Best pack for toting meat?

COLOelkman

Member
Mar 12, 2011
92
19
Lakewood, CO
I've used Kelty and REI before hunting packs were invented. Then used Cabelas Alaskan guide frame pack and eventually couldn't stand the weight, (12lbs empty), a Badlands day pack which couldn't do much meat but a great daypack, a Kuiu 1850 and 6000 ultra which was very light weight and versatile but heavy loads weren't the greatest but OK and eventually got a Kifaru Nomad 2 this year. The Kifaru is by far the most comfortable for me when hauling heavy loads and I use by Kuiu 6000 mounted on the Nomad 2. I remove the Kuiu when I pack out meat which I was able to utilize this year on an elk. By far its the most comfortable pack I've had. The most I packed was about 70-80 lbs this year but I could have done maybe 20 more but didn't want to risk injury as it was steep country and I was solo.
 

25contender

Veteran member
Mar 20, 2013
1,635
66
Get a Kifaru Duplex frame with a Timberline 2 bag. Your body will be happy and thank you.
 

mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,166
175
midwest
It seems on all these threads I read there are a few common themes:

Lots of people like Mystery Ranch, Outdoorsmans, Eberlestock Mainframes, and Seek Outside.

More people seem to like Kifaru, Exo, or Stone Glacier.

I'm just making an observation not a judgement. It may be increased advertising rather than any particular feature separating these. More likely it's just how each brand fits each individual like with boot fit between top brands. They are the brands I hear mentioned most often on forums like this. I personally bought an Exo 3500 and am very happy with it. I also own an Eberlestock Mainframe and it's a great pack the Exo just fits my body better.

I have not personally tried most of these brands over miles with heavy loads, only the Exo and Eberlestock Mainframe. If I had them all side by side to compare I may find I like another one better. I don't think you would really go wrong with any of them though.

I'm sure I'm leaving out other great options, these are just the ones that come to mind right off when I read threads like this.
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
Staff member
Feb 3, 2014
7,227
2,152
www.eastmans.com
It seems on all these threads I read there are a few common themes:

Lots of people like Mystery Ranch, Outdoorsmans, Eberlestock Mainframes, and Seek Outside.

More people seem to like Kifaru, Exo, or Stone Glacier.

I'm just making an observation not a judgement. It may be increased advertising rather than any particular feature separating these. More likely it's just how each brand fits each individual like with boot fit between top brands. They are the brands I hear mentioned most often on forums like this. I personally bought an Exo 3500 and am very happy with it. I also own an Eberlestock Mainframe and it's a great pack the Exo just fits my body better.

I have not personally tried most of these brands over miles with heavy loads, only the Exo and Eberlestock Mainframe. If I had them all side by side to compare I may find I like another one better. I don't think you would really go wrong with any of them though.

I'm sure I'm leaving out other great options, these are just the ones that come to mind right off when I read threads like this.
I will add thoughts to this when I have some more time.
 

Slugz

Veteran member
Oct 12, 2014
3,479
1,770
52
Woodland Park, Colorado
I'm hoping to go up to the showroom in Wheat Ridge, Co and strap on a Kifaru.

I have too many packs right now for multiple different reasons/hunts and need to get a do it all. CO High Country's story sounds exactly like my situation.

I'd like to strap on an Exo also
 

CODAK

Active Member
Aug 8, 2016
381
333
Johnstown, CO
Here's one to throw you all for a loop. I use a Kelty Tactical Eagle 128L and a Kelty Falcon 66 for all my packputs I've ever done. Hold weight unbelievable and very durable. Any one else use these?
 

Ikeepitcold

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 22, 2011
9,606
844
Reno Nv
I use my gear pack to pack out meat. I used to use a frame but then I would have to go back to camp and get it. I carry my gear pack rather I have a 5 day camp in it or if I?m using it as a day pack so that?s why I use my gear pack now.
If you are using a small day pack and have a frame to pack out your meat I used to strap my small day pack onto my frame that way I have it when I get a animal down.
 

go_deep

Veteran member
Nov 30, 2014
2,592
1,866
Wyoming
I use my gear pack to pack out meat. I used to use a frame but then I would have to go back to camp and get it. I carry my gear pack rather I have a 5 day camp in it or if I?m using it as a day pack so that?s why I use my gear pack now.
If you are using a small day pack and have a frame to pack out your meat I used to strap my small day pack onto my frame that way I have it when I get a animal down.
Use to do the same thing, seemed like a wasted trip.
I do keep my old setup in camp/truck, something happens to my main pack, I've got a backup. Really like having everything I need with me, this year was a good example. Bull hit the ground 15 minutes before dark 3.3 miles from camp, I de-bonded and bagged him, and hauled out a load on my way to camp. Saved a lot of time not having to go back, just to get my meat hauling pack.
 

goinhuntn

Member
Aug 4, 2012
86
1
Way underated pack is the Hornhunter full curl system!! Great pack system & I have packed out several elk & deer with it.
 

mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,166
175
midwest
I use my gear pack to pack out meat. I used to use a frame but then I would have to go back to camp and get it. I carry my gear pack rather I have a 5 day camp in it or if I?m using it as a day pack so that?s why I use my gear pack now.
If you are using a small day pack and have a frame to pack out your meat I used to strap my small day pack onto my frame that way I have it when I get a animal down.
I used to just pack a small daypack, a Camelback Stryker. Then I got a spotter and tripod and needed more room, so I figured I should get a pack that could handle taking meat out the first trip. I got an Eberlestock J34. It worked pretty well for that but it wasn't the most comfortable with an elk hind quarter and was on the heavy side for a daypack. The lay-out and scabbard were nice. I'd take the first load out with it and then go back in with the Cabelas Alaskan Guide frame I had in the truck.

Later I went to the Eberlestock Mainframe and it was better. I went without the scabbard and used the Transformer bag for most stuff but had the Little Big Top bag for when I needed more room. I had the scabbard too for when I wanted to unzip the pack from the frame and just use the buckles, that gave me room for my scabbard between the bag and frame. For whitetail rifle hunting I'd zip the super spike camp duffle to the Mainframe and use it to pack all my warm stuff into my hunting area so I didn't sweat walking in, but also didn't freeze when sitting there for 3-4 hours in December. The single zipper that gave me access to everything was quiet and easy to pack up in the dark when I was ready to head out. It's really a pretty nice set-up, the guy I hunt with all the time was always envious and is buying it from me to replace his J34 for future seasons. I think the scabbard with the new bat wings might be an excellent set-up for day hunting, and when camping a dry bag with camp gear could be sandwiched between, kinda like a Kifaru Nomad with a scabbard. The big Cabelas frame was still more comfortable with a heavy load, but this one was way nicer to hunt while wearing and did the job just fine. Being used to the shooters harness Eberlestock uses for shoulder straps makes it hard to get used to shooting a rifle while wearing a pack with thick padded shoulder straps like the Cabelas or Exo.

The reason I'm selling him the Mainframe set-up is the Exo 3500 I tried. I already posted about it, but it just fits me better and holds my gear in a way I like. The way it is rigid vertically while flexing side to side makes it so much more comfortable to me wearing it while hunting and navigating nasty terrain. The comfort is worth more to me than the modularity and scabbard I loved on the Mainframe.

With the packs available today I don't think it makes near as much sense to run a simple daypack as it used to if packing meat might be involved. There are a lot of packs under 5lbs that have a good frame and are comfortable to get the first load out to the truck with. Even if the one you pick isn't as comfortable as the bigger frames they can sure get the first load out and save a trip, then you can go back with the bigger frame.
 
Last edited:

gonhunting247

Veteran member
Jan 21, 2014
1,059
522
I've also moved to using a Kuiu day pack (Icon Pro 1850). It uses the exact same carbon fiber frame as the larger packs. It has a meat sling that can easily handle a quarter of elk.

In the past I always used a meat pack frame, but have since moved to using a daypack able to haul meat so I don't waste a trip.
My son bought me a KUIU Icon 1850 a couple years ago. It is a nice day pack and is plenty capable of hauling 1/2 of a deer or a quarter of an elk (Bone in). We have hauled quite a few on both his and mine. I'm kind of old school/stuck in my ways I guess though, because I still grab the old Cabelas Alaskan 2 frame pack when I go back for more loads specifically to haul meat out.
The Kuiu fits me better as a day pack and 1st load hauler significantly better than my Badlands or my Eberlestock. I will say when hauling a real heavy load on the Kuiu I do know what CoHiCountry is talking about when he mentioned the brick on the lower back (It was real slight for me, but with the heavy load I could feel it.). I also agree that when cinched down, the excess strap length management is a bit of a nuisance. Overall for the money it is the best daypack/1st load hauler combo I've found. I would like to try the Kifaru, but it's tough to justify spending that much, when what I have works so well.
 

Elkhunter96

Active Member
Jan 8, 2013
221
0
Bountiful, Utah
I have both the KUIU and the Hornhunter Full Curl. For simply being tough as nails and backing meat, the horn hunter hands down is one of the best out there. The KUIU is ok, but is more of an every day pack and I usually switch it out when packing heavy. I have used it heavy, but the horn hunter is better to answer your exact question