Guys this next fall is going to be my first fall hunting the high country. Anyone have any experience with this pack? it feels very comfortable with a50 pound load and it's in my budget. Thanks for any input.
This will be my first year as well so I am no expert. I tried one on felt good. I think it's a great pack for hiking but not what you want for a hunt, unless you are bringing a day pack. I ended up getting a Eberlestock blue widow with the spike duffel. It's pretty heavy at 7lbs. But I have done a few hikes 1.5-3 miles (rolling hills and 1mile on tread mill 10 reps up n down my deck stairs for 3 miles plus 50 burpees w/out pack for a warm up) with 70lbs in it and didn't have any problems. Being your first time like me, I'm spending my money on good boots, clothing and shelter. I did a pack in hunt for turkey in the boot hill of Missouri back in 96' and what I remember most was how bad my jungle boots hurt my feet my ruck sack cut into my shoulders and the 8lb tent I lugged with me was worthless because it leaked like I was laying in a shower! I froze my a$$ off for a week and stayed wet the whole time. I'd bet a lot of the guys making hunting packs started out same as us if not with even worse equipment and no great forums like this to ask questions. IMO buy the best u can and go for it!!!
I'm no expert at all but I used one a little while ago to do a portion of the PCT. For a hundred bucks it will get you started at a good price. Its comfortable with 50 pounds but I would not go over that too much. I carried another hikers gear for about 15 miles over 2 days along with my own and bent one of the stays. The issue with the stays is they are a thin aluminum to save weight that is bent on the sides to increase the ridgity (think shower door track). They hold to a certain point but once they bend it is difficult to bend them back. Subsequently, they then re-bend at much lower weight. There's alot of room in the pack and the simple basic features are nice. Maybe fitting the pack with 3/4 inch aluminum stays would work and stay at a lower price range. Also, get some vole straps for the daisy chain/ handle and you can carry a rifle/bow. I've been using a kelty falcon and its in the same price range but 3600/4000 cu. Its a pound heavier but it uses thick 1inch stays and cross bar (anti-barreling) also thicker material. It takes some breaking in but is comfortable. Hope this helps.
I'm interested in the Kelty Falcon now. Have you done any high country hunts with it yet? How do you like the removable top portion? Looks like a nice pack. Does it carry a heavy load better than the Coyote? Is it room enough for a 5-6 day hunt plus a boned out deer?
I've carried 120# in it with me tears and work out with 80#. Above 80# its hard to pack weights in it with out the weight at the bottom of the pack. I tried rock salt bags and was able to pack better which made a difference in the way it rode. No deer in this pack yet but it got me into the high country fine.....I just suck. I donttry to use the top lid on hunts cause its a full pound. The main bag is 3600cu and with my tent and pad on the outside I can do 5-6 days. With the coyote I bent a stay somewhere around 80-90#. The falcon stays are much this Kerry all over and have held up fine. For 130ish its a great pack that allowed me to get better boots, mummy, and mid range optics. Ill probably use it this year and upgrade my shelter first and new pack for 2013. The pack has done everything I needed so far (minus pack out) but I tried the REI 85xt and it "hugged" better and felt more comfortable. I'm sure this is true with the 500 plus packs too. Again, I hope this helps.