Looking for a Budget pack

Shrek13

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Mar 21, 2013
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2
I been looking a dozens of packs and read more threads then I can remember. Thanks to this site I was able to learn as much as I can about packs which has been very useful. Now that I have done that I am to the point of picking a pack out that want to use for a upcoming elk hunt. I know most people like the Kifaru packs but they are out of my budget and I don't think I would get my use out of it for the $600 price tag. I live In Pennsylvania and where I hunt no one packs animals out the woods. So I am looking at packs that would carry my gear to a spike camp then be used as a daypack, with the ability to be able to haul meat on too. There is no place for me to try on these packs other than going to cabelas for the ones that they would sell. That and I am currently deployed to Afghanistan and in my off time try to find gear that I may need for this trip. Here is my list that I came up with I know its long but it seems like every one likes a different pack I am just looking for everyones opinion that has used any of these packs.

Mystery Ranch Crew Cab (Liked that it was able to use just one frame and change bags I would have to buy a used one to get it in my price range though and looked at this site to improve the lifters http://www.oneirosvalley.com/llphistory.html )

Horn Hunter Full Curl (Liked that is was very similar to the Crew Cab but was able to dump bag and just haul meat out if wanted)

TZ 5000 (Watched their video looker rather interesting was not so sure about the meat hauling compartment though)

Eberlstock Blue Widow (People say the suspension breaks down after 75 lbs so makes me unsure)

Mystery Ranch 6500 (Liked the frames)

Badlands OX (its external frame which put it bottom of the list but maybe that is not a problem if it would do what I want)

Badlands Summit (Not out yet but figured someone may have seen it)

I am 178 lbs and 5'9" my torso length is 17" if my friend measured it correctly. If I missed a pack don't be afraid to add it I was mostly looking at hunting packs since they were already camo or were a color that would blend it better. Thanks in advance for giving your opinions.
 

luke moffat

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Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
20
Might add Horn Hunter line of packs to your list as well as REI XT 85. If you are OK with externals the Cabelas packs will pack everything you need heavy load wise and do it better than any Badlands/Eberlestock internals, but certainly not as "cool" as those. All the above mentioned packs can be had for less than $300 new....just a few more options to look into
 

IAHNTR

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Messages
370
Location
Eastern Iowa
You can find used Dana Design packs for pretty cheap. Have you looked into those at all. I know that Aron would recommend them.
 

Mike7

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
1,278
Location
Northern Idaho
I've used a couple of the hunting specific camo packs you mentioned (cheaper non-Kifaru types), and my cheaper old Kelty Tioga external frame pack carries loads better than any of them (I guess it would be closest the Cabelas external frame packs). Even though you can take a couple of nylon webbing staps and compress these external frame packs down, this may not be the kind of pack you are looking for to double as a day pack? I've heard that the REI pack mentioned above by Luke(REI XT 85) is pretty darned good also, but have never got a chance to use it myself.
 

Ridgerunner

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Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
397
Don't overlook the new metcalf from mystery ranch, it is a pretty sweet bag and is an improvement over the crew cab in my opinion plus it is considerably lighter.
 

squeekieslayer

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Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,240
Location
Great Falls, MT
Another bag you dont want to over look.... Badlands 2200/2800, big sales on them right now. I used one for years, I have since had the MR longbow (nice frame) and the Kifaru DT series. Honestly I feel that for the money I liked the 2200 better than the nice frame. I am 6' 2" and if just worked better for me. Did a few overnighters no problem and hauled lots and lots of meat. I think it is all ELKNUT uses and that guys hauls elk off the mountain daily it seems like.

There were 2 different Kifaru Spike Camps on the classifieds here for around $340 I think. For the money, I think this pack may be PERFECT for what you need and heads an tails over any of the packs on your list.

Joe
 

larryschwartz

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Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Messages
1,100
Location
Annapolis, MD
You said you were, "....looking at packs that would carry my gear to a spike camp then be used as a daypack, with the ability to be able to haul meat on too."

Do you mean a spike camp in PA, or were you thinking about using it out West?

Does the ability to haul meat apply to hunting in PA where you might want to carry out deer in a couple of trips (2 legs at a time and then the torso), or are you also planning on using it out West and hauling out something bigger in a few trips?


If you are just planning on using it here in the East then there is a large range of packs that would meet your needs, both internal and external framed. With a day pack that has a decent suspension you can always put your dayhunting gear in a bag and your meat in a bag, then strap the meat bag to the empty pack to keep it close to your body/center of gravity and then strap the bag with your dayhunting gear onto the meat bag. A grab-it or something similar will help to keep the heavy meat bag from sliding down as you walk. It doesn't all have to fit inside of the main pack bag. I do this with a basic day pack to carry 25# bags of minerals into the woods to set up near my blind sites.
 
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Moose Drool

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2012
Messages
281
You could get a USMC ILBE pack on ebay for pretty cheap. They are heavy as sin, but you can cut a bunch of weight off of it with all the extra straps and molle webbing. They are made by arcteryx so they are a good pack and will handle a decent load. Hit me up if you have any questions about em, I have used them quite a bit.
 

Jon Boy

Senior Member
Joined
May 25, 2012
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1,483
Location
Paradise Valley, MT
Cabelas frame with the 3100 ci bag. Incredibly light, strong, and comfortable. Itll haul as much weight as you can. Replace the straps with a hill people gear shoulder harness and your ready to go for under 200. It compresses nicely for a day pack and I enjoy only having 3 pockets. I have a BL 2200 and always lose track of where I put stuff with all of those pockets. If using it as a day pack take off the top rail so its not above your head and catching on stuff all of the time.
 

cmeier117

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
1,552
Location
Salem, OR
I used the Eberlestock Battleship my first year hunting. It is a great pack, and I would look at one of those or a destroyer.
 

Justin Crossley

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Staff member
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Feb 25, 2012
Messages
5,314
Location
Buckley, WA
I personally would caution against the cabelas frame packs. I have seen them break with a fairly light load.
Seems a few guys on Rokslide have had good experiences with them though so maybe they have improved over the years. The last time I saw one used was about ten years ago. (it broke with half a deer inside)
 

Backpack Hunter

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Feb 26, 2012
Messages
3,157
Location
Some wilderness area, somewhere
For what you are looking at spending on a Mystery Ranch 6500 you can pick up the Kifaru Bikini frame with the Highcamp bag for a bit cheaper. Would save a lot of weight, and still offer a ton of modularity.
I'm sure you could find a used Kifaru Longhunter for around $350 or so.
Kelty Cache hauler would be a durable inexpensive option for sure.
 

Racethesunset

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
639
Location
Arizona
I don't like to post negative reviews, but the last time I used a Cabela's frame pack, the top of the frame snapped with a hundred pounds of Arizona elk in it. That was my buddy's new (circa 2007) pack, and I felt bad for a fleeting second. He uses an Eberlestock j107 now - great pack for the money. Not as comfy as the high end stuff, but sturdy and transform-able.
 
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