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gw3006's picture
Joined: 02/26/2016
Posts: 4
Pack size for backpack hunting/hauling meat

I am wondering what size pack others are using for backpack hunting/hauling out meat. I currently have a 3300cuin pack I haven't used it yet just bought it and after it arrived it looks like it's gonna fill up with all my gear and not leave any room for hauling meat (Guess I might have to stash my gear). 

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4423
Your problem is going to be

Your problem is going to be the number of trips that you have to do to get just the meat out, not to mention your gear. 

Even if you shoot a smallish spike bull elk you are going to need a couple of trips with just meat and it goes up from there.  One bull that I shot gave me 360 lbs of boned out meat to get off of the hill and take care of.  So considering just how full you want to fill your pack figure that one out.  It took me 6 trips and about 7 hours total to get it back to the truck and I didn't have to worry about camping gear which would of ment at least 1 more pack. 

Even a deer you are going to have to make 2 trips to your vehicle, one with meat and one with your gear. 

Joined: 07/16/2009
Posts: 70

I think, no, I know, I've gone through more backpacks over the years than I have hunting rifles or even hunting spots.  I've tried everything from little day packs to giant, aluminum pack frames and have recently settled on a Kifaru Duplex Timberline 2 which is 5200 in^3.   I've tried North Face, Eberlestock, Cabelas, Kelty, Badlands (I think that's what it is), and others. 

Here's what I learned.  It's best to get a pack with some sort of internal frame.  External frames get caught on everything and are loud.  A daypack is great for hunting close to camp, but they really can't carry a load of meat out.  Have to go back to camp and get a bigger pack.   I loved the North Face pack (Terra 35 I think) and I managed to carry out a 110lb. load of gear and meat one year, but it was anything but ideal.  It held up fine...my back on the otherhand was not so fine.

Eberlestock packs are built super tough but they are HEAVY.  Like 10lbs. heavy EMPTY.   Every ounce adds up going up and down mountains all day.  The Kifaru is just under 6lbs empty and has more room than the Eberlestock.  The Kifaru was super expensive though, like a mega-wallet-emptying $750 with all the doo-dads.  The nice thing about the Kifaru is that is despite being 5200 inches big it cinches up super small when it's only partially filled.  So partially filled, it's no bigger than an average day pack.  It also has a cargo panel that clips on externally for carry quarters, bows, rifles, etc.  

I love hunting with a small day pack, but walking back to the truck 3 miles one way after shooting one just to get another backpack has taught me to deal with a larger pack on the hunt.  Carrying meat out on an external pack offered no benefit over an internal frame pack except there was less blood in the pack as the meat could be straped on a shelf.  So that leaves the internal frame pack and all I can say is go as LIGHT, STRONG, and BIG as you can.  You have to decide which of those criteria is most important to you.

GooseHunter Jr's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/28/2005
Posts: 3748
I used a Tenzing 6000 last

I used a Tenzing 6000 last year for a 7 day backpack trip and I had plenty of room for all my gear.  However I do not think I could get much meat out with all the gear at the same time.  I do beleive that I could be most of it out in one or two trips though and then go back for the rest of my gear.  Pack did great and was very comfortable.

Joined: 10/08/2009
Posts: 110

I am partial to Kifaru. I have packs of theirs in all sizes from short 1300 cu in to over 7000 cu in. I most frequently find myself using a 4800 cu in pack that compresses well. Whether its day hunts from basecamp or packed in. 4800 cu in is enough to make the first trip out with your gear and still bring a quarter or more. After that you dump the gear and just carry meat. 

That said, Kifaru's current lineup is killer. You can get a removable internal frame that will hold up to far more than your body will and carry 100# loads comfortably (as long as your legs are up to it). With that frame though, you can attach a multitude of packs from a less than 2000 cu in short hike pack, to greater than 7000 cu in multi day pack. I have been looking at getting a Kifaru Nomad to go with my frame for that tiny hunting size but ability to swallow big and awkward loads when need be. IE-carrying your camp setup in, or an elk out

If you are local denver metro, let me know and I'll let you take a hike with one of mine loaded down to see how comfortable it is.

Joined: 10/25/2011
Posts: 102
This is a good topic. I'm

This is a good topic. I'm currently looking to get my first nice pack and have been doing reading/research for the last month! I was leaning heavily for Kifaru as they're only 30 minutes down the road and everybody loves them, but the $800+ price tag is pretty damn intimidating! Stone Glacier has great reviews also and are a bit lighter and cheaper (it's all relative!) than the Kifaru. The new Sky Talus 6900 is a sweet looking pack, but not sure I need/want one that big. I wish there was store to try them all on and check them all out, it's hard making this decision without getting to compare them all side by side!

Not sure how long your trips typically are- if you're only doing a night or 2, you could probably get away with a smaller pack. However if you're going a 5+ days I think you're going to want a larger pack to make sure you can get all your gear and food packed in.

Location: Aurora, Colorado
Joined: 04/21/2012
Posts: 42
I like to to remove the pack

I like to to remove the pack so I can lash the quarters directly to the external frame.  It keeps my pack clean and saves a little weight for the 6+ trips I normally make.  

Personally I don't have a need for an expensive backpack.  I paid maybe $150 for my pack and six hunts later with many Elk and it's still going strong.  

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