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#8388074 - 12/24/13 Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW"
RickBin Offline


Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 06/10/00
Posts: 9539
Loc: Los Angeles, California
Hi All:

I want to thank Scott Reekers and his crew for undertaking to review and document some of the most cutting-edge backpacks on the market for hardcore backpack hunters. You can find the article here:

CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW

Please use this space to ask Scott questions about the article.

Enjoy!

rb
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Rick Bin
24hourcampfire.com

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#8389173 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: RickBin]
OutdoorAg Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 04/03/07
Posts: 1707
Loc: Texas
Great review and write up. It seems all are more then capable. Would love to see a follow up on carrying a rifle with each pack. I know Stone Glacier and Kifaru have their own weapon carry systems, and maybe Paradox working on something. Would be fun o compare and contrast how they each carry and allow for access to rifle.

Great Job!

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#8389478 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: OutdoorAg]
RockChucker30 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 695
Loc: Tennessee
Congratulations Scott! Really nice job. I know a lot of time and effort went into this and I am very glad to see it pay off.

Nathan

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#8389773 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: RockChucker30]
Whttail_in_MT Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 02/17/04
Posts: 4874
Loc: avore
Thanks to all involved in producing this comparative review.

sreekers- once camp is packed in, is there much difference between them being used as day packs?

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#8390272 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: RickBin]
SU35 Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 08/14/02
Posts: 12677
Great write up, thanks!

Question for the writers...

You spoke of how tough the Metcalf was and then both reviews gave it the lowest durability marks of all the packs. Why is that?

For hauling 100+ lbs, how did the Stone Glacier do?
I'm not looking for a comparison to the other packs. Just its own merit.

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#8390338 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: SU35]
Huntr Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 10760
Loc: Lubbock, Texas
Great review!

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#8390361 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: SU35]
sreekers Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/11/12
Posts: 392
WIT-
I have only used the Kifaru Gunbearer and have mixed feelings on it. For easy access it's great, but if you take a tumble with it on, well....I can leave some bruises in the armpit.

I will post pictures of how we put rifles on the packs, I still used a sling quite a bit.

SU35-
I went back and looked, We did give the Metcalf the highest quality marks. In the color coding it's the third from the top. If could do one thing, we would add numbers to the actual graph to make it clearer.

Over 100lbs, the SG did well. Once we added the lumbar pad, and lowered the belt the comfort was even better. I am looking forward to trying out the new belt.

MR builds their backpacks like tanks. I still have the Metcalf and If I were to be using it in nasty country there is not a doubt in my mind that it would be able to haul all the weight I wanted it to, roll it down a hill, and it would still work.


Edited by sreekers (12/24/13)

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#8390540 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: sreekers]
Calvin Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 09/25/03
Posts: 17178
Loc: AK
Just curious if you noticed how sensitive the packs were in regard to how they were loaded? For example, was 1 pack really finicky in how the 100lb load was loaded in order to it not kill you on the hike?

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DIY, Fair Chase, Public Land Hunter

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#8390581 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: sreekers]
sreekers Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/11/12
Posts: 392
Here are a few more pack pictures for discussion sake.
[img]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/vkA2gxBwm09Oljvnjrr-Ms6gSblp0k64BZ3dXaTonKI=w1582-h738-no[/img]
The halfway point of one of our hiking routes this summer. Namack with the Metcalf at 80lbs I believe.

Kifaru with rifle lashed to side, we were about to leave after a week in the mountains chasing mule deer.

My .300 lashed to the side of the SG, works ok, but would have probably been a little bit better to have the gun harness they offer.

Good view of the Talon day pack and compression system.

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#8390590 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: sreekers]
alaska_lanche Online   content
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 04/17/08
Posts: 2384
Loc: Wasilla, Alaska
Good stuff Scott!!! Well thought out and written!

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#8390648 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: Calvin]
sreekers Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/11/12
Posts: 392
Originally Posted By: Calvin
Just curious if you noticed how sensitive the packs were in regard to how they were loaded? For example, was 1 pack really finicky in how the 100lb load was loaded in order to it not kill you on the hike?



We did our best to load the packs well. With the Bikini frame and Paradox don't put anything super hard against the back. There isn't a frame sheet to stop it from poking you in the back.

All of them held the load in place well, but we did our best to keep weight close to the body and never higher than the shoulders.

The MR probably was my least favorite as far as balance goes, SG kept things close and didn't stick out too far. Paradox had a bigger bag so we had to be more conscious about where we placed weight. The Kifaru is small enough that keeping weight close was pretty easy too.

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#8390680 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: sreekers]
Calvin Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 09/25/03
Posts: 17178
Loc: AK
How did the packs rate as far as how easy they were to get adjusted to your body?
_________________________
DIY, Fair Chase, Public Land Hunter

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#8390869 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: Calvin]
sreekers Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/11/12
Posts: 392
Originally Posted By: Calvin
How did the packs rate as far as how easy they were to get adjusted to your body?


Stone Glacier was very easy to get dialed in, Mystery Ranch is a close second, just have to make sure you order the right size belt and harness.

Paradox isn't tough, but there is a learning curve so adjust it well at home with weight.

Kifaru was the toughest to get dialed in, but if you have used the duplex it's much easier.

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#8390957 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: alaska_lanche]
DZG Offline
Member

Registered: 12/04/07
Posts: 111
Scott,

I enjoyed the article on the packs. I was wondering why it was limited to just four lightweight high end packs? As I read your comments on the Paradox being fresh off the sewing machine, with improvements still on their way, I was curious why the review wasn't more comprehensive to include packs such as Kuiu, Hill People Gear, McHale, and possibly other load haulers guys might be interested in.

Don't take my comments wrong, I just would of liked to know more about some of these others. I appreciate the time you spent and your review of the four packs.
_________________________
Hunting is about everything you do before you pull the trigger.

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#8390979 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: sreekers]
Calvin Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 09/25/03
Posts: 17178
Loc: AK
Originally Posted By: sreekers
Originally Posted By: Calvin
How did the packs rate as far as how easy they were to get adjusted to your body?


Stone Glacier was very easy to get dialed in, Mystery Ranch is a close second, just have to make sure you order the right size belt and harness.

Paradox isn't tough, but there is a learning curve so adjust it well at home with weight.

Kifaru was the toughest to get dialed in, but if you have used the duplex it's much easier.


Thanks. Very helpful. That stone glacier is sounding better and better.
_________________________
DIY, Fair Chase, Public Land Hunter

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#8391045 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: DZG]
djp Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 491
Loc: BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: DZG
Scott,

...I was curious why the review wasn't more comprehensive to include packs such as Kuiu, Hill People Gear, McHale, and possibly other load haulers guys might be interested in.


I'd guess that money could be a limiting factor...they did buy 3/4 packs. The other guess is Kuiu couldn't handle 100# without pain; Hill People don't make their own frame (yet); and McHale is a full custom (not really a fair comparison to mostly off the shelf versions) that also costs quite a bit more. Just my guess though.
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www.bcoutdoorlife.com

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#8391066 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: DZG]
sreekers Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/11/12
Posts: 392
Originally Posted By: DZG
Scott,

I enjoyed the article on the packs. I was wondering why it was limited to just four lightweight high end packs? As I read your comments on the Paradox being fresh off the sewing machine, with improvements still on their way, I was curious why the review wasn't more comprehensive to include packs such as Kuiu, Hill People Gear, McHale, and possibly other load haulers guys might be interested in.

Don't take my comments wrong, I just would of liked to know more about some of these others. I appreciate the time you spent and your review of the four packs.


No offense taken. This project started to get legs last spring, and at that point these were the packs that seemed to be getting the most attention across several forums, including this one.

On a practical level, we are two guys with regular jobs, and a limited budget. We financed this ourselves, with the exception of the Paradox. The Paradox was number 3 I believe off the cutting room floor and was a loaner that we sent off to Dan Adair after we were done.

We also felt like it wouldn't be fair to do more than 4 in a head to head because it would take over a year to give each pack a fair shot. 25 miles per pack means 100 miles total and hiking just about every day to knock of miles at variable distances and weights. Mule Deer scouting season knocked out a LOT of the light weight miles for me, but it takes time regardless.

Ultimately it came down to time and making sure we gave each pack a fair shot.

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#8391095 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: sreekers]
KC Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 5171
Loc: Colorado Springs, Colorado USA

Here's a review of eleven more packs by the Outdoor Gear Lab.

http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Backpacks-Backpacking-Reviews

KC
_________________________
Wind in my hair, Sun on my face, I gazed at the wide open spaces, And I was at home.


THE COROLLARY TO FREEDOM IS PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.



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#8391097 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: sreekers]
RiesigJay Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 07/07/13
Posts: 396
Loc: Western US
Scott and Nevada,

Thank you for doing this review. One question I had was:

If you had to choose a pack as a "jack of all trades" for hunting and backpacking, what would be your choice?

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#8391114 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: RiesigJay]
Diyelker Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 07/16/11
Posts: 431
Loc: Too far east
If you get your hands on the updated paradox, let us know if the issues you saw have been eliminated. Thanks for the review.
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What happens when you get scared half to death...twice?

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#8391166 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: Diyelker]
sreekers Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/11/12
Posts: 392
Originally Posted By: Diyelker
If you get your hands on the updated paradox, let us know if the issues you saw have been eliminated. Thanks for the review.


Absolutely.

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#8391228 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: DZG]
Take_a_knee Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 09/10/09
Posts: 13859
Originally Posted By: DZG
I was curious why the review wasn't more comprehensive to include packs such as Kuiu, Hill People Gear, McHale, and possibly other load haulers guys might be interested in.


I'll chime in on the Hill People Gear Ute, its designers don't really consider it a "meat-hauler", they state on their forum that it is designed to be a go-to pack for loads up to 60#, not that it wouldn't carry more, they just don't consider it the best tool for such a load. They prefer a frame pack for heavier loads, and with the abscence of all hunter frame packs (except for the Barney) on the market, they are developing their own.

The Ute has similar suspension/design/size to the Kifaru Late Season, and should be viewed as such. For a day-hunter carrying out a boned out whitetail, or the first load back to the truck to retrieve a frame pack, I think it'd be perfect. That same pack will do nicely for a general hiking pack, year round.

The waistbelt is quite Kifaru-like, but it has a thinner lumbar pad (this can be changed anyway, on a Kifaru as well) but the shoulder harness they have is truly unique and spanks every other design, IMO.

I'll post more when I've gotten some use out of mine with various loads. I think their 60# reccomendation might be conservative, but I haven't used it enough to say.

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#8391494 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: Diyelker]
Kevin_T Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 04/15/10
Posts: 1525
Loc: Western Colorado
Thanks for putting forth the time and effort Scott and Nevada to test and compile all of this information. This review was a big undertaking. To confirm, yes I think Scott's pack was probably number 2 or 3. I think he got one before Nathan even. We knew there was some risk to exposing it so early, but we also wanted to get some good feedback and testing in and this was a good opportunity. I believe Nevada carried 100 lbs in the Paradox for something crazy like 35 miles or something, which is absolutely awesome and invaluable to us. We did refine a few items, namely the harness which I believe now is very very good. The lid was refined as well and based on feedback we have added a couple features as default (such as PALS on the belt). I think after having gone through so many testers and users we have a pretty good feel for adjustment being drop dead simple for most folks, it just took getting it on a lot of different body types to get the process dialed in that works best. In all honesty, we sent Scott, all the big stuff (6300 bag /day talon etc), where probably a 4800 and base talon would have been a better fit within his review criteria and it would have been a pound or so lighter and $100 less expensive option as well. Realize, we were just getting our feet under us, so it is what we had at the moment.
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#8391503 - 12/24/13 Re: Ask Scott Reekers About "The CAMPFIRE HARDCORE HUNTING BACKPACK REVIEW" [Re: Take_a_knee]
pgsalton Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 50
I was a little disapointed that they only looked at the 4 packs you see mentioned 'the most' on the hunting forums. I've used a lot of packs - including some much like the ones rated - and I don't that style of pack (bag on a frame) anymore period.

I like a pack like the Granite gear Stratus flatbed (or for the cheaper LL Bean 'carryall'). More of an external frame back, but with an internal frame suspension. The best of both worlds so to speak.

http://www.granitegearstore.com/Stratus-Flatbed-P21.aspx

I have a kifaru gun bearer on mine too. Much easier to load up with meat. I put all my gear into a drybag and put it on the pack.

This past fall I had my gear and 140 pounds of elk on it. I've noticed that the local hunting store is even selling the pack hunters here on Kodiak Island, and all the hunters i hunt with use it. But yet you never read about it on the hunting forums.

It seems the ones you do read about all have a bag that you stick meat down into. That said for many years I used the Kifaru long hunter - just the frame without the bag. And it was OK - but I pretty much killed it hauling meat. The new granite gear pack carries way heavier loads much more easily. Only issue is that the frame alone is pretty heavy.

Patrick

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