Looking for advice on new pack

jerm8352

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Jul 24, 2013
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193
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Pinedale Wy
I am in the market for a new hunting pack. The bookbag I bought at Walmart just isn't cutting it anymore and after hauling out elk quarters by slinging the game bags over my shoulder for miles this season, I want to upgrade. I almost exclusively day hunt, so I am not looking for something to live out of. I just want something to help make packing out elk easier. I am currently looking at the Eberlestock x2 and the Hornhunter Mainbeam. They both have excellent reviews but the Hornhunter is about $40 cheaper. Anyone with any experience with these bags or other suggestions? I am looking to stay in the $150 or so price range. The Hornhunter is about $150 on Amazon and the Eberlestock is around $190. Thanks for any help,

Jeremy
 

VAspeedgoat

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Sep 4, 2014
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Timberville, VA
I have a horn hunter full curl system and love it. I have seen the mainbeam and think it is an excellent pack too. I don't think you will be disappointed. I have read that shorter guys say the torso length is a bit too long but I am 5 10, and it does fine for me.
 

glass eye

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Sep 3, 2012
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El Centro, CA
I have and use several different packs depending on terrain and game.
I like to go in empty prepared to come out full and heavy. I have hunted with so many that go in with fanny packs or book bags and then have no way of carrying out their game.
Whatever pack I hunt with I always have in my truck a vintage Jansport D2 for the 2nd haul of meat.

Camelbak BFM

USMC ILBE
 

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roadhunter

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Jul 28, 2013
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Watch craigs list, ebay, etc.. Every year I see nice packs sell for nothing because a new model came out and the owner bought the latest and greatest pack available and has no use for the old one. $300+ dollar packs can be had for less than $100.
 

JLS

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Do you need a camo pack? You can pick up a really nice Osprey in the price range you're looking at. Look for used packs.

I am not a fan of Eberlestocks at all. My hunting buddy packed out a deer in his X2 and hated life the whole time. No experience with the other brand.
 

Bambistew

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Chugiak, AK
Do you need a camo pack? You can pick up a really nice Osprey in the price range you're looking at. Look for used packs.

Agreed. There are many great packs out there that don't have camo on them, most will carry heavy loads much better as well. Osprey makes solid packs.

What ever pack you decide to go with, make sure you can adjust the suspension. Most of the less expensive packs do not have adjustments for length on the torso/shoulder straps. Many have pretty basic belts as well. Adjustment is key for packing heavy loads.

If you're willing to spend $200 on a new pack, up it a bit and keep a look out for a used Mystery Ranch NICE frame and bag for it... Frames go for $150-200 and bags can be had for $100-250 if you look around. There is no comparison between the ones you are interested in and the NICE suspension.

Reviews aside, you have to consider that most people reviewing those packs have most likely just upgraded from book bag status, and they are certainly a step up. I know when I bought my first true internal pack with full adjustments I thought I'd hit the jack pot... Until it was loaded with 80lbs of meat/gear.

For general day pack, and maybe one heavy load I'm sure they'd be fine, but if you plan on making multiple heavy loads, your shoulders/back will let you know how bad your pack sucks... I've used probably 15 different packs over the years, starting at the book bag knap sack style, up through various camping style packs (including the famous Jan Sport pack frame) Trapper Nelson, Military packs, etc. There is a direct correlation to the cost of a pack to relative comfort under heavy loads.

My two main packs now are a NICE with a 6500 bag and a crew cab. I don't use this pack much, other than for monster loads (moose quarters/meat), or day hikes/hunts. My main pack is a Kifaru Highcamp 7000. They all pack down small for day hunts and are big enough to load up with a weeks worth of gear and more meat than I can pack when needed. When I pack in, I dump all my gear at camp, and use the same pack for a day pack. Works great. That first trip back to the truck is usually the one where you're still tough enough to pack the most weight, no sense in wasting that energy.
 

NoWiser

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Feb 12, 2013
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Minnesota
I'm 5'10" 50 lbs. If you have a build similar to mine, I'd avoid the Eberlestock like the plague.

I absolutely loved the design of it, but that thing dug into my hips like no other. I tried adjusting it every way imaginable but to no avail. By the end of my one and only hunt with it I had moleskin all over the front of my hips from the belt digging in and had bruises on my lower back from the frame. I wanted to like that pack more than anything, but I just couldn't do it.

I now have a Kifaru for elk hunting and really like it, but a pack I've also been very impressed with is the Blacks Creek Western. I picked up a used one for about $40.00 and wear that thing everywhere. It would work well for a daypack and a small load of meat out. I wouldn't want to haul an entire elk with it.

Good luck!
 

BrowningBLR

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Best Place on Earth - Big Sky Country
I'm 5'10" 50 lbs. If you have a build similar to mine, I'd avoid the Eberlestock like the plague.

I would avoid doing much of anything and seek immediate medical attention if you have the same build as that guy!! :D

I love MR Metcalf!! Best pack I've ever had, I understand the cost of it. But so far, it's been worth it! I remotely like my Badlands Sacrifice, but wouldn't spend the money to get one... glad I got it for under $50. I don't love it when water leaks into it, basically one pocket, and the way loads sit off the frame- not snug.
 

jerm8352

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Jul 24, 2013
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Pinedale Wy
Thanks for the replies. What do you guys recommend for packing out elk?

I am 6'4" about 200 pounds so I am NOT built like you. Lol
 
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JLS

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I know everyone has a budget, and if that's what you've got then make it work. That said, the dollars you save will seem insignificant when the hip belt is tearing you up, or you can feel the bruise developing by the minute on your sacrum.

Of course, an intelligent person would realize that they are overloading the suspension and adjust accordingly. I usually chose to be stupid and tough it out.
 

JLS

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Thanks for the replies. What do you guys recommend for packing out elk?

I really like my MR Metcalf 2. I know it's out of your price range. Before that I had a Badlands 2800. Really, it wasn't a bad pack as long as I kept it within it's load handling capacity. I packed out a cow elk with it one year and it wasn't bad at all. The next year I did an entire boned out mule deer and head in one load and it took two weeks for my sacral area to heal up.

You can get a new Osprey Atmos for 240 bucks or so. Look at the Backpacking Light forum classifieds also.
 

NoWiser

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Whoops, I meant 150 lbs. I'm not quite THAT scrawny :eek:

I've heard the X2 is rough for anybody over about my height. I can't imagine it would work out well for you. But, I've been wrong before.

I think looking for a good deal on a used pack would be a good option I'd consider if I were in your shoes.
 

ccc23454

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Sep 22, 2010
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1,667
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Wyoming
for just hauling meat, get a cabelas alaskan metal frame. they are light and cheap ($100 new) i carry a big mesh bag and some cinch straps and works great and durable as hell. i will add i hunt out of a eberlestock dragonfly and it carries anything and regularly carries 100+ pounds with only my legs screaming
 
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DirtyDan

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Nov 15, 2014
Messages
297
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Ohio
What ccc said. If your going to just haul meat, one can hardly beat an Alaskan Pac frame. No they aren't very comfortable, but probably hauled more quarters out of the back country than all other packs combined. When you can afford a nicer frame you will appreciate it more after using the Alaskan.
 

1_pointer

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Dec 20, 2000
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18,123
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Indiana
Agreed. There are many great packs out there that don't have camo on them, most will carry heavy loads much better as well. Osprey makes solid packs.

What ever pack you decide to go with, make sure you can adjust the suspension. Most of the less expensive packs do not have adjustments for length on the torso/shoulder straps. Many have pretty basic belts as well. Adjustment is key for packing heavy loads.

If you're willing to spend $200 on a new pack, up it a bit and keep a look out for a used Mystery Ranch NICE frame and bag for it... Frames go for $150-200 and bags can be had for $100-250 if you look around. There is no comparison between the ones you are interested in and the NICE suspension.

Reviews aside, you have to consider that most people reviewing those packs have most likely just upgraded from book bag status, and they are certainly a step up. I know when I bought my first true internal pack with full adjustments I thought I'd hit the jack pot... Until it was loaded with 80lbs of meat/gear.

For general day pack, and maybe one heavy load I'm sure they'd be fine, but if you plan on making multiple heavy loads, your shoulders/back will let you know how bad your pack sucks... I've used probably 15 different packs over the years, starting at the book bag knap sack style, up through various camping style packs (including the famous Jan Sport pack frame) Trapper Nelson, Military packs, etc. There is a direct correlation to the cost of a pack to relative comfort under heavy loads.

My two main packs now are a NICE with a 6500 bag and a crew cab. I don't use this pack much, other than for monster loads (moose quarters/meat), or day hikes/hunts. My main pack is a Kifaru Highcamp 7000. They all pack down small for day hunts and are big enough to load up with a weeks worth of gear and more meat than I can pack when needed. When I pack in, I dump all my gear at camp, and use the same pack for a day pack. Works great. That first trip back to the truck is usually the one where you're still tough enough to pack the most weight, no sense in wasting that energy.
Re-read this...a couple of times. Though my pack selection is slightly different, Kifaru Longhunter Rondevous, this is my philosophy as well. The little bit of extra weight I pack around hunting out of my 'big' pack is easily compensated for by not having to got back for a hauler. When I bought my pack a bit over a decade ago, the price was a big stretch for me, but one I haven't regretted. By the time you go through a couple of cheaper packs you'll be up to the price of what you really want/need. If I was in the hunting pack market right now I'd be looking at Kifaru, Mystery Ranch, Stone Glacier, and Paradox packs in no particular order.
 

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
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4,503
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SW NM
I'm currently (12yrs) using a J104 that fits my long torso and is very easy on my back and such. Very comfortable. Just works for me.6'2",180.
I use it day hunting too , same reason others have stated,carry that 1st heavy load out and come back with the Alaska Freighter. Love the scabbard for fishing rods,tripods,besides the rifle and I'm hands free hiking.
I like having 1st aid,h2o filter,food,game bags,Poncho,cord,etc... with me hunting. If I can't carry a semi-loaded pack thru the country I hunt,how would I get a downed animal out? Why make any extra trips if you don't have to. My pack comes off pretty fast,and has padded many shots.

Love the Jan Sport GlassEye....I wish I still had mine,or the Trailwise that fit so well and went the Pac Crest trail with me. Or the Kelty basic bomber. Great packs still if you can find them .
What is the black rucksack pack ,looks perfect for deer hunting?
 

Recon_Doc

New member
Joined
Mar 24, 2015
Messages
99
I am in the market for a new hunting pack. The bookbag I bought at Walmart just isn't cutting it anymore and after hauling out elk quarters by slinging the game bags over my shoulder for miles this season, I want to upgrade. I almost exclusively day hunt, so I am not looking for something to live out of. I just want something to help make packing out elk easier. I am currently looking at the Eberlestock x2 and the Hornhunter Mainbeam. They both have excellent reviews but the Hornhunter is about $40 cheaper. Anyone with any experience with these bags or other suggestions? I am looking to stay in the $150 or so price range. The Hornhunter is about $150 on Amazon and the Eberlestock is around $190. Thanks for any help,

Jeremy
I only hunt deep back country hunts. We set base camp and average 9-12 miles a day on foot. This will be my 3rd season with my Eberlestock X2, and it's hands down the best pack I've ever owned
 

sbhooper

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Jul 7, 2012
Messages
4,178
Location
North Platte, Nebraska
I have hauled out lots of elk, deer and antelope meat with a Cabelas frame pack. Not real expensive and tough. I retired my first one after at least 1,500 pounds of meat hauled in it. I have two now that will outlive me. One is a designated training pack that has a 40-pound sand bag in it. Good pack for small money. The heaviest load that I ever took out in them was weighed at 110 pounds. Now I will be over-loaded with 50!
 

jerm8352

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Joined
Jul 24, 2013
Messages
193
Location
Pinedale Wy
Thanks for all the advice. My wife actually went out and got me a horn hunter full curl system for my birthday. I guess i will be using that for awhile!
 

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