Meat hauling pack $250 budget

Tufrthnails

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Me and my brother are doing ELK/Mule deer OTC hunt in CO this year for the first time. I have been using my old Alice pack for training. There is no way I am going to be able to carry more then 60# for any real distance. What I need is a pack that will let me carry that the most comfortable. I'm 5'7" 33 inch waist. The terrain is going to test my endurance I already know that coming from FL. Mountains of Afghanistan put a hurting on me 13 years ago and in a lot better physical condition. We will be doing day trips. I have been pointed to the Mystery Ranch Sphinx and the Alps outdoors commander and pack. But I'd like to hear from you guys that do this a lot more then anyone I know and can ask.
 

riv3rbanks

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Mystery Ranch hauls a heavy load very nice, but will cost ya more than $250. Those army rucksacks are lacking when it comes to comfort but a strong back will get it done. Horn hunter full curl or the alps may be an in between option at around your price.
 

Tufrthnails

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Mystery Ranch hauls a heavy load very nice, but will cost ya more than $250. Those army rucksacks are lacking when it comes to comfort but a strong back will get it done. Horn hunter full curl or the alps may be an in between option at around your price.
I'll look at the Horn hunter full curl
This is the mystery ranch I was suggested in my price range anyone every used it:

https://www.gearx.com/mystery-ranch-sphinx-backpack?gclid=CjwKCAjwgqbpBRAREiwAF046JZVAEApZ1FjCKZAKUNMNNULvCAI4aGAHXSXwAu0lm_eg7OojnjFnJxoC668QAvD_BwE#491=3846&501=665
 

riv3rbanks

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I'll look at the Horn hunter full curl
This is the mystery ranch I was suggested in my price range anyone every used it:

https://www.gearx.com/mystery-ranch-sphinx-backpack?gclid=CjwKCAjwgqbpBRAREiwAF046JZVAEApZ1FjCKZAKUNMNNULvCAI4aGAHXSXwAu0lm_eg7OojnjFnJxoC668QAvD_BwE#491=3846&501=665
Check out this site for great veteran and active duty discounts: https://www.expertvoice.com/

You have to register by uploading a dd214, but mystery ranch offers a pretty decent discount FYI.
 

RockinU

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My daughter has a sphinx, it's a nice pack, but it doesn't have a meat shelf...any meat hauling would have to be in the main compartment. How much volume capabilities are you going to need? just spiking out from a base camp, or carrying camp in on your back?
 

RockinU

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If you are just spiking out the Mystery Ranch Pop Up 28 is around your range, and has meat hauling capabilities, it's just more of a large day pack, and not an expedition...cool pack though. There are a couple Pintlers on ebay right now that aren't too far from your price range, it's got full feature meat hauling capabilities, and is about 50% bigger than the pop up. I would definitely take my time, and shop ebay and gear boards, and buy something used, you'll likely get way more pack for your dollar if you can find one with some stains on it, but at the same time watch all the discount sites close too, not too long ago camofire had selways not far from your range...
 

WVgoodguy22

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Mar 29, 2019
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If you are just spiking out the Mystery Ranch Pop Up 28 is around your range, and has meat hauling capabilities, it's just more of a large day pack, and not an expedition...cool pack though. There are a couple Pintlers on ebay right now that aren't too far from your price range, it's got full feature meat hauling capabilities, and is about 50% bigger than the pop up. I would definitely take my time, and shop ebay and gear boards, and buy something used, you'll likely get way more pack for your dollar if you can find one with some stains on it, but at the same time watch all the discount sites close too, not too long ago camofire had selways not far from your range...
Those are all great tips, I too want to get a meat hauler pack on the cheap. I won't be going by myself so I don't need something huge for camping gear, but I don't want something too small either. I have that expert voice, just haven't gone through the process for my one time code on Mystery Ranch packs since I don't have the extra $$$ especially after putting that Savage Model 110 Long Range Hunter in .300 WSM on layaway.
 

MinnesotaHunter

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Keep your eyes peeled on the used market. An older Nice frame MR, Exo, or a Kuiu Icon can probably be found at the range you are looking.

You can find Mystery ranch packs on sale as well.
 

jrsrock80

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Jul 12, 2019
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Alps outdoor Z commander is tough to beat on a budget $130 for frame and pack and probably handle a 100 pound load, owned one before I got my mystery ranch
 

Tufrthnails

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Awesome guys thanks I'll def check out expertvoice. I've never heard of them. We are just spiking out from base camp nothing crazy this first year. Basically a trip to get our feet wet and figure on some fun especially if one of us manages to down something.
 
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I use to use an alps outdoorz eps traverse before getting the MR Metcalf. The alps did just fine for years and I still have it as a back up option.
 

bullbugle307

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If you're just going with day trips from a base camp, you might be able to use whatever pack you already have as your day pack, provided its a decent size. You can carry a water filter, rain gear, bivy sack, game bags etc. in there. Chances are, you can fit a small first load of meat in there too. For elk... maybe backstraps, tenderloins, neck meat, trimmings. Then for your subsequent pack outs you can look at using something along the lines of the Cabelas Alaskan Frame pack or other similar packs, which you can get for somewhere around $150. You could also just use the frame pack (I did it for a while), they make a decent rifle rest, but they're creaky and loud.

I did this for years before I bought a more expensive pack. My day pack was a cheap Rustic Ridge I got from Sportsmans for about 80 bucks. My frame pack was the Alaskan Frame Pack. I packed out several pronghorn myself in a single trip with just the cheap day pack. Rear quarters and loose meat went in the main body of the pack, front quarters in game bags would get tied together and slung over my neck. I'd carry the head in my hands if I wasn't caping. I wouldn't want to try that alone with a mule deer...BUT... if you're hunting with a buddy, you can definitely get the deer out in one trip with two guys with relatively cheap day packs. It sucks, but packing out meat generally does, and we did it many times before we upgraded.

Definitely see what you can find used, as others have mentioned. Right now I use an Eberlestock J34 that you can buy for $329 brand new. I've seen them used around the $250 price range. There's one on ebay for $269 right now. The thing I like about that pack is that it has a built in scabbard and can carry a bow easily also. I bought the super spike duffel that attaches to it so I can use it for either day trips or extended multi day trips. I haven't packed an elk with it yet, but it handled two rear mule deer quarters and a ton of gear well last year, and it's pretty comfortable and quiet.
 

kmott

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idaho
eberlestock packs might be worth looking into for that price range and they have lots of options.

they didn't really fit me well but seemed to be decent packs.


I know you said $250 budget but if it is at all possible to swing another hundred or so ,I would buy the exo (k-2 or k-3 ) frames and the crib load panel for hauling meat .don't know exactly but it will run around 350-400 just use any bag(stuff sack) with it for packing your gear until you can afford to add an exo bag.

any of the high dollar pack systems are pretty darn good , just try to find one that fits you well OR it will not be comfortable.
I realize money can be an issue but a couple years from now you will be glad you splurged.


such things were unimportant to me in my youth but with age, trust me , the difference in comfort is worth the splurge.
 
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RockinU

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kmott has it right. If you are able to save up a little more, you can get a comfortable, highly useful pack that will serve you a long time...one that might not ever need upgrading, in the long run, it might even save you money.
 

Brian in Montana

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See what Cabelas has. I have an old Cabelas Alaska external frame. I think I paid about $200 for it. Its no Cadillac, but I've hauled a mountain of meat and gear in it over the years. Most products that were manufactured by Cabelas are not really that impressive IMO but that pack has been very functional.

I recently upgraded to a Mystery Ranch Metcalf, but I'm keeping that old Cabelas rig as a backup.
 
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