Game bags are one of those items that often get overlooked when it comes to top-ofthe- line hunting gear. If guys are willing to spend hundreds of dollars to shave ounces off of clothing, packs and other gear, shouldn’t game bags be selected with as much care? For those who are serious about strapping a pack to their back and tackling the West, quality game bags are of the utmost importance. We owe nothing less to the critters that we pursue.
When it comes to game bags, all are not created equal. I don’t think I know of anyone who is still lugging around the canvas body bags that you can pick up for a few bucks at your local ma and pa shop. These bags are extremely heavy, when compared to the modern technologies in today’s game bags, and they’re extremely bulky. If you happen to be one of the few who are still using this style of game bag or the cheapo cotton versions, I suggest you take a look at both products I’m about to go over.
The two leaders in game bags nowadays are Caribou Gear Ultra Light Big Game bags and T.A.G. BAGS. Both of these sets of bags have their own unique features and that’s why we use both. Depending on the trip, we load up with one or the other and sometimes mix a little of both.
Let’s start out with the Caribou Gear bags. After many years of being frustrated with the current design in game bags, Caribou Gear decided to strike out and develop their own. From the get go, they knew that the fabric would be the biggest obstacle. After several years of using the heavy canvas bags, which worked well for hunting close to camp, the guys at Caribou Gear struck gold. They found a material that had similar qualities to cotton, such as breathability and strength, without being super thick and heavy. These bags are definitely better than cotton, however. They are fast drying, lightweight, shrink resistant and extremely durable.
One unique feature these bags offer is the Big Game ID tagging system. What sounds kind of rudimentary is actually quite useful. After a long pack out, having each bag labeled with what’s inside is always nice. It’s also nice if you’re hunting with a buddy and you both get lucky and punch your tag - you won’t have to guess who’s meat is who’s.
Now let’s get into the T.A.G. BAGS. These bags are designed and used by a wilderness guide in Alaska. After fighting with cotton game bags for years and the associated problems that came with them, these were developed to help "prevent meat spoilage” while in the backcountry. The folks at Pristine Ventures have even conducted an in-house study on the differences between cotton and synthetic game bags. The results were overwhelmingly favorable for a synthetic game bag material. You can check out the details of this study on their website.
As in the case of the Caribou Bags, the T.A.G. BAGS are way lighter than canvas game bags and are way more efficient at protecting your precious game meat than cotton game bags. They, too, are fast drying, lightweight, shrink resistant and durable.
Both the Caribou Bags and the T.A.G. BAGS are reusable and very easy to clean after use. A quick rinse with water to get the bulk of the blood out, followed up with washing them with a mild detergent and water, and voila…they’re ready for your next hunt.
Proper meat care in the field is of paramount importance to enjoy the table fare of wild game. Having the best game bags on the market is one piece of this puzzle. Check out both companies’ websites to see additional meat care tips and see which game bag system works best for you.