Backpack Comparisons

jaw719

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2015
Messages
96
I have an Eberlestock RMEF M5 but I'm worried it might not get the job done when I need it. I've read review that strapping the meat to the outside of the pack instead of on a shelf closer to the body could cause balance issues. Also, some don't like the fit of the pack and that it's uncomfortable. Most of the negative reviews how been on forums where as the positive reviews have been on big name gear websites.

My question is, can this pack get the job done for day trips in central Montana during early rifle? Should I invest in an EXO K3 3200, Mystery Ranch Metcalf, Kuiu Pro 3600 (or something else that yall recommend)? This will be my first elk hunt so I am learning all of this as I go.

I'm 6'0" and 225

Thanks.
 
Last edited:

BoomFlop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
650
Location
Wisconsin
My personal opinion is that packs such as the Metcalf size are far bigger than you need as a day pack. I personally use a MR Pintler as a day pack.

Good luck,
Steve
 

ID Mtn Man

Active Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
32
Location
Idaho
You have EVERY right to be worried!

There are few inanimate objects I have more disdain for than the RMEF bag. My apologies if I sound harsh.

If you plan on hiking out with quarters on your back more than 1/4 of a mile, there are some tools that you cannot afford to compromise on. I think most backcountry hunters would put pack, sleeping bag, and boots in any "top 5" critical items list. Time and time again, guys come out west, get a bull down, and then realize the world of hurt they got themselves into. A bad pack can be the difference between hard work, and a miserable struggle bus. I had a family member bring the RMEF pack on a 5 day hunt and I ended up hauling a bunch of his stuff IN and OUT. He is not invited to come back with that bag. Personally, I wouldn't use it as day pack or a dirty laundry bag. In fact, I'm perfectly happy with the strength to weight ratio of GLAD bags for refuse and find the pricing more appealing as well.

Reasons I absolutely object to this bag:
The pack is advertised at 6.5 lbs with only 2,600 cu in. (3,100 cu in if you include the rifle scabbard). I find the published volume and weight suspect. Even if the specs are honest, the weight to volume ratio is unacceptable.
As you pointed out, the meat goes on the wrong side of the pack. Fortunately I haven't had to deal with this in real life.
They layout reminds me of the "Spider web on LSD" we all saw in our elementary school "say no to drugs" campaign. In the field, it is one of the most cumbersome layouts.
The lumbar pad isn't. Load it up HEAVY, and you'll know what I mean. The pack falls down off the waist belt and does not stay on top of the iliac crest where it should.
There are no load lifters. There is some kind of strap where load lifters belong, that attach to the frame below your shoulders. They are like "load-puller-downers." Not quite sure how this is supposed to work, but it doesn't.
If you plan on using it to carry a bow on it, prepare for 2/3 of your bow to stick above your head and be about 1.5 feet back. If you plan on carrying a rifle, your head will run into the stock. If it had a proper load lifter setup, it would be even harder. You can sort of get away with it by low-riding the bag and letting it lean back.

I would highly recommend replacing the bag with just about anything. I carried a lot of game out with a Kelty Red Cloud 110 until it just about gave out. I then used a Kuiu for several years until discovering the Mystery Ranch Beartooth 80. On the cheap, you could have as much or better success with any number of backpacking bags. Load shelfs are nice, but I've been doing it long before load shelfs were endemic to hunting packs. Put quarters in a game bag and then inside along the frame close to my body. Stuff the rest of your gear in a contractor bag away from your body. When you get home, hose out your pack and hang to dry.

There is a reason, almost everybody goes to Outdoorsman's, Stone Glacier, Kuiu, Mystery Ranch, Exo, etc. A good pack is a game changer.
 

jaw719

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2015
Messages
96
That’s pretty much exactly what I am worried about. Also, I like how the packs I mentioned have a frame system where I can buy other bags and they all fit, saving money in the long run.
 
Last edited:

ponderosa11

Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2020
Messages
16
Location
South Dakota
I'm no fan of Eberlestock, but if you have the back I wouldn't give up on it without giving it a good try in the field. Like has already been said, plenty of elk have been packed out of the woods with Eberlestock packs. If you're worried about it letting you down on a hunt, take it on some test hikes.
 

jaw719

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2015
Messages
96
Ending up buying an Exo k3 3200. Probably overkill but rather have more than I need than not enough. Plus I can always buy an 1800 if I need something smaller.
 

jaw719

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2015
Messages
96
Awesome to hear. Reach out any time if I can help with any fitting/function questions.
So the hunt this year just changed. Went from a guided day hunt through an outfitter to a 5-day backcountry hunt. Guess I need to upgrade to the 4800 or 6400
 

ID Mtn Man

Active Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2016
Messages
32
Location
Idaho
So the hunt this year just changed. Went from a guided day hunt through an outfitter to a 5-day backcountry hunt. Guess I need to upgrade to the 4800 or 6400

IMHO, bigger is better, especially when starting out. Go for the 6400.

I think 80 L / 4,800 cu in is a minimum for a 5 day trip. I switched from a 118 L / 7200 cu in bag after getting my setup highly tuned and upgraded over a 5 year period. I am obsessive about trimming weight and volume. I take the ultralight backpacker + optics and rifle mentality to the extreme.

Gear strapped to the outside of a bag is a nightmare. I can tell you from experience, finding out your sleeping bag tumbled off your bag at some point during a 7 mile night hike and is likely in the bottom a ravine is NOT how you want to start out a hunt. I've seen more pads that didn't make it to camp than you can shake a stick at. The weight penalty of increased volume is minimal. Some of this can be offset by ditching items like stuff-sacks, tent-stake bags, etc. I use the sushi-roll method where I put the tent down, pad, sleeping bag, and then roll it all up. Tent poles and stakes go in my buddy's pack if I'm not solo.

After years of doing the backcountry gig, I've put on every pack under the sun, and Mystery Ranch is my absolute favorite.
 
Last edited:

Turbo2160

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2019
Messages
78
Location
Ab Canada
Not sure if this will be any great help to you but I'm a huge fan of the Mystery Ranch packs..they cost a arm and a leg up here in Canada but they work amazing. I use a Metcalf for archery both moose and elk season and it works great. For rifel season I use a Beartooth 80.. A hunting buddy uses a sitka mountain hauler 6200 and is a beast. He strapped in a hind quarter and back stamps of his moose with no problems.. I had the other hind and that's all both me and the medcalf could take.. old and out of shape not great for comparison.. thouse are the packs I would suggest from real world experience
 

RockyMtnMT

Official LRH Sponsor
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
5,865
Location
Montana
I used the Exo mtn 1800 with the accessory top last year for the 1st time. I was able to handle all my gear for day hunts nicely. Adding two elk shoulders to the load was a breeze. These packs are well worth the money. Being able to take a full load of meat without having to go back to camp to get a meat pack was fantastic! Using the pack as a day pack it rides tight and feels like it is part of you. Open it up and add 75 lbs of meat and your gear stays clean, the load rides tight, and the weight distributes evenly. Better than my dedicated meat pack. I highly recommend the Exo Mtn packs. I will be adding a larger bag to my system for over night trips. I will be replacing my Osprey pack for backpacking with the Exo Mtn.
 

ButterBean

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
2,947
Location
West Terre Haute Indiana
I used the Exo mtn 1800 with the accessory top last year for the 1st time. I was able to handle all my gear for day hunts nicely. Adding two elk shoulders to the load was a breeze. These packs are well worth the money. Being able to take a full load of meat without having to go back to camp to get a meat pack was fantastic! Using the pack as a day pack it rides tight and feels like it is part of you. Open it up and add 75 lbs of meat and your gear stays clean, the load rides tight, and the weight distributes evenly. Better than my dedicated meat pack. I highly recommend the Exo Mtn packs. I will be adding a larger bag to my system for over night trips. I will be replacing my Osprey pack for backpacking with the Exo Mtn.
I've always been an Eberlestock fan and I've got a bunch of them bu I really like the features of that pack
 

Primary

LRH Assistant
Here are some related products that LRH members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to LRH’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to LRH discussions about these products.

 
 

Recent Posts

Top