Choosing First Pack

Kopfjager

Junior Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
27
Location
Bakersfield, California
Greetings All!

My name is Nick, and I have been lurking around for a little bit, and the time has come for me to make my first post! I am looking to purchase my first pack for hunting, and needless to say, the process has been a little daunting. For a little background... I am 33, and will be hunting deer, pig, and turkey, all for the first time this year. Will be day-tripping for the most part, with maybe a smattering of overnight trips. I am 6'4" 260 lbs (working on bringing that down), with a 33" inseam and 38" waist.

I am somewhat budget minded, but don't mind spending on quality kit. I initially started looking at Badlands and Eberlestock, and as I've researched more and more, looked into Exo, Outdoorsmans, Kuiu, Kifaru, and more, and now my head is spinning. I want to get something that will last and will grow with me as I branch out and hunt more species, and more often, but I don't want something that's gonna be overkill either. Not to mention all the other hunting related accouterments I'm having to drop money on.

Let me know what you fine folks think! I appreciate your input, and look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Nick
 

WV Mountaineer

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Oct 2, 2016
Messages
1,779
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West Virginia
I assuming you are going to have to pack your dead animals out instead f drag them out. So, for me, if were doing trips from the truck like you are, I'd get a day pack with the ability to haul meat out when done. Being it is a day pack, it needs to have a meat shelf option.


I just bought my first top end pack. I choose Kifaru. Actually, I just bought the frame and intend to buy the bag later. Don't need it right now as I have a cargo panel to train with. I had a hard time choosing between Kifaru, Stone Glacier, Exo, and seek outside. All of these frames are touted as top end and all are modular. Meaning, you can buy different bags for different applications and use the same frame. And are all supposed to haul heavy loads well. So, I think you are on the right road eliminating all but these brands. You got a long torso so you should narrow your search even more of these brands. I'll leave that to you but, frame height is important when you are that tall man.
So, check and see which of these brands have a frame height that will work with your height. Not against it.


Some guys like packing meat in their bags. I've done that a bunch. And, while it was never in a top of the line pack, I don't like that as much as when packing on a shelf. It requires a much larger bag and that adds bulk. Brush and bulky packs dont mix. That's why I suggested a daypack with a meat shelf. Day pack loads should be light enough that when you sandwich the meat between the bag and the frame, it doesn't cause a balance issue or undo stress due to a sagging load in a bag.



This was just my opinon based on my needs and experience. But, nothing is worse than being 4 miles from camp or truck and, having to go back to get a freighter frame to get a deer out. I'd hunt with the intent and the ability to bring it when I came. Plus, if you ever want to over night, a dry bag sandwiched between frame and pack bag will be more than do able with one of these companies daypacks. Good luck and God Bless
 

Superkodiak38

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
648
Location
Maryland
If there is anyway you can find someone in your area with a pack you can try I would advise you to. I have a Kifaru and Kuiu pack at my house I borrowed from a friend and will be running those with loads this week to see which fits me better. I am roughly the same size as you but everyone is built different and what works for most doesn't ussualy work the same for those of us fully grown ;) ... that's a joke..haha
 

couesbitten

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Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,462
Location
East Wenatchee, WA
Superk's suggestion to try and find someone in your area that would be willing to let you try a pack is a great suggestion, I've done that for guys before. If you're unable to find a pack to take for a test run, you can always buy and return if you have to. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with any of them. Kifaru, Exo, Stone Glacier, and Seek Outside all make quality packs and all have great features. I personally own a Kifaru and an Exo, and love them both. In the end, buying a pack is kind of like buying a pair of shoes, you've got to try them on, see what fits, what features you like/dislike, and then choose the one that's best for you. Good luck in your search, let us know what you decide.
 

oldgoat

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Mar 5, 2015
Messages
1,631
Location
Arvada, CO
So, lots of good advice already, a saying you've probably heard already, buy once, cry once is true, but if you buy Kifaru, your just about guaranteed to buy some more Kifaru, grin! The great thing about Kifaru is the modularity, buy a smaller daypack type bag now and if you get where you want to backpack hunt, you just pick up a bigger bag, swap it out on the frame and go! Plus the Kifaru gear holds its value for resale like no other. So if it ain't for you, resale it on the classifieds and you aren't out very much. If your a buy used guy, I still recommend buying a frame new so that it's preadjusted pretty close to what you need and pick up bags and pockets etc used. Good luck, hope you find what you're looking for!
 

Jimss

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2015
Messages
1,324
I'd say go Kifaru and don't look back! I don't think I've known anyone that has many complaints about Kifaru. It's super nice buying a solid, comfortable frame capable of 100+ lb loads and having the option of switching out several bags and accessories. Mine will definitely last my lifetime. I currently use a EMR II bag for super hefty/bulky loads for multi-day backpack hunts for sheep, mtn goat, deer, elk, bear, etc. It's nice having an oversized bag for hauling capes, boned meat, spotting scope, and gear. I've even used it the last 2 springs to haul bulky turkey decoys plus harvested toms.

I have a Timberline bag that I often use for day hunts. It's smaller and lighter so easier to get through brush and hunt in stealth mode. If I happen to harvest a deer 4 miles for the truck I can bone and haul it out rather than wasting a trip and having to return if I had used a daypack. The Timberline has lots of great outside pockets for quick and easy access to gear. I often add a guide lid to both packs for access to maps, food, gps, shells, calls, etc. I also have a Badlands daypack that I have used and abused for years. I often use it for scouting or daytrips where I don't expect to be hauling meat/capes, etc.

If you are on a tight budget I would recommend watching the classified section on this website, Craigslist, Ebay, etc. You can usually find pretty good discounts on nearly new frames/bags. I looked at Stone Glacier and others. Kifaru offered camo and quite a few different bag/accessory options that weren't available with other brands. Welcome to this website and good luck this hunting season!
 

mrbillbrown

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2013
Messages
2,877
Location
Edmond, OK
Buy once cry once they say. Had I followed the advice from all the experienced guys to buy my Kifaru gear from the start I would have saved tons of time, money, and heartache trying to get a solid pack system that won't let me down. Bet I wasted 2yrs, thousands of dollars (buying, trying, selling, rebuying, retrying, reselling etc), and hundreds of man-hours with crappy ill fitting or ill-performing packs on my back only to realize I shoulda bit the bullet and bought Kifaru from the start.

Obviously pack fit should be paramount but starting out with Alpha level gear can and will save you lots of trouble. Call Aron, his cell number is all over the Internet (or pm me and I'll give it to you) and give him your needs. He'll be honest and upfront on what they can offer you.
 
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Kopfjager

Junior Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
27
Location
Bakersfield, California
I'm beyond appreciative for all of the input! Looks like I'll probably be going with what my growing gut instinct has been over the past few weeks, which is a Kifaru Hunter frame, and something like the Woodsman pack to go on it.

I'd like to start training as soon as possible, so if I get the frame in the next few weeks, how could I go about getting out with a weighted setup in the shortest time possible?
 

oldgoat

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Mar 5, 2015
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Arvada, CO
So you talking order frame first then get pack later? You could order a lash kit with it and strap sand bag or bag of kitty litter what ever, there are tab loops to hook too, you could also order a Grab It II. There was a hell of a good deal on a Nomad setup with all the stuff on the classifieds today.
 

coop22250

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2016
Messages
2,178
Location
Palmer AK
I highly recommend barneys packframe. I'm 6'5" 260 and it fits great. The suspension is the most comfy I've tried on and I harassed shops for awhile before deciding. I was on a budget also so I purchased the frame alone, which I think was 289. With their high end bag it is 6-700, so I found an identical bag by Alps mountaineering built from not quite as good of material for $50. Enough room for a 10 day sheep hunt, alpha frame, rifle holder built in, scope pockets, water pouch, attaches with pins in existing holes. It's used up here for moose quarters so it should hold up to anything I can put it through.



This has 10 day supply load minus tent/rifle.
 

WV Mountaineer

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Oct 2, 2016
Messages
1,779
Location
West Virginia
I did the same thing. I ordered a frame and waited on the bag. I wanted to make sure the bag purchase was the right one for me. So, I got what I needed to keep up the training hikes until doing so.



If you have a bit of webbing and some hardware, you can strap anything to the frame. Rope works too. I use vinyl sandbags with sand that are compressed really tight and duct taped. So there isn't a lot of shifting. I also bought a cargo panel. Probably use that more than the hillbilly way. But, the hillbilly way will work fine too if you need it too.


I wouldn't hesitate to tell others to do this until you decide what bag best suits your needs. At the price they cost, I had to be sure. It sounds like you do too. Good luck and God Bless
 

muddydogs

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Joined
May 3, 2017
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1,081
Location
Utah
For what its worth I just got my Mystery Ranch Cabinet pack and at 6'10" 300 pounds with a 40 inch waist it fits great. MR has a lot of adjustability in there Yoke system which makes it nice for the tall guys. MR only lists an XL waist belt that runs from 34 to 39 inches but if you give them a call they do have an XXL waist belt that runs 40+. I hauled a lot of meat with an Eberlestock Dragon Fly the last few years and I thought it was the bomb but this MR Cabinet has it beat for comfort, weight and size.
 

R_burg

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2016
Messages
423
Location
AZ
Since you will (and have) hear otherwise on here numerous times, I will be the dissenting voice.

I think "buy once cry once" is a fallacy.

When it comes to backpacking gear, it pays off in the long run to try things, sell it, buy others, and work your way through figuring out what is best for you. Unless you are lucky enough to use all the popular packs out there in real world situations to figure out what works best for you, it very well might take a couple steps to get to the right one. That applies if your first pack is an Osprey internal frame or a Kifaru.

Theres at least 4-6 quality pack manufacturers that build a pack you should have no issues with. The trick is finding one that fits YOU. You will hear Kifaru 1000x on this forum. They make a great pack. But they are not the end-all-be-all.

Try as much as you can, buy what seems like it will work, and then move on to a new one if you are having issues. Don't get married to something because the internet talked you into spending 800 bucks on your first pack.
 

ams

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Messages
579
Location
Northern CA
If your up in northern California you are more than welcome to try my seek outside. Also kuiu is just an hour or so from me (I'm not recommending them but you can see for yourself) there are plenty of kifaru guys around and it's a great pack. My buddy ordered a custom 28" frame from them and at your height I would call a few companies and see what they recommend.
 
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Kopfjager

Junior Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
27
Location
Bakersfield, California
Well, given my proximity (or lack thereof) to any distributors where I may be able to try out any of the mentioned packs/frames, I believe I'm just going to bite the bullet and order the Kifaru Hunter frame in coyote brown with aluminium stays, with the woodsman pack in either highlander or ranger green, still trying to decide on the color. That being said, is there anything else that needs to come with the initial order, if I'm just planning on training hikes? Thanks again everyone for your input!
 

Cant hit em

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2014
Messages
2,242
Well, given my proximity (or lack thereof) to any distributors where I may be able to try out any of the mentioned packs/frames, I believe I'm just going to bite the bullet and order the Kifaru Hunter frame in coyote brown with aluminium stays, with the woodsman pack in either highlander or ranger green, still trying to decide on the color. That being said, is there anything else that needs to come with the initial order, if I'm just planning on training hikes? Thanks again everyone for your input!

Ill be in Fresno friday morning if your close and want to try on a Stone Glacier Krux. With that said you really cant go wrong with the packs you mentioned they are all top notch


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Kopfjager

Junior Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
27
Location
Bakersfield, California
Ill be in Fresno friday morning if your close and want to try on a Stone Glacier Krux. With that said you really cant go wrong with the packs you mentioned they are all top notch


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I'm most appreciative for the offer! Unfortunately/fortunately (however you wanna look at it) I will be heading out towards Anacapa to do some fishing for the day. Thank you again though, for the opportunity!


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kcm2

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Messages
167
One of my Kifaru packs is 19 years old. It has been used to pack out a lot of elk, probably eight or ten, and years of bowhunting. It still looks like it is new, and works like it is new. Now, I have 2 other larger Kifaru packs, soon to be 3 as I ordered a mountain warrior. You will get your money's worth out of anything with a rhino on it.
 
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Kopfjager

Junior Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
27
Location
Bakersfield, California
Well, I just hit the submit button on my Kifaru order! Went with the 26" CB Hunter frame, and the RG Woodsman pack. Added a Chamber and Nalgene pocket as well. Now just hoping the color combo looks as good as I'm thinking it will! Again, I appreciate everybody's input!

Nick
 
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