Pack Recommendation for a Sheep Hunt
I plan to go on my first sheep hunt this year, and I am looking at various equipment. First is the pack. I am trying to decide between something like the internal frame Eberlestock J107 or a Barney's external frame pack.
I will be hunting with a partner, and we're both limited to a 50-pound pack going in, because of the aircraft. I am guessing the packs will each be 100 pounds coming out, maybe a little more.
What say the experienced sheep hunters?
Pack to use
Go with Barneys, Ive tried the Eberlestock...barneys external way more comfy....CK
2nd on the barneys! I've packed more than my fair share of moose and sheep and the barneys was the best money I have ever spent on a piece of hunting equipment!
...I'll tell you what pack I WON'T ever use again....my last season of using a military Alice pack('03)-climbed the face of Sheep Mtn(above Snow River a little ways out of Seward)...got an hour above treeline, perched to take a break....made a mistake, took the pack off and got a drink....you wouldn't believe it:a scene from a movie!... (those packs have an annoying design in that you THINK they are balancing upright...then,they tip over...)-
the pack tipped...and fell,tumbling end-over-end,picking up speed...each bounce, increasing in height...6', 12' ....then appearing to be descending on on invisible waterfall of 20 foot seas...then, reaching the alders...NOOOOO!...into the Devil's Club...thinking about my life in that pack...the satellite phone, digital camera,a can of beer for a hopeful celebration .....vigilantly watching the pack to be sure of where it ended up...and cursing myself, and the Alice pack.
...Well,5 hours later, after climbing/sliding down via my butt to go look for it (yes!!...unbelievably the sheep gods ??led me to it,buried in a patch of alders)...and laughing/crying the whole way down and up..we continued on, traversed scross the face the rest of day, ended up socked in/trapped by the weather up on the face for 5 days straight.
....Anyway...I hunt with a High Sierra. I like all the pockets, and carrying capacity; and it is very adjustable for my small frame. It is comfortable carrying even up to 100 lbs,with a lower center of gravity,which seems helpful for the way a woman's body carries loads.
....I highly suggest an outer-frame....and carefully decide upon each ounce you pack.
I also recommend Barneys packs, I started out with a Cabelas thinking there was no way that the Barneys packs were worth the extra money. I decided to give one a shot and haven't looked back ever since then. Of course it is very important to make sure a pack fits YOU properly. A pack that works for one person may not fit another. Though I do strongly believe that these packs can be adjusted to fit anyone that is willing to give them a shot.
Depends who you are flying with
If it's 40 Mile Air out of Tok they are going to put your pack on a scale and they will absolutely hold you to 50lbs. In that case, my frame pack is staying home. I have a Mountain Smith 7200cu.in. pack that weighs only 6 lbs. The frame alone on a Barney's is 5+ without the bag. Fully equiped you are looking at 9lbs+. 3lbs doesn't seem like much, but it can be another couple days worth of dried food if the air taxi is absolutely holding you to 50lbs. Hell, my summer sleeping bag weighs 3lbs.
I have a buddy with a Kifaru internal frame that only runs 5.5 lbs and it is a super pack. If I was in the market for a lightweight pack, it's the one I'd be looking at.
After looking at packs and talking to folks that regularly use their packs, I am going with the Barney's Pinnacle pack, in Kevlar.
Time will tell if their pack is worth the nearly $500 price tag, but I haven't heard too many complaints from owners of their packs. Everyone seems to like them, and I've seen many of their packs with some hard miles on them.
Best Of the Best!
Your gettin' the BEST!!!!, and with the Kevlar pinnacle! thats the "Bentley" of all packs period!!!!...I just wonder why Barneys packs weren't considered for Gear review in last months Backpacker Magazine. Maybe Field and Stream will give them a shot in September when they do their gear review....I know the price is hard to take, but when you look at the stitching and the effort put into making one pack, and the comfort of the carnivore frame, it's hard to walk out of that store without one.
My guess would be that it's because these are specialized packs and are not sold nationwide in the bigger chain type or backpacking stores like most others. You can only get them here in Alaska and not that many people that backpack like external frame packs. Hunters are a different breed altogether.
Yeah I see what you mean AK45, I did talk to the owner of Barneys a couple of years ago and he told me that he sends alot of his packs overseas, I guess theres a few European hunters that like that like them too....
Internal frame for sheep
I guess I will just have to go against the grain here and say I prefer an internal frame for sheep hunting. They are more manuverable and less bulky and cumbersome feeling. I believe this is critical when you get in to some of the situations you inevitably get into while sheep hunting. The high end large capacity mountaineering packs will carry a large load (100 lbs. +) as comfortable as a load of that weight can possibly be.(Which it doesn't matter what pack you have or who you are, it is not very comfortable. At least in my definition of comfort.) Mystery Ranch, Dan McHale, and Dana Designs are just a few that have a large following and are excellent packs. I have owned an Eberlestock and would not recommend one for that heavy of a load. They will do it, but there is just better packs for heavy loads out there. With all this said, I believe the Barney's externals are excellent packs but when you get into some of that "almost technical" mountain climbing that I always seem to get myself into while sheep or goat hunting, the internal wins out my book.