Best Lightweight Day Pack


Veteran member
Oct 12, 2014
Woodland Park, Colorado
What do you think of the woodsman
Sorry just saw it. I think there is probably a couple packs out there that also offer the same versatility. My decision points for going the Kifaru route was.

1) When trying them on the frame has IMO an oversized lumbar square which fits me well.
2) Multiple compression straps and ease of use.
3) Flexibility to configure in a multitude of ways.
A) pack + frame
B) pack + meatshelf + frame
C) A+B + guide lid
D) All of the above with easy attach small pouches on the belt sides
E) All the above with a large and medium pouch on the outside
F) Frame + cargo net for meat hauling
G) Frame + cargo net + guide lid for short day hunts

Those are the main uses I'm getting out of it.....I'm sure there will be others as it has just a ton of versatility.


Active Member
May 18, 2015
Eastern Oregon
I've got the Blacks Creek "cure" lumbar pack. I always pack game bags and other essentials for processing one. This pack works well for me. You might want to check out their web site, they have a video on how to use it. It will easily handle an elk hind quarter, so I can take out a full load the first trip out, instead of heading back almost empty handed to retrieve a larger pack. It's a good pack with lots of thought put in on hunting with it.


Very Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
Packs are a super personal choice. When I lived in CT we never really used a pack because the whole state is so small you could walk a zone in a couple hours. Blinds and stands were "the thing". When I moved to CO I knew I needed to be on foot way more, but I was tight on budget. Personally I LOOOOOVE packs with a lot of external and belt storage so I can have thing-specific groups of items. Those tend to also be the more expensive ones, so to save money I sort of put one together on my own out of these parts:

Base pack: (no longer sold but there are plenty of similar ones - I think I spent $44.99)

This is your basic generic-brand import 35L pack. It's super cheap, but it has a lot of the same features the high end ones do: 4 compression straps, MOLLE on the waist belt, dedicated storage (with a strap hanger to keep the weight off) for a hydration bladder, kangaroo pouch, velcro patch, etc. As cheap as it was, over the past 3 years I probably have 100+ miles of hiking with a typical load of 20-30lbs and it's still working great.

I guess I'm a bit of a hypochondriac but when you're a 2-hour walk+drive just to get cell reception to call an ambulance, what's in here could save your life way better than what's in typical "hiking" emergency kits (a couple tylenol and some water purification tablets will not help a sucking chest wound or broken leg). I added a red/white name tag with my name on it to this and to the pack itself, and hung this on the top of the outside of the pack. It stays on really well, but has its own handle and can be torn off if somebody needs to jog over to somebody really hurt.

To the kit I added a small pouch of basic meds, including aspirin and benedryl (can buy time for heart attacks or allergic reactions) and a diabetic-recovery sugar tablet. They're cheap, over the counter, weigh nothing, and those issues come up more often than folks realize.

I carry a couple bandaids in a side pouch, separate from this. I cut myself all the darned time.

On my left pack waist belt I have this. It's the PERFECT size for a turkey box call or other calls, windicator, range finder, small bag of pick-me-up M&M+raisin mix, and a few other tidbits. When hunting I keep an extra 4-round mag here just in case.

On my right belt I have this. I'm a sucker for gadgets and I LOVE my GPS, on which I use OnX and Locus Pro religiously to avoid trespassing, explore areas I satellite-scouted via Google Maps earlier, and record my hike. When scouting I take pictures of scrape, bedding areas, food sources, and other so on I want to come back to. My phone fits perfectly in the outer pouch here, which is elastic so putting it in and out is silent and quick. The inner pouch has all sorts of "small junk": A small fabric measuring tape in case I ever get that trophy buck, a Sharpie, a Gerber Dime, band aids, a tiny bottle of Rem Oil, a microfiber cloth for my scope, a spare pair of contacts, and a pair of tweezers for ticks.

If you've noticed I don't have a flashlight listed it's because I found a small one with a nice belt clip that fits perfect in an elastic band on the front chest strap on the pack, so I always have it handy. In the back pouches, my backup flashlight is a headlamp. I love headlamps.

Over the years this worked out SUPER well for me and at the time I bought these items it was a <$100 setup. Since then I've sprung for two large side pouches, which turned out to be SUPER hard to find for a reasonable price in the size I wanted. This is what I found, and they're great:

I moved all my "wet" gear into the one on my left, and all my "cold" gear into the one on the right. The weather changes quick here - I've had hail storms and rain move me into "wet, 40F" territory not 30 minutes after starting a hike on "balmy 65F" sunny days. Having these on the outside of my pack when I'm not using them makes it 5 seconds to put on. In my wet pouch in addition to my own rain slicker and such, I carry two of those $1 disposable ponchos in safety orange. Mostly for guests, but you never know.

All of this stuff is heavier than a $350 pack with dedicated storage systems would be, but only by a pound or so. My typical day-pack load, with everything above (plus some safety items I always carry IN the pack, like a roll of paracord, backup knife, and 1mil 8x10 plastic rolled sheet), including lunch and a change of socks, has been averaging around 22lbs. I always weigh before I go. Obviously, I'm a geek. On longer hikes it can go 35-40lbs but still very manageable for me.

One last thing, equipment-geek wise. Lately I've started using MREs more and more for lunch (or DIYing them to save money on some bits). I'm no archer, so I'm always out in the colder seasons with the rest of the rifle crew. It's REALLY nice having a hot meal, but even though I own two nice stoves they're just dead weight after you eat. The MRE is self-heating and the self-heater weighs almost nothing. They're not super cheap, but in the long run it's probably a break even with stoves, fuel, and so on (with an MRE you have a lot more trash to pack out but it's light, and there's nothing to clean). This is just for lunch - dinner and breakfast are always either at camp or a couple of granola bars.