Do you use a light daypack for hunting?


Well-Known Member
Sep 15, 2012
Mojave Desert, Nevada
Do you carry your frame backpack for hunting away from your backpack camp or do you carry a light daypack with survival and butchering gear?

It likely makes more sense to use the framed pack in case you connect with an animal and have to begin carrying out a quartered or boned deer or elk, etc.

Eric B.
Two of my hunting buddies and I are using the MR Metcalf packs. They compress down well enough to use as a day pack when you take the sleeping gear out. I honestly don't see myself using a strictly daypack or frame ever again.

Metcalf | Mystery Ranch Backpacks


I know there are several other offerings with a similar Pack philosophy. I decided to stick with Dana due to the strong military and mountaineering roots. The Metcalf is my third pack by Dana Gleason. One of my old Dana Designs packs I purchased almost 30-years ago is still in use today.
Kuiu. It's lite. Has a carbon fiber frame. It's comfortable, well that is for a pack. And can pack more than this old body can get up with anymore. Use the same pack for day hunts, over night trips and packing elk quarters. Sure there are lots of packs just as good, just happens to be the one I settled on.
I have an old Dana Designs Terraplane with extra side pockets. It's a beast at 7 1/2 pounds without these pockets. Dunno if I'd ever use it for hunting. Maybe for elk.

My 3 season pack is the very light but very strong Osprey EXOS 58, size Large. It can handle 55 to 60 lbs. OK but that's the absolute max load.

BTW, that MR Metcalf pack needs a waist belt re-design. The belt webbing should tighten by pulling them toward the buckle, not away. This makes for much easier tightening.

Eric B.
BTW, that MR Metcalf pack needs a waist belt re-design. The belt webbing should tighten by pulling them toward the buckle, not away. This makes for much easier tightening.

Eric B.

I haven't had an issue with the waist belt, mine is a couple years old (made in USA), tightens by pulling away from the buckle. It's one of the best waist belts I have ever had as far as comfort. The newer Philippine made MR is as you suggest, tightens by pulling towards the buckle. My youngest cousin has this version, there are several improvements over my older Metcalf, but it doesn't seem quite as heavy duty.

The MR is definitely not the lightest of the hunting packs, more of a "Marine proof" type design.

Some of those old Dana Designs packs have a cult like following, especially overseas. On eBay they can fetch top dollar.
believe it or not Ive had great success using the Eberlestock mainframe pack with the zip on duffel! had two elk on the ground within 50 yards of each other and about 4 miles from the truck. took two days with really heavy loads and the Mainframe did terrific plus its pretty affordable compared to the KIUI, Metcalf, and Kifaru packs.
Two hunting buddies use the Kuiu and while they are fantastic to wear hunting they don't carry heavy loads very well( I mean packing big loads of meat). Both ripped where a strap goes into the pack material and have to go in for repair. I believe they have a lifetime warranty.

I agree, the Eberlestock line of hunting packs is hell for stout. My only problem with all the Eberlestock packs is that they are too heavy. Lighter fabric and straps in some areas could put off a few pounds without compromising overall strength and durability.

Eric B.

For most of Eberlestock packs I totally agree with you. The one exception is the Mainframe pack because all it is a pack frame and then add the zip on duffel and you have one hell of a lite pack that can haul quite a bit of weight. By comparison my Kifaru mountain warrior pack is quite heavy by itself without any load in it. I did notice that once I got over say 90 pounds or so of weight the Kifaru did carry better than the Eberlestock. There will always be a tradeoff when talking about carrying large loads vs the weight of the pack itself. I must own over 15 packs in my garage and all of them do one or two things really well, but then suck at all the other things you want them to do well!! LOL
I've hunted with all sorts of different pack styles over the years and I've settled on hunting with my frame pack. I like being able to wear warm clothes in the morning and when I take the layers off, have plenty of room in my pack to carry them. It always bothered me when a light/small pack was bulging at the seems to carry my jacket, fleece, thermals etc. not as much of an issue on archery hunts when it's warm enough to not need as many layers.

And once I ahoot an animal, I like to be able to carry a large load back to camp or somewhere strategic, rather than having to go back to camp to get my framepack.
I use the Mystery Ranch Crewcab with lid for a daypack to two /three day hunts. One of the best designs Ive used, great load ability form 2900ci to 5000ci depending on your mission needs. Very adjustable and able to pack out game if needed.
Depends on how long is the trip but normally on trips shorter then 3 full days I use the MR CREW CAB if longer then I use the EMR 2 FROM Kifaru. I messed around with these light weight packs and always came away with doing some sort of repair work as I was hauling something out.

I can't trade away the durability of of a frame pack for some of these lightweight packs I try to save weight in other areas

BTW the Crew Cab compressed is about the size of a badland superday pack and no way will I trade my EMR 2 compressed for a kuiu 1850.. the EMR just gives me to many options when im out in field
Im now running a kuiu ultra 1800.I have packed out alot of game on my Nimrod with meat duffle.I also have the alum frame for that pack which I used packing out my archery bull this year,with another frame,solo 4 qrts.I always take a load on my way and run a pack that can.But getting older like light for daily use.
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