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Thread: Best Pack for Sheep Hunting

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    Default Best Pack for Sheep Hunting

    I have just booked my first sheep hunt, a drop hunt. I have heard some suggestions for backpacks, namely Cabela's Alaskan Guide pack. I thought I would see if anyone on the forum would have any suggestions as to what has worked the best for them.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    If you look in the gear forum (further down the main forum page) you'll find a lot of threads dealing with pack recommendations. The most commonly recommended pack is the Barney's pack (model name varies based on size, but all have the same excellent quality frame and straps), but there are a number of other of preferences such as the Mystery Ranch packs among others. Take a look through the gear forum - you'll find lots of info there.

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    Member Browningguy9's Avatar
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    Im putting my vote in for Mystery Ranch NICE 6500 for sheep. http://www.mysteryranch.com/s.nl/it....=8&category=21 they are rather pricey, but ohhhh sooooo nice... People are quick to jump on the heavy starting weight, but like their followers will say, when you put it on and load it, it all goes away. i was in the boat before with telling myself i will NEVER EVER EVER drop that much $$$ on a dern pack, then i did and i couldnt be happier.

    i cant recall anyone being disappointed with their MR packs. with that being said, i cant recall any major complaints for Barneys packs either; however, i have seen people change from Barneys to MR.

    One of the best benefits is you can change the packs out on the same frame. i have the longbow as well and between these 2 packs, im ready for anything! http://www.mysteryranch.com/s.nl/it....=8&category=23 Just give Mark Seacat or any of the MR guys a call, their customer service is unbeatable. Mark was talking about coming up to AK for a sports show, im not sure when or where seeing as i have the memory of a gerbil... anyhow, good luck in finding your pack! ask any questions you have!

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    I love my Kifaru LH.....thought I'd throw it in the mix for ya.

    tm

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    Member H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y's Avatar
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    Default Packs

    I have a Cabelas guide model that has served me well but my huntin partner has a Barneys thats way better. If i had it to do over. I would buy the barneys. Hillbilly

  6. #6

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    I had a Barney's frame with the hunter bag. Just never did fit me right and I fiddled with it a great deal, but I guess I'm the exception. I like how the Arcteryx Boras right with about 50-60 pounds, but get an animal down and they do not begin to compare with the Mystery Ranch packs with my body type. I think the MR packs fit me so well due to the adjustable yokes on them that you can dial in perfectly to your torso length. I really wanted the Barney's setup to work for me, but I just couldn't. They are no doubt great packs, but no piece of equipment is great no matter how much people rave if it doesn't fit YOU. Whatever you do try them on. I believe Mystery Ranch, Barney's, all have great customer service and will send you a pack to try to fit as you can't try them on in the store if you don't leave near where these packs are made. Then send them back if you don't like them. $500-600 for a pack is a lot so best find one that works best for you.

    Good luck.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    If you really want the best then get Dan McHale to custom make you an expedition pack. Of course the McHale packs make the cost of a Mystery Ranch seem like they are giving them away!

  8. #8

    Default My favorite pack

    is the Wilderness Wanderer Backpack. The frame is a wrap around style, has many compartments that are easily removed, and the frame is very strong yet light weight. Mine cost me $550 second hand and was more than worth it. New modulars retail around $695. It was bought specifically for sheep hunting but has been used for a number of Alaskan hunts.

    I'll close with the words of Jim Shockey: "It isn't cheap, but since your life depends on what you can and are carrying on your back, it's comforting to know that your pack will still be on your back when you stop to make camp."
    "He should have been packing a more powerful gun...you have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum." - Rick Sinnott, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist after a double attack by a grizzly.

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    I have an older Cabela's Alaska Guide II and like it. I bought a Barney's pack and really can't tell the difference yet. Both require you make sure they are adjusted to you. I bought a Cabela's frame once becasue the guy hated it. I looked at it and he never adjusted it. He was a big guy but the pins for the shoulder harness were in the narrowest holes, causing the straps to chaff his neck.
    If you have the money, Barney's may be the way to go. If you can, borrow what you are considering buying from someone, adjust it, load it up and take a hike.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    If you really want the best then get Dan McHale to custom make you an expedition pack. Of course the McHale packs make the cost of a Mystery Ranch seem like they are giving them away!
    True, the cost difference between MR and Mchale is enough to make you have to sit out a year on a fly out hunt. They do look nice. Just are too tall and narrow for my liking from what I've seen. It would stick above my head way higher than the way my MR pack does when both packs are stuffed full and get hung up easier on the alders. Also don't really see any way to really carry moose quarters with the McHale's pack. For stricly sheep hunting they are nice though.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I agree that the McHale packs probably aren't the best design for hauling moose quarters but for that I wouldn't jump on the MR bandwagon either. The load sling is neat but without raised load lifters it would be miserable to really haul a heavy quarter. I could probably shove a quarter into my pack through the rear zipper, it's 1/2 moon shape opens pretty large but really I don't plan on hunting moose in a place where I would need to pack the distance like I would on a sheep or goat hunt. Now regarding the height of the pack, it's not my fault your family tends to be a bit vertically challenged. With my Inex +2 I rarely need to put the bayonets to get the full height of the pack. In fact I only used "some" of the extra height coming out with two hides and gear in the pack and I wouldn't have needed to do that if I had put on the removable side pouches.

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    Smile external frame

    I like external frame packs for packing meat. Scouting or camping internal frame is more comfortable. But when the pack gets really heavy its nice to have a rigid frame to hold the meat off my back and transfer the weight onto the hips. One thing about Barneys is its over twice as heavy as my old camptrails which is why I do not take it scouting or hiking. But its also twice as sturdy which is why I wanted one in the first place!
    “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Lanche View Post
    True, the cost difference between MR and Mchale is enough to make you have to sit out a year on a fly out hunt. They do look nice. Just are too tall and narrow for my liking from what I've seen. It would stick above my head way higher than the way my MR pack does when both packs are stuffed full and get hung up easier on the alders. Also don't really see any way to really carry moose quarters with the McHale's pack. For stricly sheep hunting they are nice though.
    does pack size matter when you hunt with Lujon? doesnt he just pack you around under his arm anyway?
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  14. #14
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    Cabela's Alaskan Guide Model® Camo Pack with Frame
    I used this one on a Bear hunt in the early spring. 58 lbs was the weight and 9 miles in. Does not offer enough padding and you feel every bit of the weight. zipper broke 1st day. I am Glad I DID NOT have to carry a bear out on that frame. My friend used the Extreme Guide Model he said it was GREAT had lots of support padding. I'am looking at the KIFARI or Barneys frames

  15. #15

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    Still like the versatility of the homemade pack frame for packing heavier loads for whatever type of hunting be it moose or sheep or bears.
    In this picture we are all ready to go! (well as soon as I stand up!)
    Joe (Ak)
    (Note: Not sure about the cost but sure a lot less than $500.00)
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I get a kick out of the idea that internal frame packs are not "sturdy" and cannot transfer weight to the hips. I will agree that most of the plastic framed internals from REI will not do well with the heavy weights we frequently haul. A well built internal like those made by Dana Gleason (Mystery Ranch) or Dan McHale (McHale Packs) are not cheap plastic framed flexible junk. A quality internal will transfer the properly loaded weight of even a very HEAVY pack to the hips. I have owned a Barneys Pinnacle and it is a great pack but it is not as well balanced and honestly I am more comfortable carrying heavier weight with my custom internal.
    If I had only enough money to buy 1 pack for all of my hunting it would be either a Barneys or a Mystery Ranch. The MR would be better for sheep and goat and serviceable for moose while the Barneys would be be perfect for moose and serviceable for sheep and goats. Of course I have managed to put together the funds to purchase a dedicated pack for each and to that end I find the Freighter frame from Barneys to be the best for lashing moose meat to, and the McHale to be tops for alpine hunting.
    The McHale packs have a few features that set them apart from the crowd. They have aluminum frame stays which are extremely sturdy and "springy". The way that the waist belt mounts is like no other pack I have found. The wait belt is truly a separate piece, not a set of wings off the pack body w/ a couple straps and a buckle. The McHale belt actually wraps 360* around and molds to the curvature of your hips which keeps it in place. The pack is attached to the belt with some very strong nylon material along the small of the back. This material allows the weight to be transferred to the belt while still letting you bend left or right without bouncing the pack all over the place. The pack follows the line of your spine/torso and is mostly independent of what your legs are doing. The bypas system on the load lifters doesn't pull up on the shoulder straps causing pressure points. The Bayonete system allows you to vertically expand the pack while keeping the same rigid support. Most internals get floppy as you pack more gear on top since the load extends above the frame supports. Lastly the pack is completely custom from the torso height to the belt length to the shoulder strap width. You can also choose stronger frame material ( a good idea for huniting) as well as numerous other specifics from volume to material and color... OOOOOOH and then there is that other thing....PRICE

  17. #17

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    I would not recommend the cabelas pack. I broke my frame carrying out a caribou on the first trip out. The fabric is also not real high quality. My buddy snagged his new cabelas pack on the first trip out and ripped it open. I have a barney's hunter pack now. I also have an internal frame Arcyterex Bora 80 that I really like. It is a little more suited for sheep and mountain travel.

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wantj43 View Post
    Still like the versatility of the homemade pack frame for packing heavier loads for whatever type of hunting be it moose or sheep or bears.
    In this picture we are all ready to go! (well as soon as I stand up!)
    Joe (Ak)
    (Note: Not sure about the cost but sure a lot less than $500.00)
    That's a cool and interesting picture. What rifle do you got there?

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    That's a cool and interesting picture. What rifle do you got there?
    .500 H&H. Best bear gun I've ever used - but then never "used" a 30-06!
    Those 600 grain bullets "speak" with authority.
    Joe (Ak)

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    Default .02...as it were

    I have had my barneys pack for a few years now, it has packed 2 goats, 3 sheep, 3 moose and a handful of deer. I love the bag, its the pinnacle I believe +-8500ci, but it is NOT large enough for a hindquarter of a moose, I repeat, if you kill a large bull and don't bone out the quarters, you will be hardpressed to wedge the hindquarter in the bag, not because of the amount of room, the opening isn't large enough. As for the frame, its fantastic!

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