Lighter pack for High Country Mule Deer

Dos Perros

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 30, 2015
Messages
4,070
Location
Lenexa, KS
I have one pack a kifaru. Had to send in the frame to get fixed and have new shoulder straps put on this year. Just got the frame back 3 week turn around and 59 usd to fix 👊👍.

One thing I have found as true is lightweight = less durable and last thing I want when solo chasing a big buck is a pack failure. The kifaru has never let me down.

Good luck w your choice seems to be a lot of good options out there but for me I again will run a Kifaru.

Sure hope to pack out a couple more on this pack!!

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That's a pretty fair elk I'd say!
 

Peaks&Creeks

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Joined
Nov 21, 2016
Messages
278
Location
SW MT
FWIW, some of the Seek Outside packs are 6300+ cu and half the weight of some packs mentioned here. It looks like they have gotten more complicated since I bought mine, the Unaweep, which was just a giant drybag with a floating pocket on the back that doubled as a compression panel. I have it in lighter weight Xpac and use it packrafting, caribou hunting, etc. It has plenty of room for a 100 mile trip and you can carry a hind quarter, car battery, inflated raft, mountain bike, whatever, on the outside due to the compression system. Everybody’s needs are different and there is nothing wrong with a big complex pack if it works for you, but the simple ones are good too.

I’ve got one of the new Seek Outside packs (Unaweep 6300) with the new Ultra PE fabric. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a cordura made bag. The tear and puncture resistance, waterproofness, and lightness of that fabric are far beyond cordura. I think Stone Glacier (Terminus pack) and Seek Outside are onto something with this new fabric. Wouldn’t be surprised if all of SG’s bags will soon have the option to use Ultra PE like Seek Outside does. Cordura is a budget fabric now that Ultra is on the scene.


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wasatchcomm

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
616
Location
Boulder, Wy.
ive tried all the packs, except mystery ranch
currently have
exo k3 4800
SG 5900
SG terminus
SO unaweep

in the past have had kifaru, hunter frame and tactical frame, emr2,22mag,mountain warrior
dont have these any longer

I like them all, here's my thoughts,,
exo is heavy comfy, once you hit 45lbs plus its slipping now and have to readjust, im sure if I bought new lunbar and shim kit would fix it, I like the layout very much I like the pack and use it more than the others typically, its become heavy and the future is the lightweight fabrics,


SG5900. awesome pack heavy light or whatever, love it

SG Terminus only had few weeks , but I think once I get used to the layout I will love it, my legs love it, its light and fits like a glove,plan on using this for mule deer this year, I think it will be awesome,

SO unaweep, traded a EXO k2 3200 for it, its light, its comfortable, and with 40-50lbs seems to haul weight just fine, I like it, my son has been using it regularly and he has no complaints, and its light

you should check out the Seek Outside line up,, they have some very light weight packs

had I known this I may have chose one over the Terminus,, they are quite a bit more affordable too




good luck
 

Clarktar

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 30, 2013
Messages
3,766
Location
AK
I'm just starting my second hunting season with a Seekoutside pack in the Ultra PE material and I am happy. Carries heavy loads as well as other frames I've used (mostly various kifarus) and I like the simple bag. Best part is, it can live outside my tent and won't soak up water!

@Kevin_t is also very responsive when issues or questions arise.

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Winternews

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2022
Messages
11
Also worth taking into account the weight from extra waterproof stuff sacks, pack cover, etc, which you can leave behind if your pack is a big waterproof drybag, like Seek Outside and a few other brands use.
 

JeffRaines

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
1,489
This is an older thread, but my advice to anyone(including OP) is to take advantage of the various return policies and order all of the packs you're considering to try out.

Packs are like boots, and what works for one person will not necessarily work for others.

I was chasing the weight dragon a couple years back and ordered a SO pack. Despite multiple people telling me they carry weight well and are awesome, I was left with a pack that didn't fit me right and wasn't comfortable/slipping past 40lbs no matter how I had it adjusted. The quality wasn't bad - it just didn't fit me.
 

sndmn11

Part Time Instigator
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Messages
6,708
Location
Morrison, Colorado
This is an older thread, but my advice to anyone(including OP) is to take advantage of the various return policies and order all of the packs you're considering to try out.

Packs are like boots, and what works for one person will not necessarily work for others.

I echo this and would even scale the idea down to just ordering the frames, no packs. The cost difference might help in adding another frame or two to the testing, and then order the pack of your choice after you have found the frame that works best. One might even be able to compare frame connection points in hand to see if there's a possibility of a different maker's bag fitting on another's frame.
 

jzeblaz

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Mar 23, 2012
Messages
149
Location
Santa Rosa, CA
I ran a Kifaru for a number of years and it worked okay. I wasn't in love with it and decided on an Exo K3 4800. It carries like a dream. I packed a big bear out this week with a buddy. His Kuiu pack broke a carbon stay. I think he had the older model 6k. I'd look at Exo and if you didn't like that, SG would be my next stop.
 
OP
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LitenFast

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 29, 2013
Messages
417
Location
Ellison Bay, WI
So to wrap this up…

I ended up drawing my high country muley tag. Soon after that I picked up a gnargali bag on Kifaru’s moving sale.

I used that on my hunter frame and paired down my accessories. I ditched my guide lid, water bottle pocket and belt pouches except for a mini on my belt and a large on top in place of a lid. I forget the weight that got me down to but I remember figuring it was within a pound of the SG combo I was looking into and that was good enough for me for a frame I knew fit me well and was comfy with heavy weight for me.

I packed in with a weeks worth of food and was able to kill a nice buck on the morning of the 5th day. Quartered him up and packed him the mile back to my camp. Boned him out that afternoon at camp. Woke up next morning and packed out the meat the 6 miles back to my truck and drove into town for a beer and a bbq sandwich. Slept in the back of my truck at the TH and the next morning hiked in grabbed rest of gear and head and cape and back out by late afternoon.

Frame worked great as usual but also really like that bag.

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Brook.Trout

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2020
Messages
91
That is one thing I find with kifaru, is they can get heavy with all the crap you can add onto it, and most people don’t factor that in. I’ve moved to the dall for my expedition style hunts. Adding no pockets, big enough for everything, good to go. I can’t get you a real world weight but it’s noticeably lighter than my fulcrum setup. Another bag is the gnargali which is slightly lighter and smaller for up to a week I’d say.

This is on the duplex lite frame
 

roosiebull

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 23, 2014
Messages
3,445
Location
oregon coast
I’ve had a Kifaru since 2013 first a EMR2/bikini (interesting pairing I know) bought a duplex hunter frame in 2016 and sold bikini. Bought a Reckoning to try to lighten up a bit in 2019.

I was a packer for 3 years up in AK fit sheep/caribou/griz hunts where the Kifaru definitely shined with heavy awkward loads and carrying all my gear as well as some from clients.

Now I am doing hunts for myself I’m wanting to look at lightening up my pack, especially with (hopefully) a high country mule deer Sept rifle hunt this fall.

My reckoning on hunter duplex and guide lid is 7.5# on my scale, adding 2 medium pouches on the bag, a gun bearer, a small pouch and water bottle holder on my belt I was about 9#.

All this has me looking into other options. Every guide I worked with in AK was running a SG. Very tempted to try out a sg x curve with a solo or 40/56 in the 5# range with a lid.

Also toyed with the idea of finding a bikini frame and lighter Kifaru bag from the classifieds as most of my accessories would still be useable.

I’m far from listing all my Kifaru gear but looking for a lighter option for some of these early season backpack hunts to lighten up. Would only sell the Kifarus if whatever I try ends up being so good I’m comfortable letting go.

What have other guys wanting to lighten up gone with for light high country trips but still hoping to come out heavy with meat.

Thanks!


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Don’t rule out seek outside, if their frame fits you, it’s an outstanding pack system.

I’m impatiently waiting on the exo k4, but if the seek outside fit me well, it would be right there with my favorite packs, they really build some impressive packs, super lightweight and still durable and basically waterproof bags (stitch holes being the only reason they aren’t totally waterproof)

For me, the exo Carries weight almost as well as my kifaru, close enough that I am willing to carry the same amount of weight in both, but it’s a lot lighter of course, and more comfortable in hunting mode, and less restrictive. It’s really close on which is my favorite, but I think I would go with exo if I had to choose
 

roosiebull

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Joined
Aug 23, 2014
Messages
3,445
Location
oregon coast
So to wrap this up…

I ended up drawing my high country muley tag. Soon after that I picked up a gnargali bag on Kifaru’s moving sale.

I used that on my hunter frame and paired down my accessories. I ditched my guide lid, water bottle pocket and belt pouches except for a mini on my belt and a large on top in place of a lid. I forget the weight that got me down to but I remember figuring it was within a pound of the SG combo I was looking into and that was good enough for me for a frame I knew fit me well and was comfy with heavy weight for me.

I packed in with a weeks worth of food and was able to kill a nice buck on the morning of the 5th day. Quartered him up and packed him the mile back to my camp. Boned him out that afternoon at camp. Woke up next morning and packed out the meat the 6 miles back to my truck and drove into town for a beer and a bbq sandwich. Slept in the back of my truck at the TH and the next morning hiked in grabbed rest of gear and head and cape and back out by late afternoon.

Frame worked great as usual but also really like that bag.

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7bf5f371fd9cda60a72b509f66b15b67.jpg


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Nice!! Looks like you’re dialed!
 

WV Mountaineer

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 2, 2016
Messages
2,206
Location
West Virginia
I’ve had a Kifaru since 2013 first a EMR2/bikini (interesting pairing I know) bought a duplex hunter frame in 2016 and sold bikini. Bought a Reckoning to try to lighten up a bit in 2019.

I was a packer for 3 years up in AK fit sheep/caribou/griz hunts where the Kifaru definitely shined with heavy awkward loads and carrying all my gear as well as some from clients.

Now I am doing hunts for myself I’m wanting to look at lightening up my pack, especially with (hopefully) a high country mule deer Sept rifle hunt this fall.

My reckoning on hunter duplex and guide lid is 7.5# on my scale, adding 2 medium pouches on the bag, a gun bearer, a small pouch and water bottle holder on my belt I was about 9#.

All this has me looking into other options. Every guide I worked with in AK was running a SG. Very tempted to try out a sg x curve with a solo or 40/56 in the 5# range with a lid.

Also toyed with the idea of finding a bikini frame and lighter Kifaru bag from the classifieds as most of my accessories would still be useable.

I’m far from listing all my Kifaru gear but looking for a lighter option for some of these early season backpack hunts to lighten up. Would only sell the Kifarus if whatever I try ends up being so good I’m comfortable letting go.

What have other guys wanting to lighten up gone with for light high country trips but still hoping to come out heavy with meat.

Thanks!


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I just received a seek outside in the mail on Friday. I was never a guide and have zero plans on selling my tactical frame and certain Kifaru bags. But, I too was looking for something a little lighter.

I haven’t hunted it yet but I’m pretty sure it fits better than any condom I’ve used. They made that frame for me. Whatever torso length they ship it at fit perfect. Everything concerning fit was perfect. And it’s stupid light. Like 4 pounds and a couple ounces light.

I plan to put a whole bone in deer in it this weekend. But, from initial fitting, this pack is going to be really hard to beat.
 
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