Backpack Selection

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by CC268, May 21, 2014.

  1. CC268

    CC268 Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys, so I have done some research and called the guys at Kifaru and Kuiu to narrow down my pack selection to a couple choices. I hope you will take the time to read this whole thread to help me out. I appreciate it.

    Background: I live in Arizona and do a decent amount of coyote hunting. I don't need much pack for this as they are usually 30 minute stands and then I am back at the truck. I also do some deer and elk hunting which are usually more like day trips. Some of the terrain for deer and elk hunting can be pretty strenuous and I usually have to hike back into canyons or other tough terrain. All the below backpacks have a nice frame, which is important for these hikes.

    What I am looking for: A backpack that is small enough for coyote hunting, but something that is big enough or can expand to work for day trips (it would be nice to have something that would be big enough for some camping gear for 1-2 days). Overall, I don't think I need a massive pack, but something that is versatile for the longer trips would be nice. Keep in mind I am a college student, so in some ways cheaper is better for me. The Kuiu is definitely the cheapest option.

    Here are my selections:

    - Kifaru Spike Camp
    - Kifaru Late Season
    - Kifaru Nomad w/ Bikini Frame
    - Kuiu Ultra 3000
    - Kuiu Ultra 6000

    My overall impressions:

    The Spike Camp would be an excellent coyote pack, but it may be too small for longer trips.

    The Late Season may be a good medium, small enough for coyote hunting, but big enough for the longer trips. Both of the previous packs do not need the Bikini Frame which would save me a ton of cash. Top contender for sure.

    The Nomad is probably the most versatile, and it is very attractive for my application, but having to wear the Bikini Frame at all times (especially when coyote hunting) might be a bit bulky for my needs and unnecessary. Also, it is very modular and there are many add ons that can be bought. VERY VERY pricey for someone like me though, easily upwards of $700+.

    The Kuiu Ultra 3000 is nice because it comes with the new Ultra carbon frame and would probably be small enough for coyote hunting, but plenty big for longer trips. It is also the cheapest option. However, the camo that Kuiu offers doesn't match any of the camo I wear, which I suppose isn't a big deal, but it would definitely mismatch my camo. The Kuiu seems like an excellent choice for the money.

    The Kuiu Ultra 6000 is another option since it is not much more than the Ultra 3000. This pack is probably way overkill for my needs. This would be a BIG pack, and I would likely use something else for coyote hunting and use this pack as a dedicated deer/elk pack.

    Just watching the different videos from Kifaru and Kuiu I really like the Kuiu for the price. The gun holster is pretty slick too. At this point I am personally leaning towards the Kuiu.

    Any help deciding between these packs is much appreciated. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2014

  2. Wyodog

    Wyodog Well-Known Member

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    I have the Kudu Ultra 6000. It came it showed up a couple of weeks ago and I think it looks to everything that I hoped for. I think which ever size you pick 3000 or 6000 would be great for elk hunting. I speak on the Kifaru because I don't have any experience with those packs.

    As far as coyote hunting goes; I rarely use a pack on coyote hunts unless I am walking a long ways and making several stands on foot. If I am retuning to the truck after each set I don't bother with a pack. When I do use a pack I like to use a small pack with a method to carry a rifle because I often carry a rifle and shot gun. My current coyote hunting pack of choice is an eberlestock gunrunner II. I like it because it is quite and comfortable and I don't have to take it off on stand if I dont want to.
     

  3. CC268

    CC268 Well-Known Member

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    Yea I am thinking the Kuiu Ultra 3000 may be the way to go, especially since I can buy just the Ultra 6000 pack down the road for $120 and still use the same frame.

    Thanks for the help!

    Keep the opinions coming!
     
  4. cowboyarcher

    cowboyarcher Well-Known Member

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    The Mystery Ranch Longbow or Crew Cab would suit those uses well also, and would have the option to add bigger bags later. . . Or, alternatively, a Bighorn or Dragon Slayer, but these are fixed, internal frames.

    Given what you describe as your use, I agree that the Bikini Frame would be too long at times.

    I really think you'd be happy with one of the internal frames you mentioned, or the MR Longbow. The latter will be more versatile, and comes in about half way price wise (around $450). What most fail to understand is that the Longbow can be detached from the frame and compressed over a stuff sack or something similar, to expand it's capacity. It's 20" frame is a bit short for heavy loads, but it is a pretty decent frame in terms of versatility. There are options on the market for turning it into a heavy hauler also, if need be.

    I've run both Kifaru and MR frames, and I would say the MR is more versatile, albeit heavier, and not as "turn-key."
     
  5. CC268

    CC268 Well-Known Member

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    I am really interested in the EXO Mountain pack. I may very well end up with one of those. I will check Mystery Ranch as well though. Thanks for the help.
     
  6. j3564wost

    j3564wost Well-Known Member

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    I know that you said you have narrowed your pack list down, but have you considered an eberlestock? The Just One series of packs are designed awesome! I got mine last year off ebay for about 60% of retail and its a solid pack. You can add/minus the spike camp duffle for multi day trips.

    Just a thought, good luck on your search.
     
  7. Wyodog

    Wyodog Well-Known Member

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    Don't know if this will help or not but I have been hiking with Kuiu Ultra and so far I really like it. It rides very comfortable with 20 - 60 lbs I have not loaded any heavier than that. I have been putting a bag wood pellets in the load sling along with some weight in the pack a hiking a couple of miles up the mountain behind my house. I am happy so far with my pack selection. I also like the fact that the pack weighs less than 4 lbs.
     
  8. Punisher

    Punisher Well-Known Member

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    I have an opinion. Keep in mind that I literally lived out my back pack for almost 3 full years. I had a cabelas Alaskan guide external frame. It was like $240 at the time. Which was quite a bit when I was in college.

    I found myself being drawn in by features, but my experience has taught me that features are heavy to carry. The backpack need one internal compartment and some small external pockets. You want to carry an elk quarter as low in the bag as possible and divide the weight between your hips and shoulders.

    A cheap pack that fits you well is better than an expensive pack that doesn't fit your body. I hav retire the Alaskan guide in favor of an internal frame kelty that I got for $35 new on sale. The kelty is 3300 cu and is wide bough for an elk quarter but not a moose. Don't expect it to fit a rolled up bear hide either.

    Always remember, what you kill ends up inside that pack. Do you want to shove a dead bleeding nasty bear into your $400 pack? Because, I wouldn't.
     
  9. ChrisA

    ChrisA Member

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    On packs like the stone glacier and EXO mountain gear pack, the actual pack separates from the frame and you load the meat in between. This is allows the meat to breath and also compresses the load to keep it in place.

    You can certainly put the meat in a contractor bag or other to keep it from leaking on your $400+ pack.

    I'll be upfront here and say I just ordered an Exo 3500, my first true backpacking pack. I went out on a limb on this and as it turns out, the reviews have been quite positive. I felt it was a very good value for the practical and sought after features; which are no more than necessary as to clutter the pack.

    I haven't even seen the pack yet but am confident about my decision from the great reviews. Again, I feel this pack is an excellent value.

    Good luck,

    Chris
     
  10. CC268

    CC268 Well-Known Member

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    Yea I have pretty much decided to get the EXO Mountain pack later this summer
     
  11. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

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    My choices for a 3,000+ cu. in backpack would be Granite Gear, REI, Mystery Ranch,
    and Osprey. Osprey packs are about the most comfortable.

    Right now I use a modified Camelbak Commander (24,00 cu. in.) pack for day hunts and my old Dana Terraplane for backpacking hunts. Dana now owns Mystery Ranch.

    I have different camo patterns for waterproof pack covers to match the seasonal environment. These save my pack from abrasion and give camo versatility.
     
  12. orchemo

    orchemo Well-Known Member

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    I am looking at the Oregon Pack Works
    The WholeShabang.



    I like the ability to drop a bag with camp supplies and continue with a day type pack.


    Ordering one this week. Will let you know how it works.


    Orchemo
     
  13. Tim in Washington

    Tim in Washington Well-Known Member

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    May 13, 2009
    If you can find a Kifaru KU 5200(out of production) they are hard to beat for light weight and carrying capacity
    Tim
     
  14. hardtack

    hardtack Member

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    About a year ago my wife bought me a Lowe Alpine Saracen, very similar to the Mystery Ranch Tactiplane only slightly larger capacity. It is an equal in quality. I have used it quite a few times and love the fit and the way it carries. If you can find one, usually Ebay or European web sites you can get them for less than $200 in new condition. One feature I really like the side pouches zip off and zip together to make a comfortable day pack. Anyways, just a thought.