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Thread: Money No Object, Ultimate Mountain Hunting Pack!!!

  1. #1
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Money No Object, Ultimate Mountain Hunting Pack!!!

    Well I think I am about to cross over from a neophyte gear junkie to a full on excentric! I love to find those gems that bridge the ever elusive cost versus quality gap. I have managed to do it on various things like my tikka t3, minox HG's and Pentax spotter. I have recently ponied up the additional cash to get a few things that are at the apex of their industry my Hilleberg tent, and my GPS unit w/ mapping software are two examples of that.
    Now I am on the precipice of making the ultimate mountain gear purchase. I have been talking via email to Dan McHale and I will be sending him some cash to that he can mail me a demo pack. Then we are going to be working to fine tune the ultimate fully custom long distance mountain hunting pack. I am hopefull to see final numbers come in at ~7500cu in + and a total weight of ~6lbs. I am still working on the necessary tweeks that will go into it but it will have an adjustible or at least a lowered pocket on one side to allow for a rifle to be carried more easily.

    Here is the basic pack setup that I am leaning toward. It is still early in the planning and there is plenty of room for Dan to sway my judgment based on his experiance.


    This is the MB series but I am hopefull that he will build this style with the INEX size. The pockets etc will be modified to fit my purposes.

    I believe that my dream of owning the ultimate internal frame mountain hunting pack will soon be at hand!

  2. #2
    Member Browningguy9's Avatar
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    Default

    subscribed! i want one!!! lol time to saveeee

  3. #3

    Default

    Right on LuJon,

    This will allow you to pack some of my goat on Kodiak right??? Have you talked to Dan about the possibility of adding straps/sleeves specifically for paddles and packrafts yet??

  4. #4
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default

    He has an add on for a snow shovel that he produces. I will probably work with him to come up with a similar add on to hold the paddle. It would lace into the daisy chain and be something akin to these:





    I will also be adding the zippered utility pocket:


    There are some other options I am looking at. Time for dinner I will post more later.

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    Default Droolin'

    Ya, I've been drooling over McHale packs for a while...would be pretty easy to customize to hold rifles, bows, and not have to worry about pins or frame rubbing on your packraft. Unfortunately to get the light weight, you have to use the really expensive fabric!!

    Sign me up when you have a "group buy" put together, and under $1,000. ;-)

    -CW

  6. #6

    Default

    Man I thought I had just made the purchase for the ultimate EVERYTHING pack, but mines not a McHale, mines a Mystery Ranch. I have a NICE 6500 on its way tome as we speak, coupled with the Crew Cab pack , I just dont see anything that this pack cant do. And yes guys its not a superlight, but I have talked with enough very serious mountain hunters that swear by it and state that the weight is easily discounted by comfort and versatility. Guess we'll see? The good news is that I've got 90 days to decide if i like it, or I can send it back.

  7. #7
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    Default Mystery Ranch

    Ak Cub,
    I have a buddy that used one last year and really liked it. He is trying to get me to jump on the band wagon.

    Question, why the NICE 6500 and not the Kodiak? Or other models? Just curious.

    Thanks,

    CW

  8. #8

    Default

    You know I went back and forth between the mongo internals they make and the NICE for a while, and had a lot of conversations with Mark, Kensy, and Luke at Mystery Ranch before deciding and I think in the end versatility was the end result. Have you seen the different set ups for the NICE system in action? You can attach sevral different packs on the NICE depending on what your using the pack for, from hauling quarters, to hauling gear and sheep. I have to admit that I am a Dana Design whore of sorts so I have been eyeing them for a while.

    Heres a few links to some threads on another forum, check out the pics of the different uses with the NICE

    http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthr...ue#Post2815458

    http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthr...ue#Post2618574

    http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthr...ue#Post2633554

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    Default Thanks cub!

    Cool. Sounds like you have put a lot of thought into this, and probably asked all the same questions that would have.

    Thanks for the info!

    -CW

  10. #10
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    update:
    I got a note on which Demo pack I will be getting. (SCM-II)


    This one comes with a standard mid pack zipper but there is also the option of adding a twin zip. The second zipper would be just like the one in this pic only higher on the pack body. I am going to look at this demo and make my decision between the top/panel loader or the twin zip design. I am expecting the top/panel to be more practical since I would be able to flip it open and simply pick out things like a spotter without having to slide them in or out. I hate trying to slide things in and out of a pack since I am always worried about poking a hole in something. My luck I nick my M/H meal and then end up getting a stream of boiling hot water on me when I go to fill it up! Worse case would be to knock a hole in my tent!


    Here is a pic of the twin zip option:


    Now I just need to figure out when I will be at one location long enough to get the demo shipped over!

  11. #11
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Dana Designs

    I thought alot about the Dana Designs packs and read a ton of reviews! I certainly don't think you can go wrong with them for the money. I did a lot of looking before deciding to go into the Demo/Planning process with Dan McHale and ultimately it is the fact that it is a built to fit pack where your body style is taken in to carefull account rather than an adjust to fit pack where they lump you into one of three major catagories (long/med/short). The Dana packs do have a bunch of great pockets and bells and whistles that can be attached though! I have no doubt that you are going to be thrilled with your pack!

    I really want a bullet proof, supremely comfortable, light weight internal frame pack that offered all the bennefits of an expedition mountaineering pack with a few tweaks to make it a better fit for hunting! The good news is I think I have found it, the bad news is that I am certainly going to have to pay to play! This is the end result of being frustrated after a great deal of shopping and realizing that I couldn't find the "perfect pack" on the market, everything was a trade off! Weight vs durability. Hauling capacity requires an external frame, external frames don't offer the same level of comfort and balance that internal frames do, they are also clunky in the alders. on an on.

    I hope that you do a review on the NICE pack for us when you get it in! I will to a thorough write up of both the demo and final custom pack!

    Trail space review: Super INEX vs Dana Astralplane
    Last edited by LuJon; 02-21-2009 at 01:14. Reason: added review link

  12. #12

    Default McHale Inex

    The McHale would definitely be 1.

    Number two would be taking a MR Crewcab frame and having
    Appocalyse designs in Fairbanks make a waterproof 7000Cu big bag out of 1000 denier spectra with collapsing slide panels and a riflecarrier. It would cost less but would be one step above a Barneys.

    Barney's is number three.

  13. #13
    Member 454casull's Avatar
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    Talking McHale

    Thanks for the link to that review Lujon. I own a Dana Astraplane, that I really like, but I have been checking out the Mchale. In the research I have done, I have found the McHale hard to beat. Except for the cost of course. I will look forward to hearing about your experience with yours.

  14. #14

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    Holy crap Lujon, I just noticed that those packs are over a $1000? Am I out of touch here or is that what one cost with Dyneema?

  15. #15
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default Interesting

    You know without putting one on with a load I really can't say if it's superior to my choice.

    I own and use a Arcterex Bora 95 and the pack your showing has many similarities to mine.

    Volume
    fabrics
    configuration (if you choose a top load)

    Of course mine is a long torso with adjustability......It fits just fine for my body.

    I'd love to come over with mine when your demo shows up but thats not likely with me in Sitka. It's fun to try and bridge that gap isn't it.

    I'd say a top load pack is just fine. You shouldn't be putting hot MH in your pack regardless of configuration. Eat it up and get moving! chuckle!

    Good-on-ya for taking the time and $$$ making your sport ultra slick. As long as it makes you feel prepared to take on the mountain it's helpful.

    Here is mine in action fully loaded.....I carried this load for two days getting a blacktail out of the backcountry of POW.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  16. #16
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Default

    i've never used an internal of good quality...is there a link to that one designed in fairbanks?
    i love my barneys cause you can use it for anything, but i just wish it was bigger, i could go for an 8000 cu. i looked at those Mchales as well and liked what i saw but the price...killed me. i'm comfy now, double the price of the pack i'm wearing, it'd better be double the comfort and twice as strong.
    i like the custom fit option, i've got a weird body make it, that'd be nice!
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
    Master guide 212

  17. #17
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Horse, I havn't been out chasing Sitka deer and I think we are purty close to the same size (I am 6'5" 265). If you know where we can find a hundred + pounds of venison on the hoof to put together a head to head test I could probably swing the airfare <grin>

  18. #18
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    Default The new Dana Design sucks

    The title says it all. I have a Dana Design Astralplane that is OK but I have had to send it back because all of the compression buckles are shot and the female half is sewn on. I have also had problems with other buckles on this pack. I am not impressed with the suspension and any load over 80# feels like a sack of taters. Other than that it does an alright job. I am ready to get rid of it for a MR Kodiak or maybe a McHale if the Mrs. can be persuaded.

    Now to the title. The new packs don't hardly resemble the old packs. Their buckles are worse than on my pack and the workmanship is completely inferior. My buddy sent in his 10 year old Terraplane this last year which was replaced with the new one. The pack didn't last even a season and was pretty much shot. He ended up sending it back for another replacement which went on Ebay and he used the proceeds for a MR Kodiak.

    I like the idea of a lighter pack, but that can not be sacrificed to durability and load handling.

  19. #19

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    Keep us updated on how it handles weight. Throw a couple 50 lb bags of salt plus your gear and see how comfortable it is. I have been looking at those packs to, but if I remember correctly they are only designed to carry somewhere around 75lbs. That's two trips to get your sheep and gear back.
    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by j_h_nimrod View Post
    The title says it all. I have a Dana Design Astralplane that is OK but I have had to send it back because all of the compression buckles are shot and the female half is sewn on. I have also had problems with other buckles on this pack. I am not impressed with the suspension and any load over 80# feels like a sack of taters. Other than that it does an alright job. I am ready to get rid of it for a MR Kodiak or maybe a McHale if the Mrs. can be persuaded.

    Now to the title. The new packs don't hardly resemble the old packs. Their buckles are worse than on my pack and the workmanship is completely inferior. My buddy sent in his 10 year old Terraplane this last year which was replaced with the new one. The pack didn't last even a season and was pretty much shot. He ended up sending it back for another replacement which went on Ebay and he used the proceeds for a MR Kodiak.

    I like the idea of a lighter pack, but that can not be sacrificed to durability and load handling.
    I am a little confused by your post, what new Dana Design are you talking about? Are you talking about the Marmot packs? If you are, they are junk. I talked with the guy at our local mountaineering shop in Fairbanks over a year ago and he said that they were getting ready to drop Marmot packs because they were so poorly constructed.

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