Pack for hauling out meat

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by Jumpalot, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. Jumpalot

    Jumpalot Well-Known Member

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    I drew a bull tag this year and I'm going to have to hike in 2-4 miles each day. What are some good frame packs to get meat out? I've looked at the Kelty Cache Hauler and Eberlestock F1 Mainframe. I have a Gunrunner that I bought last year to carry rifle or bow, water etc. Mainly for a few hour hikes. My buddy loaned me his Blue Widow to haul a camp in, but that pack is huge. I figured I'd probably be using my Gunrunner mostly, then if I get something, I could throw a backstrap or two in it then walk out and change packs. Or I could get something bigger then Gunrunner but smaller then Blue Widow to wear in and haul a quarter out. Not sure what's best. Leaning towards getting just a pack frame. I'm a short dude so it needs to be adjustable.
    Thanks in advance for the help.
     
  2. fmajor

    fmajor Well-Known Member

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    I recently did a *lot* of research on this very topic.

    I have a Gregory Denali Pro expedition pack and several other mountaineering/climbing backpacks for most of my other outdoors pursuits (backpacking/mountaineering/outdoor photography), but packing out meat is not something I want to use them for.

    I also didn't want to drop $300+ on a pack strictly for hunting when it won't really be necessary or have significantly better carrying characteristics than a well-adjusted frame pack set-up.

    At the end of my research, I decided on a Cabelas Alaskan pack frame. I'll use one of my 120-liter whitewater rafting dry bags for the pack-bag and a couple pannier-type accessories to carry everything in to where I'll set up my spike camp.

    For my day-to-day hunting I'll use the pack-frame and panniers and bring along the days essentials (including cotton meat sacks). When I tag an animal, I'll simply pack the meat in the meat bags and strap them to the frame.

    Hope this helps....
     
  3. Jumpalot

    Jumpalot Well-Known Member

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    Thanks fmajor.

    After some more research, I've discovered the Exo Mountain 3500 and Kuiu Icon Pro 3200. Both will carry meat between the frame and pack. Both packs can be removed and convert to just a pack frame. Any opinions on either of these?
     
  4. 17 fireball

    17 fireball Active Member

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    I've been testing for many years. As budget and experience has increased I can tell you what I've learned and what I'm currently using.

    I had used a mil surplus pack with molle (budget was very tight back then), it was heavy awkward and very uncomfortable. Then I went to an external mountain smith pack (no longer made) and it was lighter but still uncomfortable. then I tried a kelty cache hauler- which I've used for many many years, hauling out several animals a year.

    The kelty is pretty adequate for the task at hand, durable, and a bit heavy. Good value price though and will work.

    Last season I looked at the tenzing TZCF13- wow very expensive...tried it on liked it but didn't "love it" and decided to keep looking for another option, especially at the $800+ price point. Left me wondering if anybody actually owns one, besides the TV personalities who tout the amazing features.

    I also had looked at the badlands OX frame. Was ok, but not in love. Weight savings looked decent, pack frame fit was not quite comfortable.

    If money was no object then I would go head and go the Kifaru route. Get the suspension pack, add a cargo panel, and of course a gunbearer (PS I have used a gunbearer for many years- I had one on my kelty cache hauler too.) You will be into the system for a fair bit of money, but it will be the last pack you ever need. Also one of the best as far as construction. Kifaru has been doing hunting packs for a long time. They are worth the money if you have it.

    And then there's another option- the one I'm currently using. Eberlestock F1 Mainframe (4lbs 5oz) and adding the Kifaru Camp Bag (12.7 oz) plus a kifaru gunbearer. This packs comes in at near 5 lbs.

    Last year I was losing light fast and in a somewhat motivated/desperate state of mind, also alone 6 miles from camp with a bull down. I loaded the rear quarter of the bull (with bone in), a front quarter (bone in), the head with antlers (no cape just head for european mount), and one of the backstraps all to the F1 mainframe. It was a very heavy load, and the F1 handled it without issue. My body however felt it for sure. And I did not make it back to camp with the load. I had to cache it a few miles in, hanging from a tree.

    Point being, you can spend more and possibly get lighter materials, but at 5 lbs plus or minus a few oz, I'm very satisfied. Also the cost F1 mainframe ($169), and kifaru camp bag ($96-$110) seems to be a very affordable option.

    The camp bag is not necessary for meat hauling, but it is what I carry my extra clothes and supplies in. I hike with my pack on, carrying extra gear (clothing, food, water, emergency kit, knives) the best feature of a bag like that- is that I roll the size down to the perfect fit of its contents.

    I have looked into the Kuiu packs, but without seeing them in person (no store fronts unless you live in Cali), I really don't know how they fit, and no idea how they feel with a quarter of an elk strapped to them. I do know that they cost more than the $265 I've spent on my set-up.

    Western Hunter magazine also put a pack review in one of their magazines a while back. Very informative. If memory serves me correct they examined exo mountain pack, kuiu, as well as several other popular options, check out their blog The Blog | Western Hunter

    Good luck this season.
     
  5. fmajor

    fmajor Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I've no experience with your selections. They both look like quality-made gear, though a bit different method than what I'm planning on.

    There are lots of right ways of doing things.

    I like the set up that 17 Fireball describes. It sounds very similar to what I'm going to use, though I'm using a very different "pack bag", it seems to be generally the same idea. Simple pack frame and a large main pack-bag.

    I may add a "gun-bearer" to my set up as well. Seems like a great idea.
     
  6. thebest3

    thebest3 New Member

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    Have you try looking at sjk line. I have 4500 model. Like it so far. And decent price..
     
  7. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    I run Nimrod modular fanny packs.Look them up they make pro stuff for fire fighters.I handed one down to Marine son and have one for bow and one for rifle.I have the hydration bladder, they have nice wide belt and good curved shoulder strapps.You can buckle on a meat duffle,that stores in pack,that is what I use most. I shoot game when hot and bone front and straps into duffle then next trip,usually toss rack on also.Lot of bear hunting im not in as far and it has a buckle on alum. frame,that the down side is frame is $125.But I have old pack frames and this so I always have spare.Or I pack frame if im carry a small spike camp.Frame has flip out shelf at bottom,nice for holding 1/4.Packed moose out on it last year.
     
  8. aussielr

    aussielr Member

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    I recently bought an EXO mountain 5500 after a lot of searching and reading as I was really reluctant to drop so much money on a pack.

    I only just got the thing and after a few hikes with a 60 pound bag of salt strapped onto the frame and a bit of gear in the pack itself I have to say I haven't ever had a better pack. I have used a eberlestock for a day pack for a long time and a badlands for a bigger pack and the difference is huge IMO.

    For reference I strapped the same load into my badlands and did the same hike and there was a very noticeable difference.

    I have an late season elk hunt in AZ that I bought this for but I will be using it for a daypack as well as it really tightens up when in this mode
     
  9. Jumpalot

    Jumpalot Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the input. After more research I ended up ordering an Exo Mountain 3500. This pack is probably closer to 5000 as they only measure the main bag and not the two side pockets and stretch panel. I added the meat shelf, hip pocket and a mesh pocket. It should be here early next week. I can't wait to try it out. The price really made me hesitate, but I figured buy once, cry once.
     
  10. royinidaho

    royinidaho Well-Known Member

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    I've experienced, over the years, what you young fellas are sorting out.

    I finally settled on this.

    Goes anywhere I can go
    Can pack a whole boned elk
    Follows like a puppy dog
    Eats what's around
    Goes a long time w/o H2O

    But stinks when sweaty.:)
     

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  11. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    ya but sometimes they kickand bite:D
     
  12. royinidaho

    royinidaho Well-Known Member

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    Nope, not these ones.:)
     
  13. kbaerg

    kbaerg Well-Known Member

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    Work smarter, not harder I always say :D
    I like that setup
     
  14. fmajor

    fmajor Well-Known Member

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    Looks like a great pack system. The benefits of a frame pack plus a nice pack-sack to put things in.

    I hope you report back with your impressions and even better pics of it stuffed full of meat!!!