At Eagle Cap Outdoors we strive to provide unbiased opinions on gear and what truly works in the field for all hunting, hiking and whatever else you might find yourself using these products for. With that being said the team wanted to do a pack review. Packs can be very individualized and different for everyone. There are a lot of other people out there that do pack reviews, but we wanted to tailor this review specifically to the tall guys in the industry. As a tall guy myself, I feel like we get the short end of the stick most times because when companies are manufacturing items to sell, 80% of the clientele is considered average height. Nowadays companies are starting to catch on that there is a market for us taller folks and adjustability in the gear we love so much.
I’m 6’ 5” and about 215. Finding gear and packs can sometimes prove to be hard. There are a lot of companies that are taking this into consideration and it’s a breath of fresh air. With the coming reviews we will be focusing on the packs suspension, frame construction, pack lay out, adjustability & functionality, and how well it carries a load.
Selecting the right pack can be a daunting task these days, with as many manufactures that are on the market to choose from. I’m 6’5” and have a pretty slender build at 215lbs. I have a hard time finding gear that works well with my height specifically when it comes to packs. I get asked a lot about packs and it was time I tested all the top brands on the market today. First up!
Kifaru has been in the hunting industry for a while and a very reputable company. Not only in the hunting world, but also in the military and their gear holds up to the hype. Kifaru makes their packs to order; they ask for very specific measurements in order to custom make each frame for the user. This adds a little lead-time from an ordering standpoint, but well worth the wait. The Duplex Lite Frame is built around Kifaru’s Duplex suspension; this frame is designed to transfer weight to your hips while packing in and out. The DLF is a modular suspension and is designed to be interchangeable between all the packs they offer – thus eliminating the need to buy multiple frames and pack set ups (as long as you’re sticking to Kifaru products).
The Kifaru Hoodlum bag is a 6500 cubic inch pack, offering plenty of room for day hunts to long stays. That’s the versatility I personally look for in a pack – not all my hunts are 10 day back pack trips, but I like to have options. The Hoodlum has three pockets, the big main pocket and two side pockets designed for storing tripods and spotting scopes. You have access to the main part of the bag through the top or through two full-length zippers on the right and left just in front of the side pockets.
Each side pocket has a horseshoe style zipper on the top, easy for sliding things in and out. Kifaru is known for having a lot of versatility with the packs they put out, meaning they sell a lot of options to add more space and organization. Most packs come with webbing specifically placed for the people wanting to customize their set up. The great thing about these packs is you can make them specific to your liking. So rather than trying to find that one pack that has every pocket right where you want it you can customize these specifically to you, because lets face it everyone has a different idea of how a pack should be set up. This pack does separate from the frame as well allowing you to haul meat or extra gear. Something I mentioned prior being an important feature I look for in a pack. The bag/pack itself is very tough. The fabric is made of a 500d with a DWR finish. This allows awesome abrasion resistance and durability. The DWR finish also allows you to be in fairly wet conditions before needing to put on a rain fly. Kifaru also provides a limited lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship of all their products.
My first thoughts on the pack were great. Everything was constructed extremely well in my opinion. Right away I could tell that the suspension and hip belt were built to a high standard. I threw the pack on and started walking around to get a feel for it. There were no adjustments needed, because they custom made the frame to my specs. The waist belt matched with the large lumbar support pairs very well together. I used this pack for a few months with roughly 30-40lbs in it. I ran it a little heavier then I normally would just to get a good idea of how the pack handled. I didn’t have any issues with weird pressure points. There wasn’t anything that was uncomfortable about the set up in any way. I used some dry bags to organize some gear inside the main part of the bag.
I used the two side pockets for my spotter and tripod. Everything rode nice and I had no complaints at all. The waist belt being designed to carry the load on your hips makes for a super comfortable ride. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it on a backpack style hunt with this pack, but I have no doubt it would hold up great. As I mentioned before, Kifaru makes an assortment of pouches and lids for all their packs. After using the pack for those few months I decided to order a couple pouches and lid for better organization. These are something that would be crucial in the backcountry in my opinion (food for thought). All in all, Kifaru lives up to the hype. I would recommend giving these packs a try. It’s going to run you a tickle more, but I’m confident you will be pleased. If for whatever reason you aren’t satisfied, Kifaru offers a 30-day money back/exchange.