3 Pack Showdown - Advice needed!

TheBootBowhunting

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Ive narrowed it down to 3 pack systems. I will do 5 day hunts with them. I only bowhunt, so I don't need a ton of room for late season layering/bags, etc.

Kifaru 44 Mag
Duplex Lite
Claymore as a lid if needed
2 L belt pouches on the back
S belt pouch on belt

Exo K3 4800
Crib Load Panel
Belt pouches
Couple of stash pockets

Initial Ascent IA4K
Pannier Load panel
hip pockets


I don't have access to try any of them out. All of them are roughly in the same neighborhood with price. I want this to be the last pack I buy, so Im just trying to do what I can to get it right.

Which one you picking?
 

Ctitus25

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Never handled an IA pack, had an EXO and Kifaru. My vote is for Kifaru and this is why: With EXO, the various packs that can go on the frame are all essentially the same, just different sizes. With Kifaru, you have a lot of options down the road with different bags on the same frame should you want to change and its not the last pack you buy, but could be the last frame you buy.
 

menhaden_man

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Went through this same debate myself last year and landed on the Exo 4800 - love it and wouldn’t do anything different. I’m 6’3” and 200+ lbs depending on season if that means anything.
 
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TheBootBowhunting

TheBootBowhunting

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Yeah Im definitely leaning towards the Kifaru and EXO, pretty much ruled the IA out. I have quite a few Kifaru pieces, never a frame pack though, but all of them are top notch. Never touched anything from EXO. Thanks for the opinions so far. It is a good point that Kifaru has many bag types and options to change the function of the pack while EXO pretty much just has different sizes of the same pack.

Durability is a key as I do a good bit of section hiking/backpack camping and training rucks in the offseason so it will be used a good bit year round.
 
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Goodtimekiller

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I couldnt get the exo to fit well and had multiple kifaru frames so i bought an exo 4800 and put it on the kifaru frame. I just liked the bag layout a little better, i think aron must hate pockets built on bags, i hate having to add pockets. I also have a dt1, dt2, mountain warrior, nomad and apollo. I think youll be fine with either but would try them on before you buy one because they do fit much differently.


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realunlucky

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I have got to say that without trying them before hand your just hoping and guessing what'll work for you long term.

I've used a bunch of packs and really like the Initial Ascent lumbar pad it's been really comfortable pack. I have full faith in it's durability after loading it up and tossing it over a cliff

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TheBootBowhunting

TheBootBowhunting

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Yeah, I saw that when I searched. As a general rule, everything should be thrown off a cliff as part of R&D in the hunting industry.

Which makes it interesting. So far we have 1 Kifaru, 1 Exo, 1 IA and 1 Kifaru/Exo combo. Im pretty sure that means its personal preference as all are good packs - but ultimately I think youre right in that because I don't have access to any of them, its basically hoping I get it right. And Hope isn't a plan.
 

Goodtimekiller

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If you are ever in tn i can let you try a kifaru. Because i live in tn i bought several just to try, kuiu, alps (which is not bad), kifaru, mystery ranch, outdoorsman, eberlestock, probably a few i am forgetting. Kifaru was the best load handler and best built for me, maybe a little overbuilt for what i do but i dont mind carrying a little extra weight for piece of mind.


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Drenalin

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At the end of last year, I bought an EXO 3200. Decided I needed a bigger bag, so tried a MR Metcalf. Hated that, so I bought an EXO 4800. Couldn't get the fit just right (slid down to the top of my rear with any kind of load), so I sold that and tried a used Kifaru Timberline 2 (internal frame) and an older Kifaru Duplex frame. I didn't like the Timberline 2, just too much going on for me. The Duplex frame was good, there were just things about the EXO K3 that I liked better. So I went back to an EXO 4800 and farted around with the the fit until I got it just right, which took a lot of trial and error. I feel like the Kifaru or EXO either one could get you where you need to be on fit, it just might take some tinkering and some communication with their respective customer service teams. Which pretty much means it comes down to personal preference. I'd suggest getting both and returning the one you like the least. I know EXO has a good return window, Kifaru probably does too. Don't know anything about IA other than what I've seen on here. I'd like to try them and the Duplex Lite frame at some point this offseason.
 

Aaron Warpony

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The kifaru lumbar pad didn't feel good to me under weight. After trying Stone Glacier, Kifaru, I bought a exo 6400 k3 and love that thing. To me it's more plush and comfy than any of the other packs and exo bags are simple and effective. I don't care too much for the webbing and choas on some of the kifaru bags cause I just don't use it. I would suggest buying kifaru and exo and seeing what your body likes under weight. Trying them side by side *****under 50 pounds weight***** will make up your mind pretty easily. The belt comfort was a big deal breaker for me
 
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TheBootBowhunting

TheBootBowhunting

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The kifaru lumbar pad didn't feel good to me under weight. After trying Stone Glacier, Kifaru, I bought a exo 6400 k3 and love that thing. To me it's more plush and comfy than any of the other packs and exo bags are simple and effective. I don't care too much for the webbing and choas on some of the kifaru bags cause I just don't use it. I would suggest buying kifaru and exo and seeing what your body likes under weight. Trying them side by side *****under 50 pounds weight***** will make up your mind pretty easily. The belt comfort was a big deal breaker for me

Id say at this point Im probably going with the Exo. Its a odd thought process, but I like the simplicity of the Exo, but I also like the modularity of the Kifaru - and the price you pay for that is chaos in the webbing and straps. 2 conflicting things, but both have their pros and cons. Id like the ability to expand when needed, as you can do with the claymore, guide lid, etc on the Kifaru. I guess you can run a dry bag on the meat shelf of the exo if you needed to get another few days out of it. You pay for everything one way or another.

If it doesnt work, I can sell it and get the Kifaru. Thanks for all the advice. I appreciate it.
 

Aaron Warpony

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I hear ya, Both of those companies have great customer service too, so if you bought both you could return the one that you didn't like. I was surprised when i finally got my hands on all the packs i was looking at, changed my mind completely cause i wanted a kifaru but then it just didn't fit me. Packs are like women, you'll know when you find the one that works for you.....and don't lend it to your friends haha Good luck to ya
 

Rob5589

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Really like my K2 Exo. Carries well, fits well, like the 3500 bag layout. I upgraded to a K3 belt and made it even better. Packed my first bull this year; easy to secure, carried the weight without issue, even going step downhill, stepping over deadfall, etc. They have a 30 day return policy so you can decide.
One thing for sure, make sure it fits you correctly. Even a great pack can seem like garbage if it isn't set up right.
 

AKaDougie

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Sep 14, 2020
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North Pole
I have ran the EXO K3 4800 pack this year and put it through the tests. Last two years prior I ran Stone Glacier. I am right now comparing SG and EXO frames and I get my Kifaru duplex lite frame today or tomorrow. I plan on testing them all three out side by side shootout. All three companies have great customer service.

Since you asked about EXO K3. I have 4800 pack, pockets and crib panel.

Pro: I like the pack layout and color. Has just the right stuff to make pack versatile for my needs. Belt and fit is good. I will be keeping pack for my bear baiting season and shorter trips.

Con: Only pack I have broke over the years ( they replaced broken stay and it did not stop my hunt)(profile picture is right before I broke the stay, packing out last load of moose). Only pack that has given me blisters on shoulders. Feels really sloppy on back if load lifters are not super tight, pack shifted a lot through the mountains, I almost thought my rifle was falling off pack. Limited to what I can place on belt (I like to run Nalgene bottle on one side with a kifaru holder, or gun holster)


Once I have done my testing on Kifaru duplex lite frame I can give you a better idea on that, I have 44 Mag coming with the quarter panel. I was thinking of writing up an in depth review/comparison. But I normally like to run a pack for a whole season before I make final determinations.
 

menhaden_man

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Id say at this point Im probably going with the Exo. Its a odd thought process, but I like the simplicity of the Exo, but I also like the modularity of the Kifaru - and the price you pay for that is chaos in the webbing and straps. 2 conflicting things, but both have their pros and cons. Id like the ability to expand when needed, as you can do with the claymore, guide lid, etc on the Kifaru. I guess you can run a dry bag on the meat shelf of the exo if you needed to get another few days out of it. You pay for everything one way or another.

If it doesnt work, I can sell it and get the Kifaru. Thanks for all the advice. I appreciate it.
Don't know if this helps but I've got an orangutan torso (6-3 with a 32" inseam) and the Exo fits like a glove. I also have a good buddy who's pretty hardcore and loves the Kifaru.
 

Rob5589

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Don't know if this helps but I've got an orangutan torso (6-3 with a 32" inseam) and the Exo fits like a glove. I also have a good buddy who's pretty hardcore and loves the Kifaru.
Same here; 6'2", 32" inseam.

One thing mentioned; Exo has said they do not design their belts to carry all kinds of gear. On mine, I have a pouch and knife on the left side, holster on the right. And that is about all the room available. Rifle season I will have a pouch on each side.
 
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TheBootBowhunting

TheBootBowhunting

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I’m built like a 5’7 scale model of an abrams tank. I’m a power lifter so I Fluctuate weight depending on time of year. I think since I prefer the exo layout that I’ll just go with that and if it doesn’t work go with the Kifaru.

Anyone know if there’s a big weight difference between exo and Kifaru? Either of them have a better build quality than the other?

I found a guy locally with an exo and will get hands on right after work.
 
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AKaDougie

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I’m built like a 5’7 scale model of an abrams tank. I’m a power lifter so I Fluctuate weight depending on time of year. I think since I prefer the exo layout that I’ll just go with that and if it doesn’t work go with the Kifaru.

Anyone know if there’s a big weight difference between exo and Kifaru? Either of them have a better build quality than the other?
I previously had emr2 and reckoning. I’d say kifaru packs are built to last a long time. After one season I have a small hole in EXO lid.
 

mfllood3800

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RK4,
I know you named the ones interested in, and many topics will address many if not all the packs, but for a 5 dayer, you left a gang of choices off the table. I have Kifaru (3 packs) and EXO (1 Pack). I will say the EXO if getting in and out thru out the day. The Kifaru for just plain packing gear in and getting in deep. But with that I have the AMR (My most fav pack of all times hands down), The Tahr and the Fulcrum. The Amr is simply a bag that holds some volume and is modular and can haul even more via pouches, lids, etc. All I am saying is check out the AMR, get a lid, and a couple belt pouches for the belt, ( i store my bow release in there (Hinge type). and maybe some large belt pouches for the molly on the bag. You just cant beat the simplicity of a large bag with no frills.
 
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