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Pack suggestions anyone?
Hey fellas, I'm looking to get a new elk hunting pack this year. I own a frame pack which was used last year, but it wasn't very comfortable to shoot with and was noisy. I will be doing primarily 2 day hunts, but would like to be able to pack for 4 day trips. Any advice on a good internal frame for this? Would the badlands 2800 fit the bill? Thanks for the advice! Matt
There have been numerous posts in the past 3 weeks including great pictures and advice. Go back and search through them. I know this because I was in the market as well and just purchased the mystery ranch crew cab. I have yet to actually use it (because I just got it 2 weeks ago), but I really like the concept, quality, and lifetime warranty. Remember the old saying "you get what you pay for" Troy
I'll second the crew cab from mystery ranch. I plan on using it for elk and mulies this fall as well as in the IA whitetail woods this year. Maybe even MT sheep if I am lucky enough. I've got my double bull, chair, and turkey accessories strapped to it right now until the turkey season closes on Sunday. The folks at mystery ranch are great to deal with. A quick search will find an abundant amount of info regarding their packs.
Do a search, you will find more than you need to know. Eberlestock, Kifaru, Mystery Ranch.
I would get the hornhunter mainbeam Xl the thing is a packing machine has 27 pockets so you are always organized and not stuffing all your gear into 1 compartment and the meat packing system is pretty slick to comes with a strap on orange flap with 6 strap in points and three compression straps on the side which come around and lash onto your meat or cape and antlers best most thought out pack I have ever owned plus a lifetime warranty and very comfortable with a heavy load.
Eberlestock, Horn Hunter, Kifaru, Mystery Ranch, and Sitka are names I would look at (in alphabetical order, my personal preference would probably go a little more in reverse order).
Badlands IMO is not in the same class. Some people like Blacks Creek but they are heavy for size.
I will raise the pocket issue because it was raised above: too many pockets can be more of a problem than not IMO. I recently got an Eberlestock X2, nice 1,800 c.i. pack. But...it has that space so segregated among different pockets that it really decreases the pack's utility. I would prefer fewer, larger pockets so I can use the space as I see fit - not just how the pack maker thinks it should be used. My Kifaru long hunter has 2 )top pouch, and main compartment), and I strongly prefer that.
I use a Badlans 2200 for day hunts and a Eberlestock Just One for overnighters. There is a large array of packs to choose from and it is hard to say what is best. Both the packs mentioned above have some meat packing ability and I highly prefer that. I make sure I bring down some meat on the trip down and then come back with a pack frame.
My opion would have to go to the Blacks Creek
Lots of good packs. I just ordered the Eberlestock J107.
I purchased the badlands 2800 over the Eberlestock Just One and have had no regrets! I have the older model (2006), and it packs down great for a daypack, and opens up nicely for a hauler. It stays closer to the back than the Eberlestock Just One and rides a little higher, keeping the weight on the hips. Of note, the Eberlestock duffle fits nicely in the middle of the bat-wings and makes it a great pack for a three night bivy hunt.
Not only do I like the pack itself better, but I LOVE the warranty!! I had one complaint about the pack, contacted badlands about it, and they basically did a $100 modification on the pack to make it custom for me...for free. That is the kind of company that will keep me coming back!
The others mentioned are all good packs. Dollar for dollar you can't beat a Badlands!
The photo below doesn't show the pack...but I couldn't help but put this in. The view after a long hike up the mountain with the 2800 on my back!
Mystery Ranch Crew Cab!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've carried 100 lbs of corn on mine. John
I definitely wouldn't try any overnighters in a 2200 or 2800. Those packs aren't meant for carrying bulk and weight! I tried it and it didn't work for me! You will also find out that neither of those packs (and any others that size) won't be sturdy or large enough to pack out an elk!
I would advise finding a pack that is capable of carrying at least 4,000 to 4,500 cu in minimum. Many of the better mountaineering packs in that size range are capable of "comfortably" handling 40 to 45 lbs and beyond that poundage you will need an even larger pack!
I would suggest getting out the gear you intend on taking (don't forget food, etc) and making a list w/weights. If you are above 45 lbs you will likely need something over 4,500 cu in.
One other thing to consider is pack weight. Packs similar to Badlands 4500 may be nice w/all the pockets, etc but it tips the scale well over 7 lbs. You can get the largest mountaineering back that can handle 80+ lbs that weigh lighter than this!
If you are like me, you may end up hunting with a smaller, lighter, camo daypack and pack camp/haul game with a heavier duty pack that is designed for hauling heavy loads! There are some middle of the road packs available but they may be a little big for hunting and too small for packing loads!
I would closely look at pack weight...if you are like me you would rather carry 2 lbs of extra gear rather than lugging around a super heavy weight pack. Some of the packs listed by several guys above are well over 7 lbs! Some of the very best 5,000 cu in mountaineering packs weigh only about 5 lbs and cost about 1/2 as much!
I'd choose a pack from a company that spends valuable time and energy keeping up with it's customers... maybe a company that would read this post and chime in... or how about a company that wouldn't let you down and would guarantee amazing service and a pack that would last you a lifetime... How about a company that has employees that are actual bowhunters....
How about a company that values BOWSITERS.
How about a pack made in the U.S.A???
Does such a pack company exist....
Yes it does.
The Name's Mystery Ranch.
A pack that is lighter than the pack that gets the most press here is the Flatbed from Granite Gear.
Couple it with a few sizes of Sea to Summit waterproof stuff bags and your good to go about anywhere.
One knock on the design is it sticks up just a bit higher than some of the hunting specific models.
I'm not a pack designer but I think in order for the straps that lift the weight off your shoulders and transfer it to your hips to work correctly they have to be mounted above your shoulders.
Maybe someone more knowledgeable can chime in here. I've carried enough heavy loads to know I want those straps there and I want them to lift as well as stabilize.
Search the threads and you'll see a lot of pictures of guys with packs that don't transfer the load to the hips very well and the pictures show it.
For a hunting daypack, I like The Elk Hunter by Bison Gear. Mike
Mystery Ranch packs are way to expensive just my 2 cents. I will stick with my hornhunter mainbeam Xl lifetime garantee also made in the USA.
eberlestock blue widow is my first choice. Second would Sitka. for your application.
Now you heard from everyone on what they have, get the one that fits! I have owned everyone mentioned except Bison and I will tell you ignore price and try them on! Good luck!
Seacat, you forgot "actual Bowsite sponsor". Without companies such as Mystery Ranch sponsoring the Bowsite, this site (and all the benefits we accrue from it) wouldn't exist.
That is true..... we're an actual Bowsite Platinum Sponsor!!
I'm sitting here right now watching our retail store... and monitoring Bowsite for any customer questions at the same time!!! Plus, I'm fletching arrows for one of my hunting partners... you'd be hard-pressed to find another backpack company employee investing that kind of time/effort into a Saturday morning!
I'll guarantee people great service from us, that's for sure... and if the Mystery Ranch Pack you end up choosing doesn't work for you... we'll take it back or find one that does work for your specific hunting style or trip.
We sell direct so lots of times people don't get a chance to try one of our packs on until they buy and get it shipped to their house.... rest assured you've got 60 days to try it out in your house, load up YOUR gear, and at that point if you don't like it, you can return it new/unused for a full refund on your purchase price... no questions asked.
Mark Seacat Mystery Ranch
"I definitely wouldn't try any overnighters in a 2200 or 2800."
Waa waaa What? 4000+ cu. in. for an overnighter? My goodness. I like to drink beer, but never have I packed that much into camp.
I have to be honest and would say I have heard nothing but great things about Mystery Ranch Packs. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one or 2 of their backs if they were reasonably priced! How is the average Joe Hunter supposed to afford their prices...come on!!! The cheapest multi-day Mystery Ranch pack runs $450 which is about $100-$250 more than some of the very best mountaineering packs available! I am sure the features and quality construction are tough to beat but they are definitely priced out of my league..especially when I can buy the very best engineered mountaineering pack at a fraction of the cost! The MR packs have hunters in mind but at extremely expensive prices!
Can you give me an example of what company you think makes the "Very best mountaineering packs available" please. I've got a little bit of mountaineering experience so I'll be able to compare ours with the companies you mention.
I have the 2800 and think it would be a great pack for what you are describing. I have never hauled corn in mine but I have hauled a great deal of meat and it is in fantastic condition. It is a pack designed for hunters by hunters.
"I definitely wouldn't try any overnighters in a 2200 or 2800."
I don't know about the 2200,, but my brother and I have both have used the 2800 to pack in camp and gear for 4 dyas with it. We have alos packed out a few elk with them. Although not my first choice for my hunting pack but might work great for your application.
I currently have a Eberlestock J104 and really like it. I would love to be able to get a Mystery Ranch but, my military pay won't allow it! It looks like they have some great packs!
Seacat, Have you heard of Arcteryx? They are one of the best packs around and I can pick up a Arcteryx Bora 90 for around $350. I bought mine about 5 years ago for $200. I've packed out loads with about as much as I can stand upright with!
Osprey makes decent packs and you can buy a decent 4,000 cu in pack for around $200. Gregory makes nice backs and you can pick up the "Backpacker Magazine's Top Choice" Baltoro 70 for around $250. If you want another meat hauling machine try a Gregory Whitney for around $325....Do you want more? All of these packs are super well made and are $100 to $300 cheaper than Mystery Ranch.
Diamond Langus, I have tried bivy hunting with a 2200 and it just didn't work for me. I also have a 2800 and believe it would be borderline for multi-day trips with my gear. I barely had room for my gear and was not comfortable with about a 35 lb load. If you ultra-light gear such as a tarp tent, 30+ degree bag, etc I can see how a pack under 4,000 cu in may work but I can't even imagine trying to pack out an elk with that size pack! It will likely take you several additional trips to haul out the large mass/wt of boned meat because it just won't fit and is not designed for hauling loads over around 35-40 lbs! I am in the process of converting to lighter weight and less bulky gear which will definitely help...but I will always use a larger pack for hauling out boned meat, capes, etc!
sorry not trying to start an argument just stating what I have done. One elk took 4 loads with my 2800. what works for one person may not work for another
Arcteryx, Gregory, and Osprey, all make great products that's for sure... I really enjoyed an Arcteryx pack I once owned called the Nozone... it's a sweet design.
As for our pricing, there are reasons why Mystery Ranch Packs are priced the way they are. Give me a call if you'd like to know more about this.
Mark Seacat 406.585.1428
"Elk Pack" by Bisongear!"
Not sure how heavy of how well it hauls weight, but those things look nice and well made!
For my really long trips, like upwards of 2 weeks...I bought a Kelty Durango 5900. It weighs around 6 lbs, has more room than I would ever use, and the price was right. I got it on clearance for $100, so if it works out to not be that great, I am not out too much. Money wasn't endless when I got it, and I haven't regretted it yet. I haven't done extensive hiking with it yet, but from loading up 55 lbs and walking/hiking short distances to test it, I think it'll be great!
I would love to pick up a smaller mid range pack for shorter hunting trips....The Horn Hunter Mainbeam XL REALLY had my interest back when I was looking into packs. I will start my search over from scratch when the time comes and find what appeals the most for a price that suits me.
Hey fellas, thanks for the input so far. Sheesh, I didn't want to start any arguments here, fellas!
I hope to be able to pack some meat out with me on the first trip out, but will take the frame for the rest. I really can't spend over $300 for a pack...just can't afford it. Basically I'm looking for a pack that I can carry up to 4 days worth of gear comfortably and still be able to shoot with on. Including the frame pack, last year with 5 days of gear my pack ran around 40-45 lbs. I hope to lighten that a bit this year. Anyone have any opinions on eberlestock packs?
Is 2800 cu in enough for a four day outing?
I had the J105, didn't carry the weight comfortably for me. I now have a BL2200 and stay out for 3 days at a time in decent weather. I am looking at the Osprey Argon, very comfortable pack.
There is a difference between price of Made in the USA packs and Made in Vietnam packs--
It seems the Americans don't want to work for or can't afford to live on the wage that that someone from Vietnam would and could.
So each company has to set a price that they feel is fair and that they can afford to sell for. May not make a difference to the consumer, but it does to the company that make the products.
I would say 2800 is borderline for most guys with 30 to 40 lbs but it sounds like some guys may be able to somehow handle this or more? I myself tried it once and it was a horrible experience! Sorry if I may sound controversial but I would hate for you to make the same mistake I did! There may be a few guys with lots of outdoor experience and super gear that may have made a system like this work, but trust me, they are not in the majority! I spend a great deal of time year-round packing and you may be in for an awakening with a 2800 on a 4 day back country trip!
If you have ultra-light gear that is less bulky or are hunting an area/season where you can take minimal gear this may work...otherwise I would try something in at least the 4,000 cu in range for hunting and packing meat! I just bought 2 Gregory packs last night (Baltoro and Palisades) at Sierra Trading Post for $150 each...brand new! The Baltoro won a Backpacker's Choice Award this year and the Palisades has been a long time favorite for multi-day packers. Both packs weigh about 5 1/2 lbs and can carry 4,000 cu in+ and 40+ lb loads. I really like the looks of the Baltoro because it has a lot of outside pockets for gear.
The Palisades is somewhat larger and is designed to handle a little more weight than the Baltoro. Even though they are rated at 4,000 cu in + I still think they are borderline for packing out a boned elk and I will use my Arcteryx Bora 95 to handle that task! I am pretty sure I would likely need to take at least 2 or 3 extra trips to pack out an elk if I used a 2800 vs a Bora 95 because a 2800 could hardly fit a boned out elk hind qtr while a Bora 95 could easily handle a hnd qtr and 1/2+. I can also pack my camp plus a good chunk of meat the first trip to the truck.
With that said I don't see how you are going to fit your hunting/camping gear for a 4 day trip plus any elk meat in a 2800. You may be lucky if you have room for just your gear? You may want to buy a 2800 and get all your gear together...plus food and see how it fits. You are more of a man than me if the overloaded 2800 will work on such a trip!
Badlands 2200 4days-2bucks-4guys-7miles-9500ft. Not 1 stinken problem.
The Mystery Ranch Big Sky pack might be able to help some folks on this thread out.... it's 2800 cubic inches, weighs 4 pounds 10 oz., and the Big Sky's X-wing frame is capable of comfortably distributing heavy loads.... it costs $350.
We've designed the Big Sky to carry up to 50 pound loads with 70% of the load riding on your hips and waist.... and the other 30% being contained and distributed by the harnessing system (shoulder pads, yoke, chest strap).... The Big Sky easily handles a 50 pound load in amazing comfort.
Through our testing we've found the 70/30 ratio is the most comfortable way to carry a load.
That being said, if you are comfortable with a ratio of say 50% hips, 50% harnessing (50/50).... you can carry more weight than we suggest with any of our products...
What it really comes down to is... what you (as an individual) can handle? Not the pack. The pack's have a lifetime warranty, you don't.
About the heaviest load I'll carry each year (hopefully!!) is an elk hindquarter, a backstrap, and a tenderloin (depending on the specifc elk this could be around 120 pound max load)... I could carry that load with the Big Sky pack, I know the pack won't fail..... but I choose to carry that load with my NICE Frame.... I do so because it's more comfortable and the NICE Frame's 70/30 ratio can handle 120 pounds for me.
The Big Sky pack at $350 might be a great way to get some of the best Mystery Ranch technology at a lower price than our NICE Frame line of packs.....
I'm not sure how much people really know about our smaller packs??? Feel free to ask any questions!!!!!
Another vote for the Crew Cab. I love mine. you get what you pay for, and this sucker is comfortable when carrying a load.
I would love to put my two cents in, But I would most likly get a email again. But I will look at the name it is true (I still bivy hunt also) The pack I use is the most comfortable hands down with weight in it. Trust me I have to carry alot of batteries to keep the spinail cord stimulator going.
I love the hornhunter mainbeam XL, in fact, I have an extra for sale.
Timberhawk .. Killshot this is a 3000 ci pack that is comfortable. It has some outstanding features and it will cinch down with compression straps to about a 1700 ci pack. I have only loaded it down and did a couple of "get in shape" hikes with my gear for a Pre-Elk trip in Sept. It has some cool features, Bino strap on pack, rain-fly good compartment space. Check it out.
Just Got my Eberlestock blue widow a few days ago. I am switching from a North face pack from about 12 years ago that is a great pack but is just not that lightweight. It is a great pack and cost me $400 12 years ago. Wow it is amazing that good packs have actually gotten cheaper over the last decade. Well here is the reason I decided to upgrade. My north face is made of cordura which is a bit outdated as far as quietness and water resistance. The blue widow is lighter and has much more water repellent fabric. The blue widow has much better straps. they are thinner but contoured compared to the north face pack. The blue widow has separate side pockets which allow me to store my scope and tripod in a separate pocket from the rest of my gear. The blue widow has the super spike duffel which allows you to keep your sleeping bag, tent food for multiple days, cooking supplies, extra clothes for long trip all in a separate bag that just unzips when you get to spike camp and leave your hunting gear on the main pack. It also allows you to separate the gear etc in a different pocket from your meat on the dreaded first trip to the truck. Lastly the blue widow closes up fairly compact for a hunting pack. I realize that this may seem silly to some to have your large pack on when you are out chasing elk or mulies but I pack my spotting scope, tripod lots of water, emergency supplies, extra clothing when I am away from spike camp. The worst thing ever is to have to go back to spike camp to get the meat packing backpack so I hunt with it on my back. My North Face is not camoflauge (neither are other mountaineering backpacks) and so hunting with a bright turquoise mountaineering pack on my back that did not compress down was really not an option.
The blue widow retails for $299 and I have been extremely impressed how much pack you get for that price. We'll see how it performs with an elk hind quarter in it.
I really don't see how you couldn't do an overnighter in the badlands 2200. I've got one and that thing has a huge main compartment. What can you possibly take for two days that wouldn't fit in there?
I do 2-3 days in my 2200 all the time, and have carried out deer in it with all my bivy gear. Not the most comfortable pack to perform this duty (bivy gear and meat/horns) but it is certainly doable.
Buy a Bull pac. Carry what you need straped to it in ultralight H2O proof stuffsacks. Much less weight.
When you do kill something your not having to stuff allyour camping gear/clothes back into that main compartment with all the blood stains.
I can strap on a big chunk of an animal to the pack and since my gear is in stuffsacks I can carry a stuffsack of camp gear in one hand with a treking pole for balance in the other. Makes packing out and getting camp out much less of an ordeal. Normaly one less trip up and down the Mtn.
Bullpacs are Made in the USA and have a Lifetime warranty.
This is one of The Outdoorsmans pack systems, they offer several different bags with different add ons and so forth. I believe there site is outdoorsmans.com here is a picture
I just got the Eberlestock Blue Widow in today. I had my friend put it on and I hung off the back of it. He held me just fine. I weigh 170. I can't wait to try it out on the mountain tommorrow.
The Eberlestock X2 at 1800cu inches will do fine for 2-4 day bivys. You guys must carry the kitchen sink with you if you need anything over 2800! I loaded my X2 up and can handle a hunt like that with no problem. Plus if will haul an elk quarter back to the truck and allow me to pick up my meat frame pack for the rest. It has a low profile and allows you to shoot your bow without interference. Go light!