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Topic: Backpack advice needed for hunter, Which backpack?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 2:00 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

First I don't want to offend anyone that doesn't like hunting. I hunt elk here in Idaho to be in the outdoors and for some great tasting meat.... That aside I need your guys advice.

My brothers and I are planning another archery elk hunt for this september. Last year we backpacked in, set up a base camp, and then went out hunting during the day and came back at night.  I  borrowed my stepbrothers external frame pack and also used my dakine snowbiling pack as a daypack.
This year I need a better pack cause that one didn't fit me well at all. This is where your expertise comes in. All the hunting packs aren't really well built. They come in one size and are non adjustable and some have no load lifters.  
I have a small torso ( 17 inches) and want pack that I can backpack in and also use as a day pack.

I think normal backpacking pack would work great for this.  We are planning for around 6 days.
Here is my criteria for the pack.
- Less than $250 dollars
- Compress in size so I can easily pull my bow back
- Be able to pack up to 80 lbs. ( This is for when I have to pack out elk quarters)
- Be comfortable!!!

I've looked at several packs and tried several of them on. I'm liking the Baltoro 65 because everyone talks about how tough and comfortable it is.  I know its heavy but i don't think any ultra light pack would carry 80lbs. Others I have looked at are the deuter ACT lite 65 +10. It felt pretty darn comfortable. I've also looked at an osprey aether, kelty coyote, and others.

Anyways could you guys give me some advice on which packs I should be looking at? I figured you guys would be the ones to ask since its what you guys do.

Thanks in advance.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 2:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mystery Ranch makes hunting packs:
http://www.mysteryranch.com/hunting

I've been very pleased with my SnapDragon's build quality.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 2:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mystery ranch packs are super nice. Lot of other hunters recommend them, kuiu, or kifaru but they are $600 bucks!!! Yikes! I have to stay under $250.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 2:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Search for posts by a user named BradMT.  He posted pictures recently of him hauling out elk quarters I believe.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 2:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well then I'd say use them as a spec benchmark.

Oh and forget about the daypack end of things as anything that can carry 80 lbs. is the end of the range you need to focus on: the effectively unloaded end (daypack usage) will take care of itself.
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SW Mtn backpacker Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 3:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Biggest, baddest backpack your credit limit can handle if you are thinking of any sort of distance.  If you are talking towards 80lbs., you want to make sure the stays don't bend (McHale, Mystery Ranch, maybe Granite Gear frame for a frame - don't know about a packbag, or one of their military line).

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 3:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've got a Deuter ACT Lite 65 and I've pushed it upwards of 60 pounds. Not sure if it could handle 80+ pounds comfortably. It also doesn't have any significant straps to lash your elk quarter to the pack; unless you stuffed it into the pack I'm not sure it would work.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 4:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

my buddy and i do this for 2 weeks every year in colorado.  he has a dueter 65+10 and i have a z65.  both are great packs for getting gear back, hunting in all day or bivy.
neither is all that great at carrying heavy loads.  the most i have carried is 60 pounds.  it was tolerable but these packs do not have the belt or straps to make this comfortable.
i have a bora 95 for the big jobs.
i think the baltero would handle a little more weight than my z65 but it also is a heavier pack.
i also have an osprey aether 70 that i would use as back up if my z65 takes a crap.

mystery ranch packs are nice, i think they are made by the guys who did the dana designs pack.  pricey though.

steepandcheap has some deals on packs occasionally.

bivy hunting is very hard on gear, be careful buying cheap stuff.  we dobone all our meat so the meat goes inside a the pack instead of out.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 4:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

- Less than $250 dollars

I would recommend looking at some of the higher end Lowe Alpine packs, very well built, and very load friendly.  Can be had for that price or less if you hunt around

- Compress in size so I can easily pull my bow back

I would give up on this one right now.  At least myself, I cannot accurately shoot my bow with a day pack on let alone a fully loaded pack.  I use a camouflage pack cover, and put the pack on the ground.

- Be able to pack up to 80 lbs. ( This is for when I have to pack out elk quarters)

Yeah, lowe alpines heavy packs can do this, but it can start to sag.  This is a lot to ask of most packs, and a reason many hunting packs are external frame.  That still rules as a load hauler.

- Be comfortable!!!

Yeah same page

This guy comes close to your weight requirements

http://www.amazon.com/Lowe-Al....bs_sg_1

and hits your price tag.  

More info on it here

http://www.lowealpine.com/eng....ype=man

I really like their included blaze orange rain covers.  Awfully handy where I live during rifle season.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 4:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Forgot to add, I dont have one of their load haulers, but this guy
http://www.lowealpine.com/eng....ype=man
is my hunting/fishing day pack, and it rocks.

Absolutely LOVE IT
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 5:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You might want to consider an external frame pack.  The Kelty Cache Hauler is in your budget, will carry a heavy load, and the pack can be used separately from the frame.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 9:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

+1.  Go to Cabela's, look around.  Hauling big meat requires a freighter and Cabela's has 'em, though they are fairly heavy;  but you do need a frame for that kind of work.

Drake
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2013, 10:57 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

the 80 pounds is what will get you.  most normal packs (even the Baltoro, which is very sturdy) will be pretty awful to carry 80 pounds of elk.  

Mystery Ranch is great for carrying a lot of weight.  I have used their G6000 for many winters & often have 65 pounds on the first day - and it's a great backpack for carrying a ton of weight.  if I were in your shoes, I would stretch a little and get Mystery Ranch's NICE frame ($250) plus the load sling ($65).  

mystery ranch load sling  

you could use a duffel and daypack you already own, put them in with the sling or strap them to the frame on the way in; use the daypack while you hunt; then carry out the elk in the sling, stack your duffel on top, for only 65 bucks over your ceiling.  if you want one of Mystery Ranch's packbags, you can get that later.  one of the great advantages of a modular system.  

agree with the comment above that Kelty's cache hauler is a less expensive but similar solution.  just not as comfortable, in all likelihood.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2013, 12:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As above, the 80 lbs and the awkwardness of the load. Unless you butcher and bone out the carcass you won't have neat little packages to efficiently tuck away inside a pack bag: more like a chain saw than some freeze dried meals and a few shirts.

For awkward loads the frame approach makes a lot of sense.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 27 2013, 8:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Take a look at the USMC ILBE pack.  I have a Kifaru pack and love it.  Having said that the ILBE is a close second for less money.  The ILBE is heavy, but over built.  I, along with some buddys went elk hunting in the fall of 2011.  We used my Kifaru, an ILBE, and a Kelty Tioga to pack out an elk.  The packs were 80lbs +.  All three did the job, for the money I'd go with the ILBE.  Good luck.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 28 2013, 11:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

z65 with meat and horns

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 13 2013, 6:19 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've used Eberlestock in the past with good success while hunting; my gunslinger has been north of 60# quite a few times with no ill effects.

that said, having come across a MR crew cab for this deployment (issued gear is the bestest!), i am COMPLETELY sold on their kit.  it's worth saving up to get if you need to do so.  pick up a NICE frame and your choice of pack to go on it; the crew cab would be an ideal choice for hauling meat out after a successful hunt.  our guys have carried 60# robots PLUS gear for a week-long dismounted patrol in their crew cabs, with no ill effects--and that's on top of body armor and all the additional gear needed for a dismount.  when i get back stateside i'm definitely going to snag a few extra goodies for my NICE frame...it's fantastic.

meantime though, if the MR is out of your immediate budget, look into eberlestock.  they make some great stuff that's priced more reasonably (it isn't made in the USA, but the quality is still top notch; my gunslinger has been abused like a rally car but it just takes the punishment and keeps going).
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 14 2013, 9:55 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have the ACTLite 65+10. It's a great pack for backpacking. But no way would it haul 80 lbs.
I think you are going to have to settle on a couple of packs to meet your needs. (you can never have too many packs really, I think I currently have 14)

Day pack- as light as you can afford, that holds your stuff.
Backpacking pack- So many great options. Search the millions of threads :) Fit is the most important thing here.
Hunting pack- Best comprimise of ability to carry the load, fit and price.
I have one of these   Kelty eagle
I actually never use that pack and would probably be willing to sell it. Pm me if that intrests you. It is nice, but man is it heavy. All my summer gear weighs less than that pack. I don't hunt so I never have a need to haul that much weight. I have used it a few times in training by loading my kids into it and going for a hike. They enjoy it lol.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 14 2013, 3:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

X2 for Eberlestock.  I have three Eberlestock packs and love every one.  Not sure if you'll be able to keep it under $250, though.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 15 2013, 12:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I wouldn't think being able to draw, aim, and shoot your bow with your full pack on is very important, so I'd rank that lower down the list of priorities. Most important for me would be comfort with heavy loads--I once packed more than 100 lbs of caribou meat eight miles. I was in my thirties, so it wasn't too hard. I had a high capacity Kelty internal frame, and it worked well for the task except the meat wasn't adequately cooled before putting it into the single top-loading compartment, and some of it was tainted after the long haul against the heat of my back.

I recently got rid of a newer internal frame Kelty designed for military use--I just didn't like it or find it comfortable, and the damn thing weighed more than 8 pounds empty.

I think an external frame pack would be better for heavy loads and odd shapes/sizes than an internal frame pack, and I am currently looking for one myself. The meat could continue to cool out better if strapped to the outside of a frame pack, I believe.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 15 2013, 11:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have an osprey atmos 65 that I use for packing meat.  I've done a handfull of quarters and had up to an estimated 130 pounds in/on the bag and it held up fine.  A little uncomfortable with that much weight to be sure, but it worked and the pack is no worse for the wear (other than some staining and some musky smell).
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