Help, please

Joined
Nov 24, 1998
Messages
993
I might be incurring in a gaffe asking this question here but I’ve read this type of discussion here before, and this seems to be the most considerate, sensible and friendly corner of the forum. So, my anticipated apologies.

The question. I want to give my son-in-law a top notch backpack for using while moose hunting in Maine. He is a former Marine Captain, he is like my son as well as my close friend. I heard him complaining about using an old Marine Corps backpack on the field the last time he went to Maine and I’d like to give him a great backpack for his coming birthday. That’s not my type of hunting so I have no idea where to start looking.

Any recommendations, please? Thank you so much.
 

Hard Knocks

Gold Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
8,433
I've used a lot of Badlands, Eberlestock and Mystery Ranch. If he needs load hauling, which I'm guessing he will with moose, I'd look at Mystery Ranch. They're more money, anywhere from $250 to $450/500 but rugged and worth it IMO. The Sawtooth and Pintlers are good midsized packs and there are some pretty good deals online right now.
 

pbubsy

Gold Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2006
Messages
4,967
Kifaru. All the way. There are many great packs out there but they have the best suspension for hauling meat or lots of gear...or both. Made in America and if he ever damages it, he's only out shipping as they'll repair it gratis.
 

StoneAndSteel

Gold Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2019
Messages
515
Kifaru. All the way.

I’ve had gear from all the brands listed above and I would unequivocally second Kifaru. If you’re willing to drop the coin, their products are worth every dime—especially their woobies on a cold night.

A little less expensive option that I would recommend is Hill People Gear. Also USA made and of outstanding quality. If you could hang HPG’s harness system on a Kifaru pack, you would have my ideal heavy-load out ruck.
 

Phill50

Gold Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2018
Messages
417
Just got a Kuiu Gear pack yesterday. Did a lot of reading on all the packs and they all seem way better that the old schools Cabelas ones I used for years. I really like how a lot of the pack systems can easily change out the bags now for different sizes.
 

StoneAndSteel

Gold Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2019
Messages
515
I'm wanting to try out the kifaru.

I really can't say enough good about them. Their designs are brilliantly thought out and the build quality is really truly second to none. All the makers mentioned are very good, (though I haven't tried out Kuiu packs before) but my favorites are still Kifaru. If you ever get the chance to snag one, I can't imagine you'd regret the purchase.
 

never.truly.lost

Gold Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2015
Messages
503
If he is in the Marines I would recommend tryingg to find something in Coyote Brown so he can use it while there as well as hunting.

Other than that, Kifaru/Exo/Barneys can’t really go wrong (I have heard the Eastern and Southern moose are a little smaller than the AK/YT/BC variety but not 100% on that).
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
259
So just to clarify, when you take a large animal in deep woods, is there a specific method for processing and hauling it out? Is it quartered and lashed to the pack, or boned and shoved inside the pack? Game bags or trash bags?

Thank you.
 

JJ_Colt45

Gold Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2014
Messages
4,714
So just to clarify, when you take a large animal in deep woods, is there a specific method for processing and hauling it out? Is it quartered and lashed to the pack, or boned and shoved inside the pack? Game bags or trash bags?

Thank you.

Game bags quartered and hauled out ... if it's bigger than a whitetail it's multiple trips. Garbage bags may work but they may not hold up to it very well.
 

Lorien

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Dec 5, 2005
Messages
21,828
I've had a Granite Gear Flatbed for years and the harness is brilliant, so comfortable. Looks like it's morphed into a barrel pack but there's a military version that looks neat. I'm only hauling chainsaws and tools and stuff, but I throw a hypalon drybag in there for stuff that needs to stay dry. Weight capacity for mine is 80# and it has a carbon fiber frame, which I don't know if they make any more
https://www.granitegear.com/chief-flatbed-base-pack-only-multicam.html
pretty damn expensive, but good gear always is. A friend and past business partner of mine turned me on to Granite Gear, he was in charge of procurement for a certain military agency of some repute so I always trusted him when it came to gear

Pretty sure I was over the weight limit this time;
pWfU0S3.jpg
 
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SpyderPhreak

Rocketman for hire
Platinum Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2004
Messages
14,792
Kifaru without reservation. I'm fortunate to have them local, and have been to their retail location many times. Great people, top notch gear. Not inexpensive, however.

Man I'm wanting to try out the kifaru. I didn't recommend it because I've never been able to try one. They sure look good and have a great reputation. One of these days.....

You won't regret it, D. I don't own one of their packs yet, but I will before my next back-country elk hunt, whenever that happens. Once you see their stuff in person, you'll get it.
 
Joined
May 7, 2012
Messages
4,971
I have packs from Mystery Ranch (3), Arc’teryx (4) and Eberlestock (2). I also have a USMC ILBE Gen 2 main and assault pack with many miles on the main among single examples from several other brands.

My current preference is Exo Mtn Gear. They are a small company, American made, designed by Hunters. never.truly.lost never.truly.lost got me going on them. Good stuff.
 

Hard Knocks

Gold Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
8,433
You won't regret it, D. I don't own one of their packs yet, but I will before my next back-country elk hunt, whenever that happens. Once you see their stuff in person, you'll get it.

Man I wish we had a local shop for them here. I just don't want to make a mistake on the sizing/fitment so getting a pro to fit me up is the only thing holding me back.

I really can't say enough good about them. Their designs are brilliantly thought out and the build quality is really truly second to none. All the makers mentioned are very good, (though I haven't tried out Kuiu packs before) but my favorites are still Kifaru. If you ever get the chance to snag one, I can't imagine you'd regret the purchase.

I really appreciate the thoughts on the kifaru. I'd have to look back through my book to see the exact numbers on what I helped haul out of the woods this year, but somewhere north of 30 animals on a mystery ranch pintler. It's a good system but if I'm living in one every day and there's something better I want it lol.


So just to clarify, when you take a large animal in deep woods, is there a specific method for processing and hauling it out? Is it quartered and lashed to the pack, or boned and shoved inside the pack? Game bags or trash bags?

Thank you.

So much depends on what size the animal is, and what system you have to pack it. Some systems like the mystery ranch or kifaru have a load-hauling/over load feature similar to what Lorien posted in the picture. Systems like that allow you to use the load-hauling shelf and keep the messy stuff out of your bag and away from your gear. They also allow you to keep the weight close in against your back and you can haul vicious loads with them. Bags like the Eberlestock X-pack will haul a load, but the weight is farther away from your back and there's a lot more leverage working against you.

To answer your question specifically, if you're in deep and have an animal like a moose or elk down, and if you have to get it out alone, you'd better get to boning it out and stuffing it in game bags. But if you have a smaller animal like a deer down you might get by with just quartering or even halving it. Break it down to whatever load your personal fitness, the terrain, and your pack system will allow.
 
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