EXO 3500/5500 -> MR Metcalf -> Kifaru ???

Crotalus

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just starting to research packs. I really like the features/specs of the Exo 3500/5500 and the MR Metcalf. Kifaru has so many choices its tough to tell which would be the closest comparison. I'm thinking Reckoning, Mountain Warrior or Duplex Timberline 2. Would that be accurate?

Ill worry about fit and specific features as i get closer to making a choice, just want to be sure I'm comparing apples to peaches to pears rather than grapes to pineapples to watermelons :)

Thanks
 

Kotaman

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The Mountain Warrior would be a great pack to throw in the mix. I'm a HUGE fan of the Mountain Warrior. I've owned a Metcalf, which I liked and owned both Exo's which I liked. For me, the Kifaru waist belt puts them over the top. Nothing wrong with the Reckoning or T2 either. I've owned every pack you listed above and my hands down favorite in that class is the Mountain Warrior. It is also the only pack from the above list I STILL own.
 

krisn416

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Was in a similar place the last couple months. American made was critical, especially for the amount these things cost. Just got my Exo 3500 and very happy with it. The pack features are awesome and useful, as they come standard. I bought hip belt and internal pockets, the crib, Slurpy Stalker, and gun carrier. Buy once, cry once. Very stout, American made. Excellent customer service.
 
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Fishforfun

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Im just beginning my search as well and a feature I have really been drawn to is the meat packed between the bag and the frame. This seems like a very nice feature to have when packing large amounts of meat for long distances. I don't think Kifaru offers that and they are significatly more expensive. Right now my short list is Exo 3500, Mystery Ranch Metcalf, Stone Glacier Sky 5100 and KUIU Icon Pro 5200. I'll plan to narrow this down to just 2 and buy both then do a side by side comparison at home. I'll be following along for any others opinions.
 

KurtR

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You can do that with the reckoning it has a meat shelf. I haven't packed meat yet but it carries my 60# sand bag really well
 

bhylton

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if your looking at a 3500 class pack,
a kifaru frame with aluminum stays and woodsman bag is about $550.
EXO is around $550.
in the 5500 cu in ish class bag
EXO is $600-$650.
kifaru frame with aluminuim stays and the reckoning or mt warrior bag is between 600-650..
i would say the kifaru and exo are very comparable in price... if its a (buy once cry once) deal, $50 is not going to make or break my decision. And FWIW all the MR bags at my local retailer say made in the Philippines and cost the same as when they were made in the states

*edit: idk which MR bags they were. i just looked at a couple and saw made oversees and the price and lost interest. not hating, just and observation.
 

krisn416

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The one thing I would've done, if I had been able to do it, I would've ordered my two or three top choices at one time and tried em all out and kept the best one. I was feeling the pinch for a backpacking trip, due to the leadtime, and I went with my gut and picked the pack I liked the most. Was stuck between Exo first, Stone Glacier second, and Kifaru third. Luckily I ended up really liking my Exo 3500, but for my sanity and obsessiveness it would've helped to try em all out.
 
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Fishforfun

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if your looking at a 3500 class pack,
a kifaru frame with aluminum stays and woodsman bag is about $550.
EXO is around $550.
in the 5500 cu in ish class bag
EXO is $600-$650.
kifaru frame with aluminuim stays and the reckoning or mt warrior bag is between 600-650..
i would say the kifaru and exo are very comparable in price... if its a (buy once cry once) deal, $50 is not going to make or break my decision. And FWIW all the MR bags at my local retailer say made in the Philippines and cost the same as when they were made in the states

*edit: idk which MR bags they were. i just looked at a couple and saw made oversees and the price and lost interest. not hating, just and observation.

Kifaru with aluminum stays in the reckoning bag came to $662. I can get the exo 3500 through elk university for $492. If there isn't a significant difference in packs I can buy a lot of accessories for $170.
 

bhylton

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Kifaru with aluminum stays in the reckoning bag came to $662. I can get the exo 3500 through elk university for $492. If there isn't a significant difference in packs I can buy a lot of accessories for $170.

$336 for the frame + $284 for the bag =$620 with my math. and the 5500 EXO is $600-650 on the website. the woodsman is a closer volume comparison to the 3500 and its 60$ cheaper than the Reckoning. anyways, can the OP get this deal on the EXO?
 

mrbillbrown

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Kifaru with aluminum stays in the reckoning bag came to $662. I can get the exo 3500 through elk university for $492. If there isn't a significant difference in packs I can buy a lot of accessories for $170.

There is a significant difference between the two. Order both to have side by side and you'll see it.
 

Fishforfun

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Kifaru with aluminum stays in the reckoning bag came to $662. I can get the exo 3500 through elk university for $492. If there isn't a significant difference in packs I can buy a lot of accessories for $170.

$336 for the frame + $284 for the bag =$620 with my math. and the 5500 EXO is $600-650 on the website. the woodsman is a closer volume comparison to the 3500 and its 60$ cheaper than the Reckoning. anyways, can the OP get this deal on the EXO?

Not to be argumentative but the numbers I pulled were direct from the site by adding items into "my cart" and getting a total. Maybe it's a color difference I'm selecting. It is true that the reckoning and the exo 3500 are off a bit in size but I'm not sure if it's worth $170.

Any elk university member can get the 10% off exo by using the discount code provided in the course.

I do plan to order a couple of the bags today and put them through a quick test and keep which one feels the best.
 

Kevin Dill

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I've said this several times: The best way to buy the correct pack online is to buy several packs online and try them all out in a head-to-head. Tell the sellers what you're doing and get confirmation it will be okay to return the packs you don't keep. You'll pay money to return-ship, but you'll keep the pack that fits you best and makes you happiest. That's a lot cheaper than buying the wrong pack and figuring it out months later.

Edit to add...I did the above a few years back. Surprisingly (a little anyway) I was most impressed with the least expensive pack in the group. It fit (me) better, was more comfortable and definitely carried heavy weight with far more control than the others I tried....packs costing north of $600 and $700 all-in.
 
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bhylton

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Not to be argumentative but the numbers I pulled were direct from the site by adding items into "my cart" and getting a total. Maybe it's a color difference I'm selecting. It is true that the reckoning and the exo 3500 are off a bit in size but I'm not sure if it's worth $170.

Any elk university member can get the 10% off exo by using the discount code provided in the course.

I do plan to order a couple of the bags today and put them through a quick test and keep which one feels the best.
I don't think its argumentative. I was using the price list they have next to the specs and all that on the website. Using those numbers + not knowing about a 10% off makes for a big discrepancy. Anyways, I don't want to share any bad info. And I agree with you about the 170$ of accessories.

Anyways, to the op. I think they are all good packs. Buy and try like others if you can. Double check the prices of the different frame stay options from kifaru to get an accurate price if your looking at the option. Good luck

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
 
OP
Crotalus

Crotalus

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Thanks for the responses. I'll probably end up ordering an EXO 3500 and Kifaru Reckoning just to get a feel for the frames then I can fine tune a bag choice. I have time, i probably wont need it until fall 2018 for hunting. Planning to buy sometime later this summer so i can get several months of backpacking with it to break it (and me) in.
 

NDGuy

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I love my Metcalf so far, PM me if you have any specific questions or look at my post history for a few discussions on it.
 

jr87mustang

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Jun 21, 2015
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if your looking at a 3500 class pack,
a kifaru frame with aluminum stays and woodsman bag is about $550.
EXO is around $550.
in the 5500 cu in ish class bag
EXO is $600-$650.
kifaru frame with aluminuim stays and the reckoning or mt warrior bag is between 600-650..
i would say the kifaru and exo are very comparable in price... if its a (buy once cry once) deal, $50 is not going to make or break my decision. And FWIW all the MR bags at my local retailer say made in the Philippines and cost the same as when they were made in the states

*edit: idk which MR bags they were. i just looked at a couple and saw made oversees and the price and lost interest. not hating, just and observation.

The thing about Kifaru packs is adding on the pockets. While the Woodsman matches up best with the EXO 3500 main bag wise you have to add a Guide Lid for $70 plus and I guess at least a Spotter Pocket or two at $44 to $88. That's way over your $550 price. Using the Reckoning will work too and you already have the side pockets but you still need to order a Guide Lid and something to make up for the stretch pocket on the front of the EXO. The belt pouches for Kifaru are $12 more for the smallest size so at least another $24 there. I really wanted to try one of Kifaru's new packs (Woodsman/Reckoning) because they made some great improvements but when I put everything in my cart any which combination I came up with I was always around $700+ for the Woodsman and closer to $800 for the Reckoning.

If Kifaru took the Reckoning and added some sort of pocket on the front of the pack for quick stuffing layers/binos in and moved the main bag zipper to the side and had it come with a lid included in the price closer to the size of the EXO lid (Guide Lid is 1200 ci which is huge) I would have given it a try for sure. Its nice to be able to really customize your pack like Kifarus idea of add on pockets but it makes the bag expensive and heavier.
 

Squirrels

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Dec 29, 2016
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I had an Exo and loved the frame but didn't care for the bag, I found the zipper to the side was difficult to operate without loosening compression straps. Most guys love the Exo bag and it is a quality bag, just wasn't for me. My kifaru frame and reckoning has been ordered. I will see how I like the frame. If I like the Exo frame better I will send the Kifaru back and attempt to mount the reckoning to the Exo frame.
 

Kotaman

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The thing about Kifaru packs is adding on the pockets. While the Woodsman matches up best with the EXO 3500 main bag wise you have to add a Guide Lid for $70 plus and I guess at least a Spotter Pocket or two at $44 to $88. That's way over your $550 price. Using the Reckoning will work too and you already have the side pockets but you still need to order a Guide Lid and something to make up for the stretch pocket on the front of the EXO. The belt pouches for Kifaru are $12 more for the smallest size so at least another $24 there. I really wanted to try one of Kifaru's new packs (Woodsman/Reckoning) because they made some great improvements but when I put everything in my cart any which combination I came up with I was always around $700+ for the Woodsman and closer to $800 for the Reckoning.

If Kifaru took the Reckoning and added some sort of pocket on the front of the pack for quick stuffing layers/binos in and moved the main bag zipper to the side and had it come with a lid included in the price closer to the size of the EXO lid (Guide Lid is 1200 ci which is huge) I would have given it a try for sure. Its nice to be able to really customize your pack like Kifarus idea of add on pockets but it makes the bag expensive and heavier.

That's the beauty of the Kifaru system. You can add whatever you want, or nothing at all. When I ran a Reckoning, I ran it with no lid and one extra pouch. IF you want a lid, you add it. IF you want pouches, you add them, but the Woodsman and Reckoning are good to go without adding a thing IMO. The Kifaru system is all about versatility and the waist belt is unmatched in the industry. Like I said, I've owned every pack listed above and about 40 others and nothing compares with how the Kifaru rides for me. I will say the new Stone Glacier X Frame is close though.
 
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