Backpack Recommendation

Looking for recommendations for a backpack. I need it to be a day pack with the ability to handle an elk quarter. I'll be hunting the Valle Vidal and will be walking/hiking.

Also any recommendations for a backpack for my wife. She has a small frame......5' 6" 115lbs

Empty Nester


Active Member
Mystery Ranch is unbeatable. You pick your pack based on required size for the way you hunt and then they put it together with the correctly sized shoulder strap and waist strap for your body build. I have a dragonslayer I have had for almost a decade and it has held up unbelievably well. Downside is cost, but divided over years of use it works out compared to buying something cheaper that only lasts a few years.


Active Member
I have a first gen Exo 5500 for sale in the classifieds if you end up wanting to go the exo route. Great pack, I lost weight and used it as an excuse to get the K3.

Comes with a medium belt from the first gen packs and I have a small K3 belt that exo sold me with the adapter to fit the first packs.



A lot depends on how much you’re willing/wanting to spend? Pretty broad choices from Kifaru to Badlands and everything in between.

I would definitely only look at packs with an adjustable torso length, sized belts and functional load lifters if looking to haul quarters. As mentioned above, MR is a good middle of the road option and have female specific packs/frames.


Active Member
My experience, for your wife- get a womens specific pack! huge difference for their anatomy, my wife loves her Gregory Diva, it can be difficult to find a 'backpacking' pack in neutral colors is the downside.


New Member
Kifaru frame with cargo net and guide lid is what I run. These packs are
made to carry a load. 2 de-boned back legs rode nicely for 5 miles. Also, they are made in Co...


I’m a big fan of Stone Glacier... have packed out multiple animals from Dall sheep to elk and they handle all sizes well. Also very light as a day pack. Only thing to consider is they don’t have a lot of pockets (you can add internally) to put a lot of small gear in... but I prefer small dry bags and separate my necessities inside the SG bag.

My wife uses my smaller Stone Glacier pack with a small waistbelt(they can be changed out) and fits her well.


Active Member
Really the best are Kifaru, Exo & Stone Glacier that I have seen and had some experience with. Kifaru has the most add on's to a pack and interchangeability with taking one pack they have and adding another and having custom bags and holsters and so on.

The great thing with a quality pack is the load feels lighter on your back than when you pick it up and won't hurt after miles of carrying weight. I had a KUIU pack and it was awesome till I put a rear quarter in and I felt like my traps were being cut with a razor blade the whole time. Every tree I could find to lean on I was leaning to relief the pressure.

Any of those 3 are great for heavy loads. In most cases the downer with a bigger bag you end up stuffing way more than you need ready for war and in most cases you don't use the majority of it but once on a 10 day hunt so just keep that in mind.

Badlands are more made to hold calls, snacks and water etc. Not so much to pack heavy weight far. IMO


Initial Ascent pack I've recently purchased has been a game changer. When you look at it's innovative frame design and focus on the versatility of the notches that can be used to carry your rifle during hike in/stalk, and how those can then be used to each support a quarter, while you strap the head/cape to the standard center of the pack/lid. It's just incredible.
Seeing a pack that can safely and comfortably handle packing out two elk quarters, a head and cape all at once..well that just defines a pack being able to outperform the user.


New Member
Any of the higher end packs will do fine for you, it all comes down to how much you want to spend and what style of pack you prefer. If you want a pack that will last longer than a few seasons and be (relatively) comfortable hauling meat, look at Kuiu, Mystery Ranch, Kifaru, Stone Glacier, Exo, Seek Outside. I prefer the Kuiu pro system because of the organization and style of the packs. I really don't think you can go wrong with any of them. I do highly recommend calling whatever pack shop you end up going with to talk with someone about sizing. For instance, when I had a Mystery Ranch, I ended up needing a smaller belt when I was firmly in the size range for a larger one. I also recommend really spending some time learning to properly fit the pack to you.

As far as a good pack for your wife, let me know when you find a one.. I have a similarly sized lady but its tough finding a good pack with a shorter frame. I've hear the Kifaru MiniKeg (Name?) is a good one for smaller framed people.

Good luck!

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