I have the J107 and I LOVE IT! The versatility of the bag is amazing. With the bag collapsed to its smallest size it makes a great day pack. I can toss in my 2L water bladder, all the calls and other odds and ends I need, a lunch, and I am set all day. I can open the bag up and toss in the Super Spike Camp duffel that Eberlestock makes and go for 10 days. I can put in my bivy, sleeping bag, food and gear for 10 days and be around 36 pounds early season, 43 pounds late season (I'm in B.C., it gets cold). The best part about having the insert in the bag is that it zippers to the outside as well. I can put my whole camp back in the duffel bag, zip it to the outside, and put an elk quarter in it and walk out. My biggest single load so far was 122lbs. The bag took it in stride and was still comfortable.
The only thing I have done to make the bag better is to put some fabric tape on the aluminum bars in the frame so they don't squeak when wet and attaching a holster for my bear spray.
If you have any specific questions about it, or how much it should cost (I've seen a wide range of pricing) give me a shout.
Thanks for the review. I am between this pack and the blackscreek barbarian fetherlight and canadian. I have tried all three on in the store and I thought at first impression the canadian was most comfortable but that really doesn't mean much in the store!
I've owned that pack, and for me, a backpack wilderness hunter, I didn't find it too comfortable. I found the design of the pack to go outward instead of upward, which would move its center of gravity away from your hips (where most of the weight should be). When you add the super spike duffel, although it might add a some extra room, the weight is positioned far off your back no matter how tight the straps are. I've owned eberlestock packs, badlands, and some cheapo's here and there, but nothing has even come close to a Mystery Ranch NICE 6500. If you haven't checked out this company, it's about time. It's very pricey, and just a tad heavier than most packs, but your back won't notice the difference between 100 pounds or 20... Of course, the pack won't make 100 pounds feel like 20, but it makes it easier on your back, and place the weight where it should be, on you hips. I spend money on quality items I can depend on when I'm miles in the wilderness, and the comfort a Mystery Ranch pack can't be beat.
I'll admit the Mystery Ranch is a great bag. A hunting partner of mine has the super cab and he loves it. I've only ever had the problem of the weight in my Dragonfly being too far off my back when I had to 'force room' in the bag when I ended up with an animal down early in a long hunt and had to pack out a lot more food and gear than I expected. After the first load though, I could drop the duffel bag at the truck and go with just the bag for meat.
The second time I found myself with more stuff than I expected I tied some of my camp stuff (tent, bend roll) to the top of the quarter in my bag and it made a huge difference. The load was higher than I had really wanted, but it worked. Just a thought for the next time your out wearing your Dragonfly.
I will add that I have a Badlands 4500 and hate it. The design of the big compartment in the bag makes it so hard to pack uncommonly shaped things like elk, bivy sacs, and spotting scopes. The more squared off designs of bags like the Dragonfly or the Mystery Ranch bags is much better for things like that.
I just picked up the J107 last month but have not gotten to use it as of yet. I was able to pick it up for a smoking deal at Sportsmans Warehouse when they offered 20% off to military/LE/FD etc...$270. Thus far it seems as though it will pack quite nice (really like the two tublar compartments), the compression straps are long and seems to be QC'd rather well.
I will second the MR packs, I purchased a Blue Widow last summer and I was super pumped about it until I got home and loaded it full of gear. It was a very awkward pack for me being 6'2" and a buck 75. I adjusted it as much as I possibly could & I could never get it comfortable to my liking. A good friend told me about MR packs and after that I never looked back. I bought the Crew Cab with 3 extra load cells. It is one hell of a pack, build very solid and the most important I was like ordering a pair of pants, I could get it to fit my narrow butt. That's my 2 cents.
I bought this pack a couple years ago, have used it for a day pack on a 5 day mule deer hunting trip, and added the super spike duffel for a muliti day backpacking trip. Havent had the opportunity to haul out any game yet. Love this pack, very comfortable, I had 50 lbs in it last August and didnt really feel it, no soreness in my shoulders, etc. The detachable daypack is roomy but if you put too much it, it seems to "Droop" against your back, needs a more substantial hip belt to keep it vertical when loaded.
I don't own a J107 but I have the next size down, the J34. It's still a 'Just One' pack. I don't have a lot of experience with packs but I did a lot of reading before purchasing the J34; and when I got it I was not disappointed one bit. It hauls heavy loads easily and is still light enough for a daypack. I love the scabbard on it and how you can expand it when you need to. The side pockets really sold me because I can put my tripod on one side and my spotting scope on the other. The side loops and compression straps are also great. I can't wait to strap down a nice 6x6! It has many adjustments and fits my fat butt like a glove. I'm 5'10" 190 lbs.
I have been looking at Eberlestock packs a lot the last few days, I can't really see the advantage of the J107 over J34 other than it has a little more room which I don't think I will need. For less money and a little less weight the J34 seems like the way to go to me, can anyone point out any other advantages that I might have missed? I found a J34 today for $249 and am thinking about buying it within the next week or so since they only had 2 in stock.