Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Dj » Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:03 am

Hello all,
I am in the market for a Multiday Backpack for the wife and I for a 2-3 day hike/camping trip this summer. I am also obviously using this as an excuse to buy a serious multiday BOB. We have visited our local REI and found packs (75 liter range) that seem to fit comfortably. My wife is 5'0" and I was quite surprised she found a comfortable pack in store, so I would hate to go with a questionable fitting pack for her or even myself. Looking online and reading some of the feedback, Kifaru packs seems to worth considering (ZXR, MMR, or ZULU). The problem is that it is almost impossible to try one on for fit before buying and they do cost tad more $$. The upsides seem to be the durability and configurability , but the military style might attract unwanted attention is certain situations.

So... is there any feedback on which route you chose to to in backpack purchasing? It doesn't neccesarily need to be REI vs Kifaru, but more so the "TYPICAL" vs "Military STYLE" multi-day packs that I am interested in.

Thank you..

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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by rhunter1 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:45 am

My choice and personal preference has always been military style backpacks. I own quite a few Kifaru's and can say that their functionality, modularity and comfort is outstanding. For extremely light loads you may not notice the significant difference between the suspension. But if you're going to be carrying more than 20 pounds for the 2-3 day hike/camping trip I'd say Kifaru would be the way to go.

Something that typical backpacks lack that I really like is the MOLLE capability. I can organize, add, move around pouches on or in my pack to whatever suits my needs. The "military" look may attract unwanted attention, but Kifaru (and other companies) make their packs in more civil colors that blend in nicely.

Also keep in mind that there is also a learning curve with Kifaru. This is applicable to both the suspension tweaking and overall usefulness of it's features. When you get your Kifaru pack, you can adjust it and return it in 30 days if it's not going to work for you. There is plenty of information on the Kifaru forums explaining details about each pack that should help you in your decision. Hell, Mel will even guide you through the process of fitting it on the phone. That said, if your g/f tried the pack on in the store and it fit comfortably then that might be the pack to look into for her.

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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Chef » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:24 am

Be advised Kifaru is getting ready to do an across the board upgrade to a "Generation 2" standard. The product is supposed to be improved, but the price is going up.

You might want to look into the Kelty MAP series or some of the British manufacturers like Karrimor or Snugpak. These are "military" packs that have more "civilian" design and come in subdued earth tones instead of the screaming HEY, I LOOK LIKE A FISHING LURE! colors that seem to be par for the course for pure-civvie packs.
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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Jamie » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:33 am

I just bought:

Image

http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___48391" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

for a number of reasons:

1) it's a crapton cheaper than a Kifaru pack
2) I've been subjecting a couple of Mountainsmith packs that I already own to rough handling for years, and they stand up to it very well
3) It is designed in subtle earth tones, and doesn't have the military/paramilitary look that never fails to draw notice

JMHO, YMMV

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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Ufdyixcaff » Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:11 pm

You might want to look into the Kelty MAP series or some of the British manufacturers like Karrimor or Snugpak
If you want mil-type, these three would be my primary choices. I carried a Snugpak for years.

For civvie packs, Kelty Redwings are nice. Mountainsmith are nice as well (mountainsmith was the company kifaru branched from. The founder of both companies is Patrick Smith).

for a 2-3 day pack, a 75ltr is a MONSTER.

For extremely light loads you may not notice the significant difference between the suspension. But if you're going to be carrying more than 20 pounds for the 2-3 day hike/camping trip I'd say Kifaru would be the way to go.


20 pounds? Seriously? Come on! Look... Im a long time fan of Kifaru. I was on the bandwagon when their mil line was the EMR and the Scout and that was it. Im not going to say they are not extremely fine packs, but to claim that anything more than 20 pounds is Kifaru country is just flabbergasting. These are rucks meant for hauling moose quarters miles through the backcountry or jumping in everything you need for building your very own FOB.

I assure you that you do not need to spend several hundred dollars and buy the pinnacle of suspension design in the hardest wearing fabric that has been multiply reinforced at every stress point found to haul loads greater than 20 pounds. You dont even need a kifaru to haul 50-60-70 pound loads comfortably. I assure you, there are LOTS of good suspension designs out there. Hell, if you MUST have a kif-type suspension, Mountainsmith still uses it. You can get a ruck from them in 1500 to over 4500ci with Patricks suspension system... and their most expensive ruck is still under $200 and comes in OD/Black if thats your giggle.

To the OP... take her and yourself to the REI and try on EVERYTHING in their pack department. Have then load them down to their max. Then walk around the store. Do squats, lunges (front and to the side), walk up the stairs if they have them... hell, do push ups with them on, lay on your stomach and see if you can raise your head to look forward, see if you can get up from the prone while wearing them, anything and everything you can think of. See what, if anything, works for you. If you dont find the exact size/weight/color/giggle combo, take notes of what you DID like from each... then go online and see if you can find those features on something you didnt see in the store. Almost everyone will let you order one, try it for fit and whatnot, and return it for the cost of shipping if it doesnt work. Yeah, this might get expensive, but this is why you took notes of what you liked and what you didnt....

Or if you want a kifaru, get a kifaru.
Last edited by Ufdyixcaff on Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by E » Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:18 pm

try on everything you can, figure out what youcan afford and what is most comfortable for you, then decide

It's basically whatever works for you. If its comfortable, then it'll be a million times better than one that isn't, no matter what the other pack has
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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Jamie » Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:40 pm

nfa wrote:I just bought:

Image

http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___48391" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

for a number of reasons:

1) it's a crapton cheaper than a Kifaru pack
2) I've been subjecting a couple of Mountainsmith packs that I already own to rough handling for years, and they stand up to it very well
3) It is designed in subtle earth tones, and doesn't have the military/paramilitary look that never fails to draw notice

JMHO, YMMV

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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Jeriah » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:25 pm

Chef wrote:Be advised Kifaru is getting ready to do an across the board upgrade to a "Generation 2" standard. The product is supposed to be improved, but the price is going up.

WHATWHATWHAT?

MY EMR IS OBSOLETE?

WHERE'S MY CREDIT CARD?

Seriously, though, where do I find out more about this?

Oh, right: http://kifaruforums.net/showthread.php?t=16564" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Jeriah » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:35 pm

My advice, based on my experiences with G1 Kifaru, and the buzz on their forums, is to buy a used G1 Kifaru for (relatively) cheap, to fund someone else's fancy new G2. Don't buy anything other than exactly what you want, and don't want anything other than an EMR in MultiCam. :lol: (No, I'm not selling mine.)
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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Agent_Jaws » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:19 pm

Jeriah wrote:My advice, based on my experiences with G1 Kifaru, and the buzz on their forums, is to buy a used G1 Kifaru for (relatively) cheap, to fund someone else's fancy new G2. Don't buy anything other than exactly what you want, and don't want anything other than an EMR in MultiCam. :lol: (No, I'm not selling mine.)
Pretty much yeah, I am not sure I would like their new stuff as much as their old stuff and the price difference is stiff. I bought my MMR w/ XTL brand new for $600, now the MMR itself is $600 without the XTL. Not everyone needs or will make real good use of a Kifaru, and some of us who have used them hard in the past aren't nearly so rough on them anymore (mine is set back to camping as I am hoping to never have to visit Iraq again).

I think ultimately it depends on what your brain and wallet can agree on. If I had to do it over again, I would save for the Kifaru (yes, I would). This pack will last longer than I will and will quite possibly become a hand-me-down to my kids who aren't even born yet (not all of them anyway). I can't testify to the quality of other brands, and I'm sure many brands make fine packs, but I do know that Kifaru packs are friggin awesome and I wouldn't hesitate to spend that money again if I could afford it. Heck to be honest if I could really afford it, I'd probably pick up more of their stuff even though I don't need it.

But then again I'm sort of a gear whore so you don't have to take my advice if you don't want to.
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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Woods Walker » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:42 pm

I would get the pack that you want. There is lots of good REI type pack around. Kifaru and MR make some great military packs too. Do your research and find what is best for you.
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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Woods Walker » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:46 pm

Jeriah wrote:
Chef wrote:Be advised Kifaru is getting ready to do an across the board upgrade to a "Generation 2" standard. The product is supposed to be improved, but the price is going up.

WHATWHATWHAT?

MY EMR IS OBSOLETE?

WHERE'S MY CREDIT CARD?

Seriously, though, where do I find out more about this?

Oh, right: http://kifaruforums.net/showthread.php?t=16564" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Oh snap....I am toast! I like the new Zulu and Pointman due to the longer stays but will not be selling any of my Kifaru packs. One thing however. I looked at the new E&E and despite panel loaders being easer to gain access I still think the older E&E is better.
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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by K9medic » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:16 pm

I have been using a Berghause Cyclops Roc for about 25 years now and to be honest I cannot fault it. I’m not sure if it is still being made but it’s very similar to the Vulcan (http://www.simplyhike.co.uk/ProductDeta ... ckID=15665" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) though a little smaller at 60 litres. I have lived out of this bergan for up to 10 days at a time with no problems, though I did get a resupply of food and water every 4 days.
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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Dj » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:18 pm

Thanks for all the good input/replies.

I think the thing that gets me the most is that when I compare my maxpedition backpack to the old Jansports I used to have during my school days, there is an obvious difference in durability. That durability comes at an increased price when comparing "backpacking" REI packs to what I think the Kifaru packs would offer. Its good to hear that those that actually use thier Kifarus feel they are worth the extra money.

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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by NapTime » Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:36 am

Just another item to add to the scales: REI has the most absurdly lenient return policy I have ever encountered. I'd say buy an REI pack, take it on your trip, and if it isn't exactly what you want for any reason at all, take it back. My friend wore a coat for a couple weeks, realized it wasn't right for her, and returned it to an REI in a different state, with no hassle. I have no experience with military style packs, and they may well end up being what you want in the end, but it seems like a no-risk field test should be a no-brainer.

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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Squirrley » Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:42 am

REI does have a pretty godlike return policy. And also a godlike yard sale where they sell off all the returned stuff for cheapcheap :P (that means basically a whole yardsale of brand new gear that has either gone out on a couple outings and been deemed 'the wrong pack/jacket/whatever' for the owner, or with rather minor defects that are easy to repair at home.) Not to mention the whole co-op thing, where they give you money every year.

And while my REI brand packs are still relatively new (≈5 years) I haven't had any durability issues with them yet. The quality/craftsmanship is pretty top notch. You would, obviously, have some issues with throwing it down a mountain because they're all made of lighter weight pack cloth instead of pure, unfiltered 1000d cordura like the kifarus, but that's what you get for that style of pack. Lighter and less bomb-proof.
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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Jeriah » Sat Feb 28, 2009 10:47 am

Squirrley wrote:REI does have a pretty godlike return policy. And also a godlike yard sale where they sell off all the returned stuff for cheapcheap :P (that means basically a whole yardsale of brand new gear that has either gone out on a couple outings and been deemed 'the wrong pack/jacket/whatever' for the owner, or with rather minor defects that are easy to repair at home.) Not to mention the whole co-op thing, where they give you money every year.

And while my REI brand packs are still relatively new (≈5 years) I haven't had any durability issues with them yet. The quality/craftsmanship is pretty top notch. You would, obviously, have some issues with throwing it down a mountain because they're all made of lighter weight pack cloth instead of pure, unfiltered 1000d cordura like the kifarus, but that's what you get for that style of pack. Lighter and less bomb-proof.
I believe my grandma scored big-time at that yard sale.
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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Dj » Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:05 pm

Just for future reference... Do they usually advertise these sales, or hold these sales at a predictable time of year/season?

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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Squirrley » Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:47 pm

Yes, they're scheduled events.
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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Ramius » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:55 pm

KeepItSimpleStupid wrote:
You might want to look into the Kelty MAP series or some of the British manufacturers like Karrimor or Snugpak
If you want mil-type, these three would be my primary choices. I carried a Snugpak for years.

For civvie packs, Kelty Redwings are nice. Mountainsmith are nice as well (mountainsmith was the company kifaru branched from. The founder of both companies is Patrick Smith).

for a 2-3 day pack, a 75ltr is a MONSTER.

For extremely light loads you may not notice the significant difference between the suspension. But if you're going to be carrying more than 20 pounds for the 2-3 day hike/camping trip I'd say Kifaru would be the way to go.


20 pounds? Seriously? Come on! Look... Im a long time fan of Kifaru. I was on the bandwagon when their mil line was the EMR and the Scout and that was it. Im not going to say they are not extremely fine packs, but to claim that anything more than 20 pounds is Kifaru country is just flabbergasting. These are rucks meant for hauling moose quarters miles through the backcountry or jumping in everything you need for building your very own FOB.

I assure you that you do not need to spend several hundred dollars and buy the pinnacle of suspension design in the hardest wearing fabric that has been multiply reinforced at every stress point found to haul loads greater than 20 pounds. You dont even need a kifaru to haul 50-60-70 pound loads comfortably. I assure you, there are LOTS of good suspension designs out there. Hell, if you MUST have a kif-type suspension, Mountainsmith still uses it. You can get a ruck from them in 1500 to over 4500ci with Patricks suspension system... and their most expensive ruck is still under $200 and comes in OD/Black if thats your giggle.

To the OP... take her and yourself to the REI and try on EVERYTHING in their pack department. Have then load them down to their max. Then walk around the store. Do squats, lunges (front and to the side), walk up the stairs if they have them... hell, do push ups with them on, lay on your stomach and see if you can raise your head to look forward, see if you can get up from the prone while wearing them, anything and everything you can think of. See what, if anything, works for you. If you dont find the exact size/weight/color/giggle combo, take notes of what you DID like from each... then go online and see if you can find those features on something you didnt see in the store. Almost everyone will let you order one, try it for fit and whatnot, and return it for the cost of shipping if it doesnt work. Yeah, this might get expensive, but this is why you took notes of what you liked and what you didnt....

Or if you want a kifaru, get a kifaru.
The only problem I could see outright with a Snugpak backpack is that they lack load lifters. This may not be a problem for their smaller packs, such as the Sleeka 35s, but once you get into the the 70 liter realm of the Rocket, the pack could become uncomfortable.
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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by aa1pr » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:36 pm

I was thinking of this one from Cabellas, It is made by Northface, what do you guys think of their brand??

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templ ... tid=169316" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Nice pack Jamie or NFA

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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Ufdyixcaff » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:36 pm

Ramius wrote:The only problem I could see outright with a Snugpak backpack is that they lack load lifters. This may not be a problem for their smaller packs, such as the Sleeka 35s, but once you get into the the 70 liter realm of the Rocket, the pack could become uncomfortable.
My Rocketpak was just fine in the comfort department, fully loaded (70ltrs). Ive never used the 100ltr Bergan model, so dont know about that.

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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by Ufdyixcaff » Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:38 pm

aa1pr wrote:It is made by Northface, what do you guys think of their brand??
The North Face makes good stuff. Its a bit "gucci" but it is solid gear.

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Re: Multiday BOB/Backpack ~ REI type or Military (Kifaru) Type?

Post by congochris » Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:10 am

Squirrley wrote:REI does have a pretty godlike return policy. And also a godlike yard sale where they sell off all the returned stuff for cheapcheap :P (that means basically a whole yardsale of brand new gear that has either gone out on a couple outings and been deemed 'the wrong pack/jacket/whatever' for the owner, or with rather minor defects that are easy to repair at home.) Not to mention the whole co-op thing, where they give you money every year.

And while my REI brand packs are still relatively new (≈5 years) I haven't had any durability issues with them yet. The quality/craftsmanship is pretty top notch. You would, obviously, have some issues with throwing it down a mountain because they're all made of lighter weight pack cloth instead of pure, unfiltered 1000d cordura like the kifarus, but that's what you get for that style of pack. Lighter and less bomb-proof.
I do feel constrained to mention that the newer REI pack I purchased (I forget the name, dark red, last year's model - Galaxy, perhaps) had the waist buckle explode on me with a 50 lbs loaded pack. Definately make sure the buckles are nice big 2" models. The ones on the model I bought were 1 1/2" - 1 1/4", I think. Not a good choice, according to my shoulders and back after finishing the hike up the mountain and then back down again the next morning. On the plus side, I took it back, they asked me if I wanted to return or repair. I elected to return, and they said "OK!" and all was right with the world.

Conversely, my old man with just as heavy of a pack on the same pack model had no problems.

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