Kifaru Bikini Frame/DT2 in Highlander Review!!

armyjoe

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DISCLAIMER!!! - This is not a production pack so please don't call Aron or Angie at Kifaru and flip out that you haven't gotten your new pack yet. This is Aron's prototype pack and ONLY a loaner for a couple weeks for me to try it out and let you guys know my thoughts.

So I was over at Kifaru yesterday and going over this pack with Aron and let me tell you this new bikini frame is top notch in every way. Just one day of use but here are my thoughts so far. I'm not going to go into a detailed DT2 review because everyone by now should have a really good idea on how the pack looks and the features associated with it.


I can sum this frame with one word = COMFORTBALE!!

Craftsmanship - Being a prototype it’s a little bit different then the production packs on the webbing. The webbing on this pack is 1" and production is 3/4". As with everything from Kifaru, the stitching and craftsmanship on the new frame are second to none. Double and even triple stitched in every "stress" area on the frame. It’s going to last a lifetime, no doubt. The black pad lining is very soft and no possible abrasive points I can feel or even see.

Fit - Modular is an understatement. There is over 8 inches of adjustability in the frame so you can really fit the frame to you no matter what body type or torso length. There are more attachment points then one man knows what to do with to be honest. About 20 different points. This goes with Kifaru's theme of, they won't phase out any pack or frame. You have so many options on this frame to attach different packs and load carriers its crazy. Honestly, on mine (when I get it) I might cut a few off. Well the fit. Like I said, it’s beyond comfortable and how the bikini frame kind of molds to your back is impressive. The padding and material around the shoulder/back pads is a little loose and I wasn’t really too sure on how that would feel because of the small amount of give but once I wore it around I realized it’s made that way to help the frame and pack move with you instead of being rigid. The frame is hard to describe as a true feel but it’s almost between the normal 2 stay Timberline and the sheet Duplex. It’s flexible enough to mold to your back but at the same time rigid enough to provide unlimited support.

First Trip – I loaded it up this morning with around 35lbs and did a quick 3 mile loop to see how it felt. Without a doubt its way more comfortable then the duplex with 35lbs in it and I can’t repeat myself enough on comfort. The waist belt, being thin, molds to the hip bone like it should and the normal back stays that in the frame are a perfect fit for me. I didn’t have one issue with the pack sliding down or it needing any readjustment during the 3 miles. The power pull waist belt held snug even when I jogged for a dozen yards or so.

Weight – At 35lbs it was a dream pack that’s for sure. I’m going to do more trips with heavier weights over the next week or so and I’ll post how those weights felt as well. One thing I really liked about the frame that kind of was a shock. The side to side stability of it was impressive. With the pack synched down you can seriously swing back and forth and the pack isn’t rotating off your back or hell, even really sliding around much. Last night, I did however load up 83lbs per my scale, and walked just around the block (got some funny looks). It’s like Aron says, the feel after about 50lbs or so feels very similar to the Duplex. The flexibility is there still but the frame real turns load carrying tank. Kifaru did an amazing job on this frame. I will update though when I get another trip with it.

Kryptek Highlander– Awesome camo! Enough said ;)

Any questions or if you want different pics or configurations let me know. PM me or call 480-326-9009 if you want too

Joe
 
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armyjoe

armyjoe

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Ya that highlander really turned out awesome! I think after seeing this some people who ordered the black frame and highlander bag might get all highlander haha. Looks really good.
 

Gman

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Nice review. I was leaning towards a new pack and last weekend I tried on a bikini T2 combo and ordered my bikini T1 combo, all in highlander, hours later. I think this one is going to be a huge winner. It's like the DT series and the Timberlines had a baby and is the perfect combo. I won't get mine till may so until then, other than my limited experience with the bikini, my review will have to wait.
 
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armyjoe

armyjoe

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Thanks for the feedback on the review.

Gman - I was leaning towards the bikini/dt1 combo as well but after using this pack and see how easily I can fit 5 days of gear into it, I'm not sure about the huge ass dt1. We will see tho.
 

Gman

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If you're going with the 2 you should be fine. I hunted all last year with a T2. No issues getting in everything I needed with pouches. Figure I have the 2, might as well go 1 and can always swap out bags for a 2 later. I'll be cutting down my 1 as well.
 
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armyjoe

armyjoe

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Don't know if you had an original T1? But if you did how does this feel in comparison? Say with 50 lbs.

I never had the original T1 but I've owned a ton of other normal 2 stay packs and to me its night and day. The reason I think its so different is because of the horizontal stability you get with the bikini frame compared to the normal 2 stay. Its holds form perfectly without any 'barreling" effect. With the 83 lbs I put in there last night I didn't even notice the pack pushing on my mid back like you would with a 2 stay. Additionally, like I mentioned in the review, the side to side stability when you swing each way was impressive with the bikini. The other packs I've used would really want to sway way past your body when you did this but with the addition to the horizontal stays with the bikini it felt like it controlled that very well. Yes, some movement but WAY less then a normal 2 stay, and with 50+ lbs that side to side can be a huge issue if your packing into or out of some uneven terrain.
 

Buckman

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Sweet, thanks for the review. One other thing, did you think the Highlander camo was Bright? Is there shadow within the pattern? Thanks again.
 
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armyjoe

armyjoe

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The Highlander pattern looks great without a doubt. It has a lot more color depth then I was expecting too. The picture on the Kifaru website makes it look insanely bright but its far from it. Its a lot darker and more neutral browns and tans. I was talking with Ryan Avery tonight and told I put the pack down on my hike today and walked back about 40 yrds to see what it looked like. WOW! I better not drop this pack for a stalk or i might not find it. haha. I'm not really a fan of Multi Cam but I highly recommend the Highlander pattern.
 

Tim in Wa.

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Is there anywhere I can go to see some good views on how the Kifaru bags attach attach to either the duplex or bikini frame ?
 

Beastmode

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The Highlander pattern looks great without a doubt. It has a lot more color depth then I was expecting too. The picture on the Kifaru website makes it look insanely bright but its far from it. Its a lot darker and more neutral browns and tans. I was talking with Ryan Avery tonight and told I put the pack down on my hike today and walked back about 40 yrds to see what it looked like. WOW! I better not drop this pack for a stalk or i might not find it. haha. I'm not really a fan of Multi Cam but I highly recommend the Highlander pattern.

I agree I recieved a DT3 in highlander and all I have to say is wow. Great looking pattern. I might have to put a little marking tape on it if I set it down for a stalk. :D
 
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