View Full Version : First time with a Kifaru Pack

Art Andrews
06-23-2009, 08:30 AM
First, let me say, I am not a big backpacker. I haven't done any serious backpacking since I was a boy scout. However, times being what they are, I felt the need to pick something up to have on hand for BoB type situations as well as a bag that could serve as a nice backpacking bag for summer trips into the AZ desert. I picked up a G2 ZXR and it came in yesterday. Now, I have been doing a LOT of research here and on other sites, but I was wholly unprepared for what I received.

First, this bag is big.. REALLY big.... and yet, it isn't. I could easily pack more into the ZXR than I could ever possibly carry, yet the back compresses down wonderfully and while it holds a lot of gear, it doesn't feel like a ridiculously huge pack.

2nd, straps hanging off of everything!! The strapping is a big overwhelming at first, because there are feet and feet of strapping hanging off every possible point. My first order of business id going to be picking up a set of ITW Nexus' Web Dominators. I feel that they are a MUST for a pack like this. Don't think I am complaining. You need the extra length on straps, but when you have everything cinched down, it leaves a lot of streamers to blow in the wind.

Next, I can't even begin to tell you how well this pack adheres to your back. With just a few pulls of the straps you can suck it right into your spine and virtually meld the pack into your back, making it become a part of you. I am used to a pack that canters a bit from left to right, especially if you run, or a pack that moves up and down a bit... this pack doesn't move at all. It becomes a part of the wearer, moving WITH you, never against you.

The waistbelt is one of the best I have ever worn, padded and comfy.

Initially there was a gap between my back and the pack, starting just below my shoulder blades and ending midway down the small of my back. This caused me to lean over and hunch my back to make full contact with the pack. A slight bend in the metal stays corrected this and has me standing straight with full contact.

I know Military Moron has adjustment/setup suggestions. I haven't even had a chance to go through them yet, and already I am totally in love with this pack... and now my girlfriend wants one too!

06-23-2009, 09:04 AM
Congrats! Kifaru makes good stuff, I got my wife an Express (I have an MMR and a Zulu) a while back and she let her mom try it out. Her mom is handicapped but said that her back felt better with the pack on than it did at any other time.

The Kifaru bags do have a lot of straps though. Last time I went to Iraq I made the mistake of sitting in the rearmost seat by the door, absorbing full rotor wash the whole trip around country. That turned the straps on my bag into a virtual nylon blender in my lap. It was both annoying and funny at the same time, I had forgotten just how much that seat sucks. I spent the next couple of weeks ordering and installing the web dominators and got it under control.

06-23-2009, 10:22 AM
The Web Dominators are great for about 80% of your straps. Couple suggestions:

When you build them, make a few different lengths (to fit straps with varying amounts of extra length) and err on the side of a little less tension on the clip's shock cord, which allows adjustment of the strap without removing the Dominator. Also, resist the temptation to wind up ALL the extra strap in the Dominator...

Web Dominators aren't the 100% solution for every strap, especially the shoulder lifter straps and the delta straps around the waist. For those, you're better off "sleeving" them with LBE bands by backing the strap out of the buckle, sliding the band onto the strap, running it back through, then working the sewn free end of the strap through the band also. The strap is quickly adjustable, and with a little practice you make adjustments without even un-banding the free end of the straps. Makes for a cleaner (and as Sereal posted a more comfortable and possibly safer, given the reduced snag hazard) setup.


There are other companies selling these, but the TAG ones really are the best-built (and the best match for each of Kifaru's colorways.

Art Andrews
06-23-2009, 10:53 AM
Thanks for the suggestions! I will definitely snags some bands as well as the dominators

06-23-2009, 03:54 PM
Sorry to kind of hijack the thread, but does the ACU color option for retaining bands on the TAG website indicate Foliage Green, or the actual UCP?

06-23-2009, 03:58 PM
Looks like its foliage.

Does anyone know when the next TAG (40%, 50%, etc )special is going? I don't have their 2009 calendar.

06-24-2009, 12:07 AM
My money's on 4th of July (usually a 50% off promotion)...

06-25-2009, 12:57 PM
I have to agree with Straps about the Web Dominators. When I got in a bunch of Kifaru packs, I ordered a whack of WB's but over time found that they weren't optimal in every spot. As he mentioned, the shoulder lifter straps being one spot. In some spots I took some hook and loop and sewed it onto the ends of the straps, a la Camelbak's stuff. This works especially well in spots that won't be adjusted too often. (Just to give you a heads up, you'll be using your pack for a good period of time before you get it dialed in perfectly.) Those elastic keepers I can see working well in some spots, but there's no way I'd ever buy them from somewhere. A couple of pieces of elastic, a needle, a thread, a few minutes of sewing, turn them inside out and there you go.

06-27-2009, 05:00 AM
There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to strap managment on the packs, however once you have done it a few times, you get used to. It's almost second nature to me now.

I use both WD's and the LBE bands, depending on the strap. For example, I prefer the LBE band on my sternum strap.

Have fun, the learning and fiddling with the pack is part of the fun!