Brands you just couldn’t make work

Matt G.

WKR
Joined
Aug 17, 2017
Messages
466
Location
Ohio
I have the MR guidelite and guidelite MT frame. Both were comfy till about 40 lbs but hip belt kept slipping as weight went up. At 80lbs it was painful.

My popup 38 is very comfy but my whitetail setup and hasn't been above 40 lbs.

Currently running SG Xcurve frame and no issue but only ran the MTN Tough HP20 judging it. No slips or sag but had to to remove the denser foam pad out of lower back pad.

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KurtR

WKR
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
2,834
Location
South Dakota
Eberlestock any thing more than a day pack it made my shoulders want to fall off

got the kifaru hunter frame 5 years ago i think and fits like a glove and once i find something that works i wont change unless i have to.
 

nobody

WKR
Joined
Sep 15, 2020
Messages
1,371
Mystery Ranch Metcalf (2020/21 Model, new Guide Lite MT Frame) was the single biggest waste of money on a single piece of hunting gear I've ever experienced. It wouldn't support weight AT ALL, sagged and put my legs and butt to sleep no matter what I did. Switched back to SG and I'm a happy boy.

For gear other than packs, here's a few (admittedly unsolicited) opinions. They're worth what you paid for them, read at your own risk:

First Lite Pants have the lowest hanging crotch of any pair of pants on the market, makes me feel like I'm straight out of a Tupac music video.

Kennetrek Boots are about 15 lbs too heavy per foot. Plus they feel like a 2x4 under foot.

The Sitka stuff I've tried is fine, but I do believe most of their success is marketing. It's about 30-40% overpriced and just not worth the coin. Doesn't do anything that the King's XKG series or some "store brand" (Blackovis) stuff I use doesn't. I think it's fine, just not anything special for what you pay for it.
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
2,438
Location
Tijeras NM
My first couple packs were Badlands that were just pieces of doodoo. Then I bought a Kifaru in 2013. The Kifaru fits so good that if it ain’t broke, I ain’t fixin it to find out if the other china or big box packs would break or not. Once bitten twice shy.
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Messages
507
Tried mystery ranch as my first “high end pack”. Tried two hikes and got killer headaches both times at about a mile. Learned really quick that even though good quality, has to fit the person. Sg x curve fits me great.


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Joined
Jan 19, 2023
Messages
23
Exo K3 did not work for me at all.

Forloh pants, they are the only pair of pants I have that just do not fit right at all and I hate the knee pad.
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2016
Messages
1,095
Location
ID
Eberlestock Dragonfly was my first pack.
Definitely a no go! Worst pack I've ever owned.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2023
Messages
14
I recently picked up the MR Beartooth 80 and the Sawtooth 45, and have taken them on a few hunts. While the guidelight MT frame fits relatively well (guess I lucked out), the bags themselves are relatively finicky (straps galore). Anytime I have to make any type of micro-adjustment I feel like I have to loosen and retighten and tie down 10 straps.

I had a mystery ranch pack while I was in the army so I should've known I was getting into.

Also anyone who's thinking about investing in MR's guidelight MT frame for the different bag options, it should be noted that the Beartooth 80 and the Sawtooth 45 have different bottom straps (Beartooth 80 uses a buckle and sawtooth 45 uses a compression). As such, you're forced to remove the buckles from the Beartooth 80 everytime and store them somewhere. It's like they saw what Kuiu was doing and decided to implement their designs in the dumbest way possible.
 

mav41

FNG
Joined
Feb 23, 2017
Messages
12
Location
Colorado
I had issues with the exo shoulder straps not being big enough, tried for a long time to adjust different ways but still ended up in the same place. Switched to a Kifaru and have been very happy ever since
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2014
Messages
6,396
Kifaru. Wasn't comfortable with heavy weight, wasn't comfortable with light weight. I'm sure it would have been usable but it was just not as nice as SG, EXO, SO for me.

SO, the belt just squeezes my hips weird under a heavy load. Causes an odd discomfort in my hips that no other pack has for me.
 

Highlands Hunter

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Jul 18, 2017
Messages
154
SO was the worst for me. I gave it a fair shot, I packed 6 elk, 2 deer, and a mountain goat. I tried two different belt sizes and different lumbar configurations and it always rubbed my hips raw with weight. The pack always sagged over 30-35 pounds and barreled terribly when I had half an elk in it. The bottom of the frame would hit the top of my butt even with a lumbar pad on it. I sold my first SO pack and returned the second one.
One thing to note, SO packs are a dream to wear and are the most comfortable and unrestrictive when empty.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Messages
571
Location
Maine
For years I used the Dwight Schuh hunting pack. That thing was with me in Alaska, Washington state,Oregon, Montana,and Canada. Never a problem at all.
Then I got educated and bought a kifaru and it did ok. Tried a SG with the x curve frame and that didn’t work at all for me. Now I’m running an exo k3 tall and it’s awesome. I still have the Dwight Schuh. Best $150.00 bucks I ever spent.
mark
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2018
Messages
621
SO was the worst for me. I gave it a fair shot, I packed 6 elk, 2 deer, and a mountain goat. I tried two different belt sizes and different lumbar configurations and it always rubbed my hips raw with weight. The pack always sagged over 30-35 pounds and barreled terribly when I had half an elk in it. The bottom of the frame would hit the top of my butt even with a lumbar pad on it. I sold my first SO pack and returned the second one.
One thing to note, SO packs are a dream to wear and are the most comfortable and unrestrictive when empty.
I have always liked SO packs but eventually I realized that for me at least their packs simply don’t have enough structure for the big loads.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2014
Messages
3,945
Location
oregon coast
SO was the worst for me. I gave it a fair shot, I packed 6 elk, 2 deer, and a mountain goat. I tried two different belt sizes and different lumbar configurations and it always rubbed my hips raw with weight. The pack always sagged over 30-35 pounds and barreled terribly when I had half an elk in it. The bottom of the frame would hit the top of my butt even with a lumbar pad on it. I sold my first SO pack and returned the second one.
One thing to note, SO packs are a dream to wear and are the most comfortable and unrestrictive when empty.
Very similar experience with me… I wanted it to work, gave it a lot of chances, but it was rough over about 80# and the last chance was a character builder, most painful pack out that I remember… literally less than a week later, on the east side of the same ridge, same amount of weight, same way back to the pickup with my k2 and it was a non event, even felt good when we got back to my rig, no sore spots the next day… literally night and day difference between those packs, they were within 4# of each other and the second one was I believe .10 miles further and more elevation to get back to the top… I’m happy those two loads were that close together to really see the contrast in the same exact context.

I’m guessing I had some rough ones in the past using those hideaway pack frames not even close to adjusted to fit me, haha, but it was eye opening how much difference there could be with 2 packs with the same weight and same distance. I tried everything too, and just couldn’t get it comfortable with much weight, and brutal with a lot of weight
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2014
Messages
3,945
Location
oregon coast
After reading another thread. I think I wore the foam out in my kifaru duplex lite in 1 year.
The 1st season it was great.
Next season painful as hell on an elk pack out.
Is it possible the next season the weight was loaded lower in the frame? I ask because this year with my wife’s buck, I was hurrying loading the pack, and the bulk of the weight was low in the load shelf and it sucked, painful and felt heavier than it was… several pack outs before and after were no issue, but I’m usually good at making sure the pack is loaded properly with the bulk of the weight higher on the frame… it actually surprised me how bad that load felt because I know that pack well, and know it’s capability… I made the same mistake a few years ago with a different pack and it was rough… I knew what the problem was, but both times I was too stubborn to stop and resecure the load correctly, thinking if I suffer a little, I won’t hurry through loading the meat on my pack… should have 3-4 years before I forget again 😉

I was pretty bruised the next day on my hips and lower back, but it was me and not the lumbar foam

Mine has certainly compressed a good amount in a couple years, but not bad enough to make a heavy load slip, but I do have to rip on the waist belt straps a little more with heavy loads… yours easily could have compressed enough to change the fit, but weight distribution can really change the feel of a heavy load significantly
 

Jac

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Jan 11, 2020
Messages
158
Eberlestock not for me

Mystery ranch belt slipped

Sg x frame was to curved

Sg krux was better still limited head movement

Seek outside working well

Perfect pack still looking
 

brian_

FNG
Joined
Feb 22, 2023
Messages
11
Stone Glacier krux evo and xcurve didn't work for me.

Mystery Ranch was pretty but after the changes in the harness sizing they made a couple of years ago their harnesses don't fit nearly as well me anymore. I considered grabbing an older Metcalf or similar pack before I ended up finding something that worked for me.

Kifaru and Exo felt pretty good, but neither one felt good enough to justify the price.

Seek Outside at first seemed like the best of the bunch when it comes to the popular brands here on Rokslide. But I never was able to work out the issues even after visiting them in person. Things always felt almost right but never quite there with both the harness and hipbelt. And at really heavy loads (beyond normal backpacking loads) it was worse than the competition.

Right now I'm enjoying a pack from Outdoorsmans. It has lots of compromises but it's the most comfortable for me. Has some similarities to Seek Outside but fixes some of my issues with it. I'd like to put together a lightweight bag out of x-pac for it.
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2018
Messages
681
Location
MT and TX
An EXO K2. Couldn’t get the fit right and finally gave up. I really like the layout of their packs and think they make a phenomenal product, but just didn’t work for me. I‘m following the EXO K4 closely and sounds good.

I’m currently running a Stone Glacier X-Curve and super happy. Mystery Ranch also fit me well and their hip belt was well padded and comfortable.

Stone Glacier has been so good to me over the years that there’s no compelling reason to switch. That won’t stop me from trying on new packs at the Sheep Show or the DSC events next year though!

With so many quality choices out there, it can be mind numbing. This thread is proof that everyone’s body type is slightly different and you really have to try on packs and use them under various loads to find a system that fits right and works for you. Good luck everyone!
 
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