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wetzel
02-26-2013, 09:39 AM
So it's been a bit since the KU line came out. Can anybody give me their impressions? How do you like it? The weight savings is very tempting but how are they for durability, comfort, usability, adaptability? I am hoping to hear the good with the bad (Everything has some bad).

sab
02-26-2013, 12:11 PM
I really like my KU5200. Comfort, usability, and adaptability is on par with expectations for Kifaru gear. Durability seems better than expected. I fully expected to have tears in the sil-nylon material after the abuse mine has seen. The only durability problem I've had had nothing to do with the sil-nylon. The stay pockets in the belt started to blow out. I sent the belt back and the good folks at Kifaru replaced them with a stronger material so that I won't have a repeat of the problem. I also rounded the ends of my aluminum stays, which I think will help, too.

I also have a KU Koala (already phased out) that I will really miss, if anything ever happens to it. It's the only piece of gear that I always bring when I hunt. It's survived hundreds of days in the field without a single problem. I strongly voiced my opinion when Kifaru decided to retire the KU Koala, but there weren't enough supporters of that item to justify keeping it in the lineup. What a shame...

Sadly, I've been hearing rumors that the entire KU line is going to be phased out. I hope not - I'm a huge fan!

Regards,
Scott

dean1662
02-26-2013, 12:16 PM
I have the Ku 3700 and absolutely love it. Way more durable than you would think. And with the upgraded ku5200 belt I have the load capacity of a larger pack. I have put 100 pounds in this pack and it handled it as good as any pack I've ever owned, including 3 other Kifaru packs and a MR crew cab. I love this pack. The thing that I just really like about it is all the adaptability you can do. You can add pods, long pockets E and E grab it cargo chairs. I really like the fact that I can take off my e and e and add a pod or long pocket to it to increase capacity. These are definitely very versatile. Now it will be interesting to see the future of the KU line to see if the high camp becomes the new KU or if they keep the original line. Well see, either way don't hesitate on the KU line. This has allowed me to get my pack weight down to the high 20s for an entire week.

wolfmen
02-26-2013, 11:36 PM
i have KU 5200 and KU koala. love both pack. durablity never is problem for me.strong enough for my camping or hiking use
and i carry koala everyday as shoulder bag.

i will not sell or trade them even i ordered new bikini bag.

just one compliant,you need a little bit of pratice and skill to pack the bag because the fabric so sag.

MojoSlim
02-27-2013, 03:32 PM
As far as KU experience, here's what I've owned/messed with:

KU 5200
KU 3700
KU E+E
KU Koala
KU Belt Pouch
KU Grab-It

I was happy to get one of the last KU Koalas ever built/sold. In philosophy, I'd like to think I'm quite Spartan, in terms of how many amenities a pack needs. The design appealed to that part of me. Just one big bag! Awesome! In practice, I almost NEVER run the KU-5200 without the KU E+E as an organizational piece. All the big stuff goes in the 5200; all the gear that needs to be accessed and readily available go into the E+E. Also, since the packs are fairly light, I find myself bringing my KU 5200, with just water bladder inside, cinching it all down, then strapping the E+E to it like the KU 5200 were a Duplex Frame (a really un-elegant version of the new Bikini Frame). It carried so comfortably that for short hikes, I found myself carrying that setup over either a KU E+E alone, or a Standard E+E (mostly due to the ease of carrying water for the day).

I haven't tested the durability of the material to failure, but I haven't really got it into the type of situations that my hunting pack has been in (G2 Mollex). However, I have not had any failure whatsoever in terms of fabric durability while bush-wacking, winter camping, or urban use. I'm pretty confident that the material will hold up when I know others who have used it while hunting (Patrick, Sawtooth?, Kevin Morlang, that dude from Alaska that always posts about his sheep hunts, etc.).

If Scott hadn't started that rumor ( :-P ) that perhaps the whole KU line was going to be discontinued, I was thinking about replacing my KU5200 (bag) with a Bikini Frame + a home made silnylon sack to attach to it. Hmmm, might need to consider keeping the 5200 now. Darn you Scott, my gear closet is plumping up! :)

My only complaint at this time is with the Belt. This is not really a complaint, as it may be due to miscommunication. With the omni belts, I am an Extra Small size. I ordered the KU belt Extra Small, but it doesn't seem to cinch down as tight as my Omni Belt. However, I bought the belt before Kifaru offered KU Belts with Power pulls (which was my main complaint originally) and so perhaps the power pulls will help me cinch it down better. Also, and its probably because I'm very skinny, the KU5200 belt does not work in conjunction with the pass through pocket on my Packlock clothes. The belt widens out too much from the front that it will not fit into the pass through pocket. I'd imagine that if I had a few extra inches on the waist, that the width where the belt is too wide for my pass through pocket would not reach as far as the pocket. I realize this might be confusing sounding for anyone who doesn't own packlock clothing, and if you don't, this should not be an issue anyway.

Hope that helps.

Take-a-knee
02-27-2013, 06:43 PM
I have a KU3700. I bought it with a KU E&E, and a planned to always run the E&E D&L'ed to the 3700. I really decided against that arrangement, and decided that KU long pockets, combined with a pair of Granite Gear UL pockets (threaded through the compression straps) would work much better for my needs. I haven't ordered the KU Longs yet. I also don't like the dock points on the lid,and plan to modify the stay pockets to dock two of the KU Pod points there. The lid is ill concieved, IMO. A ULA style roll top would be a vast improvement. I also find that where the lid cinches down to the pack to be about eight inches too low. It really gets in the way of using a grab-it. I really think the concern over the fabric not holding up is a non-issue. If you do wear a small hole in it. it is sil-nylon, and as such is incredibly easy to patch. The thing is double layered anyway.

Having said all that, the pack carries like a dream. The only pack I've ever carried that I get ZERO sore-point issues on the 2nd and 3rd days of a trip. It's a keeper.

stid2677
02-27-2013, 07:06 PM
I have a KU5200, 2 KU long pockets, KU grab-it and KU E&E and numerous other KU pieces. I have hunted with mine since they first came out and have hauled out 4 bears and 2 sheep in it. It has performed beyond my expectations. My wife will be using it this fall for her first sheep hunt. The pack is so comfortable that I choose to use it even for short day trips. I don't abuse it, but I don't baby it either and it still looks like new. I for sure feel that I have given mine a god test drive.


I would not ever dream of parting with mine. I seamed sealed mine and find it to be almost completely waterproof. It also does not soak up water and get heavy like other materials.

2011 Sheep
http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r233/stid2677/Brook%20Range%20Sheep%202011/IMGP1626.jpg/IMGP1640.jpg[/IMG]

2012 Sheep
http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r233/stid2677/Brooks%20Range%20Sheep%202012/P8110396.jpg

Sawtooth
02-28-2013, 11:39 AM
So it's been a bit since the KU line came out. Can anybody give me their impressions? How do you like it? The weight savings is very tempting but how are they for durability, comfort, usability, adaptability? I am hoping to hear the good with the bad (Everything has some bad).

I've been with the KU line since it's inception, and have a prototype KU 3700 that's been in nearly constant use for four years. I probably have the lightest weight KU 3700 in existence, since Patrick had it made without the Cordura armor on the bottom of the pack. It has been a pleasure to use for general backpacking and hunting. I've found I can live out of it for up to five days in late spring, summer, and early fall with the gear and food I normally carry. I've carried loads up to around 80 pounds in it, and it remained as comfortable as a backpack can with that much weight.

A lot of questions arise about the durability of the KU pack fabric. Even without the Cordura armor on the bottom, my pack has held up just fine and I really haven't babied it much at all. You can tear up ANY pack if you try hard. The bottom of the pack and the high-stress points were webbing meets pack fabric are the places I've watched closely. I've never had the bottom rip up or any stress points fail or tear out.

As for adaptability, I feel this pack can offer you a lot of options. I like to run a slick pack as often as I can, but with the variety of pockets, the Pod, the Grab It, the KU Koala, and the Cargo Chair, you can adapt a KU pack to a lot of different scenarios.

I have used, and will continue to use, my KU 3700 for extended backpacking and backpack hunting. My old Late Season and my Longhunter haven't seen any use for quite a while. The only thing I don't use the KU pack for is guiding day-long walk/wade fly fishing trips and day hunting for mulies. I use my G2 Spike Camp for that.

I think you'll be very satisfied with a KU pack if you're looking for the lightest weight high-end backpack available.

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k112/Sawtooth_1963/P102094821.jpg

wetzel
03-02-2013, 07:12 AM
Thanks guys for all the great replies! The pictures are great as well, I need to ask more questions on the forums to draw out more great stuff like this from you guys. It sounds like the KU fabric gets a definite thumbs up from you guys. I really appreciate your honesty of the good and bad.

chippewawarrior
03-02-2013, 06:27 PM
After carrying my KU 3700 religiously this whole season, I can honestly say...

I LOVE IT!!!

But not without some wishful thinking?

#1 I wish it had a bottom zipper for access when it's full.

#2 I wish it had a row of pals (similar to the Timberline/Legacy packs) on the sides, or tabs (similar to the High Camp) to hang pouches from. I think tabs would be ideal to save on weight?

#3 I wish it would attach to a Duplex/Bikini duplex frame as a bag (sans belt, straps & stays).

#4 I wish it had a longer carry loop.

Why mess with it you ask?

I found myself constantly grousing every time I had to dig something out of the bottom.

Also, I have not found a good way to hang anything to the current lower side pocket holders. The two bands of velcro look like they're only good for carrying the water bottle holder?

A buddy of mine has a G2 Duplex hauler, and after some testing... We could not make it work well at all. It definitely was not a good idea?

When picking it up with moderate loads, the carry loop is just too short. I have a Late Season, and it has a much longer loop...

Other then that, it is the most comfortable pack I have ever owned! Even with my wishes, I will not trade it for anything... The weight, comfort & durability trump my perceived shortcomings in the pack. After a full season, the pack is dirty. That's it! Durability has not been an issue for me. I hope Patrick and Aron continue to improve the KU's right along with the Legacy packs and the addition of the High Camp/Bikini duplex combo.

11744

wetzel
03-03-2013, 07:21 AM
So I assume most of you are using your packs as hunting day packs as well, how noisy is the fabric? Is it quiet enough for bowhunting?

chippewawarrior
03-03-2013, 06:35 PM
It is no noisier then a regular pack. To be honest... Is it bombproof? No. Would I throw it off of a roof like Aron did with his Bikini/High Camp? No. The thing is, I can accept that. I understand that the term ultralight comes with a caveat; may be fragile. In reality... The KU's are far from flimsy or frail! They can take abuse. I did not baby my pack while hunting. Although, I was careful where I set it down. Now for some context... I'm not using it like Aron, who is above timberline chasing mulies and goats on sharp rocks, or like Luke pounding through alders in Alaska. For 48 days this past fall, I bushwhacked through the Scapegoat Wilderness in Montana and the woods of Northern Wisconsin, and my pack does not have a scratch. It is dirty. For me, the weight is the great equalizer. My KU 3700 is 2 pounds lighter then a T3 with the same Kifaru comfort. I carried 60 pounds (in the woods) and 80 (during training) with no problem what-so-ever. It seems to be a mindset that many do not embrace. I'm sure I'll eventually develop a small hole or tear, but it will not affect how the pack functions. So, I guess I would say... Don't be afraid, you will not regret it.

mtluckydan
03-03-2013, 08:07 PM
I purchased a ku3700 with accessories in mid-2012 and then a spike camp later in the year. I hiked with the ku during the summer and then bow hunted for elk in Sept. The ku3700 is more quiet than the spike camp. The actual fabric is very quiet, but the cordura straps and bottom make some noise. I day hunted with both packs and would choose the ku line if noise is an issue. I really like the size of the spike camp for day hunting, but when I am trying to sneak around in thick woods for whitetails it is too noisy for me. Both packs carry very well and are certainly very high quality. I would agree with most that have posted that I would never give up my ku3700. I hope it's only a rumor that the line may go away. I have not found the fact that the pack is one large bag to be an issue. You can certainly address the issue with accessory bags. However, I found most of the time when I used it as a day pack I didn't use any accessories other than the belt pouch which is very useful. I packed some very large loads, both on multiple day trips and packing meat, and the pack carries very nicely. I am glad to have both types of packs to choose from, but my first choice would be the ku. Good luck.

jsmith
03-31-2013, 11:57 AM
I'd really like to see a KU bag designed for the bikini frame, as an alternative to the Highcamp. Similarly, with top & bottom access. The extensive series of UL options for the KU could also benefit that set up. By my math, the Highcamp with bikini frame and four pockets is within an ounce or two of the weight of the DT1 with bikini frame. A KU bag on a bikini frame could be about two pounds lighter. And if it tore, the bag could be replaced while retaining the frame. Worries about durability lessened.

Take-a-knee
03-31-2013, 12:53 PM
I'd really like to see a KU bag designed for the bikini frame, as an alternative to the Highcamp. Similarly, with top & bottom access. The extensive series of UL options for the KU could also benefit that set up. By my math, the Highcamp with bikini frame and four pockets is within an ounce or two of the weight of the DT1 with bikini frame. A KU bag on a bikini frame could be about two pounds lighter. And if it tore, the bag could be replaced while retaining the frame. Worries about durability lessened.

Hill People Gear has had this available for over a year now. It fits any Kifaru frame. It is designed to be used with a compression system and a backpouch. They are awaiting release of a "pocket" version of their Tarahumara Pack that is strapless and will weigh 6oz.

MojoSlim
03-31-2013, 01:39 PM
Hill People Gear has had this available for over a year now. It fits any Kifaru frame. It is designed to be used with a compression system and a backpouch. They are awaiting release of a "pocket" version of their Tarahumara Pack that is strapless and will weigh 6oz.

Are you talking about HPG's "Pack Bags?" Those actually look pretty slick. But, I believe their largest Sil bag, the S25, is app. 2500ci? I'd be interested in larger options.

Take-a-knee
03-31-2013, 04:25 PM
Are you talking about HPG's "Pack Bags?" Those actually look pretty slick. But, I believe their largest Sil bag, the S25, is app. 2500ci? I'd be interested in larger options.

That bag will hold WAY more than 2500ci. The Hill's are maybe a tad too conservative in their estimations. I'd say that bag plus the Tara pocket will hold at least as much as a KU 3700, and I believe a lot more. Add a KU Pod on top, and a pair of Granite Gear pockets on the sides and you'd have a SLICK, lightweight setup, that would be very modular. Add a couple of Hefty compactor liners, one for daily use and another for hauling meat, if that is required. If you planned to do any stream cooling with the meat you'd need a drybag to put the meat in, I think.