I bought the Winisk canoe pack out of desperation. We had originally bought both a large and a small Eureka pack. They fit my 6'2 husband just fine. He carried the small pack and the canoe, and I carried the large pack. They are not built whatsoever for a small person. I had to have the straps pulled so tight that it made my arms stick out like a snowman (uncomfortable as heck!), and the "waist" belt fit me right below my butt (kind of useless!). I'm 5'0, and this was a huge problem. Portaging was literally painful. I saw the Ostrom packs and thought I'd give them a try since they are built for your personal measurements. I talked a bit with owner and placed my order. The pack came within the week, which was awesome as we were headed out on another trip that weekend. We loaded the pack up to about 55-60lbs and my husband helped me get it on my back and tighten everything up. It was a dream!!! No more pain on my neck and shoulders from ill-fitting straps, and a waist belt that actually came to my waist and tightened up, and stayed in place. The portaging was SO MUCH EASIER for me! I highly recommend these packs for smaller women who are having trouble with generic style packs. The Ostrom packs have made a huge difference in my comfort while packing heavy loads. I am so happy with it!!! One more thing is the chest strap that clips in front. They are often very thin webbing on other packs, which dig in if you have any sort of chest. The Ostrom packs have a thicker strap. It's easier to pull snugly, and doesn't impede my ability to breathe like the Eureka pack did. My husband loves his Eureka packs, but I'm all for the Ostrom packs! I will never go back to my old canoe pack again:-) Thanks Ostrom!! Very nice, beautifully made product. I bought the tump strap too, but so far have not figured out how to use it to my advantage. Maybe next season:-)
I can't edit my other post! I messed up on my review below....I meant to say ever heard of "they don't make them like this before". Well that is the truth here. Made to last a d for function.
Ever heard the saying "they don't make them like this anymore". Well that's the furthest from the truth here. These packs are made extremely well and clearly by someone that actually uses packs on trips.
The only only improvement I can see, and perhaps it's done for function, would be removable internal frame (we can remove the aluminum rails but not the internal plastic) so you can turn Winiski into a Wabakimi depending on the trip needs.
Again, the pack is beautifully designed clearly by someone who uses packs. Handles right where you need them, fully adjustable, and little things like waterproofing on the inside (helps against bug spray destroying it), doubled up anchors, tie down loops where they make sense...you can have confidence in this buy.
I will write another review or add to this one once I have some time using the pack.
Just buy it
After years of using waterproof, unstructured bags with shoulder and waist straps we purchased a Winisk Pack last year. We had considered packs from Duluth and Frost River (which are pretty nice), but at 2 to 3 times the price of an Ostrom pack, we couldn't justify them. The Winisk is a high quality pack with lots of room for a long trip. Construction quality is first rate, and the harness is very well designed. Thoughtful placement of straps and handles on the outside of the pack make it an easy lift out of the canoe. The harness is adjustable and it makes for a very comfortable carry. Hands-down the best addition to our paddling kit in years. If you are looking for a new canoe pack, I highly recommend you consider Ostrom.
I purchased a Winisk pack and a Quetico pack from Ostrom Outdoors at the beginning of the paddling season and I’ve had them out on 3 trips this year. I am completely satisfied with both of these purchases. These packs have everything that you would desire in a canoe pack. Side straps, shoulder harness and waist belt are all fully adjustable and quickly changed to suit whoever happens to be carrying the pack at any time.
These packs are exceptionally well designed. They pack well and carry beautifully as a result of the the easily adjusted straps and harness.
I was replacing several very old and well worn canvas packs and I researched the market carefully. Ostrom packs are without a doubt the best canoe packs available anywhere. Quality construction throughout, rugged Denier material and a very reasonable price add up to an unbeatable combination. I have no hesitation in strongly recommending these Ostrom packs to any paddler. You won’t be disappointed.