eBike Generation
frame pack suggestions (companies)
Contributors to this thread:
bigbuckODY 24-Jan-17
Destroyer350 24-Jan-17
Jaquomo 24-Jan-17
WV Mountaineer 24-Jan-17
Dyjack 24-Jan-17
Mathewsshooter1 24-Jan-17
JayZ 24-Jan-17
OkieJ 24-Jan-17
elkstabber 24-Jan-17
Bowboy 24-Jan-17
BoggsBowhunts 24-Jan-17
Straight Shooter 24-Jan-17
Straight Shooter 24-Jan-17
LKH 24-Jan-17
Backpack Hunter 24-Jan-17
IdyllwildArcher 24-Jan-17
jims 24-Jan-17
Glunt@work 24-Jan-17
Grunt-N-Gobble 24-Jan-17
Jaquomo 24-Jan-17
oldgoat 25-Jan-17
Ermine 25-Jan-17
Bou'bound 25-Jan-17
APauls 25-Jan-17
joehunter 25-Jan-17
planebow 25-Jan-17
flyingbrass 25-Jan-17
Straight Shooter 26-Jan-17
Scoot 28-Jan-17
snellpastor 28-Jan-17
bigbuckODY 16-Feb-17
bigbuckODY 17-Feb-17
Brotsky 17-Feb-17
From: bigbuckODY
im a new elk hunter heading to colorado this fall going to be backpacking in im looking for companies and suggestions for tents sleeping bags and especially frame packs

From: Destroyer350
There is a ton of different options but I can tell you what I use without spending a ton. You'll probably want to get a water filter also. I like the Katadyn Hiker Pro.

Tent - Mountainsmith Morrison 2 person tent

Sleeping Bag - Teton Sports Tracker +5

Day Pack - Alpz Outdoors Traverse

Frame Pack - Alpz Commander Freighter

From: Jaquomo
Hoo boy. That's pretty open-ended because we need to know more about what sort of "backpack" hunt you plan. Alone, with others, base camp, how far, etc.. Distance means lighter weight which means $$$ per ounce saved.

Question - you are a new elk hunter, so why are you planning a backpack hunt? Did someone share a honeyhole nobody else is hunting that's full of elk? Going with buddies who are experienced and have a spot?

For day hunts from camp I have used badlands, Nimrod wilderness packs, and plan on the Alps traverse after using it to carry quite a few deer now. Its a good little day pack that will carry the biggest first load you can muster. Comfortably too. Probably not as well made as the top end packs but, it has a lifetime warranty and, it handles 50-60 pounds like a breeze. It's big enough to use for a couple three days of spike camping too as long as the daytime highs don't require 4 or 5 layers to stay warm.

Meat frame, I'll be using a IBLE gen II or a Army Large Rucksack this fall in Colorado Lord willing I kill one. (I gotta keep the streak alive!) Both are excellent with the 80 pound training loads I've been using them for. God Bless

From: Dyjack
Alps pursuit or traverse for day packs. Can fit a full quarter with bone in the pursuit. And their pack frames is a good choice if it's not going to be used religiously. My alps pursuit has seen some s*** and is stitched together with fishing line + duct tape. Still going strong.

I have one of their pack frames, it's addons and sizing is held with pins that are loud as hell, so it only gets used for meat hauling. Broke the chest strap this year hauling elk. The way alps has their straps held on is a bit sketchy, but nothing para cord can't replace unless your waist strap goes.

If you're going to be doing this religiousy then kifaru is probably the way to go.

Depending on the hike length you could get away with an alpz two man tent, or even a Coleman for space. Or if you don't care you could get a tent tarp or bivy for lighter weight.

Kuiu stuff has worked for me .I know that kafiu works for some guys both are pricey

From: JayZ
I bought a Stone Glacier Sky Archer last year. I was impressed. Carries a load well and you can condense it down to use as a day pack too.

Their packs don't weigh all that much either.

From: OkieJ
Horn Hunter pack. 1 pack does everything you will need. Price is right also.

From: elkstabber
You'll need to give us some info about cost limitations and your backpacking experience would help too.

My favorite cheap pack is an ILBE that I've stripped down to just the basic bag.

You didn't ask about boots. These are the single most important purchase if you don't have a really good pair.

From: Bowboy

Bowboy's Link
If your looking for just a backpack to haul your gear there's quite a few good one on the market. If your looking for a meat hauling pack then I would highly recommend Bullpac.

Stone Glacier Sky series. I regularly run/jog anywhere from 1-10 miles with a 50 pound sandbag in mine and I have zero complaints. Handles it great.

Just like Jaquomo said, this is a wide open question. Many options as well as opinions. Best to get a little more specific on type of hunt your thinking of doing. (i.e. what area, how many days, what type of camp, what gear you have etc.

There will be all kinds of different answers but from a ton of experienced guys.


Sorry I forgot to put in "my two sense" on packs, I use a Mystery Ranch Crew Cab. Great all around for packing in camp, using as day pack and packing out an animal if successful.


From: LKH
I use a Camptrails, but got rid of the bag (too heavy) and my wife sewed a very light bag. I've packed 85# elk hams and everything from a sheep, including tent, bag, etc. It's a very tough frame but I've driven wood pegs into the aluminum poles to withstand setting it on rocks. The rubber ones disappeared over time.

It is hard to beat a Kifaru backpack for weight, strength, and comfort. You can choose several different bags to go with your frame. They are expensive, but they work well.

For shelters I prefer floorless. Kifaru, Seek Outside, and Mountainsmith all make popular models at varying weights and price.

Sleeping bags you will want to decide whether you want down or synthetic insulation. For down Western Mountaineering, Feathered Friends, Marmot, and Montbell all make good bags. For synthetic Kifaru, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear are good as well.

When backpacking you can get light, compact, and quality you just have to pay for it.

I use a 20 year old "small" internal frame pack made by Gregory because it fits my frame like a glove. I can put 80 lbs in it if I want and that's the most I'd ever want to carry because I want my joints to survive 50 years of hunting. I found it to be the pack for me when I tried on 20 different packs between REI, Bass Pro, and Sport's Chalet and decided that it felt best. Packs are like boots - best not to order them off the internet unless you've tried them first. As far as boots, I think it's better to have 3-5 pairs of really good boots that fit you well than it is to have 1 pair of really really good boots. EDIT: What I mean by that, is if you'll have the option to have more than one pair of boots, it's better to have the best boot for the situation and be able to alternate them when wet. If you're back country for 10 days, obviously you don't have that luxury.

From: jims
If you want the best of the best I'd suggest Kifaru or Stone Glacier for packs. Western Mountaineering for sleeping bag and Hilleberg for tents. Similar to everything else...you get what you pay for!

From: Glunt@work
I use an older Mountainsmith internal frame for backpacking and meat hauling.

It's more comfortable than the external or Freighter Frame packs I used for meat previously. A rear quarter slides right in.

I like the EXO Mountain packs. Ive got the 3500 myself and works great for a day pack, for packing in a few days and for hauling meat, though i havent hauled any meat yet.

As for tents, ive got a Kifaru MegaTarp, but im not sure they are making it now. Last i looked, it wasnt on the website.

Sleeping bags...... Anything lightweight that packs down small. Id say 20 degrees is the highest id go for september hunting. Depends alot on if you are a cold or warm sleeper. I highly suggest getting a good pad. Im using an Exped Synmat 9 i believe.

From: Jaquomo
Sooooo, there you have it. Dozens of brands and styles to choose from based upon everyone's different preferences. No real consensus. Which is why I suggested you tell us what sort of hunt you plan to do, your experience backpacking, number of companions, and your expectations.

Now let's talk about the best broadhead for elk..


From: oldgoat
Budget per item would help! If you have the coin, Kifaru is the bomb and it will keep 80-90% value on the resale if Western hunting doesn't become the addiction, but it probably will!

From: Ermine
Kifaru makes the best in my opinion! But once and it will last you a lifetime!

From: Bou'bound
kelty cache hauler is a great pack and value for that type of equipment.

From: APauls
Of course most are partial to their best purchase. For me, that's a Kuiu Icon Pro.

From: joehunter

joehunter's embedded Photo
joehunter's embedded Photo
Eberlestock F1 frame and then I use a cheap retrofitted pack on it. Here I am with 90 pounds of meat close to the pack frame in game bag with pack with several pounds of Bivy gear and the rack on the outside. As you can see this was a quick 9pm load up, but we made it down 700 vertical camped and then repacked and went the 4.5 miles out the next morning. I really like the pack for hunting with it on my back. I am sure there are better but for $169.00 for the F1 frame I am very happy. It will get a lot of use over the nest 20 years.

From: planebow
I was lucky enough this fall to win a Slumberjack Rail Hauler 2500, Have not had a chance to check it out but I really like the way it fits.

From: flyingbrass
Kifaru! buy once, cry once!

OP, now that you have some great responses why don't you get a bit more specific so we can help "narrow" the choices.


From: Scoot
If I would have listened to the "buy once, cry once" suggestions right away I'd have saved a couple grand before eventually spending a ton of a Kifaru. I could have bought a couple Kifarus for what I spent on "inexpensive packs". If possible, pick a good pack and do your best to purchase it. If you can't swing that expense, get the best one you can. Boots, bow, sleep system, pack (in that order) are the most important pieces of equipment IMO.

From: snellpastor

snellpastor's embedded Photo
snellpastor's embedded Photo
Have bought and sold a ton of packs. Here are my thoughts. First, you can tell that packs have a lot to do with the person wearing them. Some above recommended the Alps Traverse. My buddy bought one and it about killed him carrying any weight in it.

So ... first there are some basic things to look for in a pack fit. First, go to a store that carries backpacks and get your torso measured. That is important for frame height and the position of the "load lifters" on a pack. Any pack that is going to haul weight needs three important features: A comfortable belt that doesn't slip, a quality frame designed to carry weight, and load lifters that go above the shoulders when weight is in the pack, sloping down somewhere between 15 and 45 degrees. Your torso measurement is critical in getting a frame tall enough for your load lifters to work well. For me, I have a 21" torso and found that a 25"+ frame was needed.

So ... here is what I have found in packs. You can get an old Cabela's frame that has those features. Also, the REI 85XT has those features. You can get those fairly inexpensively and they have good quality. Badlands packs are super comfortable and some have good load lifters. Some guys do have problems with zippers breaking and polymer frames at times breaking too. Be aware of that. Eberlestock is in the same category as Badlands, except their frames are usually much shorter, meaning you may not have functional load lifters.

The next step "up" from what I have experienced would be the Horn Hunter Full Curl Combo. Great pack. I just found it heavy and too rigid for my tastes. But it is super modular and effective. Lots of guys like the Kuiu. I haven't tried it, but based on reviews, most guys seem to rate their packs similar to the Horn Hunter.

From there (again, of the packs I have tried) you go up to the very good packs. Exo Mountain packs are super comfortable and you can generally find an older model used for under $400. Definitely worth it. Stone Glacier, Seek Outdoors, Mystery Ranch all have super reputations and guys love them. I personally went with Kifaru for my "out west" pack and haven't looked back. Wow! They are super pricey, but you won't ever need another pack. Super comfortable and can carry more than you can. Great company too. As guys pointed out, they hold about 80 - 90% of their value. There is a reason for that.

So in the end it comes down to you. Are you just going out west once or twice? Get something less expensive. Hope to do it several times? Go higher end. Sometimes you can go higher end by just buying the frame the first year and then using dry sacks. That makes it more affordable. I can tell you after buying and selling a lot of packs that if you plan on doing this several times, you'll likely save money in the long run by getting a higher end frame and bag ... even if you have to start with just the frame for your first year. Yes, it will cost you close to $400 just for a frame, but for me, after spending several thousand trying different packs, that seems pretty much like a good deal.

I've attached a picture that shows you some guys wearing some different packs. Probably the lightest of these packs is 50 lbs. It will give you an idea on the load lifters. From left to right: Alps Traverse (notice he has no load lifter angle), Exo 5500, Cabela's Alaskan Outfitter frame, Kifaru hunter 26" frame with Timberline 1 bag.

From: bigbuckODY
Thank you to all that helped I've purchased and received my Eberlestock F1 frame started hiking with weight and so far so good my plan is to add weight per week doing lots of hiking and stairs leading all the way up to Colorado hunt thanks again

From: bigbuckODY
I've ordered and received Eberlestock F1 frame and like it so far after to major hikes/fast pace walks. I've added to "getting in shape for elk hunt" so read what I've been up too :) thanks to all that keep helping me with tips I appreciate and am thankful

From: Brotsky
Glad you like your new pack! Good luck in September!

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