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View Full Version : I am a backcountry hunter, but I backpack all year round.



Jauwater
04-10-2016, 04:09 PM
Would a tactical pack like the Xing be more ideal for a backpacker who hikes all year round, and back country hunt typically only during bear, and whitetail seasons? I'm intrigued by the platform/suspension frame packs due to the versatility of them. Although I feel like it'd be a overkill for what I'd be using it for. Are the omni packs just as comfortable as the platform/suspension frame packs? I mean you end up spending just as much either way. I'd just hate to order an Omni pack, and end up regretting it if its less of a pack then a platform/suspension frame w/ pack. I've never used detachable type frame pack. Are they more comfortable? Do they carry the weight differently? I'm not sure this is making any sense, but if anyone has a response I'm happy to hear it :-)

Jauwater
04-10-2016, 06:14 PM
Ok, so I just watched a Gritty Bowman podcast where Aron introduced two packs. Well, I'll take the 2nd.

robcollins
04-10-2016, 07:19 PM
Ok, so I just watched a Gritty Bowman podcast where Aron introduced two packs. Well, I'll take the 2nd.

The Duplex packs can carry a LOT more comfortably, and once you have the frame, you can run different bags on it. I've got a 26" Duplex that I can carry a 65 liter dry bag on, or, just about anything else, with a cargo panel. ALICE pack bags even work, but, they don't compress well unless you add horizontal compression. If you're looking at a Xing, look at the 22 mag for the equivalent to mount on a Duplex...

widowshooter
04-10-2016, 08:30 PM
I've had a couple of duplex frames and several bikini frames. They are all nice, comfortable and carry loads well. Recently, I've sold all of them and purchased a simpler timberline 2 pack that's all one piece. That's how I like my packs. With the duplex frames you have a lot of options, which is great, but I found that I was spending more on gear instead of actually going on hunts or backpacking. This the sale of everything and going to what I consider a do it all bag for me.

robcollins
04-10-2016, 09:35 PM
Widowshooter is a Zen Master, and I think I've moved towards a similar pack, with the same thoughts, but still see a lot of reason to keep the Duplex.

I bought a ZXR recently. Comfortable so far, similar suspension to the T2. I really dig the XTL (lid) and will also use it with my Duplex. The only times I'v really maxed out the duplex is carrying all of my kids' junk, which I'd like to cut back on. I'd rather increase my meat hauling.

For backpacking for me not hauling the kid junk, the ZXR's 3,800 ci capacity plus the 600ci of the XTL is plenty of room. If I want to get crazy, I can use long pockets or a pod, but, I'd rather strive to not go there. Better sport would be to put it in Widowshooter's pack, anyway...

widowshooter
04-11-2016, 04:58 AM
A guy really can't go wrong with any of the packs that Kifaru makes. There's a pretty good deal in the trading post for a Siwash, which should fit your needs pretty well. As a panel loader it provides some great options that having a top loading only bag simply won't.

Frame or not, it's hard to beat Kifarus suspension systems. Having a duplex will definitely open up your options.

Just remember that it's harder to make a smaller bag bigger than it is to compress a larger bag.

Gobbler
04-11-2016, 07:18 AM
I'm relatively new to their packs as well and the biggest but best first leap one needs to take is understanding there is good liquidity in Kifaru gear so you can stop thinking about buying the perfect pack and just buy a pack, try it, and either you'll like it or you'll swap out it for another. The only "problem" with it is you'll find you like them all.

To your initial question, both style suspensions are very comfortable. And I second the advice mentioned above - most of the bigger bags compress really well around any size load therefore give you more versatility.

robcollins
04-11-2016, 08:41 AM
[This] The only "problem" with it is you'll find you like them all.

[and This] most of the bigger bags compress really well around any size load therefore give you more versatility.

Both well said, Gobbler. Suspension, compression, versatility. Design tenets. These guys just design and build the best stuff out there, bar none.

And what Justin said about making a smaller bag bigger being harder than compressing a larger bag was one of my first Kifaru lessons, and a tough one to let go. Here's a self deprecating reminder to myself of that point, my first Kifaru, a Multicam G1 X-Ray. Great pack, not well packed here. (but once in, and stripped down to day trip loads, fabulous pack for tree stand hunting, day fishing, and even multiday backpacking if I kept loaded weight 40 lbs or less, I just have scope creep, as the pic documents)

Doing it "wrong"
http://i1107.photobucket.com/albums/h395/robcollins43/Bikes%20Backpacks/overstuffedXray-1.jpg (http://s1107.photobucket.com/user/robcollins43/media/Bikes%20Backpacks/overstuffedXray-1.jpg.html)

It's better to have weight inside than in uncompressed pockets on the outside, and if your loads can exceed 50 lbs, (some may argue with me on this) don't start with an Omni Pack. (disclaimer: I have 3 Omnis, but I've been using them now for 6+ years, and have hoarded Mountainsmith since ~1991, while my objectivity is questionable, I've dabbled with Eberlestock and a few others in between. Love Kifaru. Love their stuff. Love the folks who make them and test them, and love the folks who use them. Jauwater, let us know which direction you're leading, and the parameters of your loads/uses and we can share our perceived pros/cons.


Here's what I've used and a quickie on each:
Omni suspension: Tailgunner 1, Tailgunner 2, Scout, X-Ray, Molle Express (no longer have the TG2 or the X-Ray, have 2 TG1s, one for my son)
WrapTech: ZXR (digging this pack so far, it's been discontinued for a while, but the suspension is really comfortable, and the in between size and the XTL may make this my most carried for multi-day hunting and meat hauling)
Duplex: G1 Duplex with Cargo Panel. This is the heavy hauler. It will carry more, comfortably, than my legs can carry. With an XTL or Guide lid & a Cargo panel and meat bags & a camp bag or other bag, I think this is the most versatile thing out there. This is great for going in light with hopes of coming out HEAVY. I think the newer versions have gotten better, and lighter.

Jauwater
04-11-2016, 06:55 PM
Wow, great responses guys, this has really helped me out. I have always been worried about purchasing to big of a bag, but it does make perfect sense having a larger bag, and compressing it down when not using it to full capacity. I appreciate everyone taking their time to help my decision. Rob my main use of the pack would be for 3-5 day outings. Between 30-50 pounds. I don't think I've ever carried much for then 50lbs even with my bow attached. Mainly backpacking, but I typically spend at least 2-3 weeks out of the year back country hunting. I personally couldn't carry much more then 50 pounds comfortably. Bout 5'8" tall, 155 pounds. Mainly bow hunt, so it'd be more important to me that it carried my bow more comfortably then a rifle. I've never spent more then a couple hundred on a pack. Right now I'm using a Slumberjack pack, carbine 2500. Have a badlands, and high sierra I don't use any more. All of the hurt my shoulders after bout 14 miles.

widowshooter
04-11-2016, 07:07 PM
I'll say this, you get what you pay for. Not just in comfort, but also in craftsmanship. The T2 is about all I need for my excursions, both hunting and back camping. 5200" is a lot of space, at least to me.

worx53
04-11-2016, 07:13 PM
I have been through a pile of packs too and here's my take. I use an external frame pack a little back east but use 3000 c.i. pack all the time. The new duplex ultralight is awesome but to get smaller I considered a 22" frame & 22 mag plus a couple pockets to quickly add more storage if needed. If you go less c.i. you will need more space on a lot of occasions. After more contemplating I think a Xing or that new pack Jauwater mentioned in the Gritty video with 2 small belt pouches and a large and med belt pouch for the back if needed is a great rig. Also check out Aron's video of the Xing he uses for a camera bag. Some other things to consider....pockets / sleeves and sleeve depth. I like all my gear inside the bag/ sleeves as much as possible...its thick nasty crap I find the critters in usually. I like my tripod, trek poles, etc down inside so its not grabbed by everything I walk by. Lots of packs ( see those pics above) leave a bunch of stuff exposed too much.

Jauwater
04-11-2016, 07:26 PM
I am also considering the ultralight platform w/ 22" frame, although I see in the product questionnaire they recommend a 24" frame for people closely similar to my size. I loved the nomad when I first seen it, but was eyeing the tahr if I went that route.

mukbowhntr
04-12-2016, 08:13 AM
I have a dt3 on a 24" frame for summer trips. It is plenty of room for any summer trip I can dream up.


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mfolch
04-12-2016, 10:51 AM
I find the frame packs too cumbersome for whitetail hunting. They carry weight amazingly, but when you're walking through dense woods or stalking, etc. such a big frame is overkill and it gets in the way. I have an Express, which I use for the kind of hunting and hiking you mentioned; and I have a bt1 to pack in and out the gear needed for longer, spike camp hunts (and I'm thinking of replacing the bt1 with a lighter pack from Stone Glacier).

If I had it to do again, I would have upgraded to a Late Season--a buddy of mine has one and it seems perfect; he uses it all of the time for shorter hiking trips and whitetail hunting. The only other issue I have with the omni suspension is that over 30lbs the pack starts to sag and put all the weight on the shoulders. But I have a g1 Express--the stays on the g2 and Late Season are longer, and I think the newest version on the gritty bowman video addresses that issue.

razorsharp
04-12-2016, 08:25 PM
Yea, for whitetail hunting, where you are like a mile or less from the car, I'd leave the duplex frame and put on a quiet day pack. Other than that I want my frame with me.
I love, and I seemed to be the only one, to use the cargo chair/platform thing as a chair. It really saves my back over the several days when sitting and glassing and then later in camp where I would be otherwise leaning against a stump or whatever. And the frame and platform are great for training loads.

My Apollo system came today and I can't imagine how its not going to be perfect for me. Just enough bag space for everything I'll need for any long day without having to compress a larger bag. The meat shelf will allow for any additional gear to be carried along.

lineman78
04-12-2016, 09:00 PM
I am also considering the ultralight platform w/ 22" frame, although I see in the product questionnaire they recommend a 24" frame for people closely similar to my size. I loved the nomad when I first seen it, but was eyeing the tahr if I went that route.

This all depends on how much lift you want and how tall you are. The 22" frame was designed for light weight day packs, so you shouldn't expect to be able to put 80lbs in it and be as comfortable as with a 24/26" frame. If you plan to run it with 30lbs or less than a 22" frame may be acceptable.

lineman78
04-12-2016, 09:10 PM
If you plan on keeping it under 50lbs than you should find the internal frame packs more than acceptable and I would seriously consider widowshooter's solution of a T2. I personally regularly carry 70lbs and have an EMR2 and 22Mag for my 26" frame. I may try out the AMR to replace the EMR2 but that will be a personal preference choice. The compressability of the larger packs is great, so I wouldn't hesitate to go with such a system. I love my 22Mag as a day hunting pack and will add a medium pod and large side pocket if I want to add some volume for an overnight trip. Another option is a Mountain Rambler which would make a good day pack and you could add a dry bag in the sling for extended trips. Here are some pictures of my EMR2 with a 40lb weight bag in it and my 22Mag on my 26" frame:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/6so1PR3iwCxb4v3-w4m9wrprN-H2FTI_6u-LIdg3Q5FmOatAdzxqnGYqqpAw45W0v19_KJC1AfzFVQ=w764-h979-no
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/sbYZcWcqF1yMwglc3rnKxDYjFTGn8n_0Ll0a40URBzJ_Fi6pjb vL8TY_b-7AoeNbYEY5UA1SI0okqA=w620-h980-no
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/OMq5-8125IMoMDemIO0NJrrW3xmw-X4VT-Qztq2021V7CBNRwGJeNkgTEl-osyE-8jI76fb3NjyqgQ=w683-h980-no

widowshooter
04-12-2016, 09:37 PM
I carried my T2 for the first time tonight with 45lbs for five miles. That wrap tech suspension is quite comfy. Not quite a duplex, not quite a bikini. Sort of the best of both worlds. I feel like I can easily do any outdoor pursuit with this thing.

Jauwater
04-13-2016, 06:48 PM
Man, I really like the 22MAG. I dunno if this made the decision more or less difficult :-) Guess I just gotta pull the trigger, maybe wait a month....... Appreciate all the response.

oldhorse
04-17-2016, 09:04 PM
Lineman 78, have carried your 22mag with gear or meat compressed between the pack and the frame?

lineman78
04-17-2016, 10:43 PM
Lineman 78, have carried your 22mag with gear or meat compressed between the pack and the frame?

Not yet, but I'll do it with a sand bag and post pictures once the snow melts.

oldhorse
04-18-2016, 05:53 AM
Thanks! I'm seriously considering a 22mag, but I would like to see how it would measure ou to my Exo 3500 load hauling

wasatchcom
04-21-2016, 10:58 AM
i recently purchased the 22mag with the 24 duplex
i have been hauling 40lbs in it for training hikes, i have put the weight in the mag itself and between the mag like the meat shelf option
both carries the weight great
i am super impressed with this bag
i bought some medium and small pockets, with the mag and the pockets i have more room than i need
with the option of loading weight in between the bag and frame too it makes this so versatile
i really like the 22 mag
i bought the grab it and 55L OR dry bag as well for hauling options as well...

oldhorse
04-21-2016, 09:30 PM
i recently purchased the 22mag with the 24 duplex
i have been hauling 40lbs in it for training hikes, i have put the weight in the mag itself and between the mag like the meat shelf option
both carries the weight great
i am super impressed with this bag
i bought some medium and small pockets, with the mag and the pockets i have more room than i need
with the option of loading weight in between the bag and frame too it makes this so versatile
i really like the 22 mag
i bought the grab it and 55L OR dry bag as well for hauling options as well...

Thanks! Very helpful information

lineman78
05-04-2016, 11:25 PM
Thanks! I'm seriously considering a 22mag, but I would like to see how it would measure ou to my Exo 3500 load hauling

Just did a little under 4 miles tonight with 70lbs, 40 of which was between the frame, 25 inside the bag and 5lbs bag+frame. This time I used the discontinued shelf kit with the G-hook compression straps. With 25lbs in the bag itself there was significant sagging, but it wasn't really noticeable on my back as I was able to do some running on the downhill. I plan on giving it another go on Friday using a Grab-it and see if it helps with the sagging issue. I will post pictures when done.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/2I-9TjfRI4DBkLFnDclvn2RLB3QZoLPtnzJeHsAMLXxh5L9eVF4Am nr8maSe31N9QAsVLVXmwfvPTw=w427-h857-no
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/VJpyt0_aZO-yQcUXw71_TEAnoGKVENOzAAIlYrOkq9qBQLx7F8NvsDipJVB3g KDzli7lCnKC-ZwMjw=w1215-h783-no
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/4KZpNFrwTjeROWLllKk5TadcfdNWkkZkU_ungGt5oX_eBWbKfM p4x8PgK1ASiBV1JJR4r02NeM3M9Q=w885-h826-no
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/ER1jU1n7LmX3yr4wzaT13P4PppkK8vQiRv7T8O4m6hoyUuCM5k I0vG_NV_MqoaxWUAlbVYpjk0bzKA=w1105-h979-no