Legend Protour Backpack
I take my archery very seriously, in fact so seriously I have a special dedicated Archery car. Yes, yes it's all rather opulent but spending every weekend driving up muddy tracks and across fields doesn't do much good to your average family car. Having such a car means I can just leave most of my archery stuff in the car when I'm not using it, obviously not bows or anything worth much but all those little bits of kit that you might need. This includes a repair kit, loads of spare tabs and bracer's just in case I lose or break one, all the clothing for all types of weather and pretty much everything else I might need. As you can imagine the boot of the car is a total mess, no matter how hard I try to keep it in some sort of order, when we are going to a shoot it gets worse as there are then bows, spare bows and arrow cases and tubes thrown on top. What I need is some sort of massive case which I can fit everything in, no scratch that, what I need is a Legend proTour Backpack.
As luck would have it the guys at Legend just sent us a pack of goodies to test, the star of the show is the proTour Backpack. Archery cases tend to come in two basic styles, hard cases which offer excellent protection to both bow and arrows but are cumbersome and bulky and soft cases which do a good job of protecting your bow but are pretty poor when it comes to looking after your arrows. You are left to carry something very big around or a bag and a separate container for your arrows. The proTour Backpack sits in a very happy medium between the two, offering great bow protection but also space for arrows in a combined arrow tube.
The first thing you notice is that the pack is very well made, the main body is made from Ripstop Nylon which is both light but very rugged. The bottom has a dimpled surface so that the pack doesn't slip around when propped up and also making it a little more hard wearing when constantly placed on the ground. Externally there are a number of zip openings which reveal a pocket of some kind, in fact the more I played with the pack the more zips I found, it was as if every time I touched it a new zip would reveal itself somewhere on the pack.
In essence there are three main compartments, an external flap which when opens reveals a number of pockets and spaces for your small essential items, a main body cavity where your limbs and riser go and then an area for your arrow tube. There is enough going on with each that they require a more detailed look.
Flap and Pockets
As with all parts of the proTour the flap is held in place by a Nylon water proof zip, in fact two zips so that you can open from either side. Opening the flap fully reveals an array of pockets and compartments, two smaller pockets at the top, then two banks of two medium pockets and then a final large pocket going across the entire compartment. In addition there are 3 pen slots at the top left which are very useful and then some elastic straps in the centre. You could use these possibly for stabilising rods, although I used it to hold a brace height gauge which worked really well. One running theme with the proTour backpack is that there are little details everywhere and here is no exception, as with many modern back packs there is a small hole in the top of the flap to put a headphone cable through so you can listen to music on the go. The other item is a key holder, this has a detachable key ring which will clip in to place on the pack so that you don't lose your keys in the bottom of the bag.
One of the things I love about the proTour is the ability to keep all of your kit together in one place and these pockets make it the perfect solution. I filled this one with nocks, points, a spare string, tabs and pretty much everything else I could find. The pockets all have flaps and are Velcro fastening so stuff wasn't falling out all over the place, no matter how you held the bag. The other thing to note about the pockets is that they are see through so you can instantly find what you are looking for, no opening flaps having a look and not finding what you are after.
The Main Body
Closing the flap we now move further to the edge of the backpack to reveal more waterproof zips, again there are two zip heads so you can open from either side. Unzipping them reveals the main area of the bag, on the left where the arrow tube fits and the on the right where your limbs and riser go. But this isn't just a large space, those little details are there again, rather than just sitting in side the main area the arrow tube fits in to a special bag to keep it in place, further held by straps which Velcro in place to keep a tight fit. Your limbs and riser are equally well maintained in a small inner bag. The bag has two compartments, again accessed by zips, one side holding the riser and the other holding the limbs. On the back of the bag are two Velcro strips which press on to a further two Velcro strips in the body of the bag, this keeps everything in place and well protected. I should say at this point that the bag will hold a riser or limbs up to a length of 25" and for target archers this will be more than enough. I use a more traditional bow which has a very short riser and while that was fine the limbs were a little too long for the inner bag. However this is not a criticism of the proTour in anyway, this is very much a bag for target archery, regardless of the inner bag my limbs still fitted in to the main body fine and in fact the bag itself has the padding and not the inner bag, therefore the limbs are still well protected. I only mention it because I wouldn't want somebody rushing off to buy one only to find their limbs didn't fit in to the inner bag, as I say for me this is very minor as the limbs still went in just not in the bag.
With the limbs and riser in place there is still ample room in the body, with more than enough room for a quiver and bracer to sit comfortably, carrying on the theme of a bag for ALL of your equipment.
The Arrow Tube
The final part of the main bag, which we have already touched on is the arrow tube. The proTour comes with it's own arrow tube included, however this is a standard expandable tube so if you already had one and needed to swap them around you can do so without a problem. When in place the arrow tube fits in to a hole at the top of the backpack, this hole allows you to have the tube extended so if you have longer arrows then it will just sit out side of the pack. The hole has an external covering which includes a draw string, if the tube is short enough this can be closed right over the top of the tube and stop water getting in to the bag.
The bag comes with a couple of carrying options, on the side is a handle, which along with the rest of the outside in general is well made and looks like it will last a life time. Flipping the bag over reveals the shoulder straps, these again are very well made, with lots of padding and central strap to keep the bag high on the back and secure. Also along the side is yet another large zip, opening this reveals a very large space at the back of the pack, it's not very deep but would be good for keeping some clothing in for example. Running down the back of the proTour are two padded areas, these make for a comfortable fit and form the back "Air System" which keeps the bulk of the pack away from the body to increase air flow and make carrying the case a pleasure rather than a hindrance.
At the top is a space for an ID tag, this would be ideal for an archery association membership card or something to identify you as the owner of the pack. The pack comes in 4 colours, our one being the rather nice looking blue, other options are silver, orange and red.
As mentioned the zips are waterproof and the covering will be somewhat water resistant, however another of those excellent extra details is the inclusion of a waterproof cover for the pack. To get a water proof covering for a bag isn't that unusual but again Legend do an excellent job of keeping to that pro tag as the waterproof covering is stored in a small zipped compartment at the top of the bag. The covering is elasticated so stays in place but is also very easy to slip on and off. But this isn't some black sack, the covering is tailored so that there is an additional covering for the arrow tube if it extends outside of the bag.
Essentially the addition of this cover will make this back completely waterproof.
One thing I have rather glossed over so far is the protection. While I mentioned that the internal bag is not padded the proTour is exceptionally well padded everywhere else. The main body of the bag is packed in extra thick polyethylene shock absorbing foam and it seems to do a great job of protecting whatever is inside. I'd never throw a bag containing my bow around but the level of padding here would mean I was confident if it were to be dropped or thrown in the back of a car that nothing would be damaged.
This really is an excellent bag, I used this last weekend at a shoot and it proved to be everything it promised. I loaded the bag with all of my kit, including bow, arrows, quiver, bracer and a basic repair kit. There was ample room for it all, in fact there was still room to spare. The short walk to the car confirmed that even when fully loaded the pack was light and movement was easy.
I loaded the pack in to the car and it was great that everything was in the one place, no arrow tube, no extra bag for the various bits and bobs. This of course was repeated as I just unloaded the bag from the car and went to the registration area, safe in the knowledge that I had everything I was going to need for the day.
The pack also offers another plus in that once the archery is done, everything can be left in place. Just remove the bag from the car and store at home, again happy that the next time you need it everything will be in place.
I can't say enough great things about the proTour Backpack, if you have a takedown bow this will be the only bag you will ever need, literally the only bag.
Features & Design
The proTour is literally packed with features, when I first got my hands on it it was like a journey of discovery, every time I turned it over there was something new to look, pull, undo or play with. I'm finding it difficult to think what else they could do to improve it.
On a basic level it's a bag which you put stuff in and carry around. But the sheer number of little details mean it's the only bag you will ever need.
Value for Money
The list price is 99 Euros, I have found it selling for £59.98. That might sound like a lot but this is a lot of bag for the money. Comes with an arrow tube included so that's already a saving and the build quality is brilliant.
Honestly the only archery bag you will ever need. When you factor in the cost of a bag and an arrow tube and another bag to hold or your bits it starts to look like excellent value, which in my opinion it is.