If you were starting from scratch, which daypack setup would you buy?

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Substance-p

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Mar 12, 2022
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After 3 years of heavy pack loads and awkward loads carrying in tree stands and gear for my boys who are now hunting with me, I’m tired of trying to mod out my SG to fit our hunting styles. I think the xcurve frame works well but it’s not near as comfortable as the Kifaru frame with big heavy awkward loads. And it’s not easy to attach a cargo panel too it and then put it back into run and gun mode. The Stryker is the most versatile pack I have seen so far that allows for run and gun, stand hunting and carrying other types of gear for say turkey hunting. If I was strictly run and gun hunting for elk, the 5900 SG would be my one pack

Makes sense. Just from reviews it seemed like the some of the SG weight savings comes from elimination of fixed pouches/pockets which can be great if you don’t need them but could be more cumbersome compared to an option that had those integrated.
 

stringunner

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Makes sense. Just from reviews it seemed like the some of the SG weight savings comes from elimination of fixed pouches/pockets which can be great if you don’t need them but could be more cumbersome compared to an option that had those integrated.
Exactly. It was those exact considerations that lead me to the SG first. When you start “adding” to the Kifaru system it does grow in both weight and price.
 

roosiebull

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Makes sense. Just from reviews it seemed like the some of the SG weight savings comes from elimination of fixed pouches/pockets which can be great if you don’t need them but could be more cumbersome compared to an option that had those integrated.
Kifaru are just more robust, that’s why they are not ultralite… that’s no knock on the lighter packs, SG, EXO, seek outside are excellent packs, I like my EXO a bunch and would never get rid of it, and it’s just another thing we should consider when buying… the weight of a kifaru is fine with me, mine looks new after a long season of heavy use, the lighter packs show some wear after a year with me (SG is about the only high end packs I have not owned, so I can’t speak on them, but obviously a great option)

This could be different for you, but empty pack weight doesn’t matter to me at all, good fit mitigates that completely in practical use… the 2 lightest packs I have owned were the most uncomfortable under load, which makes empty pack weight a useless feature in those scenarios… they feel lighter in my hand at home, but in real use, they felt a lot heavier.

Again, not making the claim that lighter packs don’t handle weight well, just pointing out that fit is far more important than empty pack weight.
 

Mykolaivka887

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Nexpak THB001. An effecient and functional tactical daypack. Plenty of room for outer clothing, optics, tripod(s), daily hunt gear, hydration and lunch, plus a black bear hide and skull. Very comfortable and durable. Plus, works great as a carry-on bag when flying commercial.
 

j33

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I would buy two gently used first packs, keep the one that fits the best: Stone Glacier, Exo or Kuiu (2019 or newer Pro). I would avoid Seek Outside they are harder to setup and their organization is not for a beginner.

I’ve got a Kuiu and Seek Outside, the Kuiu is hands down the best value of those two if you have a budget. Gotta get a 2019 or newer.
 

grumpybear

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Lots of good input here. For me the two most important things to consider are fit and whether or not you need to haul meat. Before I spent way too much on a pack I went in thinking one brand. After trying as many on as possible ended up with another. Time in the field can be ruined by a bad fit on a pack and or a brand that your body does not like.
 

patton-7

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First post after lurking for a bit and reading a ton of informative posts-awesome site!

I am going on a guided spring bear hunt in Idaho. I'll be using a rifle and my friend a bow. We will be venturing from a basecamp each day and I need a daypack to carry the essentials and then some.

I am starting from scratch-no brand loyalty or frame/accessories to try and keep in mind when purchasing the pack. I would like to find something that could also function as a carry-on bag as the family and I travel a decent amount and occasionally go places where we will do a day hike and I carry everyone's stuff.

I keep going back and forth between something that has an external frame and using this as entry into a system wherein I could add larger bags later for other applications and something that has an internal frame and truly setup just for lighter duty.

It seems like Kifaru, Stone Glacier, and Exo top the recommended list with Kuiu, Mystery Ranch, Initial Ascent, and Seek Outdoors coming up regularly as well.

I know there is no substitution for trying on different options to see what fits your frame but am looking for a good place to start.

So, all of this to say, if you were starting from scratch looking for a daypack what would be on your short list and why?
I would go with the kifaru straightjacket and their duplex lite frame. The straight jacket seems to be really versatile and you can do a lot more than just a day pack as well
 
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Substance-p

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I would buy two gently used first packs, keep the one that fits the best: Stone Glacier, Exo or Kuiu (2019 or newer Pro). I would avoid Seek Outside they are harder to setup and their organization is not for a beginner.

I’ve got a Kuiu and Seek Outside, the Kuiu is hands down the best value of those two if you have a budget. Gotta get a 2019 or newer.
This is what I was hoping to do (ie find a couple of pre-owned options and try them out). It seems as though you'd be out little money if you tested some of the more in-demand brands as they resale pretty quickly.
 

sndmn11

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This is what I was hoping to do (ie find a couple of pre-owned options and try them out). It seems as though you'd be out little money if you tested some of the more in-demand brands as they resale pretty quickly.

To be another opinion, I think Seek's Revolution frame is silly easy to set up. Takes about 5 minutes to set the torso height, test, and fine tune.
 

roosiebull

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To be another opinion, I think Seek's Revolution frame is silly easy to set up. Takes about 5 minutes to set the torso height, test, and fine tune.
I agree, and I think they have more adjustability than any other pack system. They are a great option… their bag options are great too, with no real weight penalty to go big.

I never carried any really awkward loads in mine (like tree stands) but I think they would be good for that too… the gate keepers are pretty versatile and stronger than they look as long as you don’t leave one open on accident… they are light enough to pack extra compression straps too
 

sgholmes

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I echo the Kifaru love. I currently use the regular Stryker, but will be ordering their new Hellbender as I think it will check just about every box for me.
 

sndmn11

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I agree, and I think they have more adjustability than any other pack system. They are a great option… their bag options are great too, with no real weight penalty to go big.

I never carried any really awkward loads in mine (like tree stands) but I think they would be good for that too… the gate keepers are pretty versatile and stronger than they look as long as you don’t leave one open on accident… they are light enough to pack extra compression straps too

I do my kid on the frame and nothing on me, the frame, or the demon spawn has broken because of it.

I'll wade with him him on my back fly fishing anytime other than runoff and that's about the only time I don't take a stumble swim.
IMG_20200428_160216.jpg
 

dreamingbig

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I knew I would get some great advice, thanks again.

Here is where I am landing at the moment: daypack focused with less need for ability scale up too much (and just plan to purchase larger bag/system later).

One thing I need to solve for as well is how I will carry the rifle and to what extent that will impact what pack to go with.

How are you going to pack meat? Will you always be guided? Packer, pack frame?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Substance-p

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How are you going to pack meat? Will you always be guided? Packer, pack frame?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
On this trip I will be with the guide and my friend both of whom will have a pack that has meat hauling capabilities.
 

Jimss

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I've done a gob of hunting in Alaska, Wyo, Colo, Utah, etc. I have a small 2800 cu in daypack that almost always sits in my truck. I do an incredible amount of scouting and hunting each year. One thing I've found is that my shoulders, neck, and back ache at the end of the day with 25 to 30 lbs in a daypack. That same 25 to 30 lbs in my Kifaru frame pack I feel fresh and ready to go for a week or 2 of rough country hiking.

I hardly know my kifaru is on my back with the comfortable, padded belt and shoulder straps while often struggle by the end of the day on steep terrain with a daypack. The new materials in Kifaru and Stone Glacier are top notch, super light weight and durable. You would be suprised how tight and compact you can cinch light loads. What's also nice is that I can carry out sheds, first load of meat, or what ever with my Kifaru!

Just because a pack weights a couple lbs more doesn't mean that it doesn't work better! Once I load my spotter, tripod, rain jacket, camera, lunch, water, etc into a small daypack it's just about to the limit that it is designed for. I can also customize with Kifaru attachments to my particular needs. I actually own 2 different bags that fit on my same Kifaru frame.

With that said, do your body a favor and buy the best quality larger pack you can afford! You will likely end up buying one anyways if you get serious about hunting the West. You can usually find killer deals on nearly new kifaru packs and frames in the classified section of this website.
 

AKbirder300

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Dec 15, 2021
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Stone glacier has become my go to. Have the 6900 bag and a 1800ish, best of both worlds and easy to swap bags
 
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Substance-p

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Mar 12, 2022
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I would buy two gently used first packs, keep the one that fits the best: Stone Glacier, Exo or Kuiu (2019 or newer Pro). I would avoid Seek Outside they are harder to setup and their organization is not for a beginner.

I’ve got a Kuiu and Seek Outside, the Kuiu is hands down the best value of those two if you have a budget. Gotta get a 2019 or newer.
Just a quick update, I decide to take this advice. First acquisition was a Kifaru Mining. Great size and comfort. Not Sure I can get used to the roll top and zipper design, so I am looking to find another used pack or two to check out as well (maybe a shape charge, SG Kiowa, or other option).
 
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fatrascal

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Kifaru Nomad. You can make it as big or little as you want. You can use a grab it 2 or a net or a small bag or a large bag. The possibilities are endless. Fatrascal.
 

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