3 Pack Showdown - Advice needed!

OP
TheBootBowhunting

TheBootBowhunting

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Jun 27, 2019
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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.

I was able to find a guy with a k2 exo, I think as much as I’m going to be using this pack year round, I need to stick with the Kifaru for the durability. He pointed out some issues he had with the lid sliding off the frame and a few other things and I just need to bite the bullet and pay the extra for the Kifaru. I started out wanting Kifaru and I guess that’s the answer.

I’m looking into the AMR and fulcrum now. Does anyone know if Kifaru will still make the “marge” belt if I put it in the notes on the order? I’m between sizes and think that might be the way to go.
 
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mfllood3800

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I was able to find a guy with a k2 exo, I think as much as I’m going to be using this pack year round, I need to stick with the Kifaru for the durability. He pointed out some issues he had with the lid sliding off the frame and a few other things and I just need to bite the bullet and pay the extra for the Kifaru. I started out wanting Kifaru and I guess that’s the answer.

I’m looking into the AMR and fulcrum now. Does anyone know if Kifaru will still make the “marge” belt if I put it in the notes on the order? I’m between sizes and think that might be the way to go.
I too am between sizes and went with medium. The only downfall it it is, is the belt when released to take it off, only leaves about 2" of tag ends to grab to pull tight. I am a 33-34 waist. I just didnt want to have a long tag end when cinched up. I will add I dont care for the fulcrum, with permanent spotter pockets, I wish they were removable. But for some, they would install those exact same pockets right there anywhere, so it fits them. I just like the simple open bag with ability to put pouches and pockets when and where needed.
 
OP
TheBootBowhunting

TheBootBowhunting

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Location
Louisiana
I too am between sizes and went with medium. The only downfall it it is, is the belt when released to take it off, only leaves about 2" of tag ends to grab to pull tight. I am a 33-34 waist. I just didnt want to have a long tag end when cinched up. I will add I dont care for the fulcrum, with permanent spotter pockets, I wish they were removable. But for some, they would install those exact same pockets right there anywhere, so it fits them. I just like the simple open bag with ability to put pouches and pockets when and where needed.

Do you mean you went with small? Small is 31-34, medium is 34-38. I was about to order and read that. If you are 33-34 waist and a medium only gives you short tags, I need to go up as I’m 36.
 

mfllood3800

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I think the med would work and you'd have short tag ends, but the L would have longer when cinched. The L also gives you room to grow. But if you're going keto, well maybe the M lol
 
OP
TheBootBowhunting

TheBootBowhunting

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I’ll just wait till they open Monday. All kinda conflicting info about the belt sizes. Read a thread where a few 36” waist guys said they went medium, and a 33” waist guy is saying he barely has room in a medium.
 

mfllood3800

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Waiting and trying for yourself is always the best idea. Some guys wear the belt on the top of the hip, as recommended, others like myself cannot do that. When I called Aron he said wear it as it is most comfortable so my belt rides up higher than usual. You need to keep this in mind- we all wear them differently. Plus some guys measure their waist correctly and others don't.

If you are a 36, the yes a medium will work, not "barely", but it will be on the tail end of the mediums purpose, yet still be fine. I actually prefer this as to- If you went to a large, I feel it would feel a bit floppy when cinched, meaning a longer section of belt hanging from the buckle ends.

Both will work, just depends what YOU like. I suspect you will go with the medium if you wear the belt at the iliac area as is standard practice.

Just a reminder, if you also wear a belt on pants that will add some thickness to the overall set up. I don't wear other belts with a pack as belt on belt is uncomfortable to me.
At the end of the day you will love your new Kifaru.
 
OP
TheBootBowhunting

TheBootBowhunting

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Jun 27, 2019
Messages
401
Location
Louisiana
Waiting and trying for yourself is always the best idea. Some guys wear the belt on the top of the hip, as recommended, others like myself cannot do that. When I called Aron he said wear it as it is most comfortable so my belt rides up higher than usual. You need to keep this in mind- we all wear them differently. Plus some guys measure their waist correctly and others don't.

If you are a 36, the yes a medium will work, not "barely", but it will be on the tail end of the mediums purpose, yet still be fine. I actually prefer this as to- If you went to a large, I feel it would feel a bit floppy when cinched, meaning a longer section of belt hanging from the buckle ends.

Both will work, just depends what YOU like. I suspect you will go with the medium if you wear the belt at the iliac area as is standard practice.

Just a reminder, if you also wear a belt on pants that will add some thickness to the overall set up. I don't wear other belts with a pack as belt on belt is uncomfortable to me.
At the end of the day you will love your new Kifaru.

Thanks for that. You’re probably right in the medium. I go from a 34-38 depending on time of year and if I’m training for a lifting meet. I’ll give them a call next week.
 

CO-AJ

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Apr 23, 2020
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Colorado
I think many of us have compared the Exo and Kifaru. I went with the K3 6400 and really love the simplicity. I prefer to pack using individual bags inside rather than have a bunch of sewn in organization, plus the Exo overall was quite a bit lighter than the Kifaru. The Exo 6400 packs down small so you could use it as a day pack or do a 5-7 day hunt/hike with it. I have read some guys on Rokslide say the Exo slips around a bit on them, but I havent seen it on mine. I am 5-11 and 180.
 
OP
TheBootBowhunting

TheBootBowhunting

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Jun 27, 2019
Messages
401
Location
Louisiana
I think many of us have compared the Exo and Kifaru. I went with the K3 6400 and really love the simplicity. I prefer to pack using individual bags inside rather than have a bunch of sewn in organization, plus the Exo overall was quite a bit lighter than the Kifaru. The Exo 6400 packs down small so you could use it as a day pack or do a 5-7 day hunt/hike with it. I have read some guys on Rokslide say the Exo slips around a bit on them, but I havent seen it on mine. I am 5-11 and 180.

I ended up taking the plunge and ordering both the Kifaru and Exo. I will do a full comparison review of both once Ive had some time in them. I fully expect to keep both as I use them year round and I like to have the versatility that the Kifaru offers. Oddly enough, I like the simplicity of the Exo. I will use them enough to justify having both.

I ordered the Exo on Saturday, and it arrived the following Thursday. They claim 2 days shipping for in stock items, and it did indeed ship within 2 days. I ordered Exo 4800 system, and 1800 bag for a day pack, pockets, crib panel, bow holder etc. I was hunting all weekend so I haven't even had time to do anything with it, but the quality is obvious.

I ordered the Kifaru 44mag, frame, pockets the day after. It is set to arrive 11/2-11/9. If you need a bag in a hurry, Exo - as long as its in stock - will easily be faster. To be fair, Kifaru is very up front with their lead times. Youll know when you order the estimated wait. Makes it much easier to deal with as opposed to ordering something without knowing the wait time. I have a bunch of Kifaru gear, and all of it has been worth the wait. Ive never owned a Kifaru external frame pack, so this will be new for me.

But I have a few section hikes/backpack camping trips planned and Ill do some stadium stair workouts with both as well as some longer heavy rucks. Ill do a full stand alone thread comparing them, hopefully I can help someone else trying to decide.
 
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kong

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Nov 22, 2018
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Hawaii
If anything check the buy and sell here and buy a used bag/frame or whatever you can find. Pretty good deals can be had.
 

roosiebull

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Aug 23, 2014
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oregon coast
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.
sounds like you have set yourself up for success regardless.... you have the best 2 choices picked imo. i have never owned a kifaru pack (own lots of their stuff though) but did pack a bull out with one of their older frames, so i obviously cannot speak on them... right now my go to pack is an EXO 3500.... i have owned a pile of packs, and had an EXO K1 in the past, they are just the perfect blend of weight, durability, function and comfort, i cannot picture a better pack for my needs, but i will own a Kifaru in the future....

i won't sell my EXO to get one, but i am curious about Kifaru packs, and i'm sure i'll love it, they are the king of packs, and didn't get that way from hype alone

curious what direction you go and your thoughts when you get it.... you are making a wise decision regardless
 

Prrstonpaulh

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Nov 5, 2019
Messages
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I ended up taking the plunge and ordering both the Kifaru and Exo. I will do a full comparison review of both once Ive had some time in them. I fully expect to keep both as I use them year round and I like to have the versatility that the Kifaru offers. Oddly enough, I like the simplicity of the Exo. I will use them enough to justify having both.

I ordered the Exo on Saturday, and it arrived the following Thursday. They claim 2 days shipping for in stock items, and it did indeed ship within 2 days. I ordered Exo 4800 system, and 1800 bag for a day pack, pockets, crib panel, bow holder etc. I was hunting all weekend so I haven't even had time to do anything with it, but the quality is obvious.

I ordered the Kifaru 44mag, frame, pockets the day after. It is set to arrive 11/2-11/9. If you need a bag in a hurry, Exo - as long as its in stock - will easily be faster. To be fair, Kifaru is very up front with their lead times. Youll know when you order the estimated wait. Makes it much easier to deal with as opposed to ordering something without knowing the wait time. I have a bunch of Kifaru gear, and all of it has been worth the wait. Ive never owned a Kifaru external frame pack, so this will be new for me.

But I have a few section hikes/backpack camping trips planned and Ill do some stadium stair workouts with both as well as some longer heavy rucks. Ill do a full stand alone thread comparing them, hopefully I can help someone else trying to decide.

I'm definitely interested in reading your thoughts on these packs. I've been having a similar debate.
 

AD338

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Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
13
I ended up taking the plunge and ordering both the Kifaru and Exo. I will do a full comparison review of both once Ive had some time in them. I fully expect to keep both as I use them year round and I like to have the versatility that the Kifaru offers. Oddly enough, I like the simplicity of the Exo. I will use them enough to justify having both.

I ordered the Exo on Saturday, and it arrived the following Thursday. They claim 2 days shipping for in stock items, and it did indeed ship within 2 days. I ordered Exo 4800 system, and 1800 bag for a day pack, pockets, crib panel, bow holder etc. I was hunting all weekend so I haven't even had time to do anything with it, but the quality is obvious.

I ordered the Kifaru 44mag, frame, pockets the day after. It is set to arrive 11/2-11/9. If you need a bag in a hurry, Exo - as long as its in stock - will easily be faster. To be fair, Kifaru is very up front with their lead times. Youll know when you order the estimated wait. Makes it much easier to deal with as opposed to ordering something without knowing the wait time. I have a bunch of Kifaru gear, and all of it has been worth the wait. Ive never owned a Kifaru external frame pack, so this will be new for me.

But I have a few section hikes/backpack camping trips planned and Ill do some stadium stair workouts with both as well as some longer heavy rucks. Ill do a full stand alone thread comparing them, hopefully I can help someone else trying to decide.
I'm also looking at these two packs and in looking forward to your review and thoughts between the 2.
 

Sweetleavzzz

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Joined
Jun 5, 2019
Messages
12
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?
Why not a stone glacier. The comfort and versatility is incredible
 

trophyhill

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Feb 27, 2012
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Tijeras NM
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.

On the contrary. It will be the last pack he buys ;)

On a serious note though, I bought a Hoodlum and a Tactical and a Duplex Light frame. This will absolutely be the last pack I buy. It checks all my boxes and fits all my needs. I just need to decide which frame I like better. Decisions decisions
 

Elkivory2

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Jan 18, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Flagstaff, AZ
I just picked up a EXO 4800 K3 and it is unbelievably comfortable! So glad I took the plunge. Now I just need to trade the sand bags for bloody game bags!
 

Jbxl20

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Dec 29, 2020
Messages
52
Location
PA
I have no regrets with my K3 6400. Was worried that it was way to big for 5 day trips but packs down just as small as the other EXO packs. The extra size is in the roll top and gets covered by the lid anyways. K3 frame fits great. Small belt and Frame. (32 waist 5-10 165lbs)
 
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