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Thread: Backpacks for older hunters

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    Default Backpacks for older hunters

    I just moved to alaska and in good shape. I have a Kelty Meat hauler but during my last caribou hunt i could feel the frame flexing and it rode heavy on my shoulders. I have researched Kifaru, MR and Eberlstock and they all seem to be good packs but the Kifaru waist belt seems to be very well padded. Can you point me in the right directioon for a backpack ? Thanks

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sardog55mark View Post
    I just moved to alaska and in good shape. I have a Kelty Meat hauler but during my last caribou hunt i could feel the frame flexing and it rode heavy on my shoulders. I have researched Kifaru, MR and Eberlstock and they all seem to be good packs but the Kifaru waist belt seems to be very well padded. Can you point me in the right directioon for a backpack ? Thanks
    As an older Gent, I prefer Kifaru packs,, While both MR and Eberlstock make nice packs, they are heavier empty by far compared to Kiafru.
    Kifaru has a great belt and suspension and when you order they are made and sent to you sized to your measurements. The owner Patrick, stands behind his American made product. If you are near Fairbanks I have a few can can look at.

    There is much more to packing than just throwing a pack on and getting after it. Took me many years to learn that a pack should fit just like boots and that 70% of the load should be on the belt transferred to hips and legs and the other 30% carried with shoulders and back. Another key to to learning to pack the weight in correctly.

    If you decide on Kifaru, I prefer the Duplex frame over the lighter Bikini, Carries weight better IMHO.

    Steve
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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Steve, does Kifaru offer any scabbard options? That is one option I REALLY like on the Eberlestocks, especially if you are going to have long periods of not needing a rifle on your shoulder or want to enjoy the hands free benefits. Like you point out the weight distribution and balance are key and I find the Eberlestock scabbard does place the rifle in a well balanced place and close to ones back so it is not "out there" swinging around and placing the balance off. It is also nicely protected if one falls or whacks it against something...
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    You might check out the Kifaru Gun Bearer system. By far the best rifle carrying system I've used, and gives you quick access to your rifle if a bear or some other critter decides to get ornery.

    I guess I should be first the guy to do a plug for Barney's packs. Not sure if you're dead set on an internal frame pack, but I guarantee you the frame won't flex with the barney's system. I've used several external frame packs over the years and it's the most durable and strongest, and most comfortable one I've found. It should be able to handle any critter in AK with no issues. They're a little on the heavy side due to the metal frame, and thick padding on the straps and belt. If you haven't been there yet, head into Barney's sports chalet in Anchorage they can let you try one out as well as fit it to you if you decide you like the pack.

    Lots of cool gear in there too.
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    A couple in shape 20 year old football players work pretty well, but they do eat a lot.. A bit about weight on the hips, in my case, it was great when i was younger, but now that is where all my pain is due to arthritis. Still trying to figure out the solution. Just came from the Dr., and it looks like the moose packing days are over. I'm not a happy camper.

    Walking sticks can help a lot when packing heavy loads. Plus, consider cutting that hind quarter in half and making two more trips. I think the Barney's pack is great, but it is huge. I find that I go lighter with a smaller pack, and having the rifle on the pack helps tons.

    I do like it when my hunting partners have Barney's packs, tho

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    I fixed it for you..............

    Quote Originally Posted by duckslayer56 View Post
    gives you quick access to your rifle if a bear or some other critter decides to get Horny.

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    Quote Originally Posted by duckslayer56 View Post
    You might check out the Kifaru Gun Bearer system. By far the best rifle carrying system I've used, and gives you quick access to your rifle if a bear or some other critter decides to get ornery.
    +1

    I have a Longhunter duplex frame and the gun bearer is awesome. I feel no need to carry a backup pistol, as it is THAT fast to access a rifle.

    My only complaint on the Longhunter is a complaint I'd probably have with any pack as that I have high hips, and a waiste belt that rests on the hips impedes the diaphragm... Still the best pack I've owned though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sardog55mark View Post
    I just moved to alaska and in good shape. I have a Kelty Meat hauler but during my last caribou hunt i could feel the frame flexing and it rode heavy on my shoulders. I have researched Kifaru, MR and Eberlstock and they all seem to be good packs but the Kifaru waist belt seems to be very well padded. Can you point me in the right directioon for a backpack ? Thanks
    It doesn't matter what pack you have, if it isn't adjusted properly for your size, with a heavy load you're gonna have problems. All I can think is that you didn't have enough of the weight supported by your hips. You may want to go into a store and have an expert adjust the pack for you if need be.....unless of course you do want to get another pack instead. However you may want to watch some of the videos on the internet that show how to adjust your pack. Maybe that right there might tell you if it's not set up right for you. Either way a properly adjusted pack is a must....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    The Barney's pack are bomber for sure, But as a smaller Guy, they just never fit me well. They are WAY more pack than I need, as in capable of carrying much more than I will ever haul, so no need to pack around all that extra pack and weight.

    The Kifaru's do have a Gun Bearer and I have mine rigged so I can pack my rifle at the ready when needed or packed back and strapped to my pack. The one lightweight system allows me to carry two ways.

    Stowed.



    At the ready and one stowed, using 2 GBs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seinerman View Post
    A couple in shape 20 year old football players work pretty well, but they do eat a lot.. A bit about weight on the hips, in my case, it was great when i was younger, but now that is where all my pain is due to arthritis. Still trying to figure out the solution. Just came from the Dr., and it looks like the moose packing days are over. I'm not a happy camper.

    Walking sticks can help a lot when packing heavy loads. Plus, consider cutting that hind quarter in half and making two more trips. I think the Barney's pack is great, but it is huge. I find that I go lighter with a smaller pack, and having the rifle on the pack helps tons.

    I do like it when my hunting partners have Barney's packs, tho
    My thinking exactly. Us old fellows have paid out dues. grab the hind quarter, young buck. That said, If I'm purely packing meat, i want it to be on an old military pack board. Been doing that since the 1960's. It's the only way to carry an over weight load.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    My thinking exactly. Us old fellows have paid out dues. grab the hind quarter, young buck. That said, If I'm purely packing meat, i want it to be on an old military pack board. Been doing that since the 1960's. It's the only way to carry an over weight load.
    Yup, that's what we've used for everything. http://www.ebay.com/itm/WWII-US-Army...item2c9b34237f.

    I also have an old wood frame Trapper Nelson packboard/sack, but it is pretty much retired. For meat loads, a Camp Trails moose bag does fine. If I can't manage with that I'm too old to hunt.

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    I can't even wear a belt or it starts cutting off blood flow to the legs. I too use the old back board or trapper nelson. Let the pack ride high and use tump line.Easy enough to make different size canvass bags to fit right on the trapper nelson or pack board
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    As another old man with age related issues I recommend the Paradox pack sold by Seekoutside. It is simple and effective for general backpacking or meat hauling. A simple wrap style belt and easy shoulder adjustment. You can use their simple frame hanger for the rifle or install a gun bearer. Get the larger Talon compression panel. The Day Talon is ok, but I find that I need more volume when not carrying the main bag.

    Another option is to take your belt and harness off your Kelty and install it on a old Camptrails metal frame. You can find those on craigslist or at garage sales for cheap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sardog55mark View Post
    I just moved to alaska and in good shape. I have a Kelty Meat hauler but during my last caribou hunt i could feel the frame flexing and it rode heavy on my shoulders. I have researched Kifaru, MR and Eberlstock and they all seem to be good packs but the Kifaru waist belt seems to be very well padded. Can you point me in the right directioon for a backpack ? Thanks
    Are you wanting a frame/pack system? or just a frame for packing? Not certain exactly what your wanting...

    If just for packing, consider looking at the Slumberjack Rail Hauler frame. Lightweight, super strong, very adjustable for the person and for the loads. Great padding and big adjustable straps. When empty, it's very lightweight w/all welded construction. Only $150 at Sportsmans.
    I was using the Cabelas AK III frame for years, but it was breaking down, squeaking, noisy, uncomfortable, etc...
    I just made the switch to the Rail this year and for it's initiation, I packed out a 175# or so brown bear hide.. It didn't squeak, stress, or nothing. It worked awesome.
    I was hurting because I'm only 180# and haven't packed that kinda weight in years, but it was comfortable, considering..
    My buddy that helped me had the Barneys pack system, it was very nice. BUT: they're spendy and I personally thought it was heavy when empty.
    Good luck...

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    Many good packs on the market. Like others have said, get what fits YOUR needs and YOUR body. Personally I like the Bikini frame. I have made a few adjustments to it.

    As far as the Kifaru or similar gun slings personally don't like them. I don't like the gun flopping around in front of me nor do I like the 7lbs of my rifle weight pulling down on the belt. I like the weight of the rifle shifted more to the frame and behind my shoulder. I rigged up a modified Gunslinger to my pack/frame, sewed a hoop that the barrel slips up through. Gun is behind my shoulder, weight is mostly on the frame. I can pinch the quck release and pull the gun out of the Gunslinger, barrel slips out of the hoop and gun is in hand quickly.

    Frame is a Kifaru Bikini, pack bag is from my Kelty 50th Ann pack. I sewed a 2 inch chunk of ballistic nylon belt around the frame and attached the other end to the belt. Gunslinger Hook snaps on and slide back tight to the frame. No more gun pulling the belt down, no more rifle in the face or bouncing off binos on my chest.









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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Many good packs on the market. Like others have said, get what fits YOUR needs and YOUR body. Personally I like the Bikini frame. I have made a few adjustments to it.

    As far as the Kifaru or similar gun slings personally don't like them. I don't like the gun flopping around in front of me nor do I like the 7lbs of my rifle weight pulling down on the belt. I like the weight of the rifle shifted more to the frame and behind my shoulder. I rigged up a modified Gunslinger to my pack/frame, sewed a hoop that the barrel slips up through. Gun is behind my shoulder, weight is mostly on the frame. I can pinch the quck release and pull the gun out of the Gunslinger, barrel slips out of the hoop and gun is in hand quickly.

    Frame is a Kifaru Bikini, pack bag is from my Kelty 50th Ann pack. I sewed a 2 inch chunk of ballistic nylon belt around the frame and attached the other end to the belt. Gunslinger Hook snaps on and slide back tight to the frame. No more gun pulling the belt down, no more rifle in the face or bouncing off binos on my chest.









    Good idea on the gunslinger snyd

    I too much prefer that to the gun bearer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    As an older Gent, I prefer Kifaru packs,, While both MR and Eberlstock make nice packs, they are heavier empty by far compared to Kiafru.
    Kifaru has a great belt and suspension and when you order they are made and sent to you sized to your measurements. The owner Patrick, stands behind his American made product. If you are near Fairbanks I have a few can can look at.

    There is much more to packing than just throwing a pack on and getting after it. Took me many years to learn that a pack should fit just like boots and that 70% of the load should be on the belt transferred to hips and legs and the other 30% carried with shoulders and back. Another key to to learning to pack the weight in correctly.

    If you decide on Kifaru, I prefer the Duplex frame over the lighter Bikini, Carries weight better IMHO.

    Steve
    Steve, I'm giving serious thought to buying a Kifaru pack, but have not decided on which style/size would fit my needs. Would you mind if I looked at you pack to assist with my decision making process? I live on Fort Wainwright. Thanks much for your time!
    b

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueDuck View Post
    Steve, I'm giving serious thought to buying a Kifaru pack, but have not decided on which style/size would fit my needs. Would you mind if I looked at you pack to assist with my decision making process? I live on Fort Wainwright. Thanks much for your time!
    b
    I have them all out,, anytime you want to come on by. PM me and I will send you my number and address.

    I also have the new EXO mountain 5500 ci pack, I just got that my Son will be using this fall.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I have them all out,, anytime you want to come on by. PM me and I will send you my number and address.

    I also have the new EXO mountain 5500 ci pack, I just got that my Son will be using this fall.
    Steve, thanks for your time and the excellent info! Steve was kind enough to pack in about a decade of hunting experience into an hour long visit. Again, thanks so much for sharing your time and hunting experiences with me!
    B

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    I too like the Kifaru packs and you can't go wrong with the gunbearer system either. I'm carrying a 13 pound Sharps on a Kifaru pack.
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