Originally Posted by jmden
Originally Posted by pstimac
I have a Kifaru Hauler. It's comfortable and great for packing heavy loads. The gun bearer is nice. I got mine before they got expensive. Hands down, the best pack frame I've used.
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I've hiked/climbed/bushwacked thousands of miles with many types of packs from daypacks with 10 lb loads to 130+ lbs loads cross country bushwacking in the North Cascades, etc. and for a hunting pack that carries your gun comfortably yet in a way that is quick enough to get in to action that if it was a shotgun, that pheasant would be dead...well, I haven't seen anything that touches what Kifaru does. I can just look at how the Eberlestock packs are made and realize that I don't want one--jmho. The owner of Kifaru used to own Mountainsmith and made some pretty good stuff. He has a good idea of what lightweight, strong and functional specifically for hunting means. I don't see that with most the 'other' brands. They are custom made to your dimensions and when you get an elk quarter strapped onto the freighter platfrom and carry it for miles and have many other packs to compare to as I have had, you'll understand what I mean. No, I'm not biased!
Nope, not ...biased..., just satisfied! I also have a little bit of experience with wilderness backpacks, some 53 years of it and all over BC, much of Alberta, and into the NWT and Yukon. I earned my living for years in an occupation where carrying 140-150 lb. loads was part of the job....and it IS NOT FUN, no matter WHAT pack you have!!!
I had a Kifaru Longhunter Rendevous, used it on three BC mountain hunts, returned it and Patrick himself looked at it and sent it back. The MOST I could carry in even reasonable comfort was 70 lbs. and that mushy waistbelt simply would not stop sliding down, driving me bonkers. I sold it, taking a substantial loss and kept my very "tricked out" Kifaru Siwash, which I like, but, I cannot carry over 40 lbs on it.
My "best" packs for hunting and heavy loads are the Mystery Ranch NICE setups, best packs I have ever used and that is a LOT of them. They are heavy, costly and kinda homely, but, at pushing 63, I can still comfortably carry a weighed 100 lbs. on them and all day, if I have to....with rests, of course.
So, there you have it, the choice between the ONLY two packs I would even consider buying, other than a Dana Design from the Bozeman days, or, an early Loadmaster frame from the Mexican production...I have these, btw, so this is not just "noodling".
I would, of course, buy a McHale and may, if I can convince my "CEO" that an old geezer, like me, needs another pack. Lotsa bucks, but, a truely superb pack and from a very fine guy.
It REALLY pays off in the longterm to get a top quality pack, boots and optics, these are the crucial items for safe, comfortable and efficient backpack hunting, IMHO.