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HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralExternal Frame Pack HelpExternal Frame Pack Help
New Post
5/21/2017 11:22 AM

Hello everyone.  I'm looking at getting into an external frame pack and am lost and don't know where to begin.  I've already read through the old threads on here and it seems like many members start with old Dana Longbed frames.  Likewise, it seems like the frames from Kifaru are preferred over those from Mystery Ranch.  From what I can tell, the new Guidelight frames from MR are even shorter than the NICE frames.  In addition, the Stone Glacier R3 looks pretty nice.  I'm 6' tall and want to make sure I get a frame long enough for me.  

Does anyone have any advise or tips on where to begin?  I'm thinking that a Kifaru Duplex and pack may be my best bet at this point in time.

Thanks for the help.


New Post
5/21/2017 11:30 AM
What is your planned use?

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
5/22/2017 7:07 PM

I should have included that in my first post.  It will be used for multi-day hiking trips as well as well as hunting trips here and there.  I'm looking for something versatile rather than a task specific pack.

New Post
5/23/2017 7:40 AM
In that case, get a Ute. An external frame is a task specific pack, and that task is big heavy loads (65+lbs) or to strap awkward loads to. It is not a general purpose pack. Sure one can be used that way and I have done it more than once with a Dana Short Bed, but I think you will find the Ute more comfortable and versatile, and I am not just saying that to sell a Ute. Heck I would recommend a well designed internal from a number of companies over any of the externals you mentioned.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
5/23/2017 2:54 PM

A Dana Shortbed, if you can find one, is hard to beat for carrying serious weight.  By hunting, I'm assuming you mean quartering and packing out deer/elk?

A Ute will do nicely.  It would carry 100#, but not with ease like a Shortbed with an HPG belt/yoke.  The Ute will be more comfortable with a 20# day-hunt load.  What would be nice is to have a Ute to wear hunting and a Shortbed back at the truck for the second meat sortie.

I have an old version of the Kifaru Longhunter that is similar to their current UL version (1/8th plastic instead of 1/4in) .  I installed Kifaru KU (bamboo and carbon fiber) stays, an HPG belt and shoulder harness, and a Kifaru Markhor bag.  Those KU stays fit my back like they were custom made.  I sold my Ute, not because I didn't like it, but because I only need so many great packs.  I also have a Kifaru KU 3700 for hiking so I realized I'd probably never use the Ute again.

If you had to have just ONE PACK though, it would be hard to beat if it is large enough for you.  They do have a larger version and if you use a synthetic bag that may be your best bet.

New Post
5/23/2017 3:09 PM
The new MR guidelite is quite a bit taller then the old NICE, it is more or less a 24" frame, like the old NICE with the load lifter kit.

I have only tried on the guidelite briefly in a store, but at first glance it felt better then the old NICE or the duplex, but of course body type will be a big part of that question.

It is worth noting that many of the hunting pack companies have been coming out with new frames relatively recently so it is a buyers market on frames. I've been tempted to pick up a SG Crux to round out my collection, but I can't justify it right now.

I too agree that an internal frame pack is a better way to go for most people, but I certainly know the appeal of externals and still play with them a bit even though I hardly ever really use them. Was the plan to go the drybag+compression panel route or make your own pack bag for it?
New Post
6/7/2017 5:35 PM
Thanks for all the help guys. Living in the South, there's no where to go see these packs in person and it's hard to shop for packs over the internet.

I had seen somewhere that the MR Guidelight frame was shorter than the current NICE frames. It didn't make sense because they certainly look taller. So many choices...
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralExternal Frame Pack HelpExternal Frame Pack Help