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Thread: Alaska All around pack

  1. #1
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    Default Alaska All around pack

    Hey all im trying to get a good all around pack for up here. So far i know i want an external frame where the pack comes off and the "shelf thing" folds down to help carry out game. im 5' 9" and about 160 in case size matters. I sort of like the cabelas alaskan pack. it has tons of room which i like. i know you sheep hunters will have a different say in things. but i want one pack for the next 10 plus years. any info on what you have tried and like/not liked would be awesome. thanks again vance

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Barney's gear

    Vegas,

    You might search the archives on this; we've written a lot on it already.

    I assume since you're writing this in the hunting forum that you're looking for a hunting pack. That said, my recommendation is the Barney's Moose Pack. Bob (the owner of the company) has put a lot of work into perfecting this design and the result is a rugged, Alaska-Tough pack that will probably last your lifetime. Most registered Guides I know use this pack, some after having tried other brands that failed.

    Every one of us has their own style of hunting. When I first started out I thought I would use the fold-down shelf too, but once I had the bag on there I realized that it was just excess weight. The bag is plenty strong enough to make the shelf unneccessary. Now, if you were to use the frame alone, then the shelf would be helpful. Of course then you're faced with how to carry your gear when you're hunting...

    I would also get rid of the top riser bar. We call 'em "alder hangers", because of the tendency to get hung up in the brush.

    The Cabela's pack is a Barney's knock-off, and nowhere near the quality. (they did the same thing with his Bomb Shelter tent) Go for the Barney's pack and you'll only have to buy it once. I have found that in most cases knock-offs are usually inferior to the product being copied, and contribute little in terms of original ideas. Support the true innovators out there who make good gear, so they can keep producing good stuff.

    You will pay more up-front for this pack, but probably less in the long run because you won't have to replace it.

    Just my opinion.

    Hope it helps!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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    Default

    They have made a lot of improvements (and some not as good) to the Cabela's Alaska II pack and frame in the recent past. The pack itself is of upgraded material. I have a Barney's pack and Cabela's old and the newer packs and frames, and the difference is not as pronounced as it once was comparing the new Cabela's pack with the Barney pack. The only problem I see with the new Cabela's pack is there is not adjustment for shoulder width. The best thing, if it possible, it try both and see which is more comfortable. You will find people on both sides of the discussion. Both are good packs a lot depends on comfort to you and how deep your pockets are.
    Your thoughts on external frame etc are valid and that's the way most of us go. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    I have a Barney's Freighter Frame because it is lighter and better built than the Cabelas frame. It's also more comfortable with the shoulder width adjustments and better padding in the straps. But, I have the Cabelas Alaskan Outfitter pack on the Barney's frame. This pack is Cabelas heaviest (about 6 lbs.) but it's an "all the bells and whistles" pack. It has several more compartments than the Barney's pack, some of which are padded, and an integrated rain fly which Barney's doesn't. It's also cheaper than the Barney's pack. It also has more space and I like the way the rifle is secured better. Together, this combination weighs a little over 10lbs. It's definitely not the lightest combo out there but it's done well for me for three seasons.

    You'll notice the Barney's frame has the shelf mounted higher than the Cabelas frame. If you use a Cabelas pack on the Barney's frame, you can either fold the shelf up and mount the pack to the frame or unlace the shelf and re-lace it to the lower bar so it sits like a Cabelas frame. With the shelf folded up, the Cabelas pack doesn't mount as snuggly at the bottom as it should but it's not going to come off. With the shelf re-laced to swing all the way to the bottom it's been much nicer. I'm actually going to pick up some 1" staps and buckles to mount the shelf just like the Cabelas pack.

    For me, this combination has worked the best.

  5. #5
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Some differences

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S. View Post
    They have made a lot of improvements (and some not as good) to the Cabela's Alaska II pack and frame in the recent past. The pack itself is of upgraded material. I have a Barney's pack and Cabela's old and the newer packs and frames, and the difference is not as pronounced as it once was comparing the new Cabela's pack with the Barney pack. The only problem I see with the new Cabela's pack is there is not adjustment for shoulder width. The best thing, if it possible, it try both and see which is more comfortable. You will find people on both sides of the discussion. Both are good packs a lot depends on comfort to you and how deep your pockets are.
    Your thoughts on external frame etc are valid and that's the way most of us go. Good luck.
    Bill,

    I had a guest this fall who brought a brand-new Cabela's pack frame and I looked it over pretty good. I believe they're still making them out of the same grade of aluminum as before. The problem with that is that the pins wow out the holes after a while and they get kinda sloppy.

    I can't speak to the integrity of the welds and such, or the quality of the stitching, but I've heard stories. How about anyone else out there? What are your experiences?

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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  6. #6
    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    I have a Cabelas frame that's three years old that came with my pack. I used it on one hunt that we rode four wheelers in on before I replaced it with the Barney's frame. The frame/pack was mounted to the front rack on the trip in to camp. After about 19 miles, the frame had noticable wear marks where it contacted my front rack. I estimate that two more trips would have worn the tube through. It appeared the frame was made from some very soft aluminum. The Cabelas frames don't use pins and split rings anymore (current ones and ones as old as three years). It uses mostly velcro to hold everything together with the exception of a few rivets.

    The stitching and material of the Alaskan Outfitter Pack has held up very well. I've done bone in quarters inside TAG bags inside the pack for several miles of hiking on three occassions. The TAG bags wore through from the protruding bone (but that's another discussion) but the pack was just fine. My pack normally rides on the front rack of my ATV and takes a beating going through brush but hasn't ripped yet.

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    Default

    Mike,
    The new Cabela's pack and frames do not use pins so your guest did not have one of the new redesigned Alaska II pack and frame. The new pack and frame from Cabela's uses velcro to attach the pack to the frame. I was concerned but my brother used it and carried caribou quarters with it with no problem. Biggest load was probably close to 100 lbs. I cannot vouch for any operation over that. Visually I cannot tell the difference between the aluminium used on the Cabelas frame and on the Barneys but I do think the Barney's is of heavier construction. Whether that equates to a more durable frame is a good question. I have an old cabela's pack and frame that I've used for seven or eight years and I bought it used. The pin holes are not noticeably worn. The only problem with the pack I have experienced is the internal zipper between the compartments is broken. I now own two old style Cabela's packs, one of the new style and a Barney's Hunter pack and frame. We will see how they work out. Lets so what others have experienced. I do personally know of one Cabela's frame that did not survive being run over by a Ford F-150 but I think that could be considered abuse and not an ordinary problem we would have to face in the field.

  8. #8
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default Here's some more info

    Vance, you may want to check out this link: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...abelas+extreme
    It is to a thread that I started a while back and these guys helped me out tremendously. Your first post sounds much like my first post. I was convinced that I wanted an external frame. AlaskaCub ended up talking me into trying a Dana Internal...best consideration I ever made. I was lucky to find one, tried it on, dumped some weight in it, it felt so good that I bought two! I got the Glacier and the Terraplane. Size of the harness is a big concern too. PM if you have specific questions, I will try to help you out.

    Aside from that, I will say that the Cabela's Pack looked fairly impressive. Looked to be about the right size, pockets in all the right places, and some of the packs have their own carry straps, which might be nice if you have downed game and want to take meat the first time out. Their construction and material looked durable too. If I were to get an external, I would look into Barney's Pack or Dana's External(but I think the waste and lumbar are attached to the pack, not the frame?? not sure??) and would probably strap a Cabela's pack on it.

    Good Luck, Joshua

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    Default

    Never used a Barney's or Cabelas but I worked many years for Dana Design and other higher end pack and outdoor gear companies. My only response is from this comment from Mike S.:

    "The Cabela's pack is a Barney's knock-off, and nowhere near the quality. (they did the same thing with his Bomb Shelter tent)"

    Several companies that I've worked for as a consultant have made this mistake of selling their products through Cabelas only to see cheap copies being sold the next year. It's devistating for small companies to tool up, sell to the big guy and then get cut off. From bird vests, potty tents, back packs, duffle bags, clothing, you name it: if it sells they copy it and sell it under the Big C name. It's only legal because there's no patent and, when it comes to sewn products, its very difficult to get one that someone can't design around. Look at a Cabelas catalog from many years ago and you'll see many other brand names. Now its mostly Cabelas.

    Controlling one's distribution is key to survival!

    I think most of Cabelas stuff is pretty good, frankly. Also, its nice that they haven't gone "non-hunting" yet like, say, LL Bean or Abercromie and Fitch (yes, they sold guns long, long ago). I also think they've done wonders for bringing more functionality and features to hunting clothing.

    However, there's no substitute for buying something made by someone who really, really cares about what they are making. If you're concerned about innovation, local support, paying the guy who actually really developed the product in the first place then you might consider buying from the original. If you're on a limited budget and wouldn't buy from him anyway, regardless, you'll probably get a decent product from Cabelas.

    Just my opinion after seeing a few people go out of business after being "ripped off" (legally) by Cabelas. Now hand me my 2006 Master Catalog so I can buy some buy some cool stuff.

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    I have both an alaskan and alaskan 2 pack frames. both are 7+ years old. Worked the heck out of them but I wont buy another. To noisy and uncomfortable. carries a decent amount of weight though. I just bought my wife an ospery pack (thanks john) and now I'm gonna buy a good external frame pack.

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Thumbs up barney's

    i used the same barney's pack for 8 years of moose and caribou guiding and my own hunts in between, and countless hauls into the house in fall and winter.
    rock solid, never a problem.
    i have hauled moose 1/4's that weighed well over #120, and fallen hard with a few of those loads. i really doubt a cabelas frame (old or new) would have held up to it all.
    we also have 2 cabelas frame packs, an old one that i would loan to packers and a newer one that my wife has used. the old one is pretty thrashed.
    one thing on the cabela's is the waist and shoulder straps constantly need to be readjusted, whereas the barney's straps stay where you put them.
    i replaced all the pins with aircraft quality bolts, and use a kifaru gunbearer.
    Last edited by homerdave; 12-04-2006 at 21:39. Reason: typo
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    Member jdb3's Avatar
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    I like and use internal frame packs more than external frames. I have migrated from the low end packs through the Gregory and now use Kifaru packs. They are well made and are designed for hunters. I know there has been all kinds of discussions on this board on which is best. I'm not sure there is an answer to that question. Take a look at every pack you can, load them up and try them out. You can usually find someone in your neighborhood that has a miriad of packs to try. Go to Kifaru.net and take a look at their packs. Call and talk to the manufacturers. If they won't talk to you go somewhere else. Just my 2 cents. Jim

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    Member bigdog's Avatar
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    Default Badlands Pack

    I have a Badlands 4500 backpack and as far as I am concerned this is the best pack I have ran into. I also have a Alaskan Outfitter pack, its good but too heavy. The badlands pack fits me alot better also,

  14. #14
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    Default barneys

    well today i went and looked at the packs. and they were awesome. very comfortable and light. i understood the price of the pack, but the bags seemed sort of steep. can you buy just the cabela's bag with out the pack??? or is the barneys pack tough enough but still light enough to be a top choice for the bag. oh and i was looking at the biggest bag they had. i believe 7800 cubic inches but i forgot the name. it was around 520 out the door for the price thanks vance

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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default Sure can

    Vance, you can purchase Cabela's Packs seperately. There is no chance of you even coming close to a 7800 cubic inch bag at Cabela's. The largest they carry is the Alaskan Outfitter Pack and it is 5300 cubic inch. Here's a link:
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...770&hasJS=true
    I can't help you with the stuff from Barney's, I'm sure someone else here can.

  16. #16

    Default barneys

    I've been packing large loads for many years, probably too large a load for the back, but have done it. I've used a cabelas and then bought a camp trails which I used for a few years until I snapped the frame in half packing a load of meat and 65" antlers out. I bought a Barneys the next summer and it is HANDS down the best pack I have ever put on. I have had up to 220#s on my back in the younger day and I sure wish I would have had the barneys at that time. It is well worth the money. Sometimes I wish I would have bought the largest bag, but I replace the barneys bag with my camp trail bag when packing moose. Just don't like the stink getting all over my sheep pack bag.

  17. #17
    Member chrisWillh's Avatar
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    Default Bull-pacs

    I've been wondering if anyone here has ever tried a Bull-Pac http://www.bullpacs.com. This is one of the few framed packs in my price range that looks solid, but there's only so much you can tell from a photo.

  18. #18

    Default bullpac

    I looked at one up close and thought it might be a good moose pack, but when you put on a barneys and feel how good it feels and how well it is built, it just isn't worth it. I realize there are probably some new packs out there that others use that are great and I don't have any experience with, but it is going to take some SERIOUS convincing to get me to sway from the Barney's pack.

  19. #19
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Packing Tips

    Somebody mentioned getting the meat smell on their pack and I thought I'd chime in on that. I've been using trash compactor bags for pack liners for a few years and they work great! The game bag slides right into your pack, and slides out at the other end, when you're done. Keeps the blood and scent off your pack so the only thing you have to worry about is the dried blood and animal scent on your hands.

    One more thing- on the really large packsacks (the ones Barney's makes)- I've found the regular moose pack to be plenty adequate for even the largest moose quarters. One concern I have about the larger bag is that it puts the bulk of the weight lower on your back. I could be wrong, but I've gotten used to having it higher, and I've never had problems getting big quarters in the smaller bag. Just my take. Probably a spine specialist could say whether you're better off having the weight lower or not. Something to consider anyway.

    Finally, on putting a Cabela's bag on a Barney's frame. Isn't that sorta like putting K-Mart tires on a Ferrari? I mean... well... you know...

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  20. #20
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    I gave up on all around anything for hunting a while back. There are components within my gear lists that have specific uses on specific trips when I hunt around this state. Would I rather have an external frame pack over an internal for packing moose quarters, you betcha but when humping it up and down the mountains I have found that the internals fit better, provide better balance and have some sweet features to make the load more comfortable. Same goes for sleeping bags, tents, stoves and anything else. If funds allow I'd rather buy specific gear for specific uses. This of course is if funds allow. Each and every year I either upgrade or just add new gear to my list of things to buy and it makes planning for hunts a lot easier. My pack of choice as of now is the Dana Design Terraplane, if I have to and its not often I am willing to, pack moose quarters for the short hump a Camp Trails without the bag works fine. You just have to decide for yourself what you want.

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