View Full Version : 2200 vs 3700 for mountaineering

03-07-2012, 11:02 PM
Hello, I'm struggling in my decision to choose between a KU 2200 and 3700 for mountaineering and backpacking trips. The 2200 would be ideal for summer overnight technical trips because of its slim profile. At the opposite end are winter trips that require around 5000 ci of space and weight in at around 65-70 pounds. I know I can bulk up the 2200 with pods or long pockets. My questions are how will these pockets affect its carry, i.e. balance and out-and-back pull vs downward pull and if I plan to have 65 lbs in and on it on 1/3 of my trips, should I go bigger to the 3700. As a corollary, will the 3700 cinch down well enough to emulate the 2200 when partially full for climbing?

03-07-2012, 11:41 PM
I can't answer for the UL series, but when I load my Mollex up(2300 ci) with pockets, pod etc, the comfort just isn't there anymore. It also sways a bunch when I get too much stuff on it. Not sure if that helps much. I would go with the bigger one, just because you can always cinch it down for sleek carry.

03-08-2012, 02:26 AM
for mountaineering go with 3700. You just need the space.

03-08-2012, 07:38 AM
wiseshides, I have both packs the 3700 will cinch down small. I upgraded to the wraptec plus belt and composite stays. With long pockets and pod I can do a 7 day hunt with tipi and stove. It makes an excellent day pac/meat hauler. phil

03-08-2012, 10:29 AM
Phil, Mountaintrek and Sreekers, thank-you for your advice. After re-watching the YouTube videos of the UL packs and reading your posts it does seem 3700 is the way to go. One friend even mentioned the 5200 but I think that's too big. Regardless of size I'll want at least two external pockets anyway during non-technical portions just because I like that kind of organization.

I'm going to wait a few more days to see if any other feedback comes in before pulling the trigger.

Regarding pods, realistically, how minimally can you cinch them and still secure the contents when attached to the pack? In other words, could I get close to their max volume (length x width x height)?

03-08-2012, 11:55 PM

davesuvak posted some great photos of his KU3700 here: http://www.kifaruforums.net/showthread.php?t=25698
His photos really show how well it can cinch down and how he uses a KU E&E for day trips.

Sawtooth also posted some great pictures of all the different configurations he has come up with for his KU3700: http://www.kifaruforums.net/showthread.php?t=26267

I placed an order for a KU3700 with a KU Koala (plus a few extras) last week after pondering long and hard on all the KU packs. I think the 3700 is going to be an excellent pack for all my adventures. It can cinch down for a day hike or expand for a long ramble. I plan on taking it with me everywhere here in Europe; day hikes in the woods, Via Ferrata in the Dolomites, hut to hut in the Alps, etc.

Hope this helps.

Take care,

03-11-2012, 11:35 PM
Hey, all. Thanks for the advice; the pictures were perfect. I bought the 3700, a long pocket, small possibles and a medium pod. Of course, I also bought a stash it for the climbing rope and/or helmet.

03-11-2012, 11:45 PM
That sounds like a great set-up you have coming. I too decided on the KU3700. I also got a KU Long Pocket, a KU Water Bottle Pouch and the KU Kaola with all the 'bells 'n whistles". Delivery is mid-April, can't wait!

Take care,

03-12-2012, 05:31 AM
Hey, all. Thanks for the advice; the pictures were perfect. I bought the 3700, a long pocket, small possibles and a medium pod. Of course, I also bought a stash it for the climbing rope and/or helmet.

let me know how the UL line holds up for technical climbing. Abrassion etc...

03-12-2012, 10:49 AM
Will do, mountaintrek. I'm planning to pickup a Badlands Rain Cover (http://badlandspacks.com/index.php?go=Packs_Acc10) for some protection in really rough terrain like Joshua Tree where the rock can wear a hole in leather gloves in one day of climbing and the cat's claw can tear into 500D Cordura. Mostly, though, I'm climbing in the Sierra where the granite is textured but not abrasive, usually.

03-13-2012, 08:39 PM
I would go 3700. I like bigger packs and compressing compared to trying to expand a small pack. The KU packs cinch down amazing!

04-27-2012, 12:28 PM
My 3700, medium pod, side zip long and stash it arrived yesterday. As an experiment, I packed for a 5 day winter mountaineering trip which is more stuff than what I'd planned to carry with it. I wanted to see how it would handle. While I could get everything on it, it was a bit unwieldy, mostly because putting the pod on the top or back really threw off the balance. I was thinking about putting it on the bottom but then instead of the armor bottom I've got the thinner material resting and dragging on the ground.

I had a few thoughts: buy a 5200 for the once or twice a year big winter trips or buy a regular, non-UL pod for bottom use. Another option is to not worry about it because, if a winter mountaineering trip, the bag will mostly be sitting on snow, not sharp rocks, branches and pine cones. Yet another idea is to somehow lash my small, foam sit pad to the bottom of the pod.

Any ideas?

I won't be really field testing it until the end of May because I broke my right clavicle skiing a month ago. I'll post pictures and reviews as my summer climbing season continues.

04-27-2012, 02:55 PM
I'd just put the stuff you had in the POD in a Kifaru grab it to help compress the pack better and stow your bulkier items that you'd like to access quicker.

Here is it:http://www.kifaru.net/KU_grabit.html

04-27-2012, 03:23 PM
I'd mis-typed. I do have a grab it (not a stash it). That's already holding my snow shoes, avalanche shovel and rope. I think I could get more mileage out of the internal space with a switch to some down clothing instead of bulky polypro, but I don't think it'll be enough. The things that pretty much must go on the outside of the pack: snow pickets, avy probe & shovel, ice axe, crampons, snow shoes and rope. Maybe I'll post some pictures of the setup. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

05-01-2012, 01:24 AM
Hey, guys,

What are these tabs for on the long pocket?


05-01-2012, 09:24 AM
wiseshides, those are there so the pocket can function independently of being affixed to it's host pack.

I wanted the pockets to perform other tasks--such as heading down to the creek to fill your water bladder--wherein it could tote the wet bladder back and the pocket could be wet but not your whole pack. Or, use the pocket for short hikes...perhaps your morning Constitutional...carrying all your toiletries. Just pop it off the pack and use it for such things. I'll sometimes try my hand at fishing the nearby stream and use the pocket as my "chest rig". Pretty handy, and gives multifunction to the pockets.

So, let me explain the lay-out. The four outside common loops are for "anchoring" the pocket compression straps when the pocket isn't affixed to your pack. They are useful for keeping the compression straps "contained" so they don't dangle when the pocket is just being stored or for stand-alone uses like we're discussing here (you can compress the thing while doing it, as well as store items behind the straps). The "inside top" common loops are for rigging a neck/shoulder sling from the ingredients in our KU Lash Kit so that you can use the pocket as described above--for all sorts of relatively lightweight utility tasks.

I suppose we can put this feature down as one that I never got around to explaining on the website, in videos, etc. So now you know! There is always a reason for stuff being on kifaru gear.

05-01-2012, 10:22 AM
Awesome, Patrick. Thanks for the explanation. I was really stumped on what those little buggers but it makes sense, now.

05-06-2012, 10:22 PM
One more question regarding long pockets and, for that matter, pods. What's the recommended weight limit to put into a long pocket when it'll be attached on the sides or back of the pack? I've got crampons, carabiners, avalanche probe and beacon I want to put in one long pocket. That's probably coming in around 5-7 pounds. I don't want to unduly stress the dock and lock on the UL. By the way, to protect the long pocket from the crampon points, I made a DIY crampon pouch out of a two layers of tyvek.

06-06-2012, 02:06 PM
I've just completed two backpacking trips. One was to Yosemite and a pure backpack, though in snow, rain, hail and sleet. The second was to the Palisades area of the Eastern Sierra Nevada and was a mountaineering trip. Here is my review of the 3700 plus Stash-It, small Possibles Pouch and Long Pocket. I will attach pictures today or tomorrow.

For normal backpacking, even with some cross country travel and in varied precipitation, it worked great. I didn't even bother with a rain cover and it kept things dry. I'd imagine that in a sustained downpour the seams would eventually start letting water through. I crossed many trees on the Yosemite hike. The possibles pouch was slung from my wait belt so it dragged across the trees w/o noticeable damage. All-in-all I really enjoyed using the pack.

For mountaineering it is a much different story. I used the stash it to secure my rock climbing helmet. The long pocket was attached to the back, center of the pack and as before, the possibles pouch was hanging from my waist belt. By the time we reached camp the stash it had a quarter sized hole worn through it, through both layers, and multiple other smaller wear areas through one or both layers. The possibles pouch had several tiny eraser or smaller sized holes started or worn through the outer layer.

On this hike in we were on trail for most of it but the last mile had us crossing a granite boulder field, actually a glacial moraine, where on occasion I'd rub against a boulder or flat out stumble and I'd bang into one. Also, all sitting and resting from the trail head to camp was done on either granite boulders or gravel and sand and there was 10 miles of this. I think everytime I set the pack down or sat down with it on there was slight rolling action of the pack. Because the helmet was keeping the stash it taut, the fabric was always rubbing, under tension, between hard plastic and sharp rock crystals. The possibles pouch, no matter how hard I tried, always ended up rubbing on whatever I set the pack on or whatever I sat upon but because it wasn't stuffed and under the weight of a full pack, the damage was much less.

I think the waist belt pocket would do better than the possibles pouch because it won't hang as low and thus not rub on the ground or sitting surface. I cannot figure a way to use the stash it in that type of terrain without it being destroyed.

Finally, we did do extensive 3rd, 4th and 5th class climbing including going up a chimney. The pack did OK with only minor scratches. I was surprised because at one point I was really rubbing it against some rock trying to get my body into position. Again, I think it came out because it was mostly empty and thus the fabric was not under tension. It's akin to the difference between cutting a slack rope and one that's held very taut.

06-06-2012, 02:42 PM
thanks for a great review.

06-06-2012, 03:02 PM

Do you mean Grab It (there is no KU Stash It, and even if there was, you'd have to have a very small head for a helmet to fit in it)? :)


06-06-2012, 03:47 PM
Yes, Grab It, not Stash It.

06-06-2012, 11:23 PM
Here are images of the Grab It and Regular Possibles Pouch. Note that the Grab It is positioned on the helmet. The first two are the possibles and the last three the grab.