Backpack Shootout - 9 Backpacks Go HEAD to HEAD ***Updated 8/5/2020***

Fins_N_Tines

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2016
Messages
885
Location
Moorpark, CA
@Zach Herold there isn’t a lot of discussion on the Initial Ascent in the comments. The pack seemed to do well in all the tests. It didn’t do as well as the SG in the heavy load. What was main reason? Did it slip, not as comfortable, to much weight on shoulders etc...
 

michaelmoore10

Junior Member
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
13
I will be testing some of the leading packs against each other. I have several tests lines up to simulate hunting and backpacking scenarios.

I Will Be Testing:
  • KIFARU
  • KUIU
  • Stone Glacier
  • Exo
  • Eberlee Stock
  • Initial Ascent
  • Mystery Ranch
  • Sitka
  • Seek Outside
I hope to do a two part test on the packs. Part One: Tests, features, specs, cost etc. Part Two: 5+ day trip taking each pack on a trip and reviewing its performance after the trip. If the people I am with or myself don't harvest on the trip, I will use that pack until I am able to have an actual pack out with it.
I hope to do a two part test on the packs. Part One: Tests, features, specs, cost etc. Part Two: 5+ day trip taking each pack on a trip and reviewing its performance after the trip. If the people I am with or myself don't harvest on the trip, I will use that pack until I am able to have an actual pack out with it.

***Update 8/5/2020*** The Backpack Showdown - Part 1

Please let me know in the comments:
  • Questions you have on each specific pack.
  • Tests you would like to see performed.
  • Anything else that comes to mind.
Thank you!
Awesome
 

Elkobsessed

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
11
Hands down, the best, most unbiased backpack review I have seen yet. Lot of fanboys for several of the brands that make it hard to gauge, but you broke it down into a review that should help a lot of people. Great Work, can't wait to see part 2
 

RK4

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2019
Messages
263
Location
Louisiana
I keep coming back to this in this never ending quest for a 3-5 day pack thatll be the last one Ill need to buy. Im ok spending the $, so Im ok with it if its the be all, end all pack. I had it narrowed down to Initial Ascent IA4K and Kifaru 44mag/duplex lite and a stryker to swap out when needed. I have a good bit of Kifaru gear, belts, pouches, quiver, day packs, etc, but no multi day frame packs. Top of the line stuff, I like that Snyder is a Vet and a gear junkie and its made in the USA. The options on the frame are somewhat hard to pin down, and know if youre getting the right thing. Theyve made videos, people have responded to questions Ive asked on here, and I while I havent called, I dont doubt theyd get me figured out. And while the money isnt a main concern, I also dont want to f this up as the same time.

Ive never touched anything from Initial Ascent, I dont know much about the owner. I like the layout of the 4k as is, better than any other pack out there. Its simple and has enough space to do what I need to do. Pouches and access on the bag itself would be perfect for what Im looking for without needed to buy any extra pouches or lids. Made in the USA as well. I like supporting up and coming companies, but honestly, I *believe* they sponsor a few people that I dont believe contribute much to hunting as much as they take. Maybe thats a dumbass reason, but its a reason. Snyder is constantly geeking out over gear, answering questions, picking fly shit out of chili, and convincing us, successfully, that spending more money is the best way to spend less money.

Ultimately, I think Ill be ordering the Kifaru setup soon. It shouldnt be this difficult buying a backpack, but I guess that theres enough good options out there that it might be a good problem to have.
 
OP
Zach Herold

Zach Herold

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2019
Messages
78
@Zach Herold there isn’t a lot of discussion on the Initial Ascent in the comments. The pack seemed to do well in all the tests. It didn’t do as well as the SG in the heavy load. What was main reason? Did it slip, not as comfortable, to much weight on shoulders etc...

It wasn't as comfortable. For my body build, the hip belt digs into my lower ribs. Dennis sent me some new hip belt pads and that helped, but it still digs in. There was little to no slippage with the heavy weight and the load was very secure especially with their loan panier.
 
OP
Zach Herold

Zach Herold

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2019
Messages
78
I keep coming back to this in this never ending quest for a 3-5 day pack thatll be the last one Ill need to buy. Im ok spending the $, so Im ok with it if its the be all, end all pack. I had it narrowed down to Initial Ascent IA4K and Kifaru 44mag/duplex lite and a stryker to swap out when needed. I have a good bit of Kifaru gear, belts, pouches, quiver, day packs, etc, but no multi day frame packs. Top of the line stuff, I like that Snyder is a Vet and a gear junkie and its made in the USA. The options on the frame are somewhat hard to pin down, and know if youre getting the right thing. Theyve made videos, people have responded to questions Ive asked on here, and I while I havent called, I dont doubt theyd get me figured out. And while the money isnt a main concern, I also dont want to f this up as the same time.

Ive never touched anything from Initial Ascent, I dont know much about the owner. I like the layout of the 4k as is, better than any other pack out there. Its simple and has enough space to do what I need to do. Pouches and access on the bag itself would be perfect for what Im looking for without needed to buy any extra pouches or lids. Made in the USA as well. I like supporting up and coming companies, but honestly, I *believe* they sponsor a few people that I dont believe contribute much to hunting as much as they take. Maybe thats a dumbass reason, but its a reason. Snyder is constantly geeking out over gear, answering questions, picking fly shit out of chili, and convincing us, successfully, that spending more money is the best way to spend less money.

Ultimately, I think Ill be ordering the Kifaru setup soon. It shouldnt be this difficult buying a backpack, but I guess that theres enough good options out there that it might be a good problem to have.

Best of luck with your decision and let me know if I can help.
 

Aqua Sage

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2020
Messages
13
Location
Lakewood, CO
Good Readup, looks like I will be checking out the KUIU, SG, and IA as the top 3. Looking for something that won't break the bank will be next hurdle and I may have to go used. Curious which of those would probably hold up better after being purchased used?
 

Hoghead

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
73
I think a lot depends on your build. I'm 5'11 and 220 pounds. I'm not ripped but I don't carry much fat. I have the initial acent 4k and 2k. I have hauled 4 deer and couldn't count the hogs mostly in day pack mode. I love this set up it works for me. The layout of the bags and how easy they are to chang is a big plus. I know other companies have similar options but I talked to Dennis and he is great to deal with. I called before I bought with some questions and he straightened me out. I even offered to take him pig hunting if he ever makes it to California. If you can try a couple on that your buddies have that would be a good thing.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

EVO100517

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
18
I have the K3 4800 and I don't think its fills every role from day to extended, however, it's the most comfortable pack I own and I have used it on day hikes/hunts.
For extended trips, depending on gear/weight loadout you could make it a week with food, but you'd have to be into the ultralight/lightweight crowd.
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2020
Messages
2
Location
Dingman ferry, Pennsylvania
I will be testing some of the leading packs against each other. I have several tests lines up to simulate hunting and backpacking scenarios.

I Will Be Testing:
  • KIFARU
  • KUIU
  • Stone Glacier
  • Exo
  • Eberlee Stock
  • Initial Ascent
  • Mystery Ranch
  • Sitka
  • Seek Outside
I hope to do a two part test on the packs. Part One: Tests, features, specs, cost etc. Part Two: 5+ day trip taking each pack on a trip and reviewing its performance after the trip. If the people I am with or myself don't harvest on the trip, I will use that pack until I am able to have an actual pack out with it.
I hope to do a two part test on the packs. Part One: Tests, features, specs, cost etc. Part Two: 5+ day trip taking each pack on a trip and reviewing its performance after the trip. If the people I am with or myself don't harvest on the trip, I will use that pack until I am able to have an actual pack out with it.

***Update 8/5/2020*** The Backpack Showdown - Part 1

Please let me know in the comments:
  • Questions you have on each specific pack.
  • Tests you would like to see performed.
  • Anything else that comes to mind.
Thank you!
Really nice review Zach. I am trying to decide between the Kuiu pack and the exo mountain gear pack. If you had to choose between the 2 what would you prefer.
 
OP
Zach Herold

Zach Herold

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2019
Messages
78
Will you end up ranking the packs from best to worse? Or maybe rank them based on certain features?
I will at least tell which ones are my favorites and why and also tell why the others were not my favorites.
 
OP
Zach Herold

Zach Herold

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2019
Messages
78
Really nice review Zach. I am trying to decide between the Kuiu pack and the exo mountain gear pack. If you had to choose between the 2 what would you prefer.
Probably the KUIU. They are working on coming out with some new bags too which will be awesome. Their suspension rocks. I really do like the exo and the only issue I had at all with it was under heavy load (160lbs) the lumbar pad seemed to move some other than that, it is an awesome pack.
 
OP
Zach Herold

Zach Herold

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2019
Messages
78
Good Readup, looks like I will be checking out the KUIU, SG, and IA as the top 3. Looking for something that won't break the bank will be next hurdle and I may have to go used. Curious which of those would probably hold up better after being purchased used?
The KUIU I tested was a buddies and has been used hard. It was still in great shape. I think it would depend more on who used it and how ha ha.
 

Hoghead

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2019
Messages
73
I have had my IA pack for 3 years. It has held up great. I have done backpacking fishing trips and many hunts. I have hauled 4 deer and to many hogs to count it's still comfortable and the material has held up great.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 
Top