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Thread: Substitute for KU packs

  1. #1

    Default Substitute for KU packs

    Hey all,

    I'm in the market for a new Light pack for backpacking...to be used from anything from 2 day hikes to 5-6 multi-day backpacking trips. I would love a KU pack, but they hard to find and often expensive used. So, I'm looking at alternatives that may work just as well or perhaps better. Would love feedback on the following:

    -Purchase Bikini frame and have custom pack bag made for it(like from Zimmerbuilt)...I'm wondering, is the Bikini belt and shoulder straps same as KU setup?? I haven't seen a Bikini frame in person...

    -ULA Catalyst. Suspension system might not be as robust as Kifaru. Great price point. Perfect size for me. Nice having bottle pockets, mesh pocket, belt pockets, etc included. Is 40lbs comfortably realistic?

    -Seek Outside Evolution. Light weight, claims to haul weight very well. Versatile. Same price range as Kifaru gear. Relatively little known about them.

    -Other options in the 3-3.5lb range that can carry a 40lb load well??

    f.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Substitute for KU packs

    Stone glacier Sky.. don't keep looking
    . Just buy it and b done!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Colorado
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    1,283

    Default Re: Substitute for KU packs

    Mountainsmith also has a new "light" series that sounds like you would like. I love my KU 5200 and I am really upset with myself that I sold my KU 3700.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Kathleen GA
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    Default Re: Substitute for KU packs

    You cannot beat the ULA Catalyst for a hiking pack. Mine only left my house because my daughter now has it, as she outgrew her pack. I decided to keep my KU for a hiking pack since I already had it. The KU will carry 60-70 pounds comfortably, the ULA Catalyst will not, I've had 40+ in a Catalyst a few times and the framesheet would start to roll/yield under the load, no harm done except a bit of load transfer to my shoulders. Installing KU CF/lam stays in a ULA Epic is another option, a lighter weight Bikini of sorts, not as robust, but somewhere between the Catalyst and the Bikini in load-carrying ability. If I could have KU stays in a ULA Catalyst, I'd rather have it than my KU for just about any use. The mesh pockets might be a liability in certain environs but they are light and functional. The layout/design of the ULA packbag and pockets is that good. There is a reason that more long-trail hikers use a ULA Catalyst or Circuit than any other.
    Last edited by Take-a-knee; 11-14-2014 at 09:51 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Substitute for KU packs

    Thanks guys for the comments!

    I had never seen the Stone Glacier, looks like a very nice pack!

    Take-a-knee, wondering if you've seen the Paradox Evolution or Stone Glacier Sky in person? Thoughts compared to ULA or KU? A local outfitter actually carries the ULA line locally here in Portland, so I'm headed down there this afternoon to check them out.

    The other pack that caught my eye is the Granite Gear Trace Nimbus Access...REI carries them and with the 20% off coupon, makes it a very reasonable offering. I may order one just to check it out...

    f.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Kathleen GA
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    2,756

    Default Re: Substitute for KU packs

    Never seen a Stone Glacier but I tested a prototype Paradox. I did not care for the wrap-around belt. The U-shaped frame continually bumped my butt, literally. I hated it. It carried a load just like the old GI internal frame that also had a wrap around belt (that always disappeared into space on jumps), IE, it sucked. People who are sorely lacking glute development seem to like it, strangely. I had a Granite Gear simply fall apart, luckily I bought it at REI.

    Edit: The best pack waistbelts will look something like a Kifaru, IMO. Hill People Gear's for example. HPG's design that allows different lumbar and hip pads is great, but a regular Kifaru belt works for me.
    Last edited by Take-a-knee; 11-14-2014 at 01:55 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Colorado
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    Default Re: Substitute for KU packs

    The old GI internal frame, I hated that thing....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Kathleen GA
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    Default Re: Substitute for KU packs

    Quote Originally Posted by widowshooter View Post
    The old GI internal frame, I hated that thing....
    CFP-90? They bought the rights from the Lowe brothers, and, in the Army's inimitable own way, turned it into an abortion.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Colorado
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    Default Re: Substitute for KU packs

    That's the one. It looks like it'd be nice, especially compared to an ALICE pack, then you put it on and add weight and wonder what you did to deserve that sort of punishment.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: Substitute for KU packs

    I don't own a paradox but have read all the reviews I could find about them and the response has been overwhelmingly positive (about a dozen of them). That said, it might (like any pack) not be right for everyone. The nature of the belt indicates it may be suited to the slimmer end of the spectrum of people since it is a hanging belt design. That doesn't mean it won't work for others. I am intrigued by them but, again, don't own one.

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