Mistakes made, packs

Rick653

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Joined
Jun 19, 2021
Messages
62
Location
Cleveland Ohio
This is about my novice mistakes in pack purchasing while starting hunt out west. New guys, like myself, don't do what I did. Old guys feel free to laugh.

Last year I decided I wanted to hunt out west and knew I needed a pack. I picked up a Badlands Vario 3300 on black friday because it had a sweet discount, and I knew they had a lifetime warranty.

Mistake number 1: I bought this pack with no research into it, only the company. That being said I have other Badlands gear and love it.

I received the pack and was initially impressed. It was the first pack I ever purchased, so I guess I didn't know any better. I would load it up with 50lb salt bags and workout with it, not fun. The waist belt was thin and it just wasn't comfortable. Took the pack on a mule deer hunt in NE and used it as a day pack. Returning back to OH I use the pack for my deer hunts.

Mistake number 2: buying a pack that didn't meet the standards for the types of hunts I wanted to take it on. Time for a bigger pack

Knowing I wanted to do a 5 day bear hunt I started to look at other packs. Did some research, and ended up settling on a Mystery Ranch Beartooth (mostly because of another stellar discount).

My new pack came and I finally immediately realized my foolishness with the last pack. BEEFY, that's what I immediately thought about the Beartooth (in a good way). I slapped those bags of salt on it, and started to prepare for my upcoming bear hunt. I felt like I could go all day with 1 salt bag on my back, and at least 5x as long with 2 salt bags compared to the Vario. I did feel like the weight didn't sit as close to my back as I would like. I adjusted the pack and salt bags in all sorts of ways, but always felt like there was too much leverage. The pack does have a squeek when I get up over 80lbs, but I don't really care because if I'm that heavy then my actual hunt is probably over.

Took the Mystery Ranch on my bear hunt and it worked exactly as I hoped. Although I did not take a bear, I was about to hike around easily with all my gear.

One last note in my short experience with packs. I recently went to the Total Archery Challenge in PA, talked to the Kifaru vendor (with my Mystery Ranch pack on! Ha!), and was again astonished. The Kifaru frame was so solid and again made me doubt my choices. The fact that it had curved stayes was really appealing.

Mistake number 3: not getting a pack that's right for my body. I don't think the flat stays are appropriate for me. My butt is too big and my waist too small in proportion to the rest of my body.

I wrote this to help get into the community a little more, and share my small amount of experience in western style hunts.

I hope you're all enjoying the summer,
Rick
 

Voyageur

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
667
My biggest mistake in the early days (20+ years ago) was not taking the time to get the pack properly fitted to my body. I basically just used them as they came from the factory, and was never happy with any of my early packs. Since learning about and applying pack fitting guidelines I've found that I can make most packs (there are few exceptions) at least feel tolerable under load, and some of them to feel extraordinary.
Hope this helps someone.
 

*zap*

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Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
3,737
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N/E Kansas
I agree with voyageur, get one that can fit you the best and then fit it to your body. 2nd, obviously the top brand packs are the top brand packs for a reason...
 
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Rick653

Rick653

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2021
Messages
62
Location
Cleveland Ohio
I agree with voyageur, get one that can fit you the best and then fit it to your body. 2nd, obviously the top brand packs are the top brand packs for a reason...
I definitely learned that lesson. I think eventually I will order a SG frame and try it on. I know their return policy is solid because I've used it before with the De Havilland's
 

Desk Jockey

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2015
Messages
4,314
Welcome. Finding the right pack is tough because t is mostly fit dependent and. Like boots, you need some miles with weight in terrain to really know if a pack works. I spent a lot of time and money trying some top brands before setttlong on the one I faVor. Just know that none are magic and a heavy load is still going to suck some regardless of the pack brand.
 

Rock-o

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2019
Messages
445
Mistake number 2: buying a pack that didn't meet the standards for the types of hunts I wanted to take it on. Time for a bigger pack

Where are the standards listed? I want to make sure my pack checks all the boxes. Heh.

For real though, I'm sure somebody will learn something from your hard lessons.
 
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Rick653

Rick653

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Joined
Jun 19, 2021
Messages
62
Location
Cleveland Ohio
Where are the standards listed? I want to make sure my pack checks all the boxes. Heh.

For real though, I'm sure somebody will learn something from your hard lessons.
O don't worry. I'll message you the list now! Ha

Getting a pack big enough for the hunt I wanted to do might have been important. No way I was going to pack 5 days worth of stuff in the Badlands pack
 

Newtosavage

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Sep 20, 2018
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In someone's favorite spot
Sounds familiar. Good things to consider for newbies.

My newbie mistake was not knowing the value of load lifters, even for day packs when hunting out west. My full day pack, with water and food and layers of clothes, first aid kit, kill kit, etc. always weighs about 25 lbs and it's astonishing how heavy that can feel at the end of the day without load lifters to distribute the weight and keep most of it on your hips.

My first "real" pack was an Eberlestock Dragonfly which I also got at a steep discount. Handy pack but the lack of load lifters are why I sold it. Luckily for me I got what I paid for it and flipped that cash into a F1 tall mainframe, which I love.

Live and learn.
 

Wydaho22

Newbie
Joined
Sep 27, 2018
Messages
5
I’ve had similar experiences. The top tier packs are the only way to go if you are serious about backcountry hunting. I’m using a MR Beartooth 80 now and it really seems to be my long term solution to long packouts with elk quarters. Finding one that fits properly is very important. I love MRs load hauling system
 

firemedic31

Member
Joined
May 23, 2018
Messages
53
Location
Ohio
Congrats on joining the club a lot of us are in with making the same mistakes, multiple packs, lots of “wasted” money. Sounds like you should have a really good idea now of what you want and need out of a pack though. Lessons learned the hard way are less likely to be forgotten
 

Sealee12

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Messages
142
Location
PA
I am a certifiable pack whore and spent Waaaaaaay to much over the years chasing the perfect pack. I found out i needed to stop forcing myself to seek a do-it-all solution. I now keep a few good packs on hand (Exo and kifaru) that are “mission specific” in terms of size. This allows me to have the right tool for the job and scratch the gear itch occasionally as well.
 

gil_wy

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
200
Not paying attention to unloaded pack weight… when you’re pushing 8# without putting a thing in it, things can get heavy quick. I too am a certified pack whore… 😉
 

trophyhill

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Feb 27, 2012
Messages
1,883
Location
Tijeras NM
10-4 on the stupid rookie mistakes on packs. My piece of advice is to buy once cry once if you are just getting into the game. I got into the game with a Badlands 2200 and sorry I did. I had to use customer service twice on the same zipper. Taking advice from an accomplished hunter, I bought another because surely that was a fluke. Then I was stupid enough to buy a Badlands 2800 and a shoulder strap came apart while packing my first bull in 2012. Enter 2013 when I spent around $900 for a Kifaru set up and the rest is history. The money I spent on 3 packs early on would have darn near paid for a quality pack.
 
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Rick653

Rick653

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Joined
Jun 19, 2021
Messages
62
Location
Cleveland Ohio
I think I just wanted to like the Badlands pack so much because I like the company. I have pants and a jacket from them that I love, but the pack was a flop
 
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