NZ Outdoor magazine review of the Foxtrot Mk2 Belt Rig.
Here's the review of the Foxtrot Mk2 Belt Rig by NZ Outdoor magazine.
Bushlife NZ Foxtrot Mk2 Belt Rig.
by Gary Johnson (Insta: @wildernzhunter)
Things were simple and product choice slim when I started hunting many years ago. Following the lead of my tough NZFS deer culling brother, I hunted in (and slept on) a green woollen Swanndri with a leather belt strapped around my belly. The belt held a knife and canvas pouch which carried ammo and tucker to keep me going. Deer back wheels were thrown over shoulders with back steaks stuffed down my front. A very unsophisticated, messy, and somewhat uncomfortable system indeed. Fortunately, we’ve moved on from those old days where that kit would now be akin to giving a clock to a monkey. We are now bamboozled by a tsunami of stuff that many would argue we simply don’t need to be effective hunters. That said, the advances in equipment over the years have improved hunter safety and comfort by miles. This includes hunting pack setups which this review centres on. Don’t know about you, but I’m always on a quest to find the ultimate day hunting setup. I think I’ve got close, but the quest continues nonetheless. It’s ideally gotta be light, modular, multipurpose, quiet, comfortable, weatherproof, and tough. Our NZ hunting requirements are unique. We’re not hunting in oppressive 40-degree Northern Territory Aussie heat nor -30 degree Canadian winters. It’s wet, windy and rugged in NZ and we often travel over real mountains and crawl through uber-tight lush rain forests, sometimes in a solitary day. The awesome crew at NZ Outdoor Magazine offered me the opportunity to try out and report on an innovative pack system supplied by a new online outdoors business called BushLife NZ www.bushlifenz.com. I spoke to the owner Kelvin who’s down-to-earth (ex-military and now Joiner by trade) approach was refreshing to hear. “I’ve used inferior gear in the past and thought that I either bitch and moan or do something about it”.
Kelvin outlined his business approach and the Bushlife NZ product line (mostly made by Helikon Tex®) as midmarket and value for money, certainly not ‘crap’, and pitched to anyone that wants to get outdoors – I like that. For anyone who currently hunts with a belt / pouch system – this could be your lucky day. The Foxtrot Mk2 is a well-designed and well-made Cordura® nylon bumbag system that has an over-the-shoulders harness system to help keep it all in place.
• Solid quality construction, robust sewing.
• Well designed and thought out internal organizing pockets with a top carry/grab handle.
• Comfortable to carry with additional MOLLE / PALS* attachment capability on the adjustable waist belt.
• Reasonably priced. • Permits full back ventilation.
• Adjustable H-shaped harness system and padding on rear of bag for comfort
• No obvious hydration bladder system integration for those that use these.
• I never hunt with sloshing water bottles so the bottle holders on each side of the main bag were a tad redundant to me.
• Some concern over the top zip (although quality YKK) of the main 5L capacity bag if it ever decided to explode under pressure.
*MOLLE (pronounced ‘Molly’) is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. Military kit produced under contract by various manufacturers for U.S. and other NATO forces. PALS stands for Pouch Attachment Ladder System and is a horizontal grid of repeating webbing strips found on MOLLE backpacks and bags.
This is a well-built, robust product for carrying a day’s worth of gear for general outdoor exploration and/or day hunting applications. It is well thought out with a plethora of internal organizing pockets and a water bottle pocket (and holding cord) on each side of the main bag. I never hunt with sloshing water bottles, but I guess you could pop something else in there. The weather was hot on a summer hunting trip and the lack of a pack constantly sitting against my back meant I wasn’t sweating all day. I was able to carry what I needed for a full day in this rig with the addition of two side pouches attached to the waist belt (bought separately from Bushlife NZ). I attached my venerable canvas meat bag underneath which was easily transferred to my back later when laden with animal goodness, without affecting the Foxtrot bumbag system. I used the Foxtrot on summer day trips however our conditions can change savagely and confess to being a tad anxious for not having room to carry any form of coat system. I’ve been smashed by the likes of Fiordland too many times now and confess to being gunshy over weather and not having kit available to stay out (and survive) overnight if I got into trouble. In these types of scenarios a classic 30L type full day pack would be more suitable. However, you could easily elect a combination of both the Foxtrot Mk2 AND a small day bag. The Foxtrot uses quality YKK zips, however I’d like to see some form of securing system over the main bag zip to ease concern of it busting open unawares behind me. My meat bag was stashed under the main Foxtrot unit via twin lashing straps that are solidly stitched to the main bag. Upon harvesting an animal, I comfortably carried the meat on my back with the Foxtrot happily parked underneath. This is a comfortable rig to walk around in, thanks to the padded waist support. The adjustable shoulder harness takes a lot of the weight off the waist to keep the pack firm on your body and not bounce around.
A solid product at a reasonable price.