The problem with having a lot of toys is that you have to find some way to tote all that stuff around. The more guns and gear we have to take with us to the range or to camp, means that we need a good way to carry it all. Browning understands our pain however and they have a whole line of gear bags designed to help out. I recently have had the chance to try out one of their Sawtooth Mountain Bags and put it through its paces. Browning makes three models in the Sawtooth Mountain line, a basic gear bag, and a medium and large duffle bag. I had the Medium Duffle to work with. The Medium Sawtooth Moutain Bag is constructed of Ballistic Nylon and a heavy duty 900 denier shell fabric and is available in the Mossy Oak “New Break Up” camouflage pattern with the distinctive Browning buck’s head embroidered on the side of the bag in gold.
The bag features heavy-duty zippers, a molded bottom and reinforced stress points. Its main compartment is of the anvil style, much like that used in the old carpetbags of yesteryear. The anvil style allows for a wide opening to stow and access gear and remains open while you’re rooting around your bag. The bottom of the bag is a separate zip open compartment, which Browning claims is perfect for boots or a jacket. That may be so, but I’ll expand on that some more later. The bags dimensions are 18″ L x 12 W x 12″ D, and in addition to the main and bottom compartment there are also two side zippered compartments, and two compartments under the buckle down flap.
Now, the Sawtooth Mountain duffel’s aren’t backpacks. So you aren’t likely going to be using these on that 3 day weekend trek along the AT. However, what they are well suited for is trips to the range, tossing in the truck with your hunting gear, and taking stuff to camp with you. If the wife lets you get away with it, they wouldn’t make bad overnights bags either. I use an old tool bag now as my primary range bag. It’s a good bag, and heavily constructed. It holds weight very well so I can stuff targets, spare ammo, a stapler, some tools etc. into it and be good for a day at the range. What it lacks is organization. Moving my range gear to the Sawtooth Mountain bag allowed me to keep my larger items in the main compartment and move my smaller things to it’s myriad number of pockets. I could set up a tool pocket, one for my binoculars, and another for staples, pins and tape. You get the idea. The multiple pockets of varying sizes allows better organization and also keeps your gear from getting all knocked together when its rattling around loose in the same area like in my tool bag.
The big bottom pocket is worth talking about in a bit more detail. This is a pocket that goes the full length of the bag so it’s 18” L by 12” W. That’s a lot of space. Browning mentions it’d be good for boots or a jacket, and that’s probably true. I found that it worked well for other stuff though. For one, it’s a nice place to keep your targets. Obviously not full sized silhouette targets, but any normal bulls-eye or sight-in targets fit well in that spot and it keeps them from getting crushed or mangled. I also found that it works well for handguns too. I could easily fit three handguns in soft cases with room to spare in the space. I also could fit the rather large Ruger Charger pistol complete with bipod and red dot installed and still had room for another pistol in a soft case.
As far as a camp bag goes, the Medium Duffle works well for that too. I was in a hurry packing up on a recent trip and I grabbed the Duffle and began to stuff it full of gear just so I could get on the road. It worked just as well for that particular outing. I was actually able to stuff my rolled up fleece sleeping bag liner, and a backpacking tent into the main compartment. The anvil style opening made it easy to load these large items in and I was able to squeeze the opening shut and zip everything in tightly and securely. The small pockets made a good home for much of the small items that had come unpacked during my trip. Toiletries, bug spray and sunscreen, my small first aid kit and things like that. The big bottom compartment once again went to some larger gear that I didn’t want to get crushed. With careful packing I could have probably stuffed more gear in, but it was handy to be able to load and go in a hurry. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that the Sawtooth Mountain Duffel’s also come with a sturdy shoulder strap. While I tend to just the grab handles for short trips, that shoulder strap is a welcome addition when you have to hump your gear a ways from the car, or are trying to juggle a number of bags, gun cases, and things like that.
If you’re on the lookout for a sturdy range bag, one for hunting excursions, or for trips up to camp, you’d do well to look to the folks at Browning for your needs. They’ve been catering to hunters and outdoorsmen for a long time now and they understand your needs. They didn’t make a bag, and then market it to outdoorsmen; they designed a bag for outdoorsmen. That’s a subtle but important difference in my opinion. Anyone can grab a bag and make it work for them, but its nice to know that Browning is out there looking out for you and making gear with your needs in mind from the get go.