Contributors to this thread:
Pack recommendation for CO elk hunt
Pack recommendation for elk hunt in Colorado
I just purchased a Stone Glacier Sky 5900, love what I see so far. Their customer service is top notch! Best of luck!
You don’t need a good pack for Colorado.
One that fits at this point
Are you day tripping or packing in for10 days? I like my exo mtn.
Day pack- Mystery Ranch Pop Up.
Backpacking pack - Gregory
I’m a fan of Kifaru. Compress down nice for day carry yet expand to carry monster loads.
I’ve compared to other packs stone glacier etc and found Kifaru to be the most comfortable when loaded with 60 lbs and above.
My advice is don't cheap out or you will end up with a "backup" pack
Don't stash it with your survival and extra gear down in a canyon and think anyone won't bother it. Still can't fathom somebody messing with something of the sort that isn't theirs but they DO.
I have a Mystery Ranch Pintler that I bought for my elk hunt. Been wearing it 3-4 times a week on hikes and I am impressed. Light, comfortable and easy to use with a nice meat shelf for packing the big stuff. Lots of research videos and opinions out there. Pick what YOU want.
Stone Glacier, Kifaru and Exo packs are all top of the line American made packs. However you’re likely not getting one of those unless buying used as wait time is something like 2-6 weeks. If you like your stuff made by some kid in Indonesia that makes 25 cents a day than Mystery Ranch has some good stuff at a better price. The mystery ranch terra frame at my link is a steal for $230. Lots of options out there just pick something in your budget and go for it. Look on Rokslide for used packs.
I have an old Mystery Ranch Crew Cab without the functional load lifters, and a new Mystery Ranch Sawtooth 45. I like them both a lot.
If I was looking for a new pack today, I'd be looking hard at Kifaru. But at this point I'd rather take that $700 and get a better sleeping bag and pad. . . .
From my experience if you plan on carrying 60 pounds or more for much more than an hour The Kifaru frame is the most comfortable one I’ve tried. I have the mountain warrior bag and a guide lid. By far the best frame/bag combination I have used. I load 6-7 days of gear in, hike out to camp , unload everything , and cinch the side straps back down. Back to a great day pack. Easy to load elk quarters in also.
For day hunts I would go with a Kifaru Duplex Lite frame with a stryker cargo panel.
For a 5 + day pack in I would switch out the Stryker for a mountain warrior bag.
Backpacking camping: A high end internal frame. A lot of it is subjective but if you aren't experienced, I would buy a used high end pack. Use it and find out what you do and don't like about it so that you can be better prepared when dropping the coin for a new one.
Day pack: I like the Badlands Monster Fanny pack. Has shoulder straps but carries everything low. I stay cooler , feel more free, and I prefer it when slipping through heavy timber, under branches, etc. quietly. I seem to make more noise with pack on my back.
My main backpacking pack is a Gregory but I needed something really big to take the kids on their first real backpacking trip. Wanted to keep them light so I needed some serious space. I didn't want to spend a bunch on a pack I wouldn't be using much and couldn't find a good used one that fit the bill so I took a chance and ordered a cheap High Sierra Pathways 90. I figured I could tough out 3 days with it. Its by no means comparable to a $400+ pack but...it weighs under 5# which is good for the size, once adjusted and the stay was bent right it was surprisingly comfortable and it turned out to be a pretty good value. It will be in the truck as a meat packer from now on. Packs have come a long way from when I started. Even some of the inexpensive ones have design and features that were cutting edge a couple decades ago.
I suppose the short answer is, any pack you can get in time.
Long answer is try them on when you get the opportunity, but what I've found is that some packs are like tennis shoes. They're not meant to be good for your feet or be comfortable, they're meant to sell--that is feel fluffier than the old pair you're wearing, then after you wear them for a long day you realize that memory foam crap has no support and your feet are killing you. Stuff with good support, like a good boot, a good chair, etc, aren't that fluffy, but after a good while aren't killing you either.
Anyways, kuiu was the best day pack I ever had, fantastic. Over 50# and I was in terrible discomfort. Plus 130# of moose broke the carbon fiber frame, but kuiu warrantied it, so I sold it on eBay. Arc'teryx has been nothing but fantastic, very durable and comfy. My kifaru will be in tomorrow (ordered 07/05) so I'll see how that measures up. I went with kifaru because everyone's biggest praise, the waist belt, had been my biggest grievance about other packs. Good luck, buying new gear is always fun.
Would the recommendation be an internal or external frame pack, in order to pack out an elk if I am fortunate enough to kill one. Also we will be packing for 3-4 days at a time. That is not fully set in stone but that is the discussion right now. My problem is in the area that I live, there aren't many outdoor sports stores within reasonable distance. And the ones that are close probably don't carry to many options. Thank you guys for our input, I appreciate it. Would anyone be willing to share what the necessary items everyone puts in their packs? This trip is being planned for next year so I have time to do some more research and attempt to locate stores that have a variety of packs to check out.
With that just said, buy Kifaru.
Kifaru. I use the Reckoning with the lite frame. Works well to pack in for 3-10 days and pack out heavy loads. Hoodlum is a good choice also.