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Packs and Frames; any suggestions?
Big Game Hunting topics that dont fit other categories
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Handloader
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 11:52 pm    Post subject: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

Packing out one's kill is needed at times as well as access to backcountry for extended hunts or when setting up spike camps. The ability to carry 80lbs or more comfortably requires a sturdy, comfortable backpack and should have provisions for carrying the rifle.

Recommendations?
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gelandangan
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 5:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

Funny you ask this,

I am working to build a single wheel drag pack for use in the flat Aussie terrain.
It is something like a reversed wheel barrow, with backpack straps on it so I could carry it on my back, but also have extending aluminum poles with slings and a folded in 200mm wheel (very light pneumatic plastic model from a baby trolley) at the bottom end of the pack.

The idea is to carry the pack on your back until you bag a goat or something, then extend the poles and wheel, load the goat to the "trolley pack", hook the slings to your shoulders and drag the trolley back to your camp.

I don't have picture for it yet because I am still working on the design.
I will take in comments and critics to improve on the idea though...

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PaulS
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

We have always used a litter to pack out meat when we were far from our camp. What you are suggesting, if I am correctly understanding you, is a litter with a single wheel. Sounds like a good idea.

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tracker
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:25 am    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

yeah, that does sound like a good idea

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keetoowah
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 3:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

does no one use horses or big dogs to assist with packing out??
seems there has to be a smart design to help with such a chore. like that trolley thing or a sled if you will.

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Handloader
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

Initially, I should have clarified my interest is for rough terraine backpack hunting. We will fly into an Alaskan base camp, but, from there it is on foot to the spike camps and each person will carry around 80lbs of gear. Adding to the challenge, this will be uphill for 5 to 8 miles with an elevation gain of 3,000' to 5,000'.

Presuming good physical condition, the asset of a comfortable and sturdy packpack is obvious.
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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:13 am    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

Handloader,

Thought about looking at the "military" back packs that aftermarket companies make ??

Many companies are made in USA or Canada and offer lifetime warrentee's using good materials.

www.tacticaltailor.com
www.tacticalassaultgear.com/
www.dropzonetactical.com/
www.eagleindustries.com/
www.highspeedgearinc.com/
www.tigertactical.com/

I didn't add Blackhawk on the list because I have heard some (well alot of) bad things about their quality verses these companies qualities.

You can get them with Alice type frames or internal hard frames, some even accept the brand new "MOLLE" frames.

Oh that reminds me Cabela's sells a few with the ability to hold rifles.

Cabela's Packs

Hope these help you find the "just right" pack for your liking. Smile

Dimitri

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Vince
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 9:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

There are any number of pack styles and configurations available.
I have only ever used military style packs (actual military issue) and of those I found the Alice FRAME to be the most comfortable, although the large Alice pack, although certainly being big enough, is not really versatile simply because it is one large "bag", and it isn't waterproof.

The good thing about the Alice frame is that you can attach pretty much any pack to it you wish, even one with an internal frame. If you are going to use a frame to pack out meat, and don't have to worry about carrying anything else, then maybe a custom made frame along the lines of the Alice frame with a strong lightweight metal "basket" is the go. I have seen something similar used to carry full 20 litre(4.4 gallons) water jerries.

If you are carrying 80lb of personal equipment then want to put on a further 20lb - 30lb of game meat, and carry it all out, then I would suggest that you are kidding yourself. That is a massive amount of weight to carry, especially if you are talking about moving through 2000' of elevation.

Keetoowah hit the nail squarely on the head when she mentioned a pack horse. It was the way the pioneers did it and it is proven....even Bushy uses a horse for the high mountain hunts. Yep, makes a lot of sense to me. Could be a problem if you are flying in though. Very Happy

Gelan, your idea sounds good, but I think I would lean towards 2 wheels rather than 1. Be interested to see a pic of the unit if you ever decide to put one together.

Cheers, Vince

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gelandangan
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 4:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

Vince,

Yep, it is the ALICE pack frame that I am modifying into my wheel barrow (litter pack?)
I think to use a single wheel because I don't want to carry the extra weight of the second wheel.
I weigh the total rigid structure and got to about 1.15 kgs with the wheel being 400gms.
Adding another wheel would make it over 1.5 kgs before the actual bag! too heavy!
I would rather carry another 400ml of water for the weight.

I am quite close to assembling the unit, the only problem I have is the extended pole system.
Because it is extended over three times its shortened length, the poles tends to bend a bit when loaded up over 15 kgs.
Now, with a goat weighing about 20 - 25 kgs plus my pack which is about 10 - 15 kgs,
I an afraid that Murphy's law may prevail in the bush and the structure will break when I needed it.
So, now I am working on a system of truss with steel cables (the stainless steel fishing leaders type) to make a sort of
fold able upside down bridge system.
It is quite hard to explain this, I may attach a diagram or two if there is interests.

Anyhow, I should not hijack Handloader's topic and will continue my musing on this design in Spam-O-Rama from now on Smile

Gelan

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Handloader
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

Vince and Dimitri: thanks for the suggestions and links.

Similar to Coues deer hunting in the Chiracahuas of Arizona, the high reaches of the Brooks range are not compatible with horses or mules. Or hunters. Sometimes they try to use pack dogs but with limited success and the hunting area is far from any roads that would enable transport of livestock.

When I shot a bull elk at the bottom of a canyon (not something I recommend, incidentally), it took six very hard trips to pack out the quarters, hide and rack. The elevation differential was about 1,800' and each trip I carried around 100lbs. The pack and frame was trashed by the end of the ordeal because some of the load was unstable or improperly cinched down which required numerous stops to relash and, on three occassions, to repair the ever weakening external frame. It took several days to recover. That was five years ago and in the interim innovative designs, I am told, have come on the market.

I'm still searching and evaluating internal frames and capacities and thank you for the ideas. I'll be in Anchorage and Fairbanks in June and want to look at some of the "new" stuff available.
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Handloader
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

Vince and Dimitri: thanks for the suggestions and links.

Similar to Coues deer hunting in the Chiracahuas of Arizona, the high reaches of the Brooks range are not compatible with horses or mules. Or hunters. Sometimes they try to use pack dogs but with limited success and the hunting area is far from any roads that would enable transport of livestock.

When I shot a bull elk at the bottom of a canyon (not something I recommend, incidentally), it took six very hard trips to pack out the quarters, hide and rack. The elevation differential was about 1,800' and each trip I carried around 100lbs. The pack and frame was trashed by the end of the ordeal because some of the load was unstable or improperly cinched down which required numerous stops to relash and, on three occassions, to repair the ever weakening external frame. It took several days to recover, but, the memory remains. That was five years ago and in the interim innovative designs, I am told, have come on the market.

I'm still searching and evaluating internal frames and capacities and thank you for the ideas. I'll be in Anchorage and Fairbanks in June and want to look at some of the "new" stuff available.
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WileyWapiti
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 12:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

I don't pack out deer, but I do pack out elk. I have a coupe of different frames that I use, as Vince mentioned, I have an Alice frame I use for close in hauls and I have a larger frame that I use for longer trips. My Alice frame is not too tall, it is a military model that unfortunately I also carried with me through 12 yrs of service, so it has many miles on it (I got even with it for the bruises and blisters by making it jump out of the planes with me). Since it is shorter, I leave the pack on the frame and stow meat in the pack. My larger frame I usually strip it down, I will hike it up to a staging area the day before my hunt and scout the area and hide the pack, if I get one down, it is an easy walk to get the pack. I am not too particular about some of the newer frames - I like "Old School", however, with all the new composites and alloys, they are building them lighter and stronger which is good - I am just stubborn.

Vince is right, 80 pounds plus 20 more is just asking for an injury or ending your enthusiasm before you get 100yds. I bone out my elk, by losing the bones you save yourself 50-80lbs of hastle - which in my mind mind saves you at least one trip. I usually try and pack out a front and rear quarter each trip and then if it is a cow I will pack out the backstraps and head in one trip, if it is a bull, you might try and slide the backstraps in with one of the other trips - as the head will be heavy - horns can add 30++lbs.

The most important thing to remember is to get a frame worthy of the job, if you are packing an animal out do not get the built in frame, get one where you can seperate the frame and pack, make sure it fits your body size - as the frame and your back are like kids at camp - at first they will fight and argue, but if you put them in there place firmly, they will get along just fine!

Sorry about the rant - just a subject I happen to like.

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WileyWapiti
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 12:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

I should just add about the frame size - if you are barrel chested or a big guy like me (6ft -220lbs) - I have a hard time ordering from a catalog or the internet, to do the type of packing you are talking about, I would reccomend getting to a place where you can try these packs on before you buy them. Some of the chest and waist straps can be too small, frame too narrow for a comfort fit etc.....just like buying shoes. I will crawl back into my hole now and shut up..........slither.....slither......drag.....shuffle....

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Vince
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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 6:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

WileyWapiti, you make a lot of very good, valid and pertinent points.

To get a good fit of the frame the only way is to try one on. Some of the new internal frame styles have a lot going for them and should be considered. The worst thing about external frames, and this is only a small problem, is that most airlines will not carry a pack with an external frame fitted.

If you are using an external frame then I would consider strengthening it before you decide to "load it to the gunwhales". This shouldn't be too difficult and shouldn't add very much extra weight...grams or ounces at the most. Might just save you from having to strip vines to make cord to tie it all together so you can get the meat etc out.

As has been recognised, the most important part of the entire system is the hunter....he MUST be fit and healthy to carry the sort of weight that is being considered. Like WileyWapiti, I too carried a pack for many years in the Army....26 years in fact (although not silly enough to jump out of perfectly serviceable aircraft), and understand the downside of carrying a badly fitting/packed backpack very much. Its downright painful and, if you are unlucky, can leave you with a lifetime of back and shoulder problems.

Another consideration is the safety aspect. You don't want a pack, regardless of how comfortable it is, to unbalance you...especially if you are traversing uneven ground or going up/down hills. If the balance of the pack is such that you go "A over T" easily then there is a very high risk of injury. Not a good thing. You should also consider the need to drop your pack in a hurry. If Mr Bruin gets a whiff of your load and decides that he needs to relieve you of it (with the best of intentions of course) then you need to be able to drop it easily. Likewise if you start to overbalance on a steep slope. Better to have to hike down a ways to pick the pack up again than to "travel" with it to the bottom leaving little bits of "hunter" along the way. wtf Shocked Bang, ouch... thump, OW... crash, OH S*#T ... BOUNCE, UH OH this is gonna hurt! Shocked Crying or Very sad

Cheers, Vince

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Arizona Hunter
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2007 1:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Packs and Frames; any suggestions? Reply with quote

Handloader, I've chatted with some serious hunting backpackers on another site, and they really like the Kifaru (expensive but the mfg says you'll love or money back) and the Badlands 2800 is also highly spoken of.

Personally, I have aCabelas Alaskan outfitter, it has lots of room and lots of pockets,a fold down shelf, and the bag can removed to use the entire frame for packing out meat. I

But it is an external frame and sometimes feels a bit clunky. If I had to do it over again I would spend the extra$$$ and get the Kifaru.

Say Handloader, did you ever decide on the new boots?
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