Elk Hunting backpack

treillw

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Mar 31, 2017
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425
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MT
Hello,

I’m in search of an elk hunting backpack. Currently I have a small day pack that I have been using to cart my stuff around. If I am lucky enough to fill my tag, I typically debone the meat, put it into game bags, hang it, walk back to the truck/home, get my dad’s old aluminum frame pack, walk back to the kill, tie the meat bags on, and pack it out.

I really just started looking into the current offerings in backpacks and there are lots of good ideas out there and new ways of doing things. When I started looking, I was after a meat freighter that would be more convenient and comfortable than my dad’s old pack. I also could use a day pack a little larger than the day pack which I’m currently using. I came across stone glacier packs, which have the expandable load shelfs and they seem like a good idea – eliminating the extra trip to get a meat freighter.

Now the questions start. For those of you that have been using this type of system, how do you like it? Is the frame bulky for use as a day pack? Does it handle a heavy load as well as a traditional freighter? Typically a buddy and I will pack the entire elk out together in one trip.

What volume pack would you suggest? I don’t like carrying more gear than I have to and usually cover 10-15 miles in a day of hunting. It would be nice to have the pack large enough to be able to do a 2 or 3 day trip and also to allow for a little more space for packing winter clothing around in late season. It’s nice that a lot of frames allow the option of changing bags to a 6000 ci model or something, if I do a backpacking trip in the future which would require more gear.

I have been looking at the Stone Glacier Solo 3300 online. Would that be a good fit for what I’m looking for? Any other companies/packs to consider?

How about meat bag sizes? Would you be able to fit half an elk into a Kifaru or Stone Glacier meat bag?

Thanks for taking the time to help out and answer any of my many questions!
 

MtnMuley

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Jun 11, 2016
Messages
284
Sounds like you're on the right track. For the type of hunting you mentioned the 3300 would be fine. Most importantly, I'd recommend buy a high quality pack first, like a SG, Kifaru, or Exo, or end up buying twice. As for vomed out meat sacks, I'd recommend BOMB bags or the Kifaru meat sacks. I have both and really like the kifaru meat sacks. Weigh an ounce and hold 80 lbs of meat vertically along your back. Some say they don't breathe as well, but I've hauled out dozens of animals with them, and never had one issue. Also, it takes about 4 meat sacks to haul out a bull elk. Best of luck, and there's a gob of guys on here who will give you solid advice.
 

mfllood3800

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Nov 25, 2016
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Utah
Don't think you have to have a 3000-4000 size pack for a day pack.
You can go big and compress it down as well

Kifaru mountain warrior, reckoning, or tahr are 3 great options

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archer wapiti

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Sep 12, 2015
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437
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New Mexico
Do be aware that although you can compress these packs down to 'daypack mode' they're still huge packs and you might get frustrated like I get when I'm having to unbuckle 2 or 3 compression straps or chase a zipper slide over and around folds of excess material to get at a jacket or something. I've gotten better at putting those things I'll probably need in areas of the compressed pack that are easier to get at, but I still get annoyed. The fewer outside pockets a pack has, and the fewer access points to the main compartment, the more annoying I find this problem. I also found on the AMR that even though there's lots of docking places for external pockets on the sides, they're not very useful when the pack is compressed and the loops are folded in facing each other. Things don't lay neatly.
For this reason I just picked up a Kifaru Woodsman pack to use instead of my AMR for most of my pack trips.
 

oldgoat

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Mar 5, 2015
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Arvada, CO
I don't know beans about stone glacier other than they are quality bags/packs. Kifaru packs are great though and as mentioned above its a pain navigating zippers and compression straps to get at something, but by adding a lid to your pack, you can keep the stuff you use a lot in it. I use my 26" frame and Nomad as a daypack everyday of season and its not near as much bother as my old day packs, carry twice as much weight but feels like less. The Kill Kits they sell in the online store here on rokslide are great, check them out!
Rokslide Backcountry KILL KIT – Rokslide Online Store
 
OP
T

treillw

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Mar 31, 2017
Messages
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Location
MT
I don't know how I would feel about folding down a larger pack. It's definitely something I will check out though. I can see it getting annoying, as archer wapiti said...

I have never seen Kifaru packs anyplace, or Stone Glacier for that matter. Are there any stores that carry them?
 

Gumbo

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Apr 26, 2015
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919
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Montana
Look at Mystery Ranch too. I really like my Overload (a military pack) and my Crew Cab is good too, but I think a Metcalf would be a great day pack and also doable for shorter/minimalist overnighters. I feel MR makes the best built pack on the market. I also have a Kifaru AMR for extended trips but it is huge and using it for a day pack is frustrating because of its size and the straps. The Kifaru frame fits me a little better than my NICE frames though. I used to have a Stone Glacier Krux but it was pretty uncomfortable on me even under light to moderate loads. I think 3000-4000 CI is about right with a shelf or some other way of packing meat for an elk day pack.
 

Mike7

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Feb 28, 2012
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Northern Idaho
If you think that you are ever going to do overnights, I would get the larger pack. The folding down thing and getting to items is a complete non-issue for me. For day hunting after arriving at base camp, I unload my shelter and sleep system from the bottom of the pack, and then just completely compress/close off the lower 1/3 of the pack, and never fuss with it again while hunting. Everything for day hunting is easily accessible still from the upper portions of the pack.

Having a 5,000-6,000 cu in pack weighs almost no more wt, and gives you the option of 2 - 3 day trips on up to 2 wk long trips...and also gives you the option of putting meat in your pack bag. It is nice having that option if you don't want to fuss with switching over to the the load shelf, and also nice to put meat inside the pack close to your body where your (now eaten) food use to be, so you don't have a big heavy pack full of your camping gear moved far away from your body/center of gravity due to a loaded meat shelf while taking your first trip out.
 

archer wapiti

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Sep 12, 2015
Messages
437
Location
New Mexico
I don't know how I would feel about folding down a larger pack. It's definitely something I will check out though. I can see it getting annoying, as archer wapiti said...

I have never seen Kifaru packs anyplace, or Stone Glacier for that matter. Are there any stores that carry them?
I don't think there's stores, unless you go to the manufacturer. You can get some great used stuff off this forum, that's where I just got my Woodsman. Very happy with the process of buying through the classifieds here.
 

wyelkhunter

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Mar 14, 2012
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Kinnear, WY
How often are you really getting into your pack to have to worry about the few seconds it takes to undo a couple buckles? I get in mine a couple times a day. No hassles at all.

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CC

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May 7, 2012
Messages
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Location
Dillon, MT
If it was me I would go with a Kifaru, Stone Glacier, ect pack. There more comfortable and normally lighter than frame packs. I have a Barneys which is a top of the line frame pack and a Kifaru Argali. I have only hauled 2 elk out but have only been in MT for 2 years. The first half of my bull in Archery season was with a Badlands 2800 (daypack, freighter at the car) Took me like 2 plus hours to go a little over a mile. I was trying to carry a rear quarter in the batwings and front quarter over my shoulder with my bow in the other hand.. good thing nobody was around cause I felt like cussing. Dropped the load off at the car when back with the Barney's. Loaded up the rest (105lbs) just to see how far I could go.... Walked to the Car in 45 mins...huge difference! At that point I didn't think a frame pack could be beat. Fast forward to this year, killed a cow elk with my buddy 2 miles from the truck. (not that far) Loaded 1/2 in the Kifaru and away we went. He had the Cabelas Alaska frame and had to stop a few times, I felt like a million bucks...even better than with the Barneys. The point is, I didn't have to walk 4 miles round trip to really haul meat. With how well these new bags compress, your not paying much of a penalty in the weight dept for extra bag. As cold as is can get in hunting season, you need the extra room for warm clothes and if you tip something over you need that extra room for meat and clothing. If you say backpack hunting is in your future you will be getting a larger bag anyways. Things can be a little more difficult to find, but if you think it out, it's not that bad. Good luck
 

fort fireman

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Aug 3, 2015
Messages
352
Just a suggestion. Take a look at the Exo 2200 on the K2 frame. It's geared toward the day hunt with heavy load capability.
 

jspradley

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Mar 16, 2016
Messages
705
Location
League City, TX
Im going with a Kifaru Mtn Warrior, Duplex Hunter frame, Guide lid combo this year.
Great setup! I was running that exact pack for a few years, switched to an old school Nomad and somewhat regret my decision and want to to back to a single bag setup.

I don't think you can go wrong with anything Kifaru, or any of the other big name high end pack makers.
 

Husky10

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Feb 28, 2018
Messages
27
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WA
Love my MR metcalf. I use it for day trips and took it on a 7 day trip to idaho this year. It does everything i want and more. It's a work horse.
 

stratofisher

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Dec 6, 2016
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173
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Caseyville, IL
Just moving away from a Nomad 2 as they are a bit heavier than some other options like Seekoutside, SG or Exo. Great packs, but you pay a weight penalty for the toughness factor. Any of these brands to include Mystery Ranch could work well. Just minor differences in weight and design.
 

ironmiketr

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Sep 11, 2018
Messages
11
Location
CO
I've been looking over getting a new backpack and wondering if the SG packs are as good as they say. Found a couple solid reviews on them Best Hunting Backpack | Ultimate Guide For The Best Hunting Backpacks and it looks like they are pretty lightweight. Thanks.
they make great packs. I ordered a Sky 6900 but ended up returning it as i prefer bigger waist belts and the nalgene bottle holder wasnt working out for me (i do use water bladders a lot but on some late season hunts it will freeze that down solid) on. Settled with a Kifaru but both are great options!
 
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