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I have the REI Wonderland external frame. While it does get the job done I feel it is far from the best available. Next time I'll probably go with an internal from. If I remember correctly Greehorn likes the Gregory packs. But if I had my druthers (and the money) my next pack will be a Kifaru Longhunter with cargo chair and gunbearer. I think it combines the best attributes of the internal and external. The only complaint I've ever ran across on them is the weight as their a bit heavier than others. You can check them out here: Kifaru
I've got the Cabelas Alaskan Outfitter. Its very simular to DS's. It's got lots of room and also the shelf has a blaze orange pull out cover to go over your animal/horns.. so you don't get your ass shot by some dipshit who sees horns..It's a great pack and I would highly reccomend it..You might also check out the bul pak..I've heard good stuff about them too.
Hell, I bought all of mine at a yard sale. I am currently down to 4 because I sold 2 at yard sales. All together they put me out about $35 for all 6 and got $40 back from the two I sold. I like them all for different reasons. One has lots of little pockets, 1 good size pouch and one big pouch. One has a drop down bar on it that is nice for setting a quarter on. One is nothing but a huge bag, almost like a stuff bag or gunny sack and is orange. An elk quarter slides into it real nice. The other one is just the frame because I took the pack off. Use this as a backup. I haven't needed one since I got the horse, but hang onto them and take them just in case I need them again. All are comfortable to wear and use.
I started backpacking in 1960 with a wood pack frame and a canvas pack.
I've used every type of pack on the market on a couple hundred backpack trips over the last 42 years.
Cabelas Akaska Pack Frames are not the best choice. Their foundation is a Camp Trails Freighter Frame, which is junk. Mine broke the first time I used it to hawl out a hind quarter.
I have used a North Face Back Shadow since 1985. Best expedition backpack I've seen but they are no longer in production. Too expensive.
You measure a backpack by the quality of its' suspension system. That's the hip belt and shoulder straps and the way they are attached to and interface with the pack.
Gregory currently offers the best suspension system on the market. I like the Gregory Shasta because it doesn't have many useless whistles and bells and it has a tall frame, which can be adjusted to fit people with shorter torsoes.
Used packs don't exist here Elkhunter.
I'm gonna check these new sites out, I really never thought of anywhere but cabelas as this seems pretty specialized.
I hate to post and run but I got the chance to hit the woods in the AM if I finish some work tonight some I'm wide a$$ open trying to get some contracts in order before 9am
The rut is full on here in Alabama and I've got a SMOKIN HOT bowstand that the wind is finally right for
I have a Bulpac and really like it. Plenty of support and I don't think I could break it if I wanted to. It comes just as a frame, but you can order packs to attach to the frame. I wanted a pack with a little more room than what was offered, so I bought just a pack from Cabelas and was able to get it to fit without too many problems. The frame has some nice lashing points to tie the meat to the frame.
I would really start going to every sporting/hunting goods store in the region and trying all the packs for fit and comfort, making sure they look to be put together very well also...Maybe even put some weights in them and tramp around the store abit, to see what the weight feels like.There are hundreds to choose from, and they all fit some one comfortably (whether it be the pocket book or physically). So, before you choose some thing that could run you a couple few hundred bucks, I would make sure that it is a very good fit first...
JB, I'm positive there are much better packs than the Alaskan, but I do respectfullt disagree with KC that they are junk. I lived with mine on my back for 10 days on my Sheep hunt this year and was quite comfortable. I have packed out Sheep, elk and deer with it, and it has served me well, but like with most equipment, you can certainly do better if you want to.
KC...just curious .....if you have used the Back Shadow since 1985....how is it you were able to bust the "junk" Cabela's Alaskan pack?...must have either been pre-1985 or you decided to go low grade and buy one of the new model Alaskans just to see what it was like to tear one up.
Mine has seen a lot of use and still looks new. As far as I can tell, it is still as sturdy as the day I bought it about 7 years ago. I like the material it's made of....the blood washes out easily.
I'm sure you can do a lot better JB, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to you based on the service mine has given me.
A lot of people have had great experiences with the Alaskans, but evidently me and KC aren't two of them.
ALso check out REI.com they have a ton of packs, but go to www.badlands.com and check out their packs. Lifetime unconditional guarantee and the suspension is awesome, I think even KC would agree if he tried one. They make a big backpacker with 4500 cubic inches, but its a 450 dollar pack. I'll buy one some day, but not yet. As for now, I can probably go out for at least 5 nights with my 2800, weighing no more than 30 pounds without water.
I have the Cabelas Alaskan 2 and haven't had the chance to use it yet. It's an external frame but is kinda heavy. However there is tons of pockets to keep your goodies in. Will see how it does after deer hunting here this year.