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Suggestions? - Pack that Carries Rifle for Barbary Hunt

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Unread 01-13-2013, 12:57 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4
Suggestions? - Pack that Carries Rifle for Barbary Hunt

I've got a Barbary hunt coming up, and potentially an ibex hunt as well. My hunting partners are both taking Eberlestock packs...one has the X1 and the other an X1E. I don't want to be the odd man out not being able to pack in my own gear, or pack out my own meat because of my pack, or lack thereof. I currently have a few small daypacks, but nothing that can carry meat, or the rifle. I'm a little weary of having the rifle in the pack, unaccessible, but at the same time, while packing out the meat, or even while traversing the technical terrain, having both hands free may be a blessing. Any thoughts?

Here are my thoughts....keeping in mind that I don't want to dump a lot of money either, and I'm sticking with these choices because I like the gun scabbards (or should I stay way from the pack scabbards?), and I received some gift cards to a vendor who carries these packs. That being said I am looking at all options and experiences with hands free carrying.

1) Eberlestock X1
2) Eberlestock Gunrunner
3) Eberlestock X2 without scabbard
4) Eberlestock X2 with attachable scabbard (how are these compared to the back scabbards?)
5) Other pack, with no scabbard or with Kifaru Gunbearer?
6) Any other recommendations?

Thank you!
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Unread 01-13-2013, 01:05 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Townsend, Montana.
Posts: 8,652
Re: Suggestions? - Pack that Carries Rifle for Barbary Hunt

Since I have been using one for a few years now I will vote for the X1 It works for me and carries my rifles well.

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Unread 01-13-2013, 04:45 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Mt., Id. , SD
Posts: 1,062
Re: Suggestions? - Pack that Carries Rifle for Barbary Hunt

Used an eberlestock for about 5 years and many hundreds of miles - yes it'll carry a rifle and meat but there are much better available packs.

Used a badlands with kifaru gunbearer sling for a lot of years. It was adequate.

Been using a mystery ranch pack last couple of seasons with a kifaru and wish I'd spent the money years ago. The mystery will carry more than you can handle. Now the difference is I got fitted when I bought the pack - makes all the difference in the world. One size does not fit all. Kifaru makes a pack that I have no personal experience with but those that use it wouldn't trade it for anything.

We all pack expensive guns, scopes etc and try to get by with not breaking the bank with our packs. A good fitting pack is worth every penny spent and will last a life time. Stone Glacier out of Bozeman is a new company that I would look at also if I had to replace mine.

We probably haven't taken an animal out whole in many years so we use the hell out of a pack - never leave a horse or pickup without it.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 11:27 AM
Field Editor
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 690
Re: Suggestions? - Pack that Carries Rifle for Barbary Hunt

Agar426 -

The X1 and X1E that your friends have are day-pack sized. From your post I think that's really what you are looking for (no mention of multi-day pack in). The harness systems are full-scale and well padded and the packs themselves are stout enough to comfortably haul meat. Their frames are fairly simple and allow for vertical adjustment (raise or lower the point where the shoulder straps attach to the pack) so you can ensure that you'll get the weight on to your hips where you want it. Any of the Eberlestock packs with built-in scabbards are designed so you can reach back over your head and pull your rifle out without taking the pack off.

Some of Eberlestock's larger packs have aluminum stays (aluminum bars that run vertically to provide extra strength and support) such as the J34. You can bend the stays to custom fit the pack to follow the contours of your back. For carrying heavy loads a lot (like on a multi-day backpack trip) that can be a nice feature. I've never had any problems hauling meat for one day in packs without the adjustable stays. The J34 can work as mainly a day pack, but it's a bit larger than I typically like to carry as a day pack.

The Gunrunner is a very small day pack and the harness system is pretty minimal, especially the waist belt. You can certainly haul out some meat in it, but not a lot, and all the weight will be on your shoulders with relatively little padding, so it wouldn't be my first choice for that.

The X2 is a cool day pack that can also work pretty well for extended 2-3 backpack trips. Adding a scabbard works very well because you add it between the main compartment and one of the vertical wing pockets, so it's very secure and feels like it's built in. The biggest negative of the X2 comes in to play when hauling much weight. The X2 is not vertically adjustable. I'm 5'-8" and I can just barely get the weight to ride on my hips like I want. For anyone taller than that, you'll be carrying the weight on your shoulders. The shoulder straps are more significant and better padded than the Gunrunner so you can certainly haul some meat weight, but what makes the X2 a great pack is it's compact size and cool shape and features, not it's ability to haul heavy loads.

Another good day-pack sized Eberlestock pack to consider is the X3 LoDrag. It has the full-sized adjustable harness so it works well as a meat-hauler. It's a nice compact shape and size for sneaking while hunting. It has the larger, tactical sized scabbard which allows you to carry your rifle muzzle-up if you want (can be nice to get the center of gravity lower).

Personally I love the fact that with Eberlestock scabbards, your expensive rifle and optics are enclosed and protected. Also the fact that the scabbard is built in just makes the overall package feel really solid when you're picking it up, putting it down, and loading it onto your back (which happens a lot throughout a hunt. Plus when you're in hunt mode and carrying your gun, you can fold the scabbard up out of the way and it's like it's not even there.

Good luck on your hunt!

Andy Backus
Field Editor

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Unread 01-14-2013, 11:54 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Washington State
Posts: 2,726
Re: Suggestions? - Pack that Carries Rifle for Barbary Hunt

Kifaru Bikini frame or regular frame (2 lbs heavier than bikini), Duplex Timberline 2 (DT2) pack bag, XTL lid, gun bearer.

The 4 external pockets on the DT2 seem as though they were designed for the LR hunter with the two large side pockets for quick access to spotting scope and tripod and the other pockets for the various LR trinkets--works very well.

The gun bearer carries your rifle very well and actually also allows you to get off a quick shot. Eberlestock packs don't do that. What happens to an Eberlestock packed rifle when you want to sit on a log or cross a large log? In the way and no control--not so with the gun bearer. Much better control and many times faster to access.

A mainstay of load carrying thought is to have the load as close to your body (center of gravity) as possible. A rifle between you and your load creates more of a 'lever arm' between you and your load. I've often felt that the basic design of Eberlestock packs is flawed in this regard, regardless of if they have a large following or not.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 09:51 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4
Re: Suggestions? - Pack that Carries Rifle for Barbary Hunt

Excellent responses! Thank you everyone for all of your help. The more I read, the more I realize why people have several packs. I currently have an older version of the Sitka Ascent 14, but find myself usually carrying a cheap fanny pack because honestly I prefer to not carry a pack at all. That being said, I usually take at least the fanny pack. Up until now, we've always been able to drag the animal to an area where we could drive up to it.

For this hunt, however our game plan is to go from dawn til dusk, and my partners are prepared to pack from the kill on the first trip back to the truck.

The information provided has been very helpful!
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Unread 01-21-2013, 07:49 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 297
Re: Suggestions? - Pack that Carries Rifle for Barbary Hunt


I have only been elk hunting 3 years. Still a newbie at back pack hunting. I currently have two Eberlestock packs, a J107 (similar to J34) and an X1. A few thoughts to consider: the J107/J34 is more pack than really necessary for just a Day Pack. Will work great for hauling out a large load of meat. But I tend to carry more stuff than I really need, just because I have room for it. It requires discipline to minimize non-essentials. The X1 is a good day pack, half the weight of the J107, but as mentioned above not so much room. Also, the scabbard on my X1 seems a little "snug" with a full size Sako rifle and 40mm Leupold scope. It fits, but snug. I have been eyeballing the X3 due to: a) larger scabbard opening and b) "in between" sizing.

A couple recommendations regardless whichever pack you choose:

a) get the pack well in advance of the trip and do as many "practice hikes" as you can working up in weight to about 60lbs. This will help work out the adjustments and get the fit right for you. Also, some things start to squeak and squawk after the pack has been loaded for a few miles. You want to find these issues BEFORE your hunt so you can eliminate the noises.

b) Buy a pack that has interchangeable belts and harnesses. If you are long/tall/short/thin/wide you may want to swap out components to better fit you specifically. I am 6'-0" about 220lbs. A standard Eberlestock pack belt fits me with summer clothes. But will not go around me with cold weather clothing. I have purchased an XL length extra padded hip belt for both of my Eberlestock packs. With the proper hip belt, I have had zero comfort issues with my packs loaded up to 60+ lbs, during practice, or in the field.

c) Others may disagree, but one backpack per hunting trip. Last year I took two packs and switched between packs from day to day. I was always wondering if I had everything swapped over ? I did get everything out of the belt pouches ? How big was the bladder in this pack ? To eliminate confusion, I have to go with KISS, which for me is one backpack for the entire trip...

My $0.02, YMMV...
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