 pounds. That’s a good half-pound heavier, which is an important thing to note if you’re counting ounces.

However, that additional weight comes with some perks. The dedicated storage this pack offers is pretty top-notch, and the additional padding for comfort is likely worth the weight if you plan on loading it heavy.

The material and overall construction of the pack feel solid. As far as adjustability goes, it should be a good fit for most people, though I found the waist belt to be just too big for me. I pulled those straps tight and still had a bit of wiggle room. If you’re a small-framed human like I am, it might be a hair large.

I was surprised to find a solar panel behind the lumbar section of the pack. It isn’t integrated into the pack build. So, you can view it as a standalone accessory that’s included. 

What Works

Pnuma
(Photo/Pnuma Outdoors)

Storage

If you’re someone who likes to have your gear separated and organized in your pack, this does it.

Storage includes:

  • Dual waist pockets on the hip strap
  • A detachable lid with one main compartment and a mesh underside pocket 
  • Inner lid flap pockets with full-height inner-side-zip compartments 
  • A front zippered pouch for quick access items
  • Stretch side pockets for water bottles

It has more storage compartments than any other bag I’ve used. That is likely where a lot of your extra weight is coming from, but if it’s what you want in a pack, it’s worth it.

Comfort

The padding is substantial, and even though the waist belt was a bit big for me, it was still comfortable to carry. The shoulder straps, waist belt, and back are heavily cushioned, and they really conform to your shape.

The inner sides of the padded portions also have a bit of tackiness to them via a rubberized pattern. That really helps keep things from sliding around and adds to the comfort.

Access

The quick access load shelf is sweet. The top-load cinch pouch with a full zip front open means you have multiple access options to both load and unload your bag. The multiple storage pockets allow you to keep important things within reach while keeping the rest stored away.

Drawbacks

Pnuma Crestone
(Photo/Pnuma Outdoors)

Load Lifter Clips

Those hooks don’t stay hooked. I’ve never been a fan of this attachment, but particularly so on this pack in this location. On my first hike with the bag, my right side strap kept popping off. This is entirely because the attachment requires tension.

Any reduction in tension, like readjusting where your bag sits, or jumping down off of something, temporarily releases that pressure, and these hooks tend to unhook.

It’s not a deal breaker, but is definitely a flaw that would need altering. I’m going to retrofit a standard plastic strap adjuster like the ones used everywhere else on the pack.

Solar Panel

Though it’s a nice addition, I haven’t been able to get mine to work. It’s a simple solar panel with a USB port. In my case, I don’t have many electronics that utilize USB anymore.

Aside from that, I did attempt to get a charge to my GPS watch, but I just couldn’t pull enough to get a charge going. If I’m going to carry a solar charger, I’ll likely go with one of the big dogs that get it done.

Weight

Listen, weight matters. For a lot of us, those extra ounces/pounds just aren’t something we want to take into the mountains with us, if we don’t have to. The added weight on this pack has purpose, but unless you’re looking for those specific perks – it can just feel bulky.

Final Thoughts

The Pnuma Outdoors Crestone Mountaineer is a good pack. The minor flaws are outweighed by the benefits of the pack.

I’ll continue using it for various outdoor activities with some minor alterations. I probably won’t take it into the backcountry, but for close single day hunts where I’m not counting every pound, it’ll get the job done. For the price, it certainly measures up.

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Rachelle Schrute
By

As a fifth-generation Montanan, Rachelle Schrute comes from a long line of western hunters and anglers. Born in western Montana, she spent countless days chasing mountain elk and mountain trout with her family. She is heavily involved in Montana's conservation and wildlife management practices and has served in leadership roles within multiple conservation organizations. Rachelle is a certified Wilderness First Responder, and often spends her summers as a Wilderness Guide in Yellowstone National Park. When not gear testing or writing, you can likely find her hunting, hiking, fishing, and cooking wild game with her two children.