The Ultimate Pack...

CoHiCntry

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2013
Messages
807
Location
Colorado
I'm looking for a backpack to use for hunting and for backpacking trips. One that functions well in both scenarios. I currently use separate packs for each but with the high prices of gear it would be nice to go with one pack. I currently use an eberlestock blue widow for hunting although I've been using it for backpacking trips too recently. I have no major complaints but the pack does not fit as well as a designated backpacking pack in my mind. I've used it on hunting trips, backpacking trips, climbing 14ers etc. I just can't help but think there are better packs out there...

I've looked at Kuiu, Kifaru and Mystery Ranch. Although I'm sure these are all good choices for a hunting pack, I'm curious if guy's are using them for their backpacking trips too? Anyone want to share what pack their using for both venues and what their experiences have been? Thanks!
 

HellsCanyon

Senior Member
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
3,474
Location
Lewiston ID
First off welcome to the forum. The majority of people here are running Kifaru's but some are running Kuiu's, and MR's, and the new Stone Glacier packs as well. MR doesn't get a lot of love because the majority on here don't like starting out with a base pack weight of around 9 lbs when you can start off with a Kifaru at 5.5 lbs or a Stone Glacier at <4 lbs and still have great weight hauling capabilities. While I'm a MR fan I doubt I'll ever use one of their packs again just because of the weight. Kifaru has three main backpacking hunting style packs for you to check out. The Timberline series has two verticle stays and is the lightest out of their "hunting" style backs (not counting their ultralight series). The Timberline bag is a good mixture of pockets and accessory attachment points.

The Duplex frame is their serious hauler frame. A bit heavy but can haul about anything comfortable. You can get various sized timberline bags to attach to this frame based on your cubic inch needs.

The Bikini frame is basically a skeletonized Duplex frame to shave weight, and can utilize a minimalist style HighCamp bag, or the Timberline Series bags... clear as mud? ;)

Stone Glacier is getting some great reviews as well. Check out the thread titled "Stone Glacier and Kifaru" under this forum for video reviews of the Stone Glacier and the Kifaru Bikini frame Timberline bag combination...

Mike
 

Matt Cashell

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,180
Location
Western MT
CoHiCountry,

It is great to see you on Rokslide!

Those are top of the line packs. I am currently testing the Kifaru Bikini/Duplex 1 and Stone Glacier Terminus.

I am near the end of my testing, but either one would easily fill the role of dedicated backpacking pack, and are well ahead of the Eberle suspension, IMO.

EDIT: Mike beat me to it...
 

Above Timber

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
175
Location
Colorado Springs
I have the original Timberline-2 (5200 c.i.) and love it for both rolls. This past season I packed and entire boned ewe sheep out minus the trophy load in one trip. The pack carries like a dream no hot spots or fatigue with the load. I am guessing with my gear and the meat I was close to 75 pounds. I have also used it as a backpacking pack with no issues at all. With the Kifaru you have some color options besides Multicam or Highlander. Do not get me wrong I am proud to hunt and shoot but I just do not always want to advertise on a backpacking trip. I have the T-2 in foliage and it blends into most situations great.
 

BATTLEBORN

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2012
Messages
557
Location
Reno, NV
I am running a Mystery Ranch Bighorn in Foliage and have used it primarily for hunting but I did take it on two backpacking trips last year. it's only 3000 c.i but with the beavertail and so many lashing points I can easily get 5 days out of it on a backpacking trip. When hunting I use it as a day/1 night out pack and can keep my tripod and spotter safely inside the pack. I recently started shooting/hunting with a bow and have yet to see a pack that can carry a bow as well as the Bighorn.
 

Outdoorsman3830

Senior Member
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
182
Location
Cheyenne, WY
Stepping up from the Blue Widow to a more versatile pack. You named all top notch brands, so it really depends on which one fits your body best and whether you want ultralight, extreme durability, or a balance. I love the Blue Widow, but the NICE frame is superior. However, I feel the NICE Frame with a Load Sling, CrewCab, or Long Bow won't change your setup much, but going with the new Metcalf or NICE 6500/7500 will be more backpack oriented. Keep in mind the Metcalf's frame extension only works when there nothing in the Load Cell.

Personally I'd say go with Kifaru for an Ultralight to Balanced Setup or a Mystery Ranch for a Balanced to Indestructible Setup.
 

sab

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2012
Messages
199
Don't forget the Kifaru KU series. I've had four backpacks in the last five years. I started with an Eberlestock Gunslinger. It sucked. I then bought a Kifaru MMR. It was unbelievably comfortable, but heavy. I then bought a Kifaru MOLLE Express for short trips. Last year, I bought a Kifaru KU5200. It's more comfortable than the MMR due to 2" longer stays, and it only weighs about three pounds! I wouldn't trade it for anything. I sold the MMR a few months back, intending to purchase a Kifaru Duplex Timberline with the 26" stays, but then the Bikini frame was announced. Right now, I'm undecided on what to replace the MMR with, but I know it will be a Kifaru!

Regards,
Scott
 
Last edited:

Backpack Hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Messages
3,157
Location
Some wilderness area, somewhere
I use the Kifaru KU5200, KU3700, and Timberline 1 frequently on both hunting and backpacking trips, actually just returned from one using the T1. Great experiences with all of them....actually looking at picking up another KU3700 for a family member.
 

Lawnboi

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
4,651
Location
North Central Wi
I wear my kifaru, backpacking, hunting, fishing, biking, running, scouting, shed hunting, and at home sometimes when i wish i was outside somewhere....

It works great for all of them. Kifaru makes a wide range of packs, just because it is labeled as a 'hunting pack' does not mean it dosnt work awsome for everything else. They are better than any mountaineering brand type pack that i have ever tried imo. I own 3 kifaru packs, and am happy to say that they will be on my back for some time to come, i want more as well.
 

Racethesunset

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
639
Location
Arizona
CoHi, I used to run an Eberlestock J104 and switched to the Kuiu 5000 in Phantom Gray last season. The difference was night and day. Comfort, layout, weight, venting. Looks like a Gregory pack from far away, so no second looks from bunny lovers on the trails.

The only thing I missed were those longer tube pockets in the Eberlestocks.
 

300WSM

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2013
Messages
60
Location
Astoria OR
I am sold on the Mystery Ranch Crew Cab. Some don't prefer MR because they are a couple pounds heavier. But put 65 lbs in your pack then put 67 in your pack and let me know the difference. You would not be disappointed with the versatility off the Crew Cab. It's only flaw is if you are over 5'8" the load lifters are not functional. If you are over 5'8" then try the Metcalf.
 

Justin Crossley

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
5,314
Location
Buckley, WA
For an all around pack I personally would get a Kifaru Timberline, Bikini and bag of your choice or for a really lightweight pack, the KU5200.
The Bikini frame would cover most anything you wanted to use a pack for IMO.
You WILL NOT get better service than you get from Kifaru.

I don't personally like the MR packs because of the weight. Yes they are going to be great when you have a heavy load and can't tell the difference, but you will notice the difference when you want to use it as a day pack or for light loads.

Get the pack that fits YOU the best and you're good to go!
 

BlackBear

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
21
I'm also using a KUIU Icon pack system. I have the 7000. The Carbon Fiber frame and suspension has worked great for me. Easy to adjust for a perfect fit. Their modular system allows you to use the same frame and suspension with any of their bags. They are coming out with an 1850 day pack soon. Mine is on pre-order. Buy the bag for an additional $99.00 and put it on the frame you already have.
 

Rowdy

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2012
Messages
45
There are a lot of good packs mentioned here but since you mentioned that you wanted the "Ultimate Pack" you should get a Mchale. Most of these packs mentioned here sacrifice certain features to gain something else be it weight savings, durability, or whatever. The Mchale sacrifices nothing, and you can get it in whatever flavor combination you want. They're harness system is second to none as well as the hip belt and they are versatile. You can be hunting one day and then use it for backpacking trips with the family the next. I use mine for everything it goes with me everywhere. When I'm not on a big excursion I break it down small into a daypack and it's an Inex, his largest pack. You might pay a little more money but you're not buying two packs either.
 

rpm4463

Senior Member
Joined
May 16, 2012
Messages
131
Location
California
Lots of good information above. I've been backpacking/trekking/tramping (depending what continent your on) in several mountain ranges and used probably used/abused 12 different packs (rei, Gregory, Mountainsmith, Dana Design, Kelty...) and the Kifaru Timberline are the best I've used (hiking and hunting). I used my Timberline 1 last summer for the John Muir Trail in the Sierras and it was great. Depending on the time of year and conditions I usually use the Timberline 1 for over 3 night trips. I also have a Timberline 3 for one or two nighters. One major feature I like about the Kifaru is the various attachments and pockets you can add on. The Timberline 3 is only about 3700 ci, but with a few add-ons it can get up to 5000 ci. The Timberline 1 is good for CA backpacking because bear canisters are required in most areas and it has enough room to accommodate the bulky load. The "grab-it" pocket is good for snow shovels, snowshoes, trash, bear canisters, archery equipment. My T1 is almost too big, if I did it again I would probably just get the T2 and use the add-on pockets for extra room.
 

hammer0419

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2012
Messages
1,587
Location
O.C NY
Kifaru all the way. Figure out with Kifaru pack will fir your needs and outfit it with a BIKINI frame. You will NOT find a more comfortable pack made!! Besides carrying all your gear with ease. Absolutely best Kifaru has made so far when it comes to quality, lightweight, and incredible comfort. I have a DT2 packbag on my Bikini and could not be happier.
 
Top