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  1. #1

    Default Backpacking help

    Guys i need help. Im in the market for an elk/western hunting backpack. My budget is sub $200..at the most i will using this pack one week a yr. I just cant justify spending any more. Im from mississippi. Ive never been elk hunt. 2018 will be my first yr. Hopefully the trip will be an annual or biannual thing. I've been reading a ton of reviews and i keep coming back to the alpz commander freight hauler. I just worry it may be too big for day to day use.. we plan on hiking in a mile or so from rd. Setup basecamp then venture out each day. Also the slumberjack rail hauler 2500 looks nice. Ill take any suggestions. Thanks for your thoughts

  2. #2

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    https://www.amazon.com/Kelty-Cloud-B...+red+cloud+110

    I've used this pack for about 10 years now. I use it mostly for camping but it can haul a butt load of stuff and cinch down to make a great day pack. It has gotten some solid use on day hunts as well as long backpack camping trips. The only problem I have with it is that you can fit too much stuff in it Another option is the Kelty Redwing 50 if you don't need quite as much space.

    Don't just think about it as a once-a-year pack either. I use mine even if I head out for just a day squirrel or deer hunting. It's convenient to not have to put a bunch of crap in your pockets or somewhere else to carry it around.
    Last edited by OhHeyThereBen; 01-29-2018 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Added info
    Squirrel!!!

  3. #3

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    Have you spent any time on Craiglist in your area? I have picked up some awesome gear for great prices off classifieds or eBay. I just checked and there are a couple badlands packs (2200 & 2800) on ebay right now for good prices. I would also recommend watching Sierra Trading Company and Camofire.com. Camofire seems to clearance slumberjack bags weekly.

    The Alpz bag doesn't look very comfortable to me, but I haven't ever used one before. I have heard of a lot of guys using the Kelt Cache Hauler, which isnt much more and looks to be a much better bag.

    All that being said, you are talking about spending sub $200 on something you are going to wear all day and will dictate a lot of the comfort you feel on the hunt. I know it can seem steep, but you are also talking about spending hundred more on tags, licenses, gas, food... If you can double your budget to $400, and pinch pennies somewhere else, you can pick up a much better bag and . Keep in mind to be in shape for elk hunting you will probably want to spend a fair amount of time preparing with a weighted pack. Once you consider preparation workouts then the amount of time you will spend in the pack will GREATLY increase and you are not buying something that only get used one week a year. its amazing the number of uses you will find for you pack once you have it. Just my two cents.

  4. #4

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    Take a look at the Osprey Volt line. I think they make a 65 and maybe an 85 liter. Osprey in general is top quality and they really stand behind their products. I think these packs are around the $200 mark and from what little I know about them that seems like a really good deal. I agree with Utahminer - a backpack is one of the things I wouldn't skimp on if it's a possibility. I know its tough to justify spending a ton of money on something you will only use once or twice a year, but it can make all the difference on the trail. Definitely try before you buy!

  5. #5

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    I had a pack fail on me one time. I was lucky we were on our way out to head home or it could of made a miserable hunt. Never skimp on boots or a pack. That being said get a well recommended pack from member suggestions on here. If you decide to go second hand check with the manufacturer to see if they still have parts for it. Replace anything that looks questionable.

  6. #6

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    I’d look for a used pack in that price range, maybe from a mountaineering company if you can’t find a decent hunting pack.

    Frankly, skimping on a backpacking for a backpack hunt is not a good idea. There’s places to cut costs and there’s places not to. Backpack quality has a direct effect on your misery for the trip.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo and Ned
    Thin out their numbers

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Bitterroot Valley
    Posts
    5,652

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    A used Gregory Baltero 75 will get you there. https://www.geartrade.com/item/54099...ry-baltoro-75l
    How much l wanted to take scalps, but it was not my kill.

  8. #8

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    thanks for all the inputs guys. I'd love to buy to be able to spend $400 to $500 on a nice pack, but realistically its just not in the cards. My wife would flip. I spent most of last night reading and watching reviews of packs, and also took some advice and started looking at used packs. I found an used kuiu icon 3200 and 5200. I could get into one of those packs for around 200 to $230. I've always thought these were really nice packs, but from what I've read, there's not a lot of love for kuiu. Seems a lot of ppl have problems with the shoulder straps pulling out under a load. Their warranty is only good for the original owner. So if a straps pulls out I'm back to spending another $150 to get it back in operation. I'm kinda on the fence about kuiu. I did find a new badlands 2200 for less than $200, and they have a lifetime warranty. Anybody have first hand experience with this bag, if so, how is it as a meat hauler? Is it comfortable enough carrying a deboned quarter or backstraps? I'm not trying to carry 80lbs at a time. I'm a flatlander so I would rather make multiple trips carrying meat vs. a couple of really heavy trips. I know my limits.... I alpz outdoors traverse X looks like a solid pack also.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Bitterroot Valley, MT
    Posts
    1,149

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    While I understand your budget I would offer this advice: If you really plan on doing a western hunt every year consider the Mystery Ranch Mule. It has your daypack use and the capability to expand if you need to pack meet. That expansion can also be loaded with gear if you decided later to do a backpack hunt. Right now its going for $375, but who knows what you'll find after awhile. Don't skimp here. The MR Mule will serve you well even down in MS. Buy once, cry once. That mantra should be chiseled in stone and carried around so you don't forget.
    "There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm." ~TR

    "He was a mighty hunter before the Lord." ~Genesis 10:9

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Phillipston, MA
    Posts
    215

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    I am in the same boat as you. I purchased a Slumberjack Bounty 4500 on Amazon for $199. I don't have any future plans for spending time on a multi-day backpacking trip. While on a full day hunt now in the Northeast I use a fanny pack. I am the first to admit that I don't know what I don't know...and I certainly don't know what my style of hunting will end up being as I have zero experience out West. If we are within 2 miles of the truck we gut a deer and drag it out whole...this whole idea of quartering a deer in the woods is totally foreign to me.

  11. Default

    Don't skimp on the pack, there are no short cuts around good packs and the cost of them. The best deals right now are on multicam Mystery Ranch packs for 25% off.

    No Alps/Tenzing/Slumberjack/badlands/eberlestock that seems like a deal is actually one. Those packs are largely sunk costs for a season or two until you spend the $400-$600 for Mystery Ranch/Stone Glacier/Exo/Kifaru/Outdoorsmans. On top of all of that the cheaper packs have very little resale where the good packs used still sell for close to new price. I went around in circles with 3 different packs during my first 2 years hunting out west before I broke down and got a Mystery Ranch Metcalf. I had an old Lowe Alpine pack, an Alps pack and a sitka day pack that all never worked well that had to be sold off. The first time I had a Mystery Ranch pack it was amazing how easily a whole mule deer came 3 miles out in one load. I can't imagine packing out an elk with a bad backpack.

  12. Default

    I packed a few animals out in a badlands. They will get the job done, but they are not in the same league as the top brands. I’d much rather have a Kuiu pack. I’ve got two of them in addition to a few from Mystery Ranch. I have no complaints with the Kuiu packs, but I havent loaded them really heavy. Definitely more comfortable than badlands though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo and Ned
    Thin out their numbers

  13. #13

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    I have a personal experience with a couple of badlands packs and, depending on the pack, they will haul meat just as well one of the more expensive packs, but they weigh more and you lose some options. Several years ago when I first got into backpack hunting I did a bunch of research and a couple of threads on bowsite really helped me out. Aaron Synder, now with Kifaru, tested a bunch of packs and posted reviews. I posted a bunch of the links in a thread from last year (Link below). I personally am not a fan of the 2200 as much as 2800. Unless they have changed the 2200 recently the meat hauling selft is actually on the bottom back of the pack. The 2800 allows you to haul meat up between the higher and closer to you back. The Ox will haul an unbelievable load and is really comfortable, but with bag attached is pretty heavy.

    https://onyourownadventures.com/hunt...untry-Elk-Pack

    As for Kuiu, I have an Icon that was made in 2013 and have hauled multiple animals each year without any problems. A couple of years ago I hauled out two boned out help hind quarters from a cow and pack performed far better than me. I have a couple buddies that have the newer Icon Pro and they haven't had any problems either. I have heard of a number of problems with the first Ultra series, but I don't have any personal experience with them.


    One thing I really like about many of the higher end packs (Kuiu, Kifaru, Exo...) is that they are modular so you can add pieces or different bags as needed. I had a hard time swallowing the initial $450 I spent on my Kuiu but knowing that I would be able to buy additional bags in the future to cater to my needs really helped justify the cost.

  14. #14

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    Lots of good advice so far. Definitely something you will regret skimping on. That said, when my budget was tight I got by with a cabelas day pack and a cabelas Alaskan guide frame. The frame stayed in the truck or camp. The extra miles to get it when I got something sucked but it wasn’t comfortable enough to hunt with. I upgraded to an icon pro A few years ago and it has worked well.
    John

  15. #15

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    In my opinion, I'm not sure that it's a good idea to just go out and buy a top of the line pack. Especially if you don't have backpacking experience to begin with. A lot of the packs that I always see mentioned on here are really amazing packs I'm sure, but if you end up with something that's decent but not top of the line I don't think you'd regret it. If you use your pack for a trip or two and decide that you'd like something better, then upgrade. But I really don't think that you'll know what you like until you have a few trips under your belt. You may even find that you are content and comfortable with the pack that you spent $200 on and not even be interested in buying something that costs $500-$600. That's sort of where I'm at right now.

    I try to use the same philosophy throughout my camping/hunting/backpacking systems. Case in point - I still have a $5 amazon cook stove, a $200 (when new) 8 year old backpack, my first rifle from the used rack at the sports shop, and a 2000 Nissan Xterra with 230,000 miles on it. I do have some really nice pieces of gear that cost quite a bit of money, but those were added later on after I had experience using some entry level stuff and knew what I was willing to spend my money on.

    Boots on the other hand, like someone stated above, cannot be compromised on.
    Squirrel!!!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Socialist Republic of Kalistan
    Posts
    125

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KnotOnCall View Post
    thanks for all the inputs guys. I'd love to buy to be able to spend $400 to $500 on a nice pack, but realistically its just not in the cards. My wife would flip. I spent most of last night reading and watching reviews of packs, and also took some advice and started looking at used packs. I found an used kuiu icon 3200 and 5200. I could get into one of those packs for around 200 to $230. I've always thought these were really nice packs, but from what I've read, there's not a lot of love for kuiu. Seems a lot of ppl have problems with the shoulder straps pulling out under a load. Their warranty is only good for the original owner. So if a straps pulls out I'm back to spending another $150 to get it back in operation. I'm kinda on the fence about kuiu. I did find a new badlands 2200 for less than $200, and they have a lifetime warranty. Anybody have first hand experience with this bag, if so, how is it as a meat hauler? Is it comfortable enough carrying a deboned quarter or backstraps? I'm not trying to carry 80lbs at a time. I'm a flatlander so I would rather make multiple trips carrying meat vs. a couple of really heavy trips. I know my limits.... I alpz outdoors traverse X looks like a solid pack also.
    I have the KUIU 5200 and 1850 with one frame, I need to add the 3200 as the 1850 is too small for even day hunts for big game. I love them, get the taller frame (or extra tall) and you can put the rifle sling over the pack stay and you have your rifle at the ready, but impossible to slide off your shoulder. I do 3-5 backpack hunting trips a year for anywhere from a weekend to 5 days. I love the KUIU pack system. I previously had the MR Crew Cab and this is much lighter but no less capable. Good luck

  17. #17

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    I have a icon pro3200? Is only pack i use daily. I have a ultra 6000 bag almost never use, that 3200 is perfect sized for everything other than spiking out. I keep a cabelas alaskan2 packframe in truck as a spare and meat pack and it works perfect for hauling only. While i have put more weight than should probably over the years in both those packs and they have preformed flawlessly my favorite weight carrying pack was a eberlestock dragonfly i sold a few years ago and regret. That thing was a tank(sold cause was to heavy empty) and sholder straps could of used better padding but it was invinceable and made excessive loads carry as smooth as could be. I use to sell packs including MR and eberlestock but still liked my kuiu best for everyday use. Lots of good packs out there including used one deals, good luck

    Chris
    Last edited by ccc23454; 01-30-2018 at 04:52 PM.

  18. #18

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    thanks for all the advice. I'm gonna keep an eye out for good deal on a kuiu or mystery ranch. If not I'm gonna go with the badlands 2200. At this point I just want to get in the woods and get some experience. I can always upgrade after I get a couple of trips under my belt.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Somewhere in the basalt rocks
    Posts
    4,379

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    You have to be honest with how you plan to use it. I packed out a whole deer (80ish pounds) in a Badlands 2800 about thre miles to the truck. That pack was way more painful than packing out a deer AND camp (120ish) over 13 miles to the truck, done with a MR Metcalf.

    Cheap packs will get the job done but it may not be very enjoyable.
    Fear the beard....

  20. #20

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    Find the buy sale trade groups on FB. There are many big name great pack groups that are selling great packs cheap. Mystery ranch, Kifaru, Exo, stone glacier. Good luck.

  21. #21

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    My very first backpack hunt was done using the alps pack and I HATED it!!! SO extremely uncomfortable!

    I sold it on craigslist and used the money to by a military surplus molle 2 pack and hopped on ebay for 10-12 snap on pouches and I'm THRILLED with it's comfort and functionality!

  22. #22

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    I've had a good experience with my Slumberjack Bounty 4500. I got it for $130 on Camofire.

  23. #23

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    There is a pretty sweet deal on a Mystery Ranch pack on Camofire.com (today only) for around $200, if you havent already purchased a pack.

  24. Default

    Military surplus is your best bet for a decent pack at a low price.

    https://www.varusteleka.com/en/produ...th-frame/18309

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