Kifaru Lite and Exo K3

Aug 10, 2015
On my 4800 k3, I doubled up on the lumbar shims and turned the two-piece lumbar pad around so the stiffer, black foam faces my back. This seems to have helped get it to stick better than before. So far, I really like the bag but the suspension hasn't been a perfect fit.
Oct 2, 2020
Hey guys. So back when Exo came out with their first pack, I bought one and used it for a fall. Like the other packs I’d tried, it didn’t stay up on my hips very well. Even with little weight. From that pack, I bought a Kifaru duplex pre 2015 off of the classifieds here and have been sold on their frame/suspension ever since. Its solid when I throw it on and the belt sticks like glue. Have also come to love their bags and modularity.

But, with all the rave on the new K3 from Exo and looking at the redesigned hip belt I decided to order one and compare with my Kifaru lite. I’m not going to be digging into the bags as much as the frames, but I did order it with the 4800 bag as that’s the layout I would rather use over their other bags. I’ll do some comparisons with the 4800 and the Kifaru Reckoning from a size perspective, but not really a bag review.

I chose to do this kind of head to head thread because these are two frames with bag options I like and would use. So if you have any questions or things you’d like to see let me know.

Exo K3 - small belt and short frame

Kifaru lite - small belt and 24” frame

I’m 5’ 10”

Pictures coming soon.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk



JoinedOct 2, 2020Messages1
Wish i'd stumbled on this thread sooner. I know this is not a bag review, more about frames.. But i am considering either a bag upgrade in my current setup (from an exo k2 3200(?) to k36400) OR Kifaru Hoodlum plus new Duplex Lite frame for 5-7 day pack.. Exo so far has been good to me (carries well easy to use), but i ve only used for Day trips until recently, when I packed for a 4-day AK Mtn goat hunt. I worked REALLY hard to get everything to fit for 4 nights. Also, the older K2 straps were thinner... and more prone to twisting in the buckle... maybe because they were constantly wet on my hunt. So I am looking to upgrade either to an Exo 6400 bag, OR... the gear junky in me has me eyeing the Kifaru Hoodlum as well. (Clearly the less cost-effective choice, but I am all ears! I do 2 western hunts per year. I normally carry a rifle, tripod and 15x binos on occasion in addition to the 0 deg slick bag, food, 3 season tent etc. Thanks


Jun 12, 2019
I just want to say that this thread has been enlightening to me as someone who was specifically looking to buy either the EXO OR Kifaru. Thank you everyone for taking the time to give honest feedback on these great packs and their experiences!


Sep 17, 2016
I’ve showed this picture before, but there’s around 20 packs lined up here, of somthing like 40 total that we evaluated for well over a year.

View attachment 183921

Every viable pack was procured and included (except for Exo). Multiples of Kifaru, Stone Glacier, Mystery Ranch, SO, HPG, etc. Most were eliminated very quickly due to design, carrying, failures, etc. Over 40 people (44 IIRC) we’re educated on pack use, fit, load carrying, design, etc. Only about 10% had any clue about manufactures or models- they were not gear nerds and were totally unbiased as to brands- they didn’t know the difference between a Kifaru and a Slumberjack.

After using them all for months, switching back and forth, eventually everyone was told to grab whatever pack they wanted with a loadout of 100lbs for use in mountainous terrain. It was almost unanimous- SG R3. I think only 4-5 rated something higher than the SG packs- and all of those were Kifaru. The packs were ranked in order- SG, Kifaru, Mystery Ranch, everyone else distant.

Most would have been happy with any of the three, and there’s quite a bit that went into each choice, but what was obvious was that almost all of the people that preferred Kifaru had very deep lumbar curvature and well developed glutes. Really as far as body shape and size that’s all that really stood out.

We did not have an Exo pack in that eval. Every person got a SG and Kifaru. Those packs have been, and continue to be used heavily with very little compliant. However, this year I have been using an Exo. So far it carries excellently, and the hip belt and shoulder straps may be the best of them all for me- locks in without being extremely tight, does not slip, and very rarely needto adjust them. The bag design is excellent for how I use them, and the lid doesn’t freaking flop and sag.

I say all this because most are seeing one or two packs, probably making a decision without being able to use them, being influenced by media/personalities, etc. I genuinely expected Kifaru to run away with that eval. But when used by a relatively large number of people that didn’t care about brand, or reputation, or anything else because a pack is just a piece of gear and they just want the one that hurts the least... It didn’t turn out that way.

While I may prefer SG (and starting to prefer Exo as well), I would happily carry and use a pack from SG, Kifaru, and MR, and potentially Exo. What the last few years has shown me is that when 90%+ of people say that only one of the top packs is good... they haven’t used the others.
Form - just wondering if you have an update about this - for example, are you still running the Exo or have gone back to SG?