View Full Version : Never thought it would happen to me...

09-27-2009, 10:10 PM
I think I need to submit myself to a Kifaru clinic or something.... like an after hours support group to help kick the habit!

I havent even purchased a product yet and already I'm oggling over this and that... running up my shopping basket to see how much of what I "want" will cost and then rebuild it from scratch with a totally different buildout.

It all started after a I told a friend of mine I was looking to upgrade my old hikers bag (frameless piece of junk I bought over 4 years ago that feels like a sack of potatoes if you put anything over 20 lbs in it) to act as a hiking/camping bag and as a major BOB option. I say major as the wife and I will more than likely be hiking from ABQ NM to Northern CO if it gets too ugly :eek: Well... try at least.

He told me about the MMR, Maurader, E&E, etc etc that he has had for the last few years and that he could not say enough for how much he liked them. After describing how the MMR sits on his back and me going over to his house to check out the quality and options I started scouring the Kifaru website.

It's now turned into a daily event.... after dinner and the girls go to bed I pull up the Kifaru site browse the bags open a new window and surf for videos posted of people and their kifaru packs.... wondering what cool build-outs I could do for this and that. Oh man!

So here I am.... still trying to pull the trigger but Im stuck! As I have read in so many other threads (and never thought I would be there!!) But holy cow.... do I go for the big-momma EMR? Or bring it down to something like a navigator and load the bugger up with pockets gallor...... do I go for easy access? or super support? do I go with camo or no camo..... lock & load or chamber pockets..... fold outs or stuff sacks..... panel access or top load....... GUNS OR NO GUNS!!! AARRRRAAGGHHHHH!!!

I have buyers paralysis!!!!

"Hello.... I'm mike... and I have a problem."

09-28-2009, 06:45 AM
Hahaha hello mike and welcome to the club. I sit here typing thiswith my ***y g2 cb e+e next to me. Its a total addiction. I have owned a few packs, and now am sitting with a MollEx (my fav) and an X-Ray. I haven't had a large pack, but have had a pointman and a scout too, which I have sold to other folks on the board. My fist suggestion is base your purchase on what you would use most. If you feel an EMR would suit you best, then snatch one up. Mel has said before that add up everything you would carry and buy a pack to suit that size loadout. Don't buy too small and compensate with pouches. Do you want panel loading or top loading? I prefer top loading cause you can stuff and using a pack liner is easier with top loading. If you are looking in the navigatore range and want top loading check out the ZXR. I've heard nothing but good things about them. You can stuff them beyond full but still compress them down too. As far as accessories go, get the pack first and see what you need from there. Maybe a pod and an e+e to start. I've heard of people buying a whole set of things and finding out they don't suit there needs, heck, I've done that myself! Well I hope this helps. You've got tons of knowledge all over this board and don't be afraid to ask away!

09-28-2009, 08:52 AM
After using various packs, I agree with Noflush...get the pack that will work for your loadout without pouches. Use the pouches/pods for overflow, organization, or occasional extra day(s). Here are some hasty generalizations (IMO) by volume and function for you (civillian use):

15L E&E: Must-have add-on, many functions
20L Scout: light and fast day lumbar
30L X-Ray: 'EDC', town & country hikes
35L MExpress: day trips, light overnights
40L Marauder: travel, camping, range
50L/60L Pointman/Zulu: gear intense day, overnights to 3Day
65L Navigator/AG1: extended travel, camping
70-85L ZXR/MMR: multi-day trips, cold weather 3day
90-120L EMR/AG2: 'expeditions'

Something to consider besides volume is pack access.

Panel loading: easy access, more organization, suitcase like
Top loading w collar and floating lid: easier to stuff full or overfill, more reliable
Top/Bottom zip: between the above

Choice of pockets depends on pack. If you haven't already, talk to or PM Mel, he is the tactical pack guru.

09-28-2009, 10:12 AM
Yes, I would definetly be a part of a Kifaru support group. I have a load of my first Kifaru gear on the way that supposed to be here tomorrow and I'm just an anxious wreck waiting for it to arrive. I have these hopefull thoughts of it arriving a day early (today) so I can get the inevitable gear-asm over with. UPS tracking sucks now so it doesn't give any details as to where it is.....needless to say, all day tomorrow I'm going to be steathily peeking though the blinds, watching-listening-waiting for the big brown truck of joy to come down the street. In which case I'll switch from surveillance mode to tactical intercept mode: I'll hug the wall up to the door, peek around the corner slicing the pie, combat roll out the door to the bush and the end of the walkway, stalking my prey. As soon as the truck stops I'll go into assault mode and quickly approach the door of the truck taking my victim by surprise. Once back inside, the box will explode in a flurry of tearing. And then, finally, nirvana.....

09-28-2009, 01:07 PM

15L E&E: Must-have add-on, many functions
20L Scout: light and fast day lumbar
30L X-Ray: 'EDC', town & country hikes
35L MExpress: day trips, light overnights
40L Marauder: travel, camping, range
50L/60L Pointman/Zulu: gear intense day, overnights to 3Day
65L Navigator/AG1: extended travel, camping
70-85L ZXR/MMR: multi-day trips, cold weather 3day
90-120L EMR/AG2: 'expeditions'


Thanks for the breakdown! Any tips for judging how much space your gear will take up? I've never really packed a backpack taking into consideration space vs material so a little in the dark on judgement.

Would be wide open to anyone's experience with larger packs and whether or not having a top load or front load bag would be better. Im talking a really long trek.... potentially up to a 390 mile expedition :o

09-28-2009, 02:01 PM
If you're going a looooong way then I would suggest the EMR. It weighs a little more than the smaller packs, but you have a lot of room to expand to carry stuff even if you don't initially need it, and it compresses down well so that it won't flop around.

If you're certain don't need all that room (7500cu), I'd go for the ZXR over the MMR (both 5200cu) because it's probably not worth paying the extra for the Duplex frame for your needs. Then again, if you do some research into the Duplex system and think you might get some use out of it, by all means pick the MMR.

For what it's worth, I found the amount of stuff you can cram into the EMR is ridiculous, but it won't really drag you down if you don't use all the space. Just make sure you resist the temptation to over-pack. :)

Oh, and regarding top-loaders vs panel-loaders, I've always preferred top-loaders. Not sure why, they just seem inherently stronger, somehow (even though I know Kifaru's build quality is unbelievable, and the zips are all doubled up with straps anyway). I've never had that much of an issue getting at stuff in my EMR, and it has side access zips to help with that, as well as top and bottom access.

10-02-2009, 11:50 AM
I feel your pain brother. I am in the same situation. I end up spending WAY too much time logging in and out of the Kifaru fourm at work. Agonizing over EMR vs. MMR+E&E+XTL, foliage vs. OD green, G2 or is a G1 good enough, Sick bag vs. Regulator, 20 or 0 degree, 4 man or super tarp, and last but not least, do I really want to spend 350.00 for a Kifaru vest.:confused:

Everytime I go out to the bush I can't help but think how nice it would be to have a tipi with a stove to dry off in. I am still a bit worrysome over a floorless tipi on muskeg though.

Hello. My name is John and I have a problem.

Cpl Punishment
10-03-2009, 04:40 AM
I'll jump to a conclusion that if you are really planning on walking from NM to northern CO, then you'll probably be humping enough stuff for an EMR. That's more of what I'd call an INCH (I'm Never Coming Home) situation than a bug-out. For major expeditions of that sort, or spending a month in the woods or something, I can't see why you wouldn't pick the EMR.

But for a general use pack, it's probably way overkill.
The way I figured that the Zulu was the right choice for me was to put together everything I actually use for my most common time in the woods, and figure the volume I'd need for that. However, I've also gone throuigh several other packs, so I know about how big my stuff packs to.

Also, I would figure your three season loadout. IMO if you figure in for the coldest weather (which requires the bulkiest gear), you're pack will be too big for most of the other time. Winter is the time to strap on a POD for your sleep system and such.

Another thing I did is get a G2 Claymore and shoulder strap. All my "survival gear", and one day of food and one canteen fit in it. I keep allt hat stuff loaded in it all the time. When I go out with the Zulu, I place it in the bag, on top of everything else. It's easy to remove and keeps my most used gear well organized (it also fits perfectly in the top of the Zulu, and doesn't float around). In winter, I can attach it to the top lid, or anywhere else, and for summer, I can just take it on the shoulder strap for dayhikes.

10-03-2009, 09:54 AM
An inexpensive way to judge the capacity you need is to you use trash bags. The common 13 gallon size is about 50L (3000 ci). If you have some other packs, you can use those as a reference, or go to your local outdoor store with your gear and try it in various packs.

In general, the pack is the last thing you pick, after you have your other gear figured out. Also, IMO, the pack is the last thing you want to shave weight/skimp on (don't skimp on footware either, a good fit being the most important). I've run into hikers on the trail complaining that they need a new 'ultralight' pack because their load was too much...wrong. Reduce weight by packing smart and reduce weight of the items not exposed to abrasion/rough handling, like tent, sleep system, cook kit, etc.

Bottom line; get the best quality, durable, and well fitting pack and boots you can afford. I think it's better to have a little heavier pack that's more comfortable, for the weight you intend to carry. And, it's better to have a pack with a little extra capacity, than one with not enough room to put everything inside but the sleeping pad. That's why I changed from the Zulu to ZXR. I would call your planned trip an 'Expedition', and I'd go with the EMR.

10-03-2009, 10:30 AM
One other thing to take into account is how big a guy your are. I am a fairly big guy and as a result my stuff is bigger so it takes up more room. For instance I have a golith (sp?) north face sleeping bag and my brother has the same bag in the smaller size a snow shoe. My bag while only about a lb heavier is 1/3-1/2 again the size in a stuff sack. Everytime I sleep in it I am glad to have the room, but it does take up a lot of room in my EMR.

Bushcrafts comment last weekend when he saw my pack then picked it up was "What the hell do you have in there, oh it is bulky stuff, not heavy stuff." So if you need bulky stuff go straight to the bigger packs.

I will also echo a pack that will take everything you want to carry internally. Yeah all of the pouches hanging off the back and sides look cool as all get out, and allows you to use a smaller pack, but there is a cost. That cost is that it can be very hard to get a tight compact load, which in my experience carries better. So I prefer to have everything in my pack. It is a bit of a pain to dig stuff out and repack for say just lunch, but you aren't in a hurry it sounds like or worried about having to move quickly due to enemies coming in on you.

Finally, I would recommend the hunting line. I got my EMR because it was on sale and in the color I wanted. Having looked at Bushcrafts G2 hunting pack. I think that for my purposes it would be just as good a pack and it weights less to start with. If everything is in the pack you don't need all of the pals which adds weight, and I am guessing that 500d cordura is good to go for most civilian uses.

10-03-2009, 09:54 PM
Well... I am truly lucky. A friend of mine from work knows someone that we work with who is thinking about selling his G1 EMR. I talked with him about what I planned to use it for as he happened to be one of the regional troop leaders for the Boy Scouts in the area. He gave me some things to think about for preparation AND offered to let me take it home to do a trial load out!!! All 3 of us work at the same company so he knows where to find me :)

Excited beyond belief I went home and laid everything I have been stockpiling and prepping out on the pool table... just the main gadgets and gizmos.... none of the easy stuff like clothes and food. As I figured everything would easily fit into this monstrous bag and that I really only wanted to load it out to see if it AND I could handle the weight.

Got everything mostly organized and started with loading all the sleeping gear toward the bottom. I immediately found out my tent (which I seem to remember being MUCH smaller) is NOT going to fit inside the pack.... it seemed so small and light traveling in my car to our campsites!!! Oh well... item #1 on the outside... more than likely in a pod on the bottom.

My sleeping bag is an old Kealty that literally takes up the whole sleeping bag compartment..... I was able to stuff a very thin and light hazardous materials cleanup mat in there with it (that I was told by my friend makes a great liner under a tent). So definitely will be getting the compression stuff sack for that monster.

Next I attached the sleeping bag compartment separator and quickly found out that my automatic blowup sleeping pad was going to take up quite a bit of room as well! Item #2 on the outside!! More than likely will be rolled up and stuck on the top of the bag sinched down by the top flap. Anyone have any ideas on a light low profile but semi comfortable pad? :rolleyes:

So looked around and started thinking about how to maximize the space. Found all the items that I would be storing in flat boxes or longer thin items and started packing them from the bottom up... saving the top for all the odd shaped mesh and waterproof organization bags.

Now granted I havent done a TON of organization with this as I only have the bag for the weekend and the wife has most of our freetime tied up with events...... its Balloon Fiesta time here and LOTS to do!!!

So I roughly organized things into the mesh storage bags and fit them in pretty well without too much wasted space. By the time all the boxes and bags were in I was full up to the snow cover! The sad part is that none of the packed items contained my extra clothes, no food, and no means of cooking (my jetboil with frying pan and all the plates, cups, etc) ......... and when I stepped back and thought Holy moses..... I turned around and looked at what was left on the table and noticed..... nor do I have any water filtration!! :(

Long story short HA! Im definitely going with the EMR.... and I definitely will be sinking money into additional addons......

Now Scothill mentioned something I never even thought of.... checking out the hunting line. Immediately went to the largest hunting line and noticed that the largest bag as 8500 vs the 7500 on the EMR!! Also noticed that the main color came in Foilage... which is what I was probably going to go with on the EMR. Curious about the price I scrolled down and noticed something else....... they made package deals for those bags! Throwing in a whole slew of addons and giving 15% off?!?!

So not only did I have a problem deciding on all the options before... but now I have a whole new dilema!! Now I have to review 2 different lines and different options for bags within!!!!

Now if you have read this far you are probably wonder... WTF... why carry all that junk? The side note to this is that I will have my wife and 1 year old daughter with me. My wife is from SE Asia and is pretty small. So guess who will be carrying the bulk of the stuff? It will balance out though... as she will have the wiggle-worm!

And yes we really plan to hike from ABQ to North CO...... that is if SHTF and we cant make it there by car! The first part of the preperation is for worst case scenario...... if the roads are clear and the 4runner will make it..... then we will have a truck full of supplies and a very good set of backpacks ready as back up.

Anyway.... sorry for babbling!! thanks to everyone for the tips...... its helping out a lot!!!

Cpl Punishment
10-04-2009, 08:12 AM
BTW for a long term situation like that, think about your gear, and rather than carry what you may need, carry what you need to MAKE what you need. That will pare down your equipment list quite a bit.

10-04-2009, 11:32 AM
It sounds like you need to repackage all of those boxes into stuff sacks. Boxes while cool take up a lot of room and don't stuff worth a darn. Think of your pack as a large stuff sack. You want to be able to compress everything down into it then further compress. Boxes don't work so well for this. Also you might want to rethink your pack list and what you actually need in a SHTF scenario.

Have you done any backpacking? If not I would see if anyone on here is local and would be willing to come over and help you get packed up for a weekend trip and take you out. Very quickly "I need" becomes "nice" to have becomes "screw it I am not going to carry that weight" when stuff is on your back. Lots of folks get wrapped around all the stuff they think they need and don't focus on what they do. For me it goes water/shelter, then food, then warmth, then comfort, then gadgets. Gadgets are more fun, but if you don't have food, purifier, cooking kit, shelter, and sleeping bags in then you are packing backwards in my opinion.

Finally, if you haven't done any backpacking then I have to warn you that walking from ABQ to NoCo is a monumental undertaking. Frankly having bumped around in most of the country you are talking about. I find it very hard to think of a scenario where I couldn't find a way through in a vehicle. There are just to many smaller back roads.

10-04-2009, 12:11 PM
+1 What Scothill said re experienced advice. Even proper weight/load distribution in your pack will make a huge difference in the comfort of your travels. There is a right and wron g way to stuff your pack. Google "how to load a backpack", might find something of help.

10-04-2009, 02:06 PM
Just some thoughts FWIW:

For what you have in mind, foot travel is the last resort. Get detailed road maps - or bettter, the topo atlases for the states you have in mind - and plan on using secondary or even tertiary roads (90+% of anyone trying to travel will be using the primary roads - or trying to. Slow travel on a rutted dirt road is faster and easier than no travel on a jammed primary road. (For many years my bugout car of choice was a VW beetle, rear seat removed to make sort of an enclosed pickup with an enclosed 1/4 ton trailer - simple, repairable, good on fuel, almost as good as a 4WD if you knew how to drive it. Still would be my choice if I could find one. Fancy or expensive cars attract unwanted attention.)

Plan your route, with alternates and including rally points for family/friends. Off the beaten track it may be possible to provide caches of supplies (rental storage facilities, abandoned sheds, possibly an accomodating friend etc.) along the route you can load up if the situation looks about to mature.

Caches can include fuel (stabilized), water, emergency food and the like but don't forget useful things usable as trade goods readily available and cheap now, but hard to improvise. Blankets are useful as bedding but can also be cut up for clothing, durable fabrics, sewing needles, fish hooks & line, thread - that type of thing. A few needles bought for pennies today to possibly be worth a meal to the farm wife who needs them. Coffee, tea, sugar, even tobacco are also good for trading. (Alcohol can create a problem, guns and ammo can provide the means to kill you.)

The packs should handle personal needs - bedding, clothing and such. Group stuff like cook pots and small stoves should be spread around in case of separation. Assuming the kids are old enough to use them, even their packs should have a metal cup for emergency cooking and a spoon, along with some basic shelter stuff (poncho, space blanket or such).

Take some fun trips to get the hang of living out of a pack. Organization is important - in an emergency a piece of gear left behind would be difficult/impossible to replace. +1 on the comments above about packing. Personally, I don't cinch things down rock-hard, slightly squishy allows better fitting in the pack and the various bags lock together so they don't shift around. Having a place for everything sends up flags if something is missing.

As was observed above, a pack is a bag full of bags. Pullouts are great for organizing kits and small gear. I got a small supply of various colors of 550 cord to color code the pullouts and stuff sacks by using the cords as zipper pulls and draw cords.

10-04-2009, 08:01 PM
Thanks much guys. Appreciate all the helpful direction.

Looks like I should do some rethinking. I was figuring on small spacer boxes to hold things that would break easy or are super small like fishing lures and spare hooks/weights, organizing tools like spare pens/screwdrivers and other small things that could break.

I've camped a bit... but mainly from a car and with a ton of people who have a ton of camping junk that make it a little on the soft side. Never really done any long distance hiking... just an hour or 2 here and there when the wife and I were taking a climbing course together. So day hikes with out fully loaded packs and some short camping trips with just the 3 of us are already on the list..... after we get our bags and do some rethinking on whats going to be in them!

10-04-2009, 10:07 PM
Well, you've received some good advice so far. I'll try to add a little more. The advice to determine your load and then choose a pack accordingly is good. However, I'm going to add a twist to that. I say, determine your load and then choose the pack the next size larger. This doesn't mean each time you use the pack that you should strive to fill it. It just means that you'll never notice the extra room if you don't use it. All of these packs compress well enough that if you only use half the available space, you can compress the load and you'll never notice the "wasted" space or the minimal additional weight. The extra space is like my take on carrying a gun, I'ld rather have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

I think over the past 10 years I've actually owned almost every pack Kifaru makes. I've bought and sold just because I can't justify keeping all of them. My wife thinks I'm nuts. If you can afford only one for all purpose backpacking and hunting, get one with the duplex frame. You'll never regret it.

10-04-2009, 10:12 PM
I feel compelled to add one more thing. Don't worry. In comparing all Kifaru packs to one another, if you choose the "wrong" one, you'll never know it so you'll never regret it. Hell, you'll never know it until you buy another that you may discover you prefer. But then, you'll just discover you prefer each for a different purpose.