Why my pack sucks: Kifaru, Stone Glacier, Exo, Seek, Mystery Ranch, Kuiu, etc.

Please select either the first or second choice, then select your current pack brand.

  • I have tried multiple hunting brands

    Votes: 269 50.1%
  • I have used just one hunting brand

    Votes: 136 25.3%
  • Stone Glacier

    Votes: 73 13.6%
  • Exo

    Votes: 64 11.9%
  • Kuiu

    Votes: 74 13.8%
  • Kifaru

    Votes: 62 11.5%
  • Mystery Ranch

    Votes: 189 35.2%
  • Seek Outside

    Votes: 24 4.5%
  • Other Hunting Brand

    Votes: 121 22.5%
  • Non Hunting Brand

    Votes: 32 6.0%

  • Total voters
    537

OleRedbeard

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Messages
352
Location
Russell Fork River
Had a Kuiu 1850 and one in the 4500 range (cant remember exactly its been 4 or 5 years ago)
the bigger packs frame felt odd on your back after anything over 35 to 40lbs and seemed like it flexed quite a bit. The smaller pack was basically a daypack and I had no real complaints with it that I can recall. sold both however after a few years use and
bought a Kifaru 44mag, I really liked it except for it being pretty heavy (built like a tank though) and hauled well that season I used it anyway (3 bear hauled out and a couple deer)
Little did I know my wife had bought me an Exo K2000 as a Christmas present. After getting it out and about I decided to sell the Kifaru and buy a new antelope gun (the only justification being that the Exo was a little lighter and I didn't need it anymore)
The exo k2000 fit the bill really well for overnight and weekend trips and also day trips. Now have the 3500 bag too and just slip it over the frame of the exo on longer trips that warrant more room which isnt often. I miss the way the Kifaru hauled heavy loads and miss the moly attachments which helped me kind of set it up a little better for organization but at the same time don't miss the weight of the pack and cant really complain on the load hauling of the Exo except that you have to pay attention.
In the end after a few years use I feel like the Exo so far for me is a good middle ground between the lightweight Kuiu and the heavyweight Kifaru. Its got a few things from both that I like that make up for the things it doesn't. Hauls better than the Kuiu but is not as light. Lighter than the Kifaru but doesnt haul as comfortable.
 
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longjoshr

New member
Joined
Apr 28, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Springfield, MO
Mystery Ranch Marshall on Guide Light Frame (Not MT) - Love the space, organization, and the bottom compartment for sleeping bags. Weight seems to be a bit high.

Kuiu PRO 3600 is my go to for day hunts, and haven't tried the 6000 bag I bought for it this year. Love the weight of the packs and organization, but question whether they are as good at securing/hauling loads as the MR.

Question for you MR guys: How big of a difference do you feel between the Guide Light and GL MT frames? The five piece belt looks like a significant upgrade, but curious how it stacks up in real world application.
 

wyoboypt

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Messages
806
Location
Wyoming
Update on kifaru mainframe.: I wish the lumbar pad was a bit thicker and the waist padding was a bit thicker.
 

one ate E grain

Active member
Joined
May 3, 2013
Messages
264
Location
25 miles N of Denver amongst sprawl
For packing out meat I have a old Kelty frame pack. The main compartment goes all the way down to the bottom of the pack so I can fit a back leg easy. I've taken out loads over 100 lbs when it wasn't too far, more than I want to carry. One rear leg and some ribs is plenty. It has the top extension so I can strap as much on as I'd like. Usually my regular day pack goes on the top. The pack frame is an uncomplicated idea, all of the gear gizmos are just so much stuff to sell.
 

hearteater

Active member
Joined
Mar 8, 2014
Messages
240
Mystery ranch- too heavy and not very good load lifters. Pack design is old school and clunky

Kifaru- owned a couple of these and I guess some guys like them but for me they were terribly uncomfortable and how many straps and zippers can a pack possibly have... buy a Kifaru and find out

Stone glacier- best packs I have owned by far. Comfort, design, weight... best I have found
 

Phaseolus

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
428
Location
EOM Western Colorado
Mystery ranch- too heavy and not very good load lifters. Pack design is old school and clunky

Kifaru- owned a couple of these and I guess some guys like them but for me they were terribly uncomfortable and how many straps and zippers can a pack possibly have... buy a Kifaru and find out

Stone glacier- best packs I have owned by far. Comfort, design, weight... best I have found
Have you carried a Seek Outside? Curious how it compares.
 
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bisblue

Active member
Joined
Sep 21, 2016
Messages
165
Seek outside, only downside is waterproof material can be loudish in really cold temps.
 

Islander

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
347
Location
Lowcountry, SC
EXO 4800 and 6400. Love almost everything.

CONS
- Hard to pull waist belt buckle ends to tighten if you start with them fully loosened (tags against the buckles). Nothing to grip on. Incredibly frustrating if you have just pulled on a heavy pack. Have to drop the fookin pack, pull an inch or so of strap out from the buckles, remount, and tighten.

- Pocket material is ultrathin and nice and stretchy. But brush against a rock and you grind a hole through it. Seriously, I was carrying my loaded pack to the truck and brushed against my brick windowsill. Hole in the side pocket. Hiking with the other pack, I brushed against a rock wall. Hole in that pack pocket too! Very upsetting. These packs go through hell and need to be at least abrasion resistant. I'll take another 6 oz to have a pack that doesn't have holes worn through the pockets after moderate use. Don't want to worry about putting a hole in my pack by brushing against a rock. Don't want to think about my pack at all. I contacted EXO and they didn't seem to be concerned about this in the slightest. For a company that has such great customer service, I was surprised and disappointed.
 
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Brandon270

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 26, 2017
Messages
405
Location
Central California
EXO 4800 and 6400. Love almost everything.

CONS
- Hard to pull waist belt buckle ends to tighten if you start with them fully loosened (tags against the buckles). Nothing to grip on. Incredibly frustrating if you have just pulled on a heavy pack. Have to drop the fookin pack, pull an inch or so of strap out from the buckles, remount, and tighten.

- Pocket material is ultrathin and nice and stretchy. But brush against a rock and you grind a hole through it. Seriously, I was carrying my loaded pack to the truck and brushed against my brick windowsill. Hole in the side pocket. Hiking with the other pack, I brushed against a rock wall. Hole in that pack pocket too! Very upsetting. These packs go through hell and need to be at least abrasion resistant. I'll take another 6 oz to have a pack that doesn't have holes worn through the pockets after moderate use. Don't want to worry about putting a hole in my pack by brushing against a rock. Don't want to think about my pack at all. I contacted EXO and they didn't seem to be concerned about this in the slightest. For a company that has such great customer service, I was surprised and disappointed.
Reading this bums me out, exo was definitely on my short list of packs I'm considering for my next pack. Were they willing to warranty the pack for that? I deal with a lot of rock in the places I hunt.
 

Redman

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
1,175
Location
Indiana
I have been using the Outdoorsmans Optics pack for the past 5 seasons.
Down falls:
Heavy compared to others.

This model you have to remove the bag if you want to use the meat hauling sling. They had another bigger model that you didn't have to. It would extend the pack out like the MR system.

It fits me perfect but if my torso was longer I would be out of adjustments.
 

Islander

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
347
Location
Lowcountry, SC
Reading this bums me out, exo was definitely on my short list of packs I'm considering for my next pack. Were they willing to warranty the pack for that? I deal with a lot of rock in the places I hunt.

I didn't ask them to do that. The material is what that part of the pack is made of. It's not a manufacturer defect. It's a compromise for stretch and weight.

Still love the packs (you can see I have two). In my opinion they need to change that material. Everything else is awesome.

If I were to lose my packs, I would at least try Kifaru. I wouldn't have even considered it before I brushed a hole into the pockets. But I wouldn't switch to anything less comfortable under load. I'd just accept the thin pocket material.
 

DWarcher

Active member
Joined
Mar 8, 2011
Messages
323
Location
Flathead Valley
I've been running a Kifaru frame paired with EXO bags for the past 5 years and I will honestly have a hard time switching back to anything else. FOR ME, the most comfortable frame (especially with weight) and the best bag layout. I have extensive experience with Dana Design, Kifaru and Seek Outside frames bags and this combo has been the cat's meow as far as I'm concerned.


EXO 4800 and 6400. Love almost everything.

CONS
- Hard to pull waist belt buckle ends to tighten if you start with them fully loosened (tags against the buckles). Nothing to grip on. Incredibly frustrating if you have just pulled on a heavy pack. Have to drop the fookin pack, pull an inch or so of strap out from the buckles, remount, and tighten.

- Pocket material is ultrathin and nice and stretchy. But brush against a rock and you grind a hole through it. Seriously, I was carrying my loaded pack to the truck and brushed against my brick windowsill. Hole in the side pocket. Hiking with the other pack, I brushed against a rock wall. Hole in that pack pocket too! Very upsetting. These packs go through hell and need to be at least abrasion resistant. I'll take another 6 oz to have a pack that doesn't have holes worn through the pockets after moderate use. Don't want to worry about putting a hole in my pack by brushing against a rock. Don't want to think about my pack at all. I contacted EXO and they didn't seem to be concerned about this in the slightest. For a company that has such great customer service, I was surprised and disappointed.
That's surprising. I've had three different EXO bags and have had nothing but great results.
 

TheTone

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2002
Messages
4,302
Location
ID
I picked up an exo 4800 this fall, unfortunately no meat packing yet but enjoyed the weight, comfort and layout this fall. I looked at a lot of different options before purchasing and it checked the most boxes for me. Really looking forward to more use of it
 

Wind Gypsy

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2017
Messages
648
SG Xcurve with Solo 3600 and talus 6900 bags. Have had for 3 seasons and is my go to for western hunts.
  • Frame Negatives:
    • Hard to loosen the belt once tightened and buckled but i understand their new belts have fixed this
    • Not quite as comfortable with light weights as exo frame - more rigid
    • Gets kind of strappy when swapping bags and putting meat on the meat shelf IE there's lots of straps to disconnect/connect or adjust in the process.
  • Solo 3600 negatives:
    • Wish it had little pockets on the bottom of each side to stuff tips of things lashed to the side
  • Talus 6900 negatives - Cant think of any. Not the lightest?

Seek outside Revo detachable frame, peregrine, some bigger 6k+ cube discontinued bag with a face zip and long side pockets, custom 6k cube ultralight bag. I have had this for 4 or 5 years. Currently using the frame with a merlin daypack talon as a hang and hunt whitetail pack when I'm using a saddle. Negatives:

  • The way the floating belt fully wraps your hips with heavy loads caused an odd discomfort in my hips/hip flexors that no other pack has
  • I don't like the gatekeeper attachments compared to standard buckles. Less convenient with gloves on
  • Lid options are poorly executed compared to exo/SG
  • Hipbelt pockets are floppy and annoying if you're used to nice structured pockets like Exo and SG have. Mine came undone from the PALS webbing occasionally too.
  • Bag to frame interface isn't as clean (this is completely a non issue but just mentioning it)

Exo K1, K2 both 3500 and 5500 bags. Had k1 frame for a year or 2 and k2 frame for a couple years. Negatives:
  • Softer lumbar pad seems to be overwhelmed with heavy loads (65#+) and doesn't keep weight up on hips as well as Stone glacier xcurve (EXO is my favorite in every other regard)

Kifaru Gen 2(?) hunter duplex. ultralight carbon stays and curved aluminum stays. Had for a year or two when it was the new model in 2017 ish. Negatives:
  • Was the least effective of all packs listed at keeping weight on my hips
  • You could feel it on your back more than all of the packs listed
  • Hip pockets are floppy compared to nice structured ones like SG/EXO. PALS webbing connections come undone occasionally.
  • IMO Kifaru has the worst bag options of all the above. They are all heavy for the feature set you get and none seem to be as cleanly executed as exo or SG bags.

I use SG because they carry heavy loads better for me than any others ive tried. I think EXO has the best thought out system and nicest bag options but they just don't pack weight as well for me. That said, exo still packed weight better for me than SO and Kifaru.

A guy did a big pack shootout/review on rokslide last year and I found his results matched very closely with my experience. Worth a look if people are researching packs.
 
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jonathan.ishee

New member
Joined
Jan 24, 2022
Messages
6
Mystery Ranch Metcalf Guidelite Frame: The pack was too small for 10 day backcountry hunts given my packing strategy. The waist belt and lumbar pad combo failed to keep the pack in place under loads. I carried 50 lbs in and when successful 125 lbs out. 1 year 4 season use.

Mystery Ranch Marshall Guidelite Frame: The waist belt and lumbar pad combo failed to keep the pack in place under loads. I carried 50 lbs in and when successful 125 lbs out. 4 years 4 season use.

Mystery Ranch Beartooth 80 Guidelite MT Frame: The updated lumbar pad and waist belt configuration caused hot spots on both sides of my hips that increased in severity as load increased. The new lid was not hydration bladder compatible. 1 month use

Kifaru Duplex Lite Frame with Hoodlum Pack: 1 year 4 season use. No Critiques
 

jonathan.ishee

New member
Joined
Jan 24, 2022
Messages
6
Mystery Ranch Marshall on Guide Light Frame (Not MT) - Love the space, organization, and the bottom compartment for sleeping bags. Weight seems to be a bit high.

Kuiu PRO 3600 is my go to for day hunts, and haven't tried the 6000 bag I bought for it this year. Love the weight of the packs and organization, but question whether they are as good at securing/hauling loads as the MR.

Question for you MR guys: How big of a difference do you feel between the Guide Light and GL MT frames? The five piece belt looks like a significant upgrade, but curious how it stacks up in real world application.
I was over the moon excited when the MT frames came out because I thought it would solve my only complaint with the MR. I can only speak to my experience and that of my hunting partner. We are both 32" waist and using the medium belt. We could not find a way to adjust the guide light frame to stay in place under load. We tried the MT thinking the problem would be solved with updated hip belt and lumbar pad. The same issues persisted and the added issues of hot spots on our hips were experienced. We both put the MR packs in retirement and jumped ship to Kifaru. That's just my experience with my body type. 6'3" 160 LBS 32" waist
 

Ghillieman

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2022
Messages
89
Location
Florida
Packs get a lot of discussion on HT, but it always seems like people just cheerlead their purchase and it's hard to figure out what the downsides are of the various brands.

Let’s assume we are all intelligent adults, and purchased whatever pack we have for good reasons, don’t share those, you likely have on like 20 threads and it’s not helpful you can read that crap on the manufacturers site.

Please post what bag you have or had, seasons used, and a downside of the bag. We get it, ______ pack is the best, but if you had a gun to your head what's something you or someone might not like about your pack.

Also if you have had a catastrophic failure or issue with customer service please give us the dirt.
Ive been researching to ad naseum on packs, not just any pack. One that will serve me well for many moons and for numerous species. Day hunts and week to 10 days. I am now between the Outdoorsman Palisades and the long range although with the added accessory pod the Palisades is looking better. I like the external frame for many reasons one being being able to hook my rifle sling over the top post of the frame. The outdoorsman separates and meat can be hauled between pack and frame and the Barneys appears not to have the pack separation option. All meat carried in side the pack. Barneys has been serving pro guides forever and is about as bullet proof as they come as is the outdoorsman. Very little bad press on either. What say you experts?
The Ghillieman
 

wllm

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
14,134
Location
Boston
Ive been researching to ad naseum on packs, not just any pack. One that will serve me well for many moons and for numerous species. Day hunts and week to 10 days. I am now between the Outdoorsman Palisades and the long range although with the added accessory pod the Palisades is looking better. I like the external frame for many reasons one being being able to hook my rifle sling over the top post of the frame. The outdoorsman separates and meat can be hauled between pack and frame and the Barneys appears not to have the pack separation option. All meat carried in side the pack. Barneys has been serving pro guides forever and is about as bullet proof as they come as is the outdoorsman. Very little bad press on either. What say you experts?
The Ghillieman
The thread is tell me what sucks so;

They are both really really heavy, the new SG pack for instance weighs 1/2 what these packs weigh. That weight difference is like 3+lbs. which could be your entire sleep system... or at the very least your tent.
 

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