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Hello, I am looking to go on my first Elk hunt next year, and I wanted to begin acquiring some of the stuff I will need. One of my biggest questions is what type of pack to get. The plan is to hike in 5 or so miles and set up a camp, and then hunt from there for 5 days or so. I know I will need a large frame pack to haul my gear in and out and hopefully an elk out also. However, I am not sure what to use as a day pack. I read that a lot of guys just use the same pack for the day, and some people don't take any pack with them for the day. What would you recommend I do? Do you use separate packs for hiking in and out vs actual hunting? And what would be some affordable options?

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I use a Kuiu Icon Pro 5200. Works great for 5 day hunts. I don't carry a separate pack for day hunts out of camp. I just carry my mostly empty 5200 in case we get an animal down. It's ready to pack meat.

Lots of great packs out there. You just have to find the right size and make sure you do some test runs and get it dialed in for comfort. Have fun on your first Elk hunt. You will have a great time.
 

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I don’t have any experience with them yet, but iam looking at exo mountain 3500 or the 5500. I’ve watched about every you tube video I can find, and believe I will go with one of these. But there are some good reviews on other packs as well. Stone Mountain, is a possible one also.
 

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I don’t have any experience with them yet, but iam looking at exo mountain 3500 or the 5500. I’ve watched about every you tube video I can find, and believe I will go with one of these. But there are some good reviews on other packs as well. Stone Mountain, is a possible one also.
Stone Glacier?

I’d go with either Exo, Stone Glacier or Kifaru.
There are others, but these are the top 3 IMO.
3500 ci bag...spend extra buying the lightest and most compressible camping items, ration out your food and gear well and a 3500 will work for 5-7 days(comes down to how much food you need).
Skip any snivel gear(no extras)
Go in light, be mobile and hopefully come out heavy.

Use your 3500 pack as your daypack.
 

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Bowtech Realm X and PSE Inertia 50lbs
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For your first time and this depends on if you are going with guys who have done this before, is buy a good back pack, (maybe not as good as litsted above)maybe look on here, other hunting sites, e-bay, craigslist etc. youu have 7 minths. Then throw a fanny pack in the bottom of the pack.

Check and see if Alps has something that might work.

I have their Pathfinder, but it is not want you want to use to back in a camp. I use a freighter naked pack for that, strap a big duffle type bag on it with all my gear.
 

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Stone Glacier?

I’d go with either Exo, Stone Glacier or Kifaru.
There are others, but these are the top 3 IMO.
3500 ci bag...spend extra buying the lightest and most compressible camping items, ration out your food and gear well and a 3500 will work for 5-7 days(comes down to how much food you need).
Skip any snivel gear(no extras)
Go in light, be mobile and hopefully come out heavy.

Use your 3500 pack as your daypack.
Why not Mystery Ranch?

Really like the Beartooth 80.

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Seek Outside
 

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Why not Mystery Ranch?

Really like the Beartooth 80.

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Nothing wrong with MR packs, I’ve owned a few.
A little over built and heavy...but great packs.

I simply prefer the attributes of the 3 I mentioned, for light and mobile backcountry hunting.
 

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Luke welcome to the forum...if you do a search in the Western section there are many threads on packs for elk.
 

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I love my MR metcalf. Picked it up used but practically new for 350. That’s not much more than a new Tenzing 6000 or alps commander x or any of the eberlestocks. Those packs will all work but packs from MR, SG, Exo and Kifaru are in a different league. I had a commander x from alps and it was ok but I think weighed 9+ pounds and you can’t get most of those kind of packs to fit proper unless your just lucky and happen to be the right size for the pack. Packs will feel like they fit good empty. It’s when you have 80lbs in them that you really know.


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Without a doubt get a pack that you can day hunt out of, something you'll take with you every day. Otherwise your basically adding another another trip for your pack out. Some thing in the ~3-4000ci size will do everything from week long backpack trips to day hunting out of a trail head.

Ive run a Exo 3500 for ~4years and have been really pleased with it. If you can try on any of them do that but the packs from exo, kifaru, stone glacier, mystery ranch are all going to do well for you.
 

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If at all possible try and go to a convention and try a few on. I was sold on the kifaru packs until I went to one and tried both a kifaru and an exo frame on under load. No doubt both are awesome packs but the important thing is how the pack fits you.
 

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I have an Exo 5500 and it's great for day hunting or backpacking. It cinches down as small as you want. I went with Exo over Mystery Ranch because I can buy a K2000 pack without buying a new frame but honestly, the 5500 compresses so well I don't see the need.

I packed my elk out last year with a crappy pack and bought my Exo before a deer hunt so I can't say on meat hauling but plenty testimonials out there. Buy once cry once. Probably can't go wrong with the major brands listed in this thread.
 

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I completely agree with Radieker-don't invest the type of cash for any of these packs until you have the chance to try them on and see how they fit your body.
 

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No reason to spend $700 on a pack you may only use once. Buy a used backpacking pack off eBay, osprey, Kelty, REI, etc. these packs are built to haul weight comfortably and you can pick up one for $100. The color makes no difference, if your lucky enough to kill an elk on your first trip you can easily fit boned out meat bags in the pack. Take some contractor bags if you don’t want blood on the pack. Personally I would just toss it in and not worry too much. After you get home soak the pack and wash it.

If your successful and want to keep coming out then invest in a high end hunting pack. The only thing a fancy hunting pack offers is the ability to pack meat between the frame and bag. This is nice for keeping gear clean and easy to use but not necessarily.

My second suggestion would be a horn hunter full curl frame. Hauls heavy loads ok and works good as a day pack. You can easily toss a camp bag on too and drop it at camp. Backpacking in 5 miles for a week is quite the ordeal without even killing an elk. Hope your prepared for that, not very many people have actually packed an elk out that far on there back. Typically elk don’t die in easy terrain either, just breaking down a bull is a bunch of work.

It sounds romantic to backpack in, kill and animal then haul him out on your back that far. In reality it is a grueling task and a ton of work, the type of work that most people don’t have the will to do. It takes at minimum 4 trips with 1 guy to get an elk out.
 

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MR metcalf. Picked it up used but practically new for 350*****

I did the same as shoot2 thril - Keep a lookout out on Rokslide.com classifies where I bought mine.
It is a cleverly designed pack, comfortable and light for its strength. We packed out 250 lbs of meat plus rack 4 miles last year. I had 80 lbs on 2 trips, felt fine ( for a 65 year old ....)
 

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If you have the right gear and experience to not take some extra stuff you dont really need 3500 might be enough but I would recommend 5000 or up for a little more room. Mystery ranch, kifaru osprey kuiu are pretty good places to look first. Good luck
 
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