I went Stone Glacier because they are based in Montana and I like most everything about it after maybe 5 elk packed out so far. Exo look pretty well thought out and I would like to try one someday. I would not consider Kirfaru.
I just got a Stone glacier Sky 5900 and I'm impressed. I just ordered that outside bag that attaches over the beavertail zipper (forgot what they call it, sorry) and I ordered 2 large accessory containers that get put on the belt. Yeah, they don't cheap, but hey are American made!! Made in Bozeman. It's the reason I only buy Leupold scopes. PUT AN AMERICAN TO WORK. As I was narrowing my choices, I called SG and a guy I believe named Ryan helped me. He's featured in one of the Spring bear videos. Super nice guy. I'm taking this setup up to Penna for the 2 weeks of deer season starting Sat. It's pretty sturdy. You do have to watch their videos on Youtube to see how everything works. It can get complicated. I basically bought it for it's meeting hauling capabilities, American Made, excellent reputation.I hated this. I guess it depends how far from truck you are hunting. I have the EXO 4800 and have been pleased. The minor (1-2lbs) increase in weight over my “day hunting” pack is 100% worth it. I have one pack, all my essentials are always there, no switching between packs etc. and on the rare instance I kill something here in Montana the first trip out is not wasted as @Talk2elk mentioned above.
Also as mentioned they are made in USA and great customer service. If you want a pack that can haul meat the three I would look at would be EXO, Stone Glacier and Mystery Ranch. All quality and made in US. Idk about Kuiu, I was not impressed with Seek, their frame is composite or aluminum? neither of which is costly but they command same price point as others - the one I saw was just a large duffel. EXO uses titanium, Mystery Ranch and Stone Glacier use carbon fiber.
I will second this. I borrowed a friend's Metcalf to pack out my sons elk this year, because I couldn't get the horses I planned to use, and I will be getting a Metcalf before next season. The amount of meat and gear you can load it up with is amazing. Plus it is the most comfortable pack I have ever put on my back.Heres my mystery ranch Metcalf with a full rear quarter and euro'ed head. This was yesterday and packed out 3 miles. Full elk in 4 trips. Ive hauled out many deer/pronghorn/bear/elk with it and I wouldnt buy another pack.