For the past few years, including last years 2 sheep hunts I use a Osprey Aether 85. it works well for me, but in the future when I move back to Ak I'll upgrade, probably to a Kifaru timberline. Used a Barneys Hunter pack on a mountain Caribou. It has a heavy base weight but sure can handle a load. Lot's of great features.
This years sheep hunt I'll use the Osprey and my partner will probably have a Barneys Hunter.
I used my blacks creek barbarian featherlite on my my sheep hunt and loved it. It was lightweight, durable, and very comfortable for all the long, hard days of hiking. I could have used a little more space, but then I would have just packed more.
Have packed out sheep in a mystery ranch NICE 6500 and Barneys Pinnacle pack bag. Of those two the Barneys carried the weight quite a bit better with a 20% less starting weight. This year I have 3-4 sheep hunts planned and the T-line will likely be given the nod as it seemed ok with around 100 pounds hauling deer
I muled on a 8 day backpack Dall hunt last season. It was only two of us and we walked into the Brooks Range. Learned a lot, saw a lot of sheep but nothing with enough curl. The short story is we both used Barney's packs and I couldn't imagine doing a trip like that with anything else. It's a lot of pack for any other purpose. But when you are hoofing it in for an extended period, or packing out heavy loads, it the ONLY way to go.
Mystery Ranch Grizzly served me well on last years sheep hunt. It is a little lighter than the N.I.C.E. line of their packs, but I'd like to try out the KU Timberline's and see if they can comfortably pack out as much weight with a couple less pounds to haul around before the kill.
I have both the MR grizzly and a KU bags. I personally feel like I was giving up comfort when hauling a super heavy load out with a KU pack. The MR is much more comfortable, but weighs more. I love both packs! It's honestly a coin toss as to which pack I'll take hunting
I agree with Blayne, the Mystery Ranch will carry the weight better for me than the KU line of packs when the weight goes north of 75 pounds, but the Timberline line of packs from Kifaru will ride right there with the Mystery Ranch NICE 6500 I used for a few seasons.
I bit the bullet a while ago and went with a Mchale Inex. It's Kifaru light, Barneys stout, and more comfortable than any other pack I've every used no matter how much weight I've thrown in it. I've used it to haul out my last 5 sheep and I couldn't be happier. I got rid of my Kifaru but liked it and I still have my Barneys. I've watched my hunting partner go back and forth between a Barney's, Kifaru, and Mystery Ranch over the last 9 years but has stuck with the Mystery Ranch for the last three and from what he tells me that's what he'll be using again this year. I have no comment on the Mystery Ranch I've never used one but I seen my buddy so loaded down with his that he looked like a dung beetle from a distance and he packed that load a long way.... I think if you pick one of those 3 or take the plunge on a Mchale you'd be happy.
The KU 5200 is super light (nearly half that of a Timberline and a 1/3 of a DT), but IMO if you are hauling 80 or more pounds for a long period of time you'd be better suited with a Timberline. My wife will never haul more than 75 pounds so the KU 5200 makes perfect sense for her.
For me the weight difference between the Timberline vs. the DT1 is enough for me that I'll leave my DT1 at home for all but one of my sheep hunts I have planned next year. The DT1 is over 25% heavier than the Timberline 1 and both share the same volume and my experience with the Timberline I'd say its more than capable space and hauling ability wise to haul out camp and sheep/goat if you are up to it. At 5.6 pounds the Timberline is made for sheep hunting where weight is critical and volume is needed. With my wife's pack weigh in a just less than 3 pounds and mine at 5.6 pounds our packs combined still weigh less than most hunting packs on the market.