New Whitetail Pack - external frame?

RepeatPete

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Aug 13, 2023
Messages
103
Looking for a new small backpack/daypack, as the Cabela’s one I have didn’t work well last year.

I’m an eastern whitetail hunter. I don’t pack out meat, and don’t carry heavy loads. I usually have a coffee thermos, snacks, large Nalgene for water, small kill kit, small survival kit, spare ammo, hat+gloves, and that’s about it. As such, the pack bag can be pretty small. I want to walk around more vs. sitting in stands, so the pack needs to be comfortable and reasonably lightweight. I need a good way to pack outer layers in/on the pack.

Features I think I want:
- external frame. I know they don’t make many of these anymore, especially for small daypacks. I want the external frame to use as a solid rest to shoot off of. I like to walk slow through areas, and often sit on hillsides for <30 minutes to watch through more open sections of woods. In my head, I would sit down, set the pack upright, downhill between my legs and have a very solid rest. Also walking out into fields from the woods, it could be super helpful to sit/kneel down at the hedgerow and shoot solidly across the field.
- load shelf: seems like the best/easiest way to carry my heavier insulated jacket while I walk in/out, and more snag-free than strapped in the outside of the pack.
- no (or removable) waist belt. I don’t carry heavy loads, and take the pack off pretty often, so the waist belt is just more straps to snag and buckles to click loudly.

Any options that fit these wants? The Eberlestock Mainframe F1 seems to fit decently: external frame, load shelf, configurable pack bags (I.e. could get something small) and the frame is more narrow than a lot of frames. Also, the frames can be purchased separately if I wanted to do a DIY option.
 
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RepeatPete

Lil-Rokslider
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Aug 13, 2023
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103
MR Popup might be worth checking out.
The pop-up series definitely seems to be one of the most recommended whitetail packs. The current ones look a bit too big for what I need, but I learned they used to make a pop-up 18, maybe I’ll look for one of those.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2014
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652
Not sure if they still make it, but that vargo external frame looked pretty cool. Might could have a camo bag made for it, and it was very lightweight.

Otherwise most of the hunting packs have an internal/external frame that still offers plenty of area to rest on. The K2/k3 frame in particular comes to mind- It has a large tubing frame that just has cordura wrapped around it.
 

rnfarley

FNG
Joined
Jun 16, 2015
Messages
57
Location
North GA
Not sure if you found something but the Eberlestock x2 might be a good option for you. It doesn't have the load shelf between bag and the alum box frame, but it does have a pretty snug middle area to stuff a jacket. I had the old style (shorter) and used it for whitetail and loved it. I'm just taller and the height drove me crazy. The new one looks very nice. I could fit most of my stalk-hunting stuff in the two wings and lid, then the middle was wide open for anything (I pack out deer in the mountains here but a jacket would work great too).

 

guitarpreston

Lil-Rokslider
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May 18, 2021
Messages
180
I had a pop up 38 for a while. Ended up going to kifaru, I wanted more modularity. The new pop up 30 looks nice with more attachment points looks like.
 
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Jul 27, 2021
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Look at the military surplus Alice packs, a frame,shoulder straps,waiste belt, and pads for those along with a shelf and either a medium pack or a large one fills the bill and wont break the bank and will last for ever, Tag along a few water resistant internal bags also.
 

adamm88

WKR
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Sep 6, 2016
Messages
430
Location
Pennsylvania
Striker xl with kifaru frame, the sling in the middle can hold layers if needed, You could take the waist belt off if needed.

Or a Kifaru 14r used with a Sherman pocket, The 14r isn't external frame but you cant put layers between the sherman and pack, or add a grab it. The 14r isn't external but tall enough to be able to shoot off of if needed like you mention.
 

Watrdawg

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Jul 30, 2019
Messages
164
Location
NC
I've been using a Badlands Superday pack for about 2 years no and love it. It is large enough for me to carry whatever gear I may need for day and any additional clothing. When walking in to my stand I'll roll up and use the lash my outer layers to my pack. The padded hip belt even has a built in holster if you want to carry in a sidearm. Overall its a very versatile pack and has all the room I may need for a day in the stand.
 

barnguy

FNG
Joined
May 15, 2024
Messages
15
I would recommend either the MR pop up 28 or 38 or a Kifaru frame and your bag of choice.

I have owned both and currently use the Kifaru. I never could get the MR to load how I wasted. It definitely lacks pockets for organizing. That's my only issue with it.

I love my Kifaru. Comfortsble, modular, and top quality.

I would have mentioned giving Killik a try, but they are internal frame. Good little packs for the money.
 

Macintosh

WKR
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Messages
2,231
I have a gen 1 MR popup 18 and 28 and really, really like them--imo the older gen1 is better than the current gen2 model, so maybe look around used and see if you can find one in decent condition. IMO they are perfect for what you are describing, and they do a great job packing out a deer too, I use them east and west in all seasons. The load shelf also works great to carry a saddle platform and sticks, super-heavy bulky layers, trash, a crazy-creek style chair, a tripod, whatever. The 28l size is actually a pretty good universal size if you are packing any heavy warm clothes, and it can get buckled down to take up less room. I prefer the 18l for most days, but it gets tight if extra warm clothing is on the menu. Shooting off the pack frame works great. IMO anything bigger than 28l-30l is going to be too big for what you are describing.
 
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RepeatPete

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Aug 13, 2023
Messages
103
I really appreciate all the suggestions. I started my search with the military surplus frames, like the look of that Eberlestock X2, and looked hard at the badlands packs too.

I still think the MR pop-up seems to fit the criteria the best, but trying to find a Pop-up 18 is tough. After removing the waist belt, the overall pack footprint looked similar to a MR daypack that I’ve had for a while (I think it’s an Urban Assault?). I found that Eberlestock sells their frames separately, so for the grand price of $30, I’ve got something like what I was dreaming up.

The frame fits great in the laptop sleeve, and I’m using rubberized twist ties as “load lifters” and to keep the frame in the pack - looks pretty redneck, but works surprisingly well. It fits everything I need, the frame is the perfect shooting height, my mollinator clips on perfectly, it’s not “strappy” at all, and it’s really light.

I’ll use it this year and take any desired changes to refine my search even more.

2D5E07A0-AC96-4B83-8A2D-2D2D80766D39.jpeg
A89EAC77-9A33-4249-85B7-F89395E9A3E9.jpeg
 

SloppyJ

WKR
Joined
Feb 24, 2023
Messages
1,000
I've been using a Badlands Superday pack for about 2 years no and love it. It is large enough for me to carry whatever gear I may need for day and any additional clothing. When walking in to my stand I'll roll up and use the lash my outer layers to my pack. The padded hip belt even has a built in holster if you want to carry in a sidearm. Overall its a very versatile pack and has all the room I may need for a day in the stand.
I run the same thing. I like it a lot. There's good options internally for the organization and storage. It works well for me from archery season to muzzleloader, and then into gun with all of the different little things you need on tap just in case. Some times I wish it were a bit bigger when I'm packing in heavy outer layers.

I need a framed pack and I'm thinking about going with a Kuiu and getting the Pro Divide 4500 or 6000 pack along with the 2300 bag for the whitetail woods. OP, you might look at the 2300. They're 25% off right now too and it should tick all of your boxes.
 

Watrdawg

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Jul 30, 2019
Messages
164
Location
NC
I've heard a lot of recommendations for the MR Popup packs. They are very nice and I actually had a Popup 38 and liked it. However, there is another pack that hasn't been mentioned and its almost the same size as the Popup38. That is the MR Pintler. It is a taller pack but I ended up selling my Popup 38 and bought the Pintler. It's a day pack also but can be used for a 2-3 day pack also. It's easier to use the loan shelf than the Popup series and overall a more versatile pack. They run about the same $$ also. Another advantage is that you can buy other MR bags and use them on the same frame as the Pintler.
 
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MR Popup might be worth checking out.
Yep, Pop Up 28 sounds like it would check all your boxes, and you can remove the waistbelt. Plus, it's narrow and short so it doesn't hang up while walking in thicker woods. I've had mine for 5 years now, hunting the NE woods of NY, Pa and Maine. Great little pack, built like a tank. I think the larger Pop Ups might be too bulky for your needs.
 

rnfarley

FNG
Joined
Jun 16, 2015
Messages
57
Location
North GA
I've heard a lot of recommendations for the MR Popup packs. They are very nice and I actually had a Popup 38 and liked it. However, there is another pack that hasn't been mentioned and its almost the same size as the Popup38. That is the MR Pintler. It is a taller pack but I ended up selling my Popup 38 and bought the Pintler. It's a day pack also but can be used for a 2-3 day pack also. It's easier to use the loan shelf than the Popup series and overall a more versatile pack. They run about the same $$ also. Another advantage is that you can buy other MR bags and use them on the same frame as the Pintler.
@Watrdawg are you using the Pintler for whitetail? Ever get up in a tree with it? Does that stiff belt get annoying at times?
 

Watrdawg

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Jul 30, 2019
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Location
NC
@Watrdawg are you using the Pintler for whitetail? Ever get up in a tree with it? Does that stiff belt get annoying at times?
Actually I've used it a couple of times. The belt is a bit cumbersome but not an issue. I have gear hooks above my stands, they are usually lock on stands, and I put the carry handle on the hook and the belt basically wraps around the tree. I will be honest though and the majority it the time I use my Bandlands Super day pack for deer hunting. The reason I mentioned the Pintler is that I had the Popup 38 and it was a bit too bulky and clunky. If having to use the load shelf it was a pain. The Pintler has an easier to use loadshelf and then there is the ability to order a larger bag, ie the Metcalf if you ever go out west or just want a larger bag. Basically gives you more versatility.
 

rnfarley

FNG
Joined
Jun 16, 2015
Messages
57
Location
North GA
Actually I've used it a couple of times. The belt is a bit cumbersome but not an issue. I have gear hooks above my stands, they are usually lock on stands, and I put the carry handle on the hook and the belt basically wraps around the tree. I will be honest though and the majority it the time I use my Bandlands Super day pack for deer hunting. The reason I mentioned the Pintler is that I had the Popup 38 and it was a bit too bulky and clunky. If having to use the load shelf it was a pain. The Pintler has an easier to use loadshelf and then there is the ability to order a larger bag, ie the Metcalf if you ever go out west or just want a larger bag. Basically gives you more versatility.
Awesome, thanks
 

Novahunter

Lil-Rokslider
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Jan 24, 2022
Messages
255
I got the Kuiu Divide 2300. Internal frame, but I can do any hunting I need to in VA with it.
 

SloppyJ

WKR
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Feb 24, 2023
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1,000
I went with a k4 2200 and plan to get a 5000 bag for it too. It should be perfect for the whitetail woods. 1000004457.jpg
 
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