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Pack recommendations

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I am looking for a new pack to haul minerals/trail cameras around in the hills of SE Minnesota in the preseason.  It will also be used for weight training(2-3 hikes a week with a sand bag or a few rocks in the pack).  Lastly I would like to be able to strap my stand to the pack come September.  I carry my stand in and out nearly every sit... my back did not appreciate that last year, so I would like to move the weight to my hips!  As I am exploring further away from the parking areas my old backpack and standard treestand carry straps just aren't cutting it. 

 

I'm intrigued by the Horn Hunter main beam pack which they even advertise as being able to carry the stand, which I have never seen before.  It also looks like it compresses down pretty small when you don't need all of the space.  I am curious if anyone has ever tried these packs?  I haven't found much info on them online.

 

I'm sure many other packs could do everything listed above, so any recommendations would be appreciated.  I would like to stay in the $200 dollar range if possible.  I have a hard time justifying the $500+ price tag on the high end packs like Kifaru and Mystery Ranch having never got to try one personally.

 

Thanks in advance.

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This might be of interest or help....  It seemed to me that the Military is carrying around a lot of heavy stuff, and their surplus stuff might be available and affordable.   

 

http://militarybackpackguide.com/

 

You and google can take it from there if you see something that you think would work.  I found page interesting.

 

 

 

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I spent a lot of time with military issue rucks on my back. I wouldn't recommend it...I would stick to the civilian world. The military makes one-type-fits-all equipment. I would do some research and try a few out and see what you like. And it doesn't seem like the surplus stuff is that cheap anyhow.

 

Just my two cents on that. 

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The best pack frame is none, but if that is not an option, I would suggest picking up a 40# bag of sand, and bringing it with you to your sporting goods store of choice, and trying the various models on with weight in them.

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My brother advised to stay clear of the military surplus as well.  Luckily he has a cabelas frame(not what I'm looking for), a Eberlestock, and a Mystery Ranch I can try so I will see how those feel.  Just a heads up swamptiger if you're ever looking for a pack a lot of outdoor stores have bags of lead shot for reloading.  That's what I used to rule out the badlands pack.  Needless to say I got a few strange looks from the employees and customers when I was loading up the pack, and then when I was running up and down the stairs!  It worked great though to prove that was not the one for me.  I just wish there was more of a selection locally.

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I have an old Swiss army pack with an internal frame that feels good on your back when it's lightly loaded, but when you put some weight in it (like a block of mineral salt), the only way you can somewhat balance out the load is to lean forward when you walk.  Not a comfortable position to be in for any distance.  Also have an old Alice pack and frame that I have used in the past to pack meat out of the mountains, and I wouldn't recommend that one either.

 

 

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I would completely disagree with swamptiger about frame packs. If your goal is to haul heavy weights, even up to 50 lbs, you need a frame of some sort. I would say external frame packs are a dying breed for many reasons and most of them are good reasons. 

 

All of the high end packs designed for large loads have some sort of frame. There are many ways to skin a cat, but suffice to say there are lots of options. 

 

The Eberlestock will be at the right price point and will probably suit your needs well if you keep the weight reasonable. Mystery Ranch will be a huge improvement over the Eberlestock, but you will likely notice the weight of the pack as the first thing. MR packs are heavy duty and made with heavy materials. Generally they are 3-5 pounds heavier than comparable packs. Other good options would be Kuiu and ExoMountain gear. They both make great packs for hunting and hauling weight and both are at the mid-range pricepoint. They each have their smaller packs right around $300. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Powerstroke said:

I would completely disagree with swamptiger about frame packs. If your goal is to haul heavy weights, even up to 50 lbs, you need a frame of some sort.

 

I think you may have misunderstood what I said.  What I meant was if there is such a thing as a great pack, I haven't seen it, and if your goal is to haul heavy weights, you would be better off getting a mule.

 

But if it is really a necessity to carry heavy articles around, I'm sure there are packs that are designed for the task better than others.  

 

 

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Well I thought I would give an update...

 

I ended up finding that Mystery Ranch had the Crew Cab in large with the older frame(NICE frame) on clearance.  A little more than I wanted to spend, but now that I have it I couldn't be happier!  I have put on just shy of 20 miles in the last few days with it loaded up with a 40 pound bag of water softner salt, and the pack feels great.  Every pack I tried on the cheaper end was very uncomfortable for me when loaded, because they just couldn't be fitted to my fairly wide frame.  Sure the pack is a little on the heavy side, but when you already weigh 250(hopefully a little less by Montana in the fall) I don't think you notice that weight as much. 

 

I was also pleasantly surprised to find my Lone Wolf Assault2 fits in it very well.  I pack my stand deep into public land every sit, and it was always tough packing in the stand, gear, and bow all in one shot with out it being a very awkward load.  I don't think the standard treestand shoulder straps were ever really meant for that IMO.  The pack should make this year much easier.

 

 

 

 

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