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Thread: The Case for Internal-Frame Packs for Meat Hauling

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Anchorage, Alaska

    Default The Case for Internal-Frame Packs for Meat Hauling

    I am an external-frame user who has carried thousands of pounds of big-game meat and trophies, salmon, rafts, and all kinds of assorted outdoor gear in my packs over the last couple of decades. I know why I like external frame packs.

    But I am running into hunters who prefer internal frame packs, and wanted to pick your brains a little on your thought process on this. Especially folks who have tried both styles and still prefer the internal frame packs.

    How about it? Any experienced meat packers who prefer internal frame packs?

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  2. #2
    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Grass Lake Michigan


    I have seen internal packs carry meat. Most guys use plastic bags so it doesnt soak the bags. I like the feel of a good external. I did an elk hunt with guys internal pack guys and my external. By the end of the trip they all liked mine better in fact one borrowed it on his next hunt.

    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

    Edwin Hubble

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008


    I'd be interested to learn why they prefer internal frame packs for this.

    I've always been an external frame pack kinda guy and find it works well enough that I never looked into switching. I guess that's why I'd like to hear from the other side of the coin.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007


    I have used both and I gotta say that I really like an internal frame pack for small critters like deer or sheep where you can fit the pieces into the pack without cutting them down. I just think that as a general rule internal frame packs are more comfortable and the weight rides closer to my back and is therefore easier to carry being closer to directly over my hips. That said, I have yet to find an internal frame pack that even comes close to handling whole quarters of a large bull moose or bison or worse yet, the wet hide off of a monster brown bear. These are loads that can be up in the realm of 200 pounds and the load just doesn't physically fit into any internal frame pack I have seen. The other advantage of an external frame pack as you have noted is the ability to tie on a large bulky load like a raft. My rule of thumb is to take an internal frame when I am walking long distance and carrying small loads. I use an external frame for shorter distances and heavy loads. I wasn't born yesterday and I ain't dumb enough to get caught needing to carry heavy loads long distances.

  5. #5
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    South Central


    How about the hybrid internal frame packs such as the Kifaru Duplex and Bikini or the meat shelf style of the Stone Glacier?

    The Kifaru packs are really nothing more than a frame system from which the bag can be removed. However, the bag removal can be a little slow going if you are not used to it. This may stop folks from using just the frame.

    I have packed meat in my 30 year old REI internal frame pack. It sucked due to lots of reasons. It will never work for bone in meat due to too small an opening up top. Most the suckage was due to my youth and lack of experience, and not due to the pack being an internal frame. Proper technique goes a long way for comfortable load carrying.

    Now that I have a Kifaru Longhunter to take on a sheep hunt I will see how it works. It is very comfortable for hiking around with weight on it. I'll know more by mid August.

    For bone-in meat from a caribou or moose I don't think I would want to use anything but a frame system. The Duplex frame system would work fine for that after the pack bag is removed. Just have to set it up right with some good straps to keep the weight up high.

  6. #6
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Delta Junction AK


    Too many variables...

    For smaller meat loads + a camp and longer distances, especially if there's much brush whacking involved I'll take an internal every time- ie. sheep hunting or hunting early season caribou. I can't stand an external in the alders getting hung up all the time.

    For bigger meat loads or odd things like rafts or equipment and shorter distances over relatively open country I'll take an external every time.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit


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