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  1. #1
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    Pack for Alaska moose hunt

    I'm considering getting a new pack for a moose hunt I have coming up in 2018 in Alaska. We will be hunting from a drop camp so I'll just need a daypack and way to pack meat. I currently have a J34 that works well as a daypack and to take out the first load of meat, then I go back in with my Cabelas Alaskan pack frame. That adds up to a lot of weight though taking both packs. That plan has worked well on elk for me, but keeping my gear weight down for the plane wasn't a concern then. I'm considering upgrading and have looked at several options. I thought I'd ask here and get some more opinions.

    I tried a Kuiu Ultra 1800 recently with a 50lb bag of mineral in the load sling set-up between the pack and bag. It didn't fit well for me no matter how I adjusted it, wasn't real comfortable. I like Kuiu as a company but I think I'm going to stay away from their packs.

    I am considering spending the money on a Kifaru Duplex frame with a Nomad bag. The problem I see with this option is that I will be spending lots of time in thick cover and the 26" frame Kifaru recommended for my size will be sticking up and out catching on stuff. I definitely see the benefit for these packs for high country hunts where most time is spent around or above timberline, but I'm not sure they are right for my hunt.

    This thinking brings me back to Eberlestock. I like my J34 a lot. It isn't the most comfortable pack with a really big load just due to the load lifter set-up, but it's a great daypack and sure gets the job done packing elk or smaller game. I think I want a stouter frame though before tackling a moose. I'm looking at the F1 mainframe pack from Eberlestock, and the Transformer or just a J type dry bag that would zip on for daypack use. The narrower pack frame looks like it would be more comfortable navigating brush or carrying a slung rifle. The Eberlestock packs harness system has always seemed comfortable to me when packing loads, the hip belt fits me well. I also have a scabbard already I could put between the F1 frame and F2 Transformer bag to make a set-up similar to my J34.

    The J107 is another option I've considered since I like my J34 a lot. I think I like the option the set-up above gives me of ditching the bag and it's weight, just using the frame when packing meat though. Also should help keep the pack less bloody and smelly for the hunt. 2 of us are going so after taking one moose we'll still be hunting for a second.

    I'm not overly worried about cost on this pack. I figure it's an investment I'll have for a long time, and I have several packs I don't use much I'll sell to fund it. I bought several Eberlestocks over the years to try that I didn't end up loving for one reason or another and will sell several that are nearly new, a mini-me, gunrunner, operator, and X1A1. As my optics got a little bigger and I started packing a fairly bulky Hill People Gear mountain serape to throw on while glassing in the cold more often I just kept using the J34 and not the smaller stuff as much.

    Anyone have any experience with these or thoughts?

  2. #2
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    You obviously already know way more about packs than i do. But do you know what type of airplane will be taking you into the field?

    As a supercub pilot, I always hated to see a large metal framed pack, at least unless the top bar was removed. Even then, the frame is designed to poke holes in airplanes. Soft-Frame packs work best. Packing your gear in soft packs that don't exceed 50 pounds is good, when possible. Often you're more limited by space than weight in a supercub style airplane. Weight is definitely a big consideration too, but if the first thing loaded is a large plastic tote that takes up all the space but only weights 20 pounds, you still can't haul it all.

    Just to vent...supercubs don't like bowhunters to bring their hard bow cases. I can make them fit but it's not easy and generally I load them last, after the passenger and it goes over their head, very uncomfortably.

    If you're flying in with a Beaver or C-185...disregard all of this!!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the advice. The last option is pretty close to a soft pack, the bar on top is rounded and doesn't stick way up like the packs you are talking about. Plus the soft parts of the pack extend past the frame for added protection.

    I've been researching packs for a while now, I didn't know much of this until then.

    They recommended soft packs also that weigh 40-50lbs. We are using mostly soft dry bags and our packs to haul stuff in, might take one hard plastic tote for food. It will help keep things dry and not smashed I figure. I'm not sure what they run for planes, that subject you definitely know more than me!

    We can take 100lbs in personal gear per person is how Papa Bear is set-up. That does not include the camp he rents you or the boat but does include all your hunting gear, personal gear, and food. That will sound like a ton of weight to be able to take to all the backpack hunters here and it is pretty generous. It still fills up pretty quick when you figure you will be out for 10 days and it's Alaska. I figure I need extra clothing compared to a normal hunt due to wet weather, plus he recommends not having a fire at camp. We will use more tarps and other gear, plus hip boots or waders and boots add weight. We are taking a saw and axe in case we need fire and for camp and processing the moose, it adds up pretty quick. Little different packing list than a mountain hunt.

  4. #4
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    As far as I know, Papa Bear uses only Dehaviland Beavers. You'll have no problem, they're roomy. I'll be anxious to hear about your hunt!

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  6. #5
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    I'm anxious to go on it as you can probably tell by the fact that I'm this obsessed already over a hunt in 2018!

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  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcseal2 View Post
    I'm anxious to go on it as you can probably tell by the fact that I'm this obsessed already over a hunt in 2018!
    Nothing wrong with that. The more that you plan for in advance the easier it is to take care of things as the hunt gets closer.

    On my African Safari last year I was almost completely ready to fly over in January and my hunt wasn't until May. Then as problems came up I was able to take care of them without having to worry about getting the rest of the stuff done. Then the final month before my hunt was just tweaking little things.
    If you don't care where you are, you are not lost....

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  10. #7
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    Exo 3500 would be right up your ally to look at as well...they are about to come out with a 2000 bag and just released their daypack shed hunting 1500 attachment...the 3500 compresses to a daypack with ease and then it hauls meat like no other. I use the 5500 exo bag with no problems or complaints as a day only pack if im not backpacking in. They are a newer company, but the packs are bombproof. I hauled 130lbs of a cow elk through some nasty downfalls on a steep mountain in the dark last fall for miles, and aside from the fact is was just a plain heavy as hell load, it rode great, I never had to take my pack off to readjust and i was not sore at all the following day. Just another good option for you to look at. The frame is titanium so it is flexible for things such as pulling a bow back or maneuvering through tight areas, but is rigid as hell when it comes to hauling the heavy stuff. Worth a look I would say for your case.

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  12. #8
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    Its not an obsession it's a PASSION!! That sure sounds like fun! 2 sets good raingear, one can dry while wearing the other. Check on chairs, seems petty but after a week or so you may want to sit somewhere else other than the ground! Cabelas has those Tundra Boots, there are other brands available instead of hip boots and then stocking foot waders. Lighter weight. A new book for days in the tent if weather is horrible! Good luck and God bless

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  14. #9
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    why can't you use your j34? one pack and forget about it.

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  16. #10
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    Tim I could. I'm sure the pack would hold up to it, I just don't think it would be very comfortable with that much weight. I've packed elk hind quarters in it and other loads up to 70lbs but a moose hind quarter might weigh double that. The J107 and Mainframe have an aluminum frame instead of just aluminum stays that are supposed to really help steady a load.

 

 
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