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Thread: A cheaper alternative to Barney's pack

  1. #1

    Default A cheaper alternative to Barney's pack

    I've got a bear hunt this fall and I'm looking for a good external frame pack with a shelf.
    Most my extra money is going toward the hunt, so I can't justify spending the money on a great pack. I own a good internal frame pack and a wilderness specialties external frame pack. But I think I would be best off with a frame with a shelf.

    Just looking for some experienced input.

    Thanks, Kris

  2. #2
    Member dieNqvrs's Avatar
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    Use what you got then, but test out first. Nothing wrong with internal, or external, had nice big bears in both. Neither was real comfortable or a joy to carry that much weight that far, but did. Get two 60 pound bags of gravel and put in both in together in pack and see if they can withstand it and then which will be comfortable enough to walk a couple of miles with that much weight. Good luck!

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    Member oakman's Avatar
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    I'd suggest looking for a used one. Seems like a lot of guys are ditching Barney's packs these days and going to packs like the Stone Glacier. Another option might be something like a Kelty. It would probably do you well for one hunt. Biggest difference is probably the durability. Maybe a Cabela's pack? I used to have one of those, biggest problem I had with it was it was pretty heavy when empty. Smaller than a Barney's pack and about 3 pounds heavier.

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    well. Since Camptrails went yuppie on us, I don't have direct experience, as I still use my 25 year old Camptrails for everything.

    The Cabelas Alaskan I and II frame looks like it's very comparable to my Camptrails, and the frame only is only $99. You can hang pretty much any bag on that frame. The Cabelas Alaskan I bag is pretty simple and costs $50.


    You might consider upgrading to the Cabellas Outfitter Frame, but I'm not sure that I'd want to add the 2 lb of pack weight for mountain hunts. For moose hunting only, with very heavy loads and short distances, it's probably a good call. Frame is about $150.

    I have used the Kelty Cache Hauler Frame to haul construction supplies and there is nothing wrong with it, but it's not as comfortable as my Camptrails. Based on my eyeball I would recommend the Cabellas Alaskan or Outfitter.

    Interested to hear other opinions. My Camptrails is bound to break beyond repair at some point.

    Of course, I'm cheap, and I've still convinced myself that my next pack frame will be a Barney's freighter. I'll probably put any old duffle on it, rather than buy their expensive bag, but their frame is probably worth the extra money.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    The slumber Jack packs at Mountain View and Sportmans will fit your needs. I have never used one.

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    I have had good luck with Cabela's Alaska Guide series packs- lighter and less expensive than Barney's. I get several years hard use out of them before retirement. They see 30+ days service each spring, and maybe 60+ days each fall with pretty heavy loads. Good value for the buck, in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    well. Since Camptrails went yuppie on us, I don't have direct experience, as I still use my 25 year old Camptrails for everything.

    The Cabelas Alaskan I and II frame looks like it's very comparable to my Camptrails, and the frame only is only $99. You can hang pretty much any bag on that frame. The Cabelas Alaskan I bag is pretty simple and costs $50.


    You might consider upgrading to the Cabellas Outfitter Frame, but I'm not sure that I'd want to add the 2 lb of pack weight for mountain hunts. For moose hunting only, with very heavy loads and short distances, it's probably a good call. Frame is about $150.

    I have used the Kelty Cache Hauler Frame to haul construction supplies and there is nothing wrong with it, but it's not as comfortable as my Camptrails. Based on my eyeball I would recommend the Cabellas Alaskan or Outfitter.

    Interested to hear other opinions. My Camptrails is bound to break beyond repair at some point.

    Of course, I'm cheap, and I've still convinced myself that my next pack frame will be a Barney's freighter. I'll probably put any old duffle on it, rather than buy their expensive bag, but their frame is probably worth the extra money.
    Amazed at how much my old Camptrails can carry. I've had to replace the hip belt and sew up side pockets, but its a pretty amazing old pack.

  8. #8

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    You can just buy the Barney's frame which is much cheaper than the frame/bag combo. Although I have not used one, I also hear good things about the Cabelas fram packs. Oh, and Barney's has an annual spring sale with about 10-20% off on there packs - might call them. Finally, myself and some buddies have started using the Barney's frame with this dry bag lashed to the frame and resting on the shelf: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...W52JRT1G27Q50Y

    You could PM me if you want more details. Good luck, J

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    I have the cabelas pack. Spent around 300 bucks. Although I don't have much to compare to, I am pretty happy with it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10

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    I have a like new Cabela's Alaskan frame and pack if you're interested, send me a PM. I've hauled moose quarters with the same frame and it works quite well and carries as comfortable as a moose quarter can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowcamoman View Post
    I have a like new Cabela's Alaskan frame and pack if you're interested, send me a PM. I've hauled moose quarters with the same frame and it works quite well and carries as comfortable as a moose quarter can.
    I've went through two of these in over 20yrs. Broke the first one on a tumble with lots of weight on it and finally bent the second one. It's now retired. They're tough, but a pinch heavy when empty.
    To mix it up and change flavors, I've heard some pretty good things from some guys about the Slumberjack frame called the "rail". So I just bought one recently at Sporty's for about $170. I will give it a run for it's money hopefully soon packing bait and bears... But so far, it's very comfortable with weight on it (about a 100#) and wearing it around the yard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampdonkey View Post
    I've went through two of these in over 20yrs. Broke the first one on a tumble with lots of weight on it and finally bent the second one. It's now retired. They're tough, but a pinch heavy when empty.
    To mix it up and change flavors, I've heard some pretty good things from some guys about the Slumberjack frame called the "rail". So I just bought one recently at Sporty's for about $170. I will give it a run for it's money hopefully soon packing bait and bears... But so far, it's very comfortable with weight on it (about a 100#) and wearing it around the yard.
    I don't know if the Cabelas Alaskan has been redesigned, but current specs from the website are:

    Cabelas Alaskan Frame: 4 lb 1 oz
    Cabelas Alaskan I Pack and Frame: 5 lb 4 oz
    SJK Rail Hauler Frame: 5 lb 2 oz

    I seriously doubt that anybody is making a frame much lighter than the Cabela's Alaskan right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Amazed at how much my old Camptrails can carry. I've had to replace the hip belt and sew up side pockets, but its a pretty amazing old pack.
    I can't tell you how many tons of meat, hides, heads, etc... my old Camptrails freighter frame/moose bag has carried. It's all I had when I was guiding. I bought it slightly used for $100. many, MANY years ago. It's still in one piece believe it or not. Does anybody remember what the cubic inches is on that moose bag? I know it's not near as large as the Barneys bag but I used to put hindquarters (w/bone) in it from 70" bulls. It was tight but they went in....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Idk the actual ci, but the moose bag isn't big, probably 4500-5500 cu in, if that. I sill have my Camp Trails freighter frame & moose bag. Replaced the shoulder straps & hip belt with Barney's system. Would love a HUGE Pinnacle bag, but won't ever shell out that kind of $$ for just a bag. Like Jpost, I usually just strap a huge dry bag on my frame though. The military bag he posted looks pretty sweet.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    Like Jpost, I usually just strap a huge dry bag on my frame though. The military bag he posted looks pretty sweet.
    I was thinking the same thing.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    I sill have my Camp Trails freighter frame & moose bag. Replaced the shoulder straps & hip belt with Barney's system. .
    What $ did that run you? I don't see the belt and straps advertised on their site......
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    What $ did that run you? I don't see the belt and straps advertised on their site......
    Give them a call. I bought just the belt and shoulder harness from them a few years ago, but don't remember the price. I do recall it being more expensive than I would have thought. That being said, Barney's usually offers a 10% discount at the Sportsman's Show- which is ongoing this weekend.

  18. #18
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    The Camp Trails Moose Freighter Frame is the frame for the Cabela's Alaskan I & II packs.

    I'm not taking anything away from Barney's. Their packs are superb...but they are also pricey. Alaskan hunters on a budget can do no better than a Moose Freighter based pack. They're not the lightest but they're not terribly heavy either and they balance a heavy load very well. I'd scour garage sales and the online classifieds. Even if you find one that's dinged up it can be fixed. A sail needle and some heavy, waxed thread, a few 3/16 machine screws/washers/nylock nuts and a cheap grommet kit are all you need to keep a heavily used pack in service for a long, long time.

    I replaced my 20+ year old Alaskan II a few years ago with the new Guide/Outfitter pack (or whatever it's called) and while it's a decent pack in its own right I don't think the frame will endure as well as the old freighter frame.

    Save your money on a pack and dump it into top-of-the-line boots first, then optics.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  19. #19
    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    What $ did that run you? I don't see the belt and straps advertised on their site......
    I don't remember, I 'converted' it in '08 or '09. It wasn't cheap. Great improvement though.

    "Save your money on a pack and dump it into top-of-the-line boots first, then optics."

    Sound advice, Erik.

  20. #20
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    One of the things that I like about the Cabela's Alaskan is that the bag does not seem to soak up and hold as much water (x-tra weight!) as the Barney's - it is the little things that make a difference over the long haul. The only complaint about the bag on the Cabela's Alaskan is that it does not really handle a 10 ft bear hide inside, they tend to get floppy without quite a bit of additional strapping with that kind of load. The harness system and straps are quite good, an obvious Chinese Cabela's knock-off of Bob's superior Frontier Gear harness.

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