Over the years we’ve had the chance to test quite a few hunting backpacks. The Seek Outside backpack lineup isn’t one you may be quite as familiar with, but if you are looking to shave some ounces, while still maintaining the ability to pack heavy loads, the Seek Outside Lanner 5400 backpack is worth a look.
I honestly wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started testing out this Seek Outside backpack, but I used this Lanner 5400 backpack for a solid 10 months for everything from spring and summer training hikes, scouting trips, fall archery elk hunting, and late season rifle elk hunting.
The design of the Seek Outside Lanner backpack is certainly unique and unlike most other hunting backpacks, so it took a bit of getting used to before hitting the mountains on a hunting trip. The Seek Outside Lanner 5400 lightweight backpack is a multi-day hunting backpack that gives you the ability to pack a weekend’s worth of gear in it or more while still being able to haul meat in the event of a successful harvest by separating the frame from the bag. (More on that later.)
Specs: Seek Outside Lanner Backpack Review
If specs are important to you (especially shaving some weight), Seek Outside backpacks will catch your eye. The space to weight ratio is incredible with all of Seek Outside’s backpack options, and that is definitely true with the Lanner 5400 lightweight pack. At an incredible 4 lbs 6oz for a base weight, this is one of the lightest (if not the lightest) backpacks on the market with the purpose of multi-night backpacking and hunting.
Make sure to check out our other hunting backpack reviews as well!
At first glance, you might not think it was designed as a hunting pack, but Seek Outside backpacks are most certainly a lightweight hunting backpack. Their unique UltraPE 400 laminate material is incredibly tear and abrasion resistant, all while still being waterproof and incredibly lightweight.
Here are some general specs on the Seek Outside Lanner 5400:
Hip Belt: Seek Outside Backpacks
The hip belt on Seek Outside backpacks are very unique in that they can be set up to be free floating (attached only at the bottom of the frame), or fully secured to the frame, depending on your preference. The hip belt doesn’t come with a lumbar support pad, but I’m glad there is an option to add this on as I’ve found that a more substantial lumbar pad fits me best. It attaches very easily if you want to add one (see picture below), and can be easily removed if you want to experiment with what is the most comfortable for your body type.
The hip belt of the Seek Outside Lanner Backpack is unique in that it gives you three different positions for the hip belt which changes how the pack sits on your hips. For instance, Option #1 has the pack sitting higher up on your back, while Option #3 brings it down so the pack sits lower on your back. Seek Outside backpacks come shipped at the highest riding position (#1) as this typically provides the best overall ride.
In the picture below you can see how the bottom of the hip belt attaches to the frame of the pack, and it gives you those three different positions to choose from, which offers even more flexibility with how the pack rides.
OPTION #1 – TOP GROMMET – DEFAULT POSITION
Seek Outside backpacks come shipped in position #1, which sits the highest on your back. This typically gives you the best ride, particularly with a heavy load. I personally found that this was my favorite position for the hip belt after experimenting with it, however, it makes getting items out of the side pockets the most difficult without taking the pack off. I’ll take a more comfortable ride any day though, so it’s a small inconvenience I’m willing to deal with.
OPTION #2 – MIDDLE GROMMET
Option #2 is a great all-around position that a lot of folks with find very comfortable, particularly if you have a medium to shorter torso length.
OPTION #3 – LOWEST GROMMET
The lowest grommet is what folks with a short torso length will likely gravitate towards or if you are someone who prioritizes being able to reach back and grab your water bottle out of the side pocket. I personally found that this position and the middle grommet made the frame touch my backside a little when descending on steep ground, so I prefer keeping the load and frame higher and far away from any contact.
The hip belt is made of a more flexible foam and provides a very soft, comfortable feel. I did find myself wishing that the hip belt had a higher density foam, particularly with a heavy load when packing out. The foam is soft enough that if you pull the dual tightening straps too snug, you’ll feel the buckles through the foam. Seek Outside backpacks are designed so that you don’t need to cinch them down extremely tight, but I still found myself wishing there was a little higher density foam in the hip belt.
The hip belt features Molle webbing, which allows you to strap your side are to the hip belt if you prefer to do so. I found the Blackhawk Serpa Holster to work well, but I had to change out the attachment piece to a Molle comparable adapter which works very well.
The Harness: Seek Outside Backpacks
The harness system on the Seek Outside Backpacks gives you a ton of adjustability which enables you to make sure the fit is just right. The adjustment is a little cumbersome as you have multiple points and straps to adjust, but once you get it set, it’s not going to move on you.
I also found that the cushioned part that makes contact with your back is extremely comfortable, but doesn’t breathe very well. Personally, I prefer more air flow between my back and the frame of the pack, but this one has a very wide panel that doesn’t allow for much breathing.
As for the shoulder straps, I found them to be very comfortable and easy to adjust. They appear to be made of the same foam as the hip belt, but I don’t mind that at all in the shoulder harness as you ideally don’t want much load on your shoulders, so the shoulder straps don’t need to be as robust.
The Frame: Seek Outside Lanner Backpack
The Seek Outside Lanner backpack is equipped with a 6061 T6 Aluminum Revolution Frame to provide you with a comfortable ride no matter if you are out for a day trip, training hike, backpacking trip, or coming out heavy from a successful hunt. The tubular aluminum frame is extremely lightweight yet is rated to support over 300 lbs vertically. That’s far more than I would ever need, but it’s nice to know the pack is capable of that kind of load.
The tubular frame isn’t covered or wrapped like some other packs on the market, but rather the pack is attached to the frame via some webbing straps. This seems to be one of the ways they were able to shave considerable weight from the pack without negatively affecting its functionality.
During my testing it performed extremely well for me while carrying a lighter weight of 40 pounds during training hikes all the way up to hauling out an entire mule deer in one trip plus my gear.
I’ve put over 100 pounds in this pack and have been as comfortable as one can be with a load that heavy. As mentioned above, I did find that the hip belt could be a bit more robust which would aid in this packs heavy load hauling ability. Any discomfort I had wasn’t in any way related to the frame, but rather the lack of high density foam in the hip belt. Otherwise the pack was one of the more comfortable load haulers I’ve tested. This is especially impressive given that it is one of the lightest weight, load hauling packs you can find.
The bag nicely breaks away from the frame for the times when you are successful in your harvest and need to load the pack up with some hard earned meat. The included load shelf helps support the weight, but I would highly recommend picking up an extra pair of Seek Outside Extra Long Compression Straps as the ones that come with it are too short for a larger load like the one pictured here. These longer straps will allow you to carry a larger load, which is critical for me in many situations.
Bag Configuration: Seek Outside Lanner 5400 Backpack
The Seek Outside Lanner 5400 backpack is a massive pack that gives you enough room to stay out for 5+ days if you pack right. Even though the pack is called a 5400 cubic inch pack, it’s really more like a 7000+ cubic inch pack as I have it configured here. The exterior pocket adds an additional 1000 cubic inches, the lid adds an additional 500 cubic inches, and the two large side pockets give you a ton of additional space as well. The side pockets don’t have a size rating, but I’d say they are around 500 CI each.
The main bag can be accessed via the awesome full-length side zipper or top loaded through the roll top opening at the top of the bag. The full-length zipper is great for being able to access the inside of your pack without having to fully disassemble it. There aren’t any pockets inside the the main bag, but there is a small pocket on the top that acts as a small lid and is a place you can store a few small items. Adding on the optional Top Lid is nice for storing more items that you want to quickly access without needing to get into the pack.
There aren’t a lot of pockets on the Seek Outside Lanner 5400 backpack, but there are just enough to store everything you need in a nicely organized manner. The larger outside mesh pocket is great for items you need quick access to, while the large side pockets are perfect for spotting scopes, tripods, or anything else you may need to quickly grab.
The small pocket on the top of the bag is great for your rarely accessed items like your hunting license, bow repair kit, wallet, etc.
The Seek Outside Lanner 5400 backpack is hydration comparable and comes with a hydration port for those that prefer to use a bladder. The interior of the bag is a large bag without any interior pockets, which helps keep the weight to a minimum. There is an attachment to hang the water bladder from inside the bag, but I found it to be a bit awkward in securing the bladder. It took a little ingenuity to figure out a good way to hang it nicely from the loops while still being easy to remove. Nothing a few zip ties or carabiners didn’t fix.
Once I got the water bladder attached to the interior of the bag, I noticed that the top of the bag wanted to sag tremendously from the weight of the bladder. I then noted that there were some additional loops on the side of the the bag facing the frame where I could attach the top of the bag to the frame via a couple of Gatekeeper straps. While I didn’t particularly like this setup because it just added a couple more Gatekeeper straps to the bag, it fixed the problem and it wasn’t an issue at all the rest of the time I was testing the pack.
The inside of the bag does not have any pockets, with the exception of the place to put your bladder, so it really is like a giant stuff sack. One unique feature is that the bag has a zipper on one side that runs the length of the bag, so if you need to access something more towards the bottom of the bag, you won’t have to unload it all, but can simply unzip the side to get to things at different depths of the bag.
The Lid: Seek Outside Lanner 5400 Backpack
Because the main bag itself doesn’t have any internal pockets, I found that I liked the addition of the Seek Outside Top Lid that is offered as an optional add-on to Seek Outside Backpacks.
The design of the lid is not meant to add a lot of cubic inches like other packs we’ve used, but it does provide you with a great place to store smaller items for quick access. I found the zippered opening to be a little on the small side and the overall size to be on the small side, but it’s still absolutely worth adding to your Seek Outside Backpack.
Accessories: Seek Outside Lanner 5400 Backpack Review
Seek Outside Backpacks can be outfitted with a number of different accessories. The available Seek Outside accessories include things like frame extensions, a load shelf, top lid, a bottle holster, and hip belt pouches. Depending on how you use a backpack, you’ll likely want to pick up a few of the extras to help organize your pack the way you like it. I picked up a couple hip belt pockets, the top lid, and the load shelf to make sure I could come out heavy when needed.
What I liked: Seek Outside Lanner Backpack Review
SIZE TO WEIGHT RATIO
When it comes to the size to weight ratio, it’s tough to beat Seek Outside backpacks. They provide you with massive space while keeping the weight to a minimum.
LOAD HAULING ABILITY
Even though Seek Outside Backpacks are extremely lightweight, they still haul heavy loads extremely well. This was one of the bigger surprises for me during testing as typically, lightweight backpacks simply don’t carry heavy loads very well. That’s not the case with this Lanner 5400 backpack as it wass super comfortable with even the heaviest loads I carried.
I love the lightweight, waterproof material that Seek Outside uses on their packs. It’s especially nice to know that if weather rolls in, you aren’t scrambling to cover your pack with a rain cover or needing to put all your gear in a dry bag to make sure your gear doesn’t get soaked.
The Seek Outside Lanner 5400 Backpack is incredibly versatile and has a TON of adjustments to help you get it fitted perfectly to your body. It doesn’t have the typical look of a hunting pack, so if you are someone who does more backpacking, this works perfectly for that application as well given that it is so lightweight.
LOAD SHELF POSITION
I love the location of the load shelf on the Lanner 5400 backpack. Being located on the lower part of the mid back ensures that your load won’t drop too low on your back, which is one of the biggest causes for discomfort when hauling heavy loads.
LARGE SIDE POCKETS & QUICK ACCESS POCKETS
The large side pockets and large outer pocket make it easy to store items that you need quick access to including any size spotting scope and your tripod. Given that the main pack doesn’t have any internal pockets, these are especially nice to have.
What I Didn’t Like: Seek Outside Lanner Backpack Review
The thing that is probably the most frustrating about the Seek Outside Lanner 5400 backpack is its complexity. This is the downside related to all that versatility we noted as a positive. You can set the pack up so many different ways (as far as where the straps go), that it certainly takes some getting used to. I’ve tested a lot of backpacks over the years, and this one was the most difficult to learn how to use and configure.
This was clearly evident when it came time to tear the pack apart to haul out meat after a harvest. Even though I’ve done it many times (all throughout the summer during weighted training hikes), it still took longer than other packs and is more difficult to get all put back together. I found myself staring at it wondering what strap went where at times.
I wasn’t sure how I’d like the fact that virtually every buckle on the pack is a Gatekeeper. At the end of the day, I got used to them, but I’m not a big fan. They are more cumbersome to attach/detach all the way around, particularly if it’s cold out. It’s pretty difficult to manipulate the Gatekeeper with gloves on, and it’s more time consuming to feed the latch through the sewn in loop than latch the wire.
Now on the positive side, Gatekeepers are much more versatile and allow you to change your anchor point to wherever there are sewn in loops, so they give you a TON of versatility and are lighter weight. At the end of the day, it’s a give and take, but for me personally, I found that I still prefer a standard buckle for the convenience and ease of use.
One side note: If you forget to flip the wire latch on a Gatekeeper, it will break extremely easily. I did this getting a load secured for a training hike. I was surprised how easily the Gatekeeper will break if it’s not latched, so I purchased a couple extra Gatekeepers to throw in the pack in the event I forgot to latch it while I was out in the field. The nice thing is that they weigh nothing and are extremely easy to replace if broken.
BACK DOESN’T BREATH WELL
I was able to test this pack in temperatures ranging from the 90s down to the single digits during late season hunts. I found that due to the amount of contact the material makes with your back, it doesn’t breathe as well as other packs I’ve tested. It’s certainly not terrible, but not quite as breathable as some out there.
WATER BLADDER HOOKUP
Lastly, I found the internal loops for hanging your water bladder were a bit cumbersome. I’m sure with a bit more work I could have come up with a better system, but it worked. It would be nice if there was something offered by Seek Outside specifically for hanging your water bladder, but you are kind of on your own to figure out the best way to attach it inside the bag.
Conclusion: Seek Outside Lanner backpack Review
After a lot of days in the field with this Seek Outside Lanner 5400 backpack, I came to love how it carried a load and how much volume there is in such a lightweight backpack. There’s nothing worse than starting with a 9 pound empty backpack, and Seek Outside Backpacks excel in their weight savings. The Lanner 5400 did everything I needed it to and more, but there were certainly some inconveniences that went with it.
I found myself frustrated at times with the complexity of the strap system and Gatekeepers, and getting the back ready to haul out our harvest proved to take longer than with other more simple systems I’ve used. I was, however, extremely impressed with how this Seek Outside Lanner backpack hauled very heavy loads, and I love that it gives you enough space to use as a day pack or for a weekend backpacking trip, even up to a 5-7 day backcountry trip if you pack carefully.
At the end of the day, if you want to save significant weight without giving up the ability to carry a heavy load, the Seek Outside Lanner backpack is certainly one to consider. If you don’t mind Gatekeeper buckles and a bit more complex system, you’ll love this pack and all the versatility it offers.
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