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Pack Frame For Whitetails
I would appreciate some advice on packing out whitetail deer, quartered meat. I planning to start packing my deer out. I usually hunt up to a mile or less on flat terrain. Most of the deer in my area are from 75 to 150 lbs. I'm considering a internal frame pack maybe. I really dont have any experience as far as packing out a deer.
I've only done it once on Kodiak. I used a standard internal frame pack and meat bags
I packed out a few WT using my Kuiu Icon 1850. Entire deer in one trip.
I’ll never drag a deer again
I hunt on the ground so I won't be packing a stand in and out.
BK, I looked that pack up and it's more affordable than what I expected it to be. I'm gonna check the Kuiu Icon 1850 out
BK, is this the same exact pack?
No thats not the pack - I dont think Kuiu makes the 1850 Pro anymore. You have to jump up to the 2300 Pro, unless you find a used one somewhere
I use a kifaru frame. I’ve got two of them and one seek outside.
I’ve been packing whitetails out since wv made it legal to do 25 years ago. I go a long beats in certain areas I hunt and I’m done dragging deer for miles and miles.
I’ve used alps, military packs, nimrod packs, badlands, Kuiu, and kifaru frames. I got the seekoutside at the end of deer season last and I’ve yet to carry one in it. But, it’s a fine pack.
All these packs worked. But, I prefer my Kifaru’s. I’m going to use my seek this year to compare. However, I’d stay with a pack capable of hauling a whole deer bone in. It’s a lot better finished product if you make steaks out of the back quarters. It’s a lot more tinder than deboning immediately.
But once and cry once. That’s my advice. Don’t go cheap to be cheap. And, if you intend to bring it out bone it, go with a pack that has the ability to sandwich the meat between the frame and the bag. Stone glacier, exo, kui, kifaru, and a few others offer this option in a frame that’s suitable for carrying on the hunt. One trip in. One trip out. Good luck.
I have the 2300. It’s a good pack. Very versatile.
Check out mystery ranch popup. Although the KUIU frame can fit multiple bags.
I have the mystery ranch popuo 18, I think they upped the size a bit which is OK.
It's a good day pack that converts to pack frame. I've packed out multiple antelope, whitetails and a smallish mulie buck in one load. It also easily handles an elk quarter
KS, I been looking at the Mystery Racnch pop up 30. Looks like a good quality pack. Justin, I do plan on just quartering the meat up..no debunking. I agree with getting a good quality pack but I don't want to spend more than I have to either.
Bob, the pop up 18 would be big enough for a whole quartered deer and stuff you'd carry in a backpack?
I use an old A.L.I.C.E. pack frame, or an old Coleman Flex frame and game bags when I need to back things.
I’ve also used my Kelty Cache Hauler to pack out a whole deer. If you have a regular daypack, you can strap it on and have it with you also.
The Kelty is a less expensive version than the popular packs
BK, I was also looking at the Kelty Cache frame. Do you find the external frame system works as well as the internal frame for hauling deer? The Kelty is one I was looking at and the Mollie system Frank mentioned. Lots of choices..lol
If you just want a meat hauler, you cant go wrong with an external frame
I guess the external frame would be more versatile in a sense
I personally feel that an external frame system is considerably more versatile than an internal frame system. But...everyone is different.
Frank, I'm ignorant to pack frames but it sure seems like an external frame would be more versatile to me
I went with the KUIU frame and bought a small pack for day hunts and large pack for backpacking. That way I get two packs for one frame. I can switch them out once I get to base camp. But I used a mystery ranch mule for a long time and liked it. Both are comfortable and durable.
KS, that sounds like the way to go fir me. I don't carry anything but a day pack and my Cliq chair. But when the time comes to haul out meat I should have plenty of room. Do I need the adjustable load lifters or is that more for overnight hunts or heavier loads like packing out elk?
Load lifters are just about a necessity for me.
I if you’re carrying that much weight I’d have adjustable load lifters. Your shoulders will thank you. If you never bought from KUIU be sure to use the coupon. Also you might find a used KUIU pack on eBay or facebook marketplace.
Following along on this. Similar situation here, although not as flat here. Been telling my brother the older we get I’m gonna start packing out. Usually it comes up again when we are dragging one out :) If we are together, one of us hikes out to truck to get the sled. Considering it more for when I’m alone.
Just throwing this out on here, I have no experience with it. I think I saw Charlie post once about packing elk out with one of these. Maybe he or someone that have used one can chime in. Supposed to balance the load nicely. Figure I can keep in daypack but not sure how to carry daypack if I am packing one out like this.
Thank yal for the info. I appreciate it. I'm also looking at the Slumberjack Rail Hauler
Tobywon, Nate Steen of Sunset Hill Longbows using so etching similar to that and is a huge fan of how well it works.
I’ve certainly never used one of those vest hauler things, so speaking from pure speculation. But it seems like with much weight it would be a nightmare for my shoulders. The equalization of weight front to back might be nice, but when I wear a pack essentially 0% of the weight is actually on my shoulders. If my pack slides down onto my shoulders even a bit I notice quickly and DON’T like it. It certainly appears that vest thing puts 100% on my shoulders. No thanks.
Rarely do I purchase gear just for limited limited use - it’s gonna get used for other things
The Kelty in use in Alaska
That Kelty looks like a rugged frame. Must be durable
An external frame is certainly better the heavier the load gets. But, it’s a dog to hunting brush with one.
Here’s your dilemma. You need to decide if you want to go in and out in one trip. If you aren’t far from the truck but are tired of dragging, get an external frame pack. The Kelly will fit the bill perfectly. But, if you are miles and miles from the truck and want to hunt with your pack so, it’s one trip in with gear and one trip out with gear and deer, but a kifaru type pack.
Interchangeable bags is something all one and done pack makers offer. It’s not specific to any one brand.
Thanks Justin. I'm won't be any more than 1 1/2 mile back. Most of the time 600 to 1500 yards
TGBow for tour situation I say the MR popup is ideal. Works as a day pack, then expands into a pack frame by unwrapping buckles and putting the meat between the big pockets and the frame, then you strap it all back together
Picture is the Mr popup with a full antelope loaded
The MR popup 18 is legit. I packed out the first load of an elk this year with all my regular daypack stuff and it worked well.
Thanks Bob, and Blane. I'm surprised how much you can get in that size pack
Looks like Mystery Ranch don't make the pop up 18 or 28 any longer
for doing both, the eberlestock x2 is the pack you want. it is better than the mystery ranch pop up.
if you just want a great pack frame, get a bullpac.
I agree with Ron. An Eberlestock X2 is a great pack. I've had one for a few years and it works great especially if you bone out the meat.
Ah crap. I have the popup 28. Sorry. They don’t make it anymore either but I bet you can still find one.
I do like it and I’d say the new popup 30 is damn close.
Sorry for my confusion
Eberlestock mainframe with two batwing zipped to frame. It’s not too heavy and compact enough that it’s my main hunting pack for elk and deer. If you get something down you unzip packs from each other and load meat on frame. When you do some serious hauling just take bags off and go with just frame. I can get a whole whitetail out in one trip boned out. And the batwing attachment is quiet material for hunting.
For what ita worth ive used eberlestock blue widow for whitetail in the midwest, also shoved a dozen duck decoys in it and a limit of ducks and a few boxes of shells and snacks in it. Ive had my pack for 10 years now and absolutely abused it. I havent broken a strap, a connector or the webbing on it. The pack is amazing. Ive also strapped a 90lb fawn (dressed weight) to it. That was the most miserable packout of my life. The oack is a bit heavier than others. 7.5lbs empty, but it wont ever let you down.
Can you get a whole quartered deer in the X2? Say an 80 to 125 pound deer?
I have an Eberlestock X2 for my whitetail pack. No way I would use it to pack out an animal. I used it to pack out an elk quarter once because it was the first load and it was miserable. All the weight is on your shoulders.
I have a kifaru frame with a cargo panel for packing out meat now. Expensive but worth it. If I was on a budget or just using for whitetails, I'd try a cheaper option like cnelk's Kelty, although I've never used one.
The kuiu icin pack that expands is amazing. Internal frames are awesome. That said bone in quarters take up lots of room. I strongly urge you to bone meat. Research the gutless method.
Dragged out over 100 whitetails in Ohio before hunting out west. After boning elk and packing I realized it is significantly better then not just dragging but bringing out mistly stuff you then throw away.
Your budget might also dictate. A mile is not very far so you don't need to drop a fortune.
A shelf style pack like the Cabela's Alaskan is cheap and effective but not as comfy and the COG is not as close to you.
IMO it's really tough to beat the Kuiu Icon.
Yep. The X2 is short. Meaning you are going to carry all the weight on your shoulders.
RG, for those distances, I’d buy an external frame like the Kelty Brad recommended. Alps makes a decent one as well. The military version will work but aren’t tall enough to offer a working load lifter for most folks. The old Coleman flex frames are really good too.
In my opinion, if you are buying a pack to carry a deer out in one trip, don’t buy one that doesn’t allow you to use load lifters. I realize at those distances, load lifters aren’t a necessity but, there are lots of options that will carry heavy loads easily, that cost what the X2 does.
I really appreciate all the info fellas. Lots of choices, which is a good thing.
I'm kinda thinking the external frame might be a good way for me to go. Lot of times I won't be over 1500 yards. I can just strap my daypack n chair to the frame and carry in couple of game bags. Ive seen where some guys are using pillow cases for game bags. Like I said, it's all new to me
Pro-Tip - if you strap the external frame pack [with a shelf] to a tree, it also doubles as a chair
Boom! That might be worth the aggravation of carrying an external frame. Pure genius.
Get a SADDLE MULE, go on line. They are great.
You didn’t say how you plan on using it. Is the plan to hunt, and have a pack (if you kill) on the spot that will allow you to haul all the quarters out? Or are you going back to the truck to get the pack? Big difference.
Going back to the truck, Kelty all day for being cheap, and a workhorse. If you plan on bowhunting with it, the Kelty and the Kifaru would be my last choice. They are simply too loud on a hot summer day, they’d be real loud on a 10 degree morning.
If you hunt with sticks and stand, a Badlands 2200 batwing style pack is hard to beat, and it will haul a WT out non issue. The outer material is soft, so no noise.
I think you need to determine how you will use it but I wouldn’t overthink a WT pack.
Bob H I need to learn from you. It looks like a horror movie when I am done boning an animal! You are clean and the total opposite! Good job!
CNelk just curious with the deer why you did not cut the skull cap off so you have to carry less weight?
My first pack was an internal frame. I hkied near my house with it. I then got an external frame. First time I went to climb over a down tree with weight it through me to the ground - literally! I was not expecting the complete difference with COG further away from you. The difference between internal and external frames is hard to describe, but wow what a difference!
I echo what Midwest uses. A Kifaru frame with a cargo panel and a couple pockets makes a great day pack/hauler no matter what you are hunting.
Yes they are not cheap but they are built great, can handle a very heavy load and the load lifters are very functional and save your shoulders.
Now days I don’t do much western hunting but I keep mine for those times when a deer is in a location I can’t drive too or getting a cart to would be a nightmare.
CL, I hunt in the ground. Just carry my Cliq chair n backpack. In and out each hunt. No overnight stays. Just want to be able to haul a quartered out deer. 75 to 150 lbs
External frames packs take a bunch of abuse but internal frame packs are pretty awesome now too. If you want to combine with a day pack they are the way to go no question. Lots of good options in the top tier like stone glacier, kifaru, exo, mystery ranch, and if you are going to spend that kind of money stick with those 4 and pass on the Kuiu in my opinion. Kuiu makes some great stuff but the packs are not it. They work but better out there.
“ CNelk just curious with the deer why you did not cut the skull cap off so you have to carry less weight?”
Because skull capped euros look stupid
I use a Mystery Ranch pop up 28 with no complaints. I can pack an entire deer along with the normal things that are in my daypack. I’ve been debating getting an exo for an up coming elk hunt. Good luck
i appreciate everyone's feedback..thank you very much. Lot of different ways I could have went as far as a frame pack but I found a good deal on the Eberlestock F1 frame pack so I ordered it. Thanks
I think you’ll like it. I really love the versatility of mine, and with it being a little more compact and fits contour of your back, it’s a great pack to wear while hunting also. I’ve hauled several elk with mine now and it’s much more comfortable than my cabelas brand frame with heavy loads. And like I said earlier, the batwing bags are much quieter than a lot of those other high end frame/pack combos. No experience with other bag options they have though.
Sounds like you made the right choice for your hunting. I may be saying something you already know but measure your torso size so you know if you need the regular or tall size. Most times when people say a pack rides too high or low they don’t have the right size for their bodies.
cnelk thanks! I wondered about that for a while, could not think of why - that never occurred to me!
Phil, I looked at the Eberlestock size chart and I got the regular size. You're right about the torso size ...I didn't think about torso size, I jus happen to see their size chart
We use stone glacier packs. My son in law can carry 150 pounds with it. I'm not quite that strong :)
Any of the modern packs with a load shelf are excellent. Mystery Ranch, Kuiu, etc.
Make sure on the Eberle that the load lifters attach to the frame 3-4” above the top of your shoulders. A buddy had one of their internal packs and it was designed Terri ly for packing meat. He literally had to walk leaned forward to wear he was staring at his toes to make it work.
^^^ This^^^. Not much load lifting ability with any of their packs. But, he’s not going real far so it might work ok.
TG, get back with us on how well the pack feels loaded with 55-60 lbs. after 1.5 miles.
I've read good n bad with just about every pack frame I've looked at. Guess I will find out. Thanks everyone for the feedback
Another vote for the Slumberjack Rail Hauler. Picked up a brand new one a few years ago on Craigslist. Works great.
Trying to remember how many elk I’m up to with that frame, but it’s quite a few. It handles heavy loads great, usually bring 2 boned out fronts, neck meat on my last load. There is no problem with the pack or me handling that, and I’m not the biggest of guys. That frame is rated for much more weight than that, and distributes weight nicely. I was never a fan of their packs until this system. I use it like you want to for whitetail hunting, and have never been happier with a pack/frame purchase. Fits my needs and is comfortable, and the bonus part is that it’s not $500+!
Bradley, I would just have to drag em if I had to pay $500...lol According to what you stated, there must not be a problem with load lif adjustability
Just make sure you put the shoulder straps in the right location for your torso, should be good.
Mystery Ranch Pop-up 18 or a Kifaru 22 mag depending on what I'm doing have worked well. Attached pic is the MR. Old style design that I think is alright, but continued heavy use makes the poles harder to hinge back into storage mode. Think the new version of these frames might be a bit better.
No comparison against the Kifaru if I'm hauling heavy loads though.
Badlands 2200 example. Binos, jacket, few other things inside, open bat wings throw quarters on, it has a flap (orange on this model) you snap to the top, all tight walk out.
Just packed out a whole whitetail with my kifaru hoodlum. 99# meat, 6# head, 14# treestand, 8 # pack. Handled 127# no problem. I don’t need to pack that much anymore- But it’s nice to know I can
Gerald, that's quiet a load
I had a Badlands 2200 and liked it a lot. One of the reasons I got rid of it was because it rode higher above my shoulders than I like. That, alone, probably wouldn’t have led me to sell the pack. The real issue was that I bought it at a good price and later found out that the torso size was wrong for me and it didn’t ride well. I bought the Eberlestock pack at a good price also but I made sure that I got the right torso size for that one
Wilderness Pack Specialities
Phil, I just got my F1 this week. Have my Cliq chair and my backpack strapped to it. If course I haven't packed any meat out yet but it feels good so far as far as the fit and what weight I have on it so far. I'm going hunting tomorrow for the first time this season, will be about 3/4 of a mile hike in... hopefully I can pack some meat out.
Copperman… I’ve got one as well. I love that frame pack for hauling out elk quarters as well. Has sure served me well. Love that pack! I’ve also got a badlands 2200 that I use for elk hunting. I can haul out a qtr on the first trip with it. As I’m aging, I bring my Alaskan frame pack with me to deer camp in case I get one down across steep drainages and creeks. Much easier to qtr one out and pack it.
A little different for me when I was young hunting the nw va hill country.
Id leave the truck & no telling where on the mountain id end up.
Wore an upland game type jacket with a game pouch in the back. Always kept a couple plastic bags in there. Backstraps, loins, heart, liver, kidneys, went in the bags in the game pouch, had a 2" wide x 6' long nylon strap, double the strap, a hind quarter & front shoulder on each end of the strap to balance the weight, throw it over your shoulder & head for the truck. Fur on cut at knee joints. """Orange hat on """
Just couldn't imagine sneaking / still hunting all day up in the mountain with a pack frame on my back, not even a small one. And going miles back to the truck to get one was not an option.
Seek outside peregrine. Whole deer and gear. Old deer. 74 pound pack. 1trip in. 1 trip out. Heaviest whitetail pack I’ve ever had. Over 2 mile pack out. Different strokes for different folks. But, if your pack doesn’t have load lifters, you’ll wish it did.
Those old Cabelas Alaskan II pack frames absolutely suck. I had one, packed out caribou and and lots elk with it. I took the bag off the frame before it hit the trash. Occasionally I see them sitting along side the road with a FREE sign next to them lol
I’m a pack whore…. I have two different eberlestock f1s, the tall and standard. I have a love hate with them as I feel they could be the best frame ever…. But the belts slip and the load lifters suck. Still better than my old cabelas Alaskan. I have packed out an entire whitetail about 2 miles deep in South Dakota on an eberlestock blue widow. I about died, but it worked. Had several kuiu packs. They worked ok, again about died packing out an entire caribou. (Young and dumb) Still have a kifaru bikini frame, pretty light and comfy. Not my fave after 45 pounds. I also have a stone glacier Krux 6900 and a xcurve 7900. Those two can pack out weight. They’re pricey. But the belts don’t slip and I find them comfy. That said for a whitetail pack they would all suck. They’re all louder than I like bow hunting. You give me a stone glacier frame and mount a Sitka fanatic or mystery ranch tree house too it and now you have a pack you can carry meat in and is quite enough for bow hunting whitetails on the calmest day.
I can adjust the top straps..I guess they are somewhat load lifters?
Full disclosure: I've yet to get to use it for meat, but I've been toting a MR pop up 30 all season in the PA mountains and it should do the trick nicely when the time comes. I had the Pop up 28 and sold it for a little more gear capacity. While its certainly not the lightest option for a day pack, I'm liking the 30 for that as well, so far.
EXO MNT Gear pack works great to pack out your deer whether in the west or east. I have K2 2200.