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Looking for recommendations on a good pack frame. Packing out the occasional whitetail from deep woods and the occasional black bear. Possibly moose in the next couple years also. Not concerned with price, just quality. TIA.
Kifaru is what you want.
I love my Exo 4800 great pack only thing I'd do differently is get the 6400 the added room is worth the little extra money and cinch's down just as small as the smallerpacks. Kifaru, Stone Glacier, and Kuiu all make quality packs as well. Try as many on as you can and see what fits.
Look at the Alps Commander and Kelty Cache Hauler too, if you are just looking for a solid pack frame. I have both. Great frames.
Mystery Ranch and KUIU make sone great meat haulers. KUIU is the most versatile with up to 4 different bag sizes with the same frame.
I’ve tried others but, the Kifaru is my favorite. Followed very close by my seek outside kit. Both are great.
+1 Jim. Kifaru is just amazing.
If you want something just pack.out meat go to.packoutbags.com and look at their bags. Lots off times they make more sense and are much handier than a large pack.
2022 bought the kifaru hoodlum, duplex frame, guide lid, with belt pouches. Combo is worth every cent and I would recommend you look at one of thier models after shopping. Head above the rest for durability and how everything is laid out
I have to throw a plug in for Eberlestock. I run the F1 main frame and have been Very happy. It has hauled many elk, deer and critters out of the woods for me. Also on a side note, Eberlestock is close to me, Boise, and they employ some great people and many veterans. Good products and a great company.
Kifaru Duplex Lite frame. Can switch out bags on for different hunts.
If all you want is a frame pack to haul, I'd get something inexpensive and built solidly, like a Kelty Cache Hauler (as recommended above). If you want to hunt with it on your back (like a moose hunt or many other hunts), I'd look at Kifaru, Seek Outside, Exo, Stone Glacier, and Mystery Ranch. I have a Kifaru and love it, but Seek and Exo are great too. It's kinda like boots- try them on and see what you like best. Lots of great options out there these days...
Might as well have the best.
I highly recommend Mystery Ranch. I've had kifaru, and although properly set up and adjusted, it would absolutely hurt and destroy my hips. I switched to Mystery Ranch and love their packs. I ended up giving my two kifaru packs away just to get rid of them.
Everyone is a little different, tons of great options. My back and build loves Stone Glacier's X-curve frame. Best to try a few out and then decide what works for you. Hopefully there's a place near you where you can try a couple different ones.
Kifaru is undoubtedly the best on the market but it’s more than I want to spend on a pack. I absolutely love my Stone Glacier and have had zero complaints packing elk out with it. Very comfortable even with heavy-ish loads.
Where are you guys able to try these packs on before buying? I've considered a Kifaru but do not have an option near me to try one on. TODDY
Toddy, what’s your waist size?
If I’m looking for a pack to carry heavy loads and not a multi purpose one that serves as a day pack I’ll go with my Barney’s Freighter.
I was never happy with my pack system until I found the F1 mainframe. I had a day pack and meat hauling frame but wasn’t happy with that system. Now I have 2 in 1 when I zip on 2 batwing bags for day hunting, and I’m still ready to haul meat. This pack is not heavy like a lot of eberlestock packs, and it’s smaller frame is perfect for everyday use. The pack attachments are light and more importantly quiet! The pack fits the contour of the back nicely and is very maneuverable, and sturdy enough to haul way more than I can carry. I use it for all of my hunting now from elk through whitetail, and they have larger bags for longer excursions.
I would wait for the new EXO K4 frame that's coming out in Feb. I've always prefered EXO's bags to Kifaru. for many reasons. Weight, easy of accessing meat shelf, way better pocket configuration, and more streamlined. This new frame looks very similar to the duplex frame. SHould be the best of both worlds.
Lots of great options without paying the price of a Kifaru if you are just looking to haul meat. Several years ago I was stying at a cabin on an elk hunt. Left t the cabin was a Military Molle II pack frame and suspension system. On the back there was a custom meat shelf attached. I used it and it was absolutely golden. I immediately bought the pack system and had the guy from Texas that made the meat shelf sew up two for me. I have been using it since. I think I have $80 total into it.
Having used and owned a Kifaru, Alps Outdoors, and Kelty Cache Hauler I can say without any hesitation that Kifaru wins hands down in comfort, adjustability and capability. Alps was a distant second. Not as adjustable and it just can't take the weight without the composite sewn in reinforcements starting to warp and fail. The Kelty has a cross bar that hits my shoulder blades....I modified it but it just doesn't have the comfort of the Kifaru. If you don't want to spend over $300, get the Alps Outdoors.
Brotsky x 2. Love my Stone Glacier X-Frame.
So I’ll chime back in. I’ve owned most of the major hunting pack brands, excluding Exo, but do like the look/features. The OP asked about load hauling and stated high quality and price of little concern.
IMO kifaru is king of the mountain for that assuming it fits you and is adjusted properly. My build is pretty average, so most can be adjusted to fit me well.
This year I switched to Stone Glacier in an effort to save some weight. I also prefer their bags/organization/load shelf to Kifaru. I feel Kifaru is lagging in the load shelf department particularly, though I see more options from them recently. I also don’t really like all the add on “pockets/pods/pouches” to organize Kifaru stuff.
Anyway, I was pretty happy with the SG. Until, it was time to pack meat…we had full camp, food, and 1/2 a big goat each. It was mainly downhill, but the weight was heavy. I don’t know the number and don’t want to exaggerate, but it was HEAVY. I’ve hauled similar loads in my Kifarus and I have absolutely no reservation is saying the Kifaru far exceeded the SG at those weights, really no comparison IMHO.
If weight hauling is the main factor I don’t know that I would consider many other packs. Maybe the Barney’s, but I have not experience, and it is essentially a one trick pony IMO. And Barney’s aren’t exactly cheap either. You can get 2-3 bags and a duplex frame and be good for literally any hunt in the world. Or you can be like me and have a stack of packs 8’ high in the corner ;)
"...assuming it fits you and is adjusted properly."
This statement is the only correct thing when it comes to getting gear in an effort to reduce "pain". Boots and packs are the top two.
When I researched packs several years ago for the "buy once, cry once" thing, I went with SG. Its load handling was better than anyone else's at the time and the pack weight ruled the market. Since then, they've redesigned a few things.
If possible, try and make it out west to a hunting expo. Most of the better names will be there with their gear for "show and tell".
I’ve tried them all (mystery ranch, kifaru, Kuiu, stone glacier) but my exo mountain gear is superior.
I fixed a kifaru grab it with mine.. I’ve since taken it off
You can get fitted by Kifaru at any of the Total Archery Challenge events, trade shows they have booths at, or their shop. They don’t have any distributors.
NO single company is the best. Everyone has different needs, wants and fit. So if someone says their brand is absolute best they don't have a clue.
SeekOutside works best for me. I have used several of the other top brands and much prefer Seek pack frame. It is comfortable, durable, light weight and can be used many ways. For Day hunts I use it with a Kuiu ultra 1800, It attaches to the pack with out any mods. For pack in hunts I use a large light weight OR drybag between the 1800 and the frame. You could use one of Seeks bags or use about anything you want with out having to do any or many mods.
As has been said multiple times, personal fit is the most important thing. Try some on and see how they feel with weight in them. If you can't find any locally, talk to the companies about buying and returning if it doesn't fit you well.
Another thing that would be nice about trying on at a show, would be they could help you adjust it. Having it adjusted properly makes a huge difference in comfort when you have it loaded.
another vote for the eblerstock F1