Pack for Alaska moose hunt

mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,166
173
midwest
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?
 

AKaviator

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Jul 26, 2012
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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!!
 

mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,166
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midwest
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.
 

AKaviator

Veteran member
Jul 26, 2012
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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!
 

mcseal2

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Mar 1, 2011
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midwest
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!
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
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Gypsum, Co
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.
 

mntnguide

Very Active Member
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.
 

luckynv

Active Member
Aug 3, 2014
274
1
Henderson, Nv
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
 

mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,166
173
midwest
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.
 
I know you did not mention them, but I would look closely at the packs available from Mystery Ranch, EXO, and Stone Glacier. I have personally owned MR and EXO and they are bomb-proof, comfortable packs. Having owned the j107 as well, I don't see it as even being in the same league - especially when under extreme load.

Regardless of which model you choose, I'd definitely go with the bigger pack. You can always snug everything down, but running out of space is the last thing you want to have happen.
 

mntnguide

Very Active Member
I know you did not mention them, but I would look closely at the packs available from Mystery Ranch, EXO, and Stone Glacier. I have personally owned MR and EXO and they are bomb-proof, comfortable packs. Having owned the j107 as well, I don't see it as even being in the same league - especially when under extreme load.

Regardless of which model you choose, I'd definitely go with the bigger pack. You can always snug everything down, but running out of space is the last thing you want to have happen.
I definitely second everything above...You dont want to run out of room, and its pretty easy to shrink down bigger packs for day mode, then try to stuff extra things in a smaller pack. Also, I used to think Eberlestock were top quality packs because ive owned multiple and liked them a lot...that is until I started using my EXO last year and finally realized what a real GOOD pack is supposed to ride like and feel like. Its a night and day difference in quality and comfort when you actually are putting a pack to the test with heavy loads
 

Bughalli

Member
Jan 15, 2012
139
0
I know you did not mention them, but I would look closely at the packs available from Mystery Ranch, EXO, and Stone Glacier. I have personally owned MR and EXO and they are bomb-proof, comfortable packs. Having owned the j107 as well, I don't see it as even being in the same league - especially when under extreme load.

Regardless of which model you choose, I'd definitely go with the bigger pack. You can always snug everything down, but running out of space is the last thing you want to have happen.
Agree with this as well. I haven't used all these packs, so I'm armchair quarterbacking here, but those top tier brands are known to carry heavy loads very well. I would go with Kifaru or EXO personally, but they're like boots - packs fit everyone different. I wouldn't worry too much about the height of the stays, that's what keeps the weight off your shoulders. I bought and sold my Eberlestock, weight rode too low and didn't fit my torso no matter what I did. I felt too much weight on my shoulders. That was with 60lbs. It would be much worse with more weight.
 

mcseal2

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,166
173
midwest
Well I ended up buying an Eberlestock F1 Mainframe to try. It has a solid frame and much more functional load lifters than the other Eberlestock pack's like the J34 with just stays. It has lots of options for bags including a 3000cu dry bag. I did a review on it here, but it handles 50lbs real nice and I will try 100lbs soon as I get a chance. I like the width of the frame it's narrower and easy to carry a slung rifle with it on. For whatever reason the Eberlestock harness seems to fit me better than the others I tried.
 

jimss

Active Member
Jun 10, 2012
219
89
When I think of moose I think of bulk and weight. When I think of packs designed for hefty, bulky loads I wouldn't consider a pack unless it was capable of 6,000+ cu inches or larger with a frame that is designed for 100+ lb loads. If you do a search on the Alaska hunting forum or elsewhere you will likely find that Barneys, Kifaru, or Stone Glacier are the standards for moose hauling. I have a Kifaru EMR II for hauling. On my last Alaska dall sheep hunt I hauled meat, life sized cape, gear, and rifle. Having a pack designed for hefty loads will likely save you several trips and frustration!
 

unoboats

New Member
May 1, 2014
13
0
North Carolina
Heath, seriously think about Kifaru, awesome packs i have had Elberlestocks and found I could haul almost twice the weight more comfortably in a Kifaru. fit and comfort will shine through. I am also waiting for my first EXO K2 2000 pack, will let you know how it works out, will be using it on a fall archery elk and muley hunt in colorado.
Chip
 

gonhunting247

Veteran member
Jan 21, 2014
1,013
379
All this talk about these high end packs makes me want to try one. I just use a stripped down Alaska 2 frame with the top bar and bag removed (This will haul a heck of a lot a weight, but not saying it is all that comfortable:)). Then I put the straps of a small lightweight day-pack over the posts. I hook the gun sling over one of the post and use a strap to attach the butt. It's not fancy, but has served me well on many hunts. I am really interested in trying some of the suggested packs though, if money ever allows. Sounds like they would be a lot more comfortable! Good luck on your hunt mcseal2, and enjoy all that anticipation, that's part of the adventure!
 

jimss

Active Member
Jun 10, 2012
219
89
Kifaru, SG, and Barneys come at a pretty hefty price. I live on a limited budget and found almost new Kifaru bags and frame on Craigslist and Rokslide website classifieds for a large chunk off new ones. Well worth the $!
 

tim

Veteran member
Jun 4, 2011
2,142
677
north idaho
my eberelstock just one, worked well packing my moose out. I put both rib cabes on the outside of the pack and tied it down using the built in straps. the fronts fit in the pack well also. the head was a breeze. My just one rocked it.
 

hunter25

Active Member
Sep 8, 2016
482
169
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Good luck with your hunt.
I'm booked for caribou next year but booked last year so understanding your excitement and planning. My first trip to Alaska.
I like your weight allowance. We only get 75lbs each including the camp.

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