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Thread: Internal frame hunting packs

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default Internal frame hunting packs

    I've been looking at getting a internal frame pack mainly for mountain hunting (sheep/goat) and was wondering what people had to say about the packs that I am currently looking at. The ones on my list are: Mystery Ranch, Eberlestock, Kifaru, and Kuiu. I already have a external frame hunting pack that I am very happy with and use primarily for moose, caribou, and deer. Anyone who has experience with any of these packs, please chime in and tell the pros and cons. I am looking for any information/experiences you're willing to share. Thanks

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    On that list I would narrow it down to Kifaru and Mystery Ranch as being the only two that are really up to the loads a sheep/goat hunter would need to haul. Then I would cross Mystery Ranch off as being unnecessarily heavy.

    If my Dan McHale custom pack burned up in a fire and Dan himself simultaneously got washed out to sea and was lost forever then I would be taking a very hard look at Kifaru as the next best thing.

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    KIFARU.....timberline is hard to beat if your going internal.....jmyo2

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    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Default Kuiu

    I used a KUIU pack last year for my TOK hunt. It was really comfortable and handled the weight well. I wish the spotter pocket was a little bigger and I wish the bag was a little bigger overall. I felt like if I wanted to try to pack camp and a sheep I would be hurting for space. However, I'm pleased with the pack overall, its ultra light, quiet and so much comfortable to wear on steep hikes vs any pack I've ever wore before.
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I swear even my 25 year old eureka frame pack would look sweet with that set of horns poking out the sides!!

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bnkwnto View Post
    I used a KUIU pack last year for my TOK hunt. It was really comfortable and handled the weight well. I wish the spotter pocket was a little bigger and I wish the bag was a little bigger overall. I felt like if I wanted to try to pack camp and a sheep I would be hurting for space. However, I'm pleased with the pack overall, its ultra light, quiet and so much comfortable to wear on steep hikes vs any pack I've ever wore before.
    How are the load lifters on this pack? I've looked at Kuiu quite a bit and aside from the smaller size, the load lifters concern me.

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    Curious how you narrowed it down to those four? Why no mountaineering packs?

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    I really don't know what led me to those four exactly. I suppose the Eberlestock came more from advertising than anything else, I've read a lot of good things about Mystery Ranch packs, although they do tend to be on the heavy side. Kifaru I know makes great stuff, and their packs look to be well-built with many of the features I am looking for, but I don't know anybody who owns one and I've never physically had one in my hands. I've heard and read a lot of good things about Kuiu apparel and I do own a Spindrift jacket that I really like. They make an interesting looking pack, very lightweight (much lighter than that of anybody else) but again I've never seen one in person.

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    Member Trappnguns's Avatar
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    On that list I would narrow it down to Kifaru and Mystery Ranch as being the only two that are really up to the loads a sheep/goat hunter would need to haul.
    I would add Eberlestock to that list. Not sure how it could be excluded. Their packs are bullet proof. I have had mine loaded down with elk meat so much, I thought my knees and ankles were going to break. 900 ft descent, across an upward sloping valley, up another 800 and down again with an elk hindquarter and a pillowcase stuffed with meat on my back. It can handle the load, and handle it well.

    I have a Mystery ranch crew cab on the way. I'll get to see how it does on Goats in Ketch. I might get one of the Kifaru's just so I can say I've tried them all...

    I will say Eberlestock and Mystery ranch are heavy! Another 5lbs don't matter to me when I already have 100+ on my back though..

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    I have heard bad things about carbon fiber pack frames and Kuiu uses these, they have fixed the load lifter problem. I have 2 Kifaru packs and have been totally happy with the products and service, great when you can call and talk to the owner about the products they make and see hunter input being used to continuously update and improve products. Never owned a MR pack but they seem very well made and about the only beef I have heard is that they soak up water and get heavier.

    The main difference between hunting packs and backpacking packs is that hunting packs carry weights 2 to 3 times the weight carried by most campers and hikers. It is all good until you blow a strap coming down with a full pack.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    It is all good until you blow a strap coming down with a full pack.
    Steve as always good advice. I have heard similar bad feedback from a hunter concerning the Kuiu packs.Personally I dont have experience with the others but these choice words above from Stid need to be stressed and thus the reason for quality gear. Just try it, take a pack and fill it with gear and disconnect one of the straps..not so much fun.. been there. I also carry mini repair kits like clevice pins and such for those unfortunite situations....

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    Ok guys....I have to ask. What about the back sweat problem? Have they made significant changes in this department? I agree they are so much better up in the mountains as far as carrying weight, but, I mean even with an exterior frame pack my back sweats like crazy. I really can't imagine having a pack hug me so tight that my back couldn't breathe at all. Not a problem for you guys?

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trappnguns View Post
    I would add Eberlestock to that list. Not sure how it could be excluded. Their packs are bullet proof.
    I can't say I've ever tried one, but I have witnessed a few people use them. They may be great quality, but they carry the load far too low and far off the back when maxed out with camp + meat than I prefer, and I would guess that's why they aren't' more commonly used for sheep/goats. Same with the Crew Cab for that matter.

    The new model V69 and V90 Eberlestock's are built in a more traditional manner, and might address that issue, but I've never seen one in real life.

    Yk

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    Member Trappnguns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknife View Post
    I can't say I've ever tried one, but I have witnessed a few people use them. They may be great quality, but they carry the load far too low and far off the back when maxed out with camp + meat than I prefer, and I would guess that's why they aren't' more commonly used for sheep/goats. Same with the Crew Cab for that matter.The new model V69 and V90 Eberlestock's are built in a more traditional manner, and might address that issue, but I've never seen one in real life.Yk
    I guess blanket statements without reason irk me a bit... No doubt LuJon has valuable insight, but I disagree a lot of how they ride depends on how they are loaded. Done correctly, and cinched down tight I have no issues with my eberlestock. I had mine so full of elk that I was legitamatly concerned about my knees and ankles with little concern of my back. I have done 3+ miles with 3/4 of a caribou with no ill effects on my back. I think my build has a lot to do with it. I am sure I would prefer a different pack than someone with a runners type of build. I'm 6' with legs like tree trunks. In the end, what it comes down to is that you need to try different packs to find what works for you. I have tried Badlands and would never get one (unless I got a smokin deal.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trappnguns View Post
    I guess blanket statements without reason irk me a bit... No doubt LuJon has valuable insight, but I disagree a lot of how they ride depends on how they are loaded. Done correctly, and cinched down tight I have no issues with my eberlestock. I had mine so full of elk that I was legitamatly concerned about my knees and ankles with little concern of my back. I have done 3+ miles with 3/4 of a caribou with no ill effects on my back. I think my build has a lot to do with it. I am sure I would prefer a different pack than someone with a runners type of build. I'm 6' with legs like tree trunks. In the end, what it comes down to is that you need to try different packs to find what works for you. I have tried Badlands and would never get one (unless I got a

    smokin deal.)

    I agree all of the packs mentioned are well up to the task as far as quality and materials.Packs are an individual fit item and i have found whats good for one may not be for the other.Order one of each and keep the one thats works best for you. Unfortunately the shipping is a *****.

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    I own a Eberlestock J-104 and it has some nice features. It has the best rifle carrier of any pack and the side pockets will accomodate big spotting scopes and field tripods. Also the ability to expand from a day pack to a larger pack works for me. However the times I have carried 60+ pounds in this pack were miserable. I felt like I was going to fall over backwards and become a turtle. I use my Barney's pack for really heavy loads.

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    I've had all of the packs on the list except Kifaru and all were really well made.

    Pack fit is such an individual thing though...I tend to prefer Mystery Ranch despite their weight. The fit is right and I've wrestled some monster loads with several of them so my confidence in them is pretty high. They also have a "you're satisfied or we'll eat it" guarantee which is comforting when ordering a spendy pack sight unseen.

    As a point of discussion- go bigger than the Kuiu if you can. I think its pretty marginally sized for a week long hunt.

    I had the Kuiu and it worked OK but I could never get the fit right to suit me after a couple of hunts. I ended up selling it and going back to a MR.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Ok guys....I have to ask. What about the back sweat problem? Have they made significant changes in this department? I agree they are so much better up in the mountains as far as carrying weight, but, I mean even with an exterior frame pack my back sweats like crazy. I really can't imagine having a pack hug me so tight that my back couldn't breathe at all. Not a problem for you guys?
    So was this not a valid question...???

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    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    So was this not a valid question...???
    Most of the newer packs have the ability for a little airflow. I usually either wear a sporthill jacket that has vents down the back or just a thin shirt that is made of quick dry material while I'm moving. I try to hike cold and then put a layer on when I stop.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Ok guys....I have to ask. What about the back sweat problem? ?
    I just sweat like a pig when I'm packing in heavy in the early season... I just wear a thin merino T-shirt and sweat away. The shirt dries overnight (usually) and I'll wear it later on the pack out. Happens regardless of the pack, the frame, or anything else if the weather is on the + side of 40F.

    Don't have as many sweat issues without a big load so I just dress appropriate for the conditions.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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