If you plan on back packing in or boneing the animal out and bringing it out the dragonfly or just one pack by eberlestock. If you plan on day trips the gunslinger 2, x3 lo drag, or the gunrunner. I have the gunrunner and it's a great day pack but when loaded heavy the load wobbles a little. I wish they would make a just on style pack with the wide scabbard.
+1... I bought the Dragonfly this spring. It worked great this fall for elk hunting in Colorado. It will carry everything you want to haul (including rifle) and do it comfortably.
However, the Dragonfly is 9 lbs by the time you include H2O, zip in orange panel, molle pouches on the hip belt... In my case, add in an 11 lb rifle, and I have 20 lbs before I add any kit. And the Dragonfly is roomy enough that I want to throw in everything but the kitchen sink...
This year's project is to get a Gunrunner, or similar pack. And use the smaller pack size to pare down the amount of "stuff" I put in it for day trips. Will definitely keep the Dragonfly. But, looking for something a little more compact for "walk abouts".
I would go with one of the Kifaru packs with a grap it or rifle holder. I have a dragon fly and Kifaru navigator. The Kifaru is way more comfortable with a loaded pack. Plus the kifaru is made in the USA!
I've been using the Dragonfly. Put it to the test with a hideous burden. Hiked out a moose on a walk in hunt making trips with quarters and gear from the kill site 2 miles from the truck. 2 miles aint much distance but its no small feat having made 4 trips to pack out a moose between 2 people and two packs all on foot in a no atv use area.
I had my Dragonfly and my dad was using a Alps aluminum frame with a hauler bucket on it. The Alps pack rode hard on the shoulders and the aluminum frame was a little more cumbersome in the alders. The Dragonfly slipped through brush easier and I could carry both meat and rifle out easy with the internal rifle scabbard. The Dragonfly, when properly fitted to your torso, rides more on the hips and not so much on the shoulders, making the heavy loads a little more bearable.
The Dragonfly will carry horns good but the aluminum frames seem to carry horns better. I found with the Eberlestocks, you have to get your load cinched in tight to keep the sway down and keep it stable and as long as you do that it works fine. Heaviest load I had in the Dragonfly was a moose hind quarter, 20+ pounds of backstrap and trimmings, spotting scope, binoculars, saws, knives and game bags. Sounds like a lot but you can make it work.
Last haul showed, all trimmings, neck roasts, tenderloins and backstrap in the dragonfly in this photo.
I like my Nimrod pack for day hunts, it is the pinnacle I think, I gave one to son and have 2 more, one set for archery. They have a rifle or bow carry, h20, access. pack frame, modular., I have the meat duffle also, stows in pack and buckles on shoulder strap when needed, They make packs for firefighters
I have the Eberlestock Just One J34. I almost got the Dragonfly but opted to go for the slightly smaller and less weight J34. Both are excellent packs and have well thought out designs. The scabbard is real nifty. It is still a little big for a daypack so I also have the X2 when I want to go light.
I have the J34 and really like it. I also bought a gunrunner and am not real impressed. It does wobble alot as was mentioned earlier. Also without a rifle or something in the scabbard the interior sides of the scabbard rub together loudly. I added a second compression strap near the top of the pack that helps. If I draw my rifle I also have to remove the pack and cinch down the upper compression strap I added to quiet the scabbard down. Not real handy when making a stalk.
I have a mini-me and J34 and had an X1E, none of them have the noise issue on the scabbard like the gunrunner. I'd just use the J34 for everything but it's a little wide for carrying a rifle on a sling on a long hike, the gun wants to slide down. Sometimes I carry my rifle on a sling and my rapid pivot bipod and optics tripod in the scabbard.