Tag Archives: Steve Joseph

Bullpacs Hunting Packs

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An interview with Sam Kolb of Bullpacs hunting packs.

By Steve Joseph

Steve Joseph How did Bull Pacs get its start?

Sam Kolb About 20 years ago, some elk hunters out of Lewiston, Idaho, packed out an elk on some rickety old aluminum pack frames and swore there had to be better equipment out there for the job. Their search left them empty-handed, and since they ran a machine shop they decided they’d make their own. After several years and countless hours, they finally fine-tuned a frame that was super strong, pretty lightweight and much more comfortable for those long packs out of the mountains loaded with elk.

Though they weren’t really interested in making that part of their machine shop production, they had the production aspect all figured out. Their mother, Janice, moved back to Lewiston and was looking for work when the business idea was born; the shop would manufacture Bull Pacs and Janice began sewing the components, assembling packs and shipping orders. In 2014, Janice decided she wanted to retire from pack production, and after months of training and passing of the baton, our family moved Bull Pacs to Vancouver, Wash., where we have continued with pack production and started working on new accessories and ideas to go with the Bull Pacs.

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SJ What sets Bull Pacs apart from the other packs?

SK We’ve always had a passion for good, solid hunting gear. When I first laid eyes on the Bull Pacs, the solid design and workmanship definitely stood out. Once I tried it on, I loved the way it fit and was convinced it could comfortably handle any load I was able to shoulder. I couldn’t wait until the next season to try it out with a load of elk meat! That was 14 years ago and I have packed thousands of pounds of game on my original Bull Pac, with very few signs of wear and tear. I was actually surprised at just how tough and comfortable Bull Pacs really were, whether packing out elk quarters or just hiking the backcountry in pursuit of the next big adventure!

SJ What about accessories that are available?

SK We have started producing a number of new accessories to outfit new or old packs. Our most popular addition is the rifle mount, which mounts securely to the Bull Pac frame and provides hands-free use when hiking or packing meat, but still allows quick access to ones rifle without removing the pack. We have also developed a decoy extension that allows a person to securely strap on super-tall loads that are otherwise unwieldy to haul around.  We have started carrying RAM Mount accessories to facilitate attachment/use of flashlights, Go Pro cameras, spotting scopes and cameras or other similarly threaded electronic equipment. We have a couple different sizes of game bags for bone-in quarters or boned-out meat. We also have Bull Pac Straps for quickly cinching download on the pack frame for hauling meat and/or gear. And we are just finishing up an axe mount similar to the rifle mount to facilitate safe axe hauling. We have several other ideas we are working on, with things to come in the future.

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SJ  Speaking of, where do you see Bull Pacs heading in the future?

SK We are excited to continue the company’s legacy that’s built on quality, durability and personal customer service that Bull Pacs has provided to the outdoor community for years. While we love the Bull Pac, we are also working on a number of accessories and other innovative adaptations that will make your Bull Pac useful in a number of different applications.  We hope to continue to grow as a grass roots pack company that represents solid, no-nonsense gear that gets the job done and doesn’t let you down, for the everyday hunter.

SJ You have a lifetime warranty. How important is that for your customers?

SK We do our best to produce products that will provide decades of worry-free use. What good is a warranty if it craps out on you in the bottom of the canyon? However, as we all know, anything mechanical can break. If you have something break, slip and land on a rock and bust a weld or have something you don’t think held up as it should have, we will happily take care of it and make it right! We pride ourselves on customer service that’s second to none.  We treat our customers how we’d want to be treated and don’t make excuses if an issue arises. More people like a company that stands behind their product, and we make sure our customers feel appreciated and are well taken care of!

Bullpacs.com (208) 798-3299

Nootka Wilderness Lodge Clients ‘Arrive As Guests, Leave As Friends’

By Steve Joseph

In salmon fishing-crazed British Columbia, Nootka Island is right in the heart of the action.

Just off the west coast of Vancouver Island, some of B.C.’s best fishing starts right from the port here. Among the top guide services and lodges in this area is Nootka Wilderness Lodge (250-850-1500; nootkawildernesslodge.com), which is run by Brian and Kelly Gage and their kids. We caught up with Brian Gage for more on their business.

 
Steve Joseph How long has the lodge been around?
Brian Gage The current Nootka Wilderness Lodge has been in Nootka Sound since 1994.

 
SJ How long have you and your wife been in the fishing industry?
BG Kelly and I have been involved in the fishing industry for 30-plus years now. I started guiding when I was 16.

SJ Is this a total family affair?
BG NWL is a family-run lodge with a capacity for 26 guests, keeping it quaint and personal. I am at the lodge for every group, and that’s really what I enjoy about the business: meeting new people and getting to know them. We like to say, “Arrive as guests and leave as a friends.” Ninety percent of our guests return to NWL, something we are very proud of!

SJ What area do you fish?
BG We have a fantastic area for fishing. Nootka Wilderness Lodge is located in the heart of Nootka Sound, with salmon fishing only minutes away on calm, protected waters. We also have the open ocean with an amazing coastline of kelp beds and rock structure for our more adventurous fishing guests. Our bottomfishing for halibut, red snapper and lingcod is also world class and a “guaranteed” catch for those who enjoy action-packed bottomfishing.

SJ Tell us about your fleet and the lodge.
BG Our lodge, our staff, our location and our fleet are what sets us apart from other lodges. Our fleet of boats is primarily Grady Whites, ranging from 24 to 28 feet in length. We also have one 40-foot offshore vessel for larger groups that want to stick together. All of our boats are covered and have twin four-stroke power and trolling motors. All of our boats have bathrooms onboard. Our 10,000-square-foot lodge features sprawling decks, private bathrooms, spacious rooms, a lounge area and bar. It’s a floating lodge tucked in a picturesque bay with a southwest exposure. We enjoy beautiful sunsets over Vancouver Island’s coastal mountains into the early evening hours. We actually see very little rain throughout our season, so don’t forget your sunscreen!

SJ In one word describe the whole experience.
BG Unforgettable!

Follow and like Nootka Wilderness Lodge on Twitter (@FishNootka), Instagram (@Nootka_wilderness_lodge) and Facebook