Backpacking packs VS Hunting specific pack

Desk Jockey

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Apr 5, 2015
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2,280
I think the right backpacking packs would do fine for hunting. As noted above, you give up a few specific features and some frame stiffness, along with a Meat shelf.

I think hunting packs are a bit overkill to go the other way. I used my Metcalf on backpacking trips in yellow stone and the Grand Canyon in the last 2 years along with some shorter trips. It is just more pack and frame than was needed. I bought a gossamer gear pack this year in an effort to reduce May base weight for backpacking. Cut my pack weight in more than half and I can still haul up to 40# for long backpacking trips.

I am fortunate to have packs that are specialized for each use. If I only had one pack to do everything, it would probably be an MR glacier or a Metcalf or something similar.
 

Tango1

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Joined
Aug 7, 2014
Messages
63
Location
Orlando, FL
I also try to keep a company’s views on hunting, gun rights etc in mind when making my decisions. I enjoy my MR, Kifaru and Exo packs more knowing they support hunting. Not sure about other backpack companies, but Osprey is most definitely not a friend to hunters and firearms owners.
 

asbates318

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2019
Messages
14
I am in the same situation this year. I have had a pack to haul my camp but it is not "designed" to haul an animal. Thinking of using it this year and maybe next but want to switch to a pack designed for hauling both my camp and meat eventually. I like the packs that have the option of having the meat next to your body versus the meat on the outside of the pack (dragging you back).
 

Runningwater

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Jan 11, 2016
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Broomfield, CO
Most of us on here over a certain age who have been backcountry hunting long enough all started with backpacking gear - that's all there was! I started with a hand me down 60's vintage Kelty (still probably the lightest pack I've ever used), eventually moved to a Dana Designs Long Bed, then a decade or so later to a Kifaru, and for the last few years a Seek Outside. Personally, I'd rather have a high end backpacking pack than a mid-range hunting pack if it was for going any considerable distance.

I think the biggest thing to keep in mind anymore if you go that route is to make sure the pack can reasonably handle what you plan to throw at it. In the last 10-15 years with the ultralite movement in backpacking, I think the majority of the packs, even from quality name brands, really aren't designed to handle more than about 50 pounds. There's just a limit of what a pack can do when its goal is to come in under 3 lbs. There are certainly backpacking packs out there that are made to haul much more than that, but are in the minority IMO.

Enjoy the upcoming season whichever route you choose!
 

piercej

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Aug 20, 2019
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PNW
If you are packing heavy loads for a long ways, then a hunting specific pack can be far superior, but definitely not necessary.
Many backpack specific packs are designed for loads of no more than 80#. Get too heavy and the frames flex too much -probably won’t break but probably won’t be comfortable either. With a hunting pack, you can put a heavy load of mass as close to your center gravity as possible in addition to a stiffer and stronger frame. If you’re talking about SG, Exo, Kifaru etc, you’re more limited by how much weight your body can tolerate rather than the pack. Any of those brands can reliably handle 200# of weight or more.
You hit it on the head. All of my Kifaru packs can carry far more weight than I can but my backpacking packs start losing support and no longer transfer the weight correctly once you get past 60-80 lbs
 

hikenhunt

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Jan 28, 2013
Messages
52
Location
WA
Agree with most everyone that most backpacking packs aren't going to be as comfortable when you start getting over 60+ pounds. One thing that I don't believe was mentioned yet is that you should also weigh how often are you going to use it. Once a year for a 3-4 day hunt, you could survive with a cheaper pack. If you're potentially packing multiple animals per year, your body will appreciate a bigger investment.
 

wiiawiwb

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
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336
Location
In the mountains
I also use my Seek Outside as a day pack even thought I have several. It is exceedingly comfortable even with modest weight. The only time I use a true lightweight day pack is when I am going in quickly and back and will carry almost nothing. In that case, I use a ZPacks.

That said, I still prefer the Seek Outside. It carries water which is more easily accessed than any other pack I;ve ever owned. It is one of the unique features that is very well thought out. Other backpack makers should take note.

For the picture below, my backpack, top lid, and Talon were stuffed so they would present well. In daypack mode, they are not filled and are rolled down into nothing.
 

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Cng

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2019
Messages
124
Location
KY
I’ve been in your boat for a while. Always whitetail hunted, spent a bundle on backpacking gear, and when I decided to join my interests, it was hard to stomach spending even more on another pack.

You’ve gotten some good advice here, and I’m not sure I have anything more of value to add, but if, like me, you don’t have anywhere nearby that carries the higher end hunting packs, I took some comparison photos of my Osprey Aether’s harness and belt next to my Mystery Ranch’s. Might help you see a little of where the money goes. Mystery Ranch is about twice as beefy all the way around. I haven’t gotten to haul meat yet, though.
 

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azn9879

Newbie
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Jan 13, 2019
Messages
5
In my experience I’ve found backpacking packs are hard to beat sub 50 lbs especially ospreys. But they aren’t really designed to go over 70+ and lack a few features that Are very hunting specific like meat shelves, the ability to switch between different size packs, etc...
 

JP100

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Dec 20, 2013
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South Island New Zealand
Id just stick with what you have and see how it goes.

Most hunters here still use 'back packing' packs, and plenty of non hunting designs are great, durable and light.

Hunting packs will-
Cost more-cos they are 'cool'
Generally have more modular options(which often is not needed and costs and weighs more)
Will handle heavier loads better
Maybe have a meat shelf option
often have a removable bag option-which is great for cleaning


Back packing packs generally are-
Lighter
super comfy with light loads
newer designs will struggle a bit with loads over 50lbs-new gear advancements means if your not hunting you will never have a heavy pack
Be cheaper


In reality how much of the time will you be haling meat? for most of us 90% of the time the pack is light/moderate load, and then only a small time spent packing heavy shit.

Heavy packs full of meat are heavy, not matter the pack design. and once you get much over about 80-90lbs its just heavy, regardless of brand.

Id just use what you have, see how it goes and if it doesnt work you will know for next time haha.

Most hunters started out with normal packs and we did just fine
 

deerkiller

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Feb 3, 2019
Messages
780
Id just stick with what you have and see how it goes.

Most hunters here still use 'back packing' packs, and plenty of non hunting designs are great, durable and light.

Hunting packs will-
Cost more-cos they are 'cool'
Generally have more modular options(which often is not needed and costs and weighs more)
Will handle heavier loads better
Maybe have a meat shelf option
often have a removable bag option-which is great for cleaning


Back packing packs generally are-
Lighter
super comfy with light loads
newer designs will struggle a bit with loads over 50lbs-new gear advancements means if your not hunting you will never have a heavy pack
Be cheaper


In reality how much of the time will you be haling meat? for most of us 90% of the time the pack is light/moderate load, and then only a small time spent packing heavy shit.

Heavy packs full of meat are heavy, not matter the pack design. and once you get much over about 80-90lbs its just heavy, regardless of brand.

Id just use what you have, see how it goes and if it doesnt work you will know for next time haha.

Most hunters started out with normal packs and we did just fine
granted that MOST of the time a "pack" will be used from gear, lunch, water bottle sure BUT when you need to haul meat (and that is the whole point of being on the HUNT or even "out there" isn't it ?) at THAT point you NEED a pack that will haul your meat cleanly, safely, hopefully comfortably (subjective topic), the meat shelf or meat sling alone is worth it, even for a deer IMO !
packs built with "backpacking" in mind "can" be comfortable but if you haven't packed meat you don't belong in the discussion (no insult intended here) When planning a backpack trip you load and reload and reload again to attain that perfect balance (and comfort level) for hiking on a trail to a predetermined destination, that's all good - When you are hauling in a "camp", so often not even knowing where that will be ahead of time and being lucky enough to harvest an animal that chose to expire at the most treacherous and ungodly spot imaginable THEN a purpose designed pack pays for itself in a heartbeat - some things are worth doing on the cheap and some are not, it's a personal decision that is often honed to a skill by experiences, good and sometimes not so good
 

*zap*

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N/E Kansas
Its pretty indisputable that a newer style hunting specific pack is a better option for hunting. Certainly not the only option thou.
 
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Sock

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Joined
Jul 18, 2019
Messages
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So I pulled the trigger on a lightly used Stone Glacier pack from a member on this forum.

I got an Xcurve Frame and a Solo bag.

It came the day I was leaving for a short backpacking trip so I repacked my gear into the pack to see how it felt. It was actually quite comfortable with a light load of only 43 lbs. The only downside was not having the pockets on the hips for hiking knick-knacks. I found a way to put my Osprey 2L hydration pack into the meat shelf between the pack and it worked nicely.

There are a few things I might change about the pack but regardless of what pack I got hindsight has me realizing that I needed a new pack, the one I have been using is 8 years old and has a decent amount of wear and tear.

Thanks for everyones input!
 

Northwinds308

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2019
Messages
87
The biggest difference is backpackers go in at 35-40 pounds and come out at 25-30 pounds.

Hunters go in 40-60 pounds and come out 100+ pounds.

I have an Osprey Volt that I liked for travelling around Europe but never would I put 120 pounds in it and expect it to be comfortable. There's a reason heavy duty military rucks- high end ones not junk- are designed more like backcountry hunting packs and less like Osprey or Kelty backpacking bags.
 
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