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View Full Version : First real KU3700 Use



jhelton
08-31-2012, 12:38 PM
I know Kifaru is geared more to hunting but I purchased a KU3700 a few months ago as an UL backpack for an Appalachian Trail thru hike next year. This August I finally got out on a 10 day backpacking trip with the pack in the high country above Yosemite to get use to it and to give it a bit of a test. I thought I would post a few thoughts.

Configuration:
The pack was configured with and an E&E, one Long Pocket (side zip), one Pod (large), one Belt Pouch and 2 KU Bottle Pouches. A couple of KU Possibles Pouches were also used to organize some loose gear. The pack contained long stays and an upgraded waist belt (KU5200). I also used a KU Koala with the lift kit and I loved it. (I wish I had known they were going to discontinue the product as I would have purchased a second.) Pack weight was about 35 lbs with water and several days food and maybe 4 lbs in the Koala.

What did I think?
I Love this pack!! So did my hiking partner who has decided to get rid of his old Dana Designs external frame pack.

This pack is the most comfortable pack I have ever used. I could hike all day without removing the pack it was that comfortable.

The weight stayed on my hips and it felt a part of me no matter the terrain. In places where balance was especially needed the pack always felt secure. It was a part of my body.

The external attachments made organizing gear easy and they never felt a removable part of the system.

Did I say I loved this pack

Concerns:
Though this is the best pack I have ever had as with any technical gear there are a couple of concerns.

Though I am very careful of my gear durability of the material had been a concern to me due to the possible every day use of the pack for up to 5 months. After scrambling across large spans of granite, rocky and scree filled trails, the pack came through with only a few abrasions on the outside of the pack. These occurred after a couple of non graceful slips which caused the pack contact with the ground on non cordura areas. They are barely noticeable and I think the outside, with careful use, will hold up fine to long distance hiking.

I do have one more serious abrasion or fraying on the inside of the pack which concerns me a little. I am not sure how it occurred. It is located along the inside edge of where the stay runs inside the water bladder pouch about 2 inches from the top of the water bladder pouch. There was nothing in the water bladder pouch except my 3L Camelbak bladder. Not sure how it occurred but if anybody has an idea on repairs (put seam seal over the abrasion or the like) please let me know. Outside of these two areas the pack is perfect.

I have one more question regarding cleaning the pack. After 10 days of long verticals and warm days, I would like to clean the pack. More so for the belt and the shoulder straps than the actual pack material. What do you guys recommend?

One last question. I won't be carrying a rifle on the AT but I will have 2 hiking staffs. At times it is convenient to stash the hiking staffs so the hands are free. I tried securing them to the side of the pack under the compression straps with the spike edge of the staff above the top of the pack but I am not sure I like this arrangement. I could place them on top, under the top lid but even compressed the staffs are a little long making the top a little wide. The E&E is on the back in the middle attachment area and the long pocket is secured to a side attachment point. The other side holds a water bottle pouch. Any ideas are appreciated.

All in all the pack is great. The KU3700 is a perfect size for non winter backpacking. It is light and sturdy for general backpacking and fulfills all the promises of Kifaru. Another VERY satisfied customer.:D

Take-a-knee
08-31-2012, 01:15 PM
I had similar issues with my KU3700. The suspension is awesome, waistbelt is without peer. I share your concerns with the silnylon's durability, but remember small holes are easily patched with an alcohol prep pad, silicone, and a patch. I believe fixing it is similar to a chipped windshield, you'd best catch it before it grows. The patch will be stronger than the original fabric, I think. It is a PILE of money to tie up in something that is made from such a light fabric, I agree.

No wand/side pockets are another problem, as you've noticed. I'm guessing they didn't include them due to the thin fabric. I had a problem trying to secure a plastic fishing rod case. The sil is so slick everything slides on it. I carried it under the top flap and it still fell out a couple of times. You could use one of the bottle pockets to stow your poles point up. With the bottle pockets positioned on the side of the pack, you can't reach them anyway so you may as well put something else in it.

So, time will tell about the 3700. I contacted Mel when rumors of this pack hit the net. I told him they needed to put Kifaru suspension on a clone of a ULA Catalyst, and I stand by that statement. The hipbelt on the KU rocks, but living out of the KU is a pain compared to the ULA. D&L'ing an E&E on the back doesn't provide the same convenience as the ULA's mesh pocket, and when the load gets light it flops like a fish, as the items I choose to carry in the E&E remain constant. And the side pockets on the KU? Of course the KU doesn't have any, which would have solved my fishing pole and your trekking pole issue. Like I said, the attachment and location of the KU bottle holsters is poorly executed, IMO.

Good luck on your AT hike. You will see dozens of green ULA packs on the AT, but you'll likely have the only KU3700.

jhelton
08-31-2012, 07:14 PM
Thanks for the reply and tip.

Duh! I guess I was to close to the problem regarding the poles. Or, it could have been the vertical climbs and lack of oxygen to the brain. :) I didn't even think to use the bottle pouch as a base. I could have because I had one on the hip belt with a gatorade bottle I used for hydration fluid. The second bottle pouch I left the on the side attachment point where I kept my steripen and its pre filter together for quick access. I could have moved the steripen and prefilter to the E&E with no problem and used it and the compression straps to secure the poles. Next Time! :)

As far as the patch you are speaking of I assume you are talking about a patch such as a neo-air sleeping pad patch or a silnylon patch for a tent. That would probably work. I might add some 50mph tape over it after it dries just to be safe from any friction on the material.

Never had a ULA but as far as living out of the KU3700 I found it much better than my old army ruck, my Z55 or my Palisade 80. The external storage allowed me to organize things pretty well. The E&E worked well holding foul weather items, gloves and the like, almost like a bug out bag. The long pocket held my stove (MSR MicroRocket), cook kit, can of fuel, 6 Liter Dromedary bag for camp and even a Thermarest inflatable seat. I could have put the large pod on the side but I had room in the main compartment, even with food, to store it. The large pod held my tent (more than big enough) and since there was room in the main compartment it was easy to roll it up and stuff it inside. I think a medium pod will be a better fit for the tent. For size comparison the tent was a two person Hilleberg Rogen. I slid the tent/peg pouch down along the inside between my Seal Line ILBE dry bag where I kept my spare clothes, sleeping clothes, down quilt and the rolled up Neo-air down the other side. It all worked pretty well. and was pretty organized. I really liked the pack system.

Thanks again for the reply and the patch tip.

kotaman
09-02-2012, 08:23 PM
After owning a KU 3700 since they came out, I too gave mine it's first "real" workout this past week on a BC Mountain Goat Hunt. I had used the pack for training runs for several months prior to this hunt so there wouldn't be any surprises.

My hunting pack weight was 42 lbs. with my bow attached. Two side/long pockets a large pod (sleeping bag) and a Grab It were the only real accessories aside from a lash kit.

The pack performed flawlessly. Takes awhile to get used to the organization technique involved when using a pack with no pockets. I basically had all my gear stored in pouches inside the pack.

The pack out of goat country was pushing 75 lbs. and for me this is about a max for this pack without the upgraded waist belt and shoulder straps. Pretty much agree with your assement on the pack being the most comfortable pack I've ever worn. Your concerns for durability are also valid as mine has a mark in the sil where the bow rubbed while being carried with the Grab It.

Overall, I was very happy with the pack. So happy I've also ordered one of the new Legacy series day packs and a Timberline T2. Kifaru is now my pack of choice. I've sold everything else...