Since we couldn't have said it better ourselves, here are a few words from current Kifaru owners!
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2005 08:33:45 -0700
From: "Marty Noyd"
Subject: Rambling Rifle #38
Patrick, I purchased this rifle, un-fired, from David Dryer in August of
2004 - he advertised it on the website. It came with 22-06, 280 and 338/06
22" long barrels. I broke the barrels in per the recommendations in the
rifle manual in September (I ran out of time and wasn't able to develop a
load for the 338-06 this year). I hunted with the rifle for black bear -
taking a nicely furred 5' Montana blackie in late September with a single
25-06 shot. I packed the bear out, whole at 125 lbs on my daystalker. Then
in October I used the rifle in 25-06 to take a 13" pronghorn in eastern
Montana - again packed the antelope out, skinned 70 lbs on my daystalker.
At this point I realized that the daystalker, while a great pack, just
wasn't enough for the type of hunting I do so I ordered the late season. I
set up the 4 man with small stove for elk and deer hunting in northcentral
Montana for 7 days. I changed barrels to 280 and took a 28 1/2" 5x5 mule
deer on the second day. I packed the muley, boned out - about 80 lbs, in
the late season and carried the antlers. The third week in the season I
returned, set up the 4man again and hunted three days until I was able to
get into some elk - 16 bulls together at daybreak, selected the largest one
and hit him at 387 yards with the 280. He required an additional two shots
to put down. This 295 B&C 7 x 7 elk is my largest to date. It took 5 trips
with the late season and 14 hours to get the elk, boned and cape & antlers
to the bottom of the mountain. From there I game carted it in two trips to
my truck which was 1 3/4 miles each way. I just wanted to thank you for
making the best gear available! I am especially impressed with the rifle -
cannot say enough great things about it. When your rifle program is rolling
again I would like to order a 35 whelen barrel as well. I also have the 12
man and stove that we use when I hunt with my son and friends for base camp
and I ordered the paratarp, stove, poncho and warming tray today. Than ks
again!! Marty Noyd (mnoyd on the message board).
Marty Noyd, Architect
I just wanted to write and thank you for the best pack I've ever owned! I am so impressed. I've used it on 3 moose hunts and one deer hunt in the month that I've had it. I am amazed at the versatility of it. Also, I must say that before I bought it, I was a little skeptical of the gun bearer system. I am not anymore. The gun bearer made it possible for me to pack out a 100lb load (see picture) through some of the most rugged country I've ever hiked in. I had to use both hands the whole way down just to keep from slipping in the steep, damp terrain, and the gun bearer kept my rifle secure and handy. I'm not built for heavy packing, and this is by far the heaviest load I've carried. Although I couldn't have handled anymore weight, it was plain to me that the pack could have. Thanks again, Dave Owens
To Whom it may concern,
I would like to take this opportunity to let you know what i think of your packs... AWESOME!!! I have packed out 8 Bull elk over the last 5 years, plus numerous other animals. It is the most comfortable and durable pack that I have ever seen.
The only problem that I have ever encountered with my pack is a buckle broke on the chest strap while I was carrying the two boned out hind quarters of my bull this year. I just tied a knot in the piece that broke and finished my pack. Thank you for providing such a wonderful product. Sincerely,
Eric J Anderson
"Dear Mr. Smith;
I recently went on a two week hunting trip to Kodiak for the huge bears found there. I took with me my Longhunter Pack and 8 Man Tipi with medium stove. They all worked "as advertised" and I believe even may have exceeded your expectations. The weather in Kodiak at this time is typically horrendous, and we were not disappointed in that respect. It was above freezing, in the 30's and 40's, raining most of the time. Sometimes light, other times, well a wall of water describes it best! The hardest factor to deal with was the wind. It blew constantly at about 20 to 25 mph. with pretty normal and frequent gusts to 35 or 40 mph. At night, the wind would "pick up" to well over 50 mph.!
Your Tipi style tent saved us, and they worked wonderfully! I did use y our 18 in. Tundra Pegs, they never pulled out. The stove kept us warm and dried us out daily, allowing us to hunt every day. Your words rang very true, 'It is a very wind resistant design and holds up well in the wind'. It does indeed!
I also used your Longhunter pack with Cargo Chair. It will pack out your day gear, a 120 lb. bear hide and accompanying skull. Quite a load, but not only did the pack handle it, I feel that I sold the whole Kifaru system to my hunting partners!...
Sincerely, Steve Elwell, November 2002
I like this pack better than any of my daypacks built by top manufacturers in the backpacking industry. The hip belt and shoulder straps work admirably without being bulky and overbuilt. This isn't a pack to be used in the autumn hunting seasons and then shelved. The SpikeCamp is made for years of year-round use..
Rich Landers, The Spokesman Review, Nov. 14, 1999
I spent years looking for the perfect hunting packs ... Kifaru packs are the best Ive ever used. Theyre all Ill use now.
Col. Craig Boddington
Kifaru packs are lightyears ahead- the absolute best
Bob Good, member Handgun Hunting Hall of Fame & writer
The LongHunter is the most comfortable packs Ive ever worn. Stout and intelligently engineered, its the only pack I know that carries a rifle safely, quietly and at the ready.
Wayne VanZwoll, writer and guide
Patrick, I have finally gotten time to drop you this e mail. I have torture tested the Prototype Longhunter Guide pack over the last 3 seasons guiding in Alaska and loaning it to a couple of the gorillas that work for us in the Alaska Range. I have packed loads that are HUGE with the best in comfort and no failures! 1/2 of a caribou in the bag,
bones and all with the antlers on the outside, plus 30 pounds of hunting gear is a common load for me. At 6'2' and 190 pounds I have had some trouble with fit in the past. No more! your system is the best I have ever carried. I was going through a pack every 1 1/2 to 2 years even with lot's of maintenance. Yours has held up for 3 years with flawless performance. We are recommending your packs to all of our hunters.
Thanks again for the great packs and super service. I have a couple of photos of the gear in use. Let me know the format you prefer and I will send them down
Good Hunting, Jeff Pralle
The only improvement to the SpikeCamp would be if Kifaru supplied someone to carry it. The GunBearer is far superior to any sling May be the mos inexpensive piece of gear a serious hunter could purchase. It is not possible to make a better product., I would like to thank Patrick Smith and tre Kifaru team for the best hunting pack on the market, bar none. I rate it a 10 on our official scale of 1 through 5 scoresheet
Kenneth Crummett, North American Hunting Club official tester
The Kifaru SpikeCamp is the best pack I have ever used. Ill never use another pack. The water bladder held enough for all day, and the HandWarmer Pouch and CargoChair are a must. The Kifaru System is very well thought out and engineered. I also give it an A+ for user friendliness. All my hunting buddies want it! (buy your own!) The video is great.
Dennis Kaplon - North American Hunting Club official test report. WY
At last Ive found a company who has created the ultimate hunting pack system! The internal frame on the SpikeCamp carries an unbelievable amount of gear and disperses the weight very comfortably. I was amazed with all of its many features. The SpikeCamp Complete was desgined for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Keep the product exactly as it is.
Brinn Ferguson North American Hunting Club official test report. MI
I used the whole pack getting to camp and then took it apart and used the frame sheet, top pocket/pack and GunBearer to hunt. The GunBearer is wonderful. Carrying our a heavy load often following grizzly tracks with low visibility and a pack soaked in Dall Rams blood made me very happy I could get my rifle to my shoulder so quickly and could carry it in the Gun Bearer so unobtrusively.
Chad McMurray, AK
Ive hunted nearly 40 years, and after one demo it was obvious that finally here was an Expedition Grade System designed, built and tested by a Hunter for a Hunter -- Hunters who appreciate traveling on foot to those special places we never forget and catch ourselves dreaming about in the off season.
Never again will I have to jury rig a general purpose backpack for my hunting trips (like attaching blaze orange or camo with safety pins or carrying two packs on a freighter frame so I can haul meat and still have a day pack). My Kifaru LongHunter is everything I need. Ammo, food, water and specialized gear close and handy. The Gun Bearer System for my rifle or shotgun keeps my hands free and yet I can still quick draw for unexpected shots or self defense.
Its absolutely the most comfortable backpack Ive ever worn -- period. I easily carried out an elk quarter this fall in the Colorado High Country. The Cargo Chair was a relief in camp, and while glassing for elk and deer. Ive never owned a piece of equipment that made me feel so self sufficient. During this falls hunt I caught myself thinking that even the early Native American Nomadic Hunters never had it so good. After seeing my Kifaru, I expect theyll be a couple more in camp next year.
This is simply one of those products youll say About time and why didnt they someone do it sooner! Oh, and guess what? That perfect family camping backpack is now my Kifaru in the bargain!
Allan W. Antell
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
December 16, 1997
"Kifaru really has some great features that set them apart - everything about them seems to be designed especially for the hunter ... Kifaru packs are the most impressive and best designed packs I've seen for the hunter."
Wisconsin NorthlandOutdoors (http://wi-outdoors.com/outdoorgear)
"... this has to be by far the best backpack on the market, period. It is made by a hunter for hunters ...it is not possible to make a better product.
Kenneth W. Crummett (regarding the SpikeCamp)
NAHC field tester
"Patrick....I just returned from our 7 day mule deer huntin NW New Mexico and thought I'd tell you that I am really delighted with the comfort and durability of my spike camp. I didn't get a chance to use the Guide pack as we were camping in the Carson National Forest where we could set up a nice camp with wall tents, but we hiked and climbed butes, benchs and cliffs for hours and miles each day with two of our four hunters getting nice mulies... The " possibles" pouch came in very handy, as did the hydration option which I had never used before - quite handy to not have to remove the pack to have a drink.
Thanks, John Wilson.
Pat, I do not have extensive experience with backpacks. Like many others, I was buying cheap day packs and tearing them up. They rarely lasted or even worked as advertised. I received my Kifaru packs last spring here in Japan. I let them sit in the closet for a while. I went TDY to Thailand for three weeks, and found myself buying yet another cheap daypack, and one of the shoulder straps tore off almost immediatetly. I got back to Japan, and started using another cheap pack to haul my work stuff in, but it would keep zipping open and dumping my stuff out. I wasn't using my Kifaru SpikeCamp. After all, that was hunting right?
Here is what I posted on the Shooterstalk Big game board just a few minutes ago.
"JJ spoke of his fanny pak made by Mountainsmith. The founder of Mountainsmith is Patrick Smith, and he also founded Kifaru. Kifaru makes backpacks for hunters. I have two different Kifaru packs--a medium sized one (the SpikeCamp) and a large one (the Longhunter).
Well, the light came on, and I started using my SpikeCamp for work. I also took it with me to Saudi Arabia for my 101 day TDY--I had to go backwards around the world, twice, coming and going. The basic Spikecamp will fit into an airline carry-on "test sizer." It is about 14" wide at the bottom, 11" wide at the top, 21" long, and 7" deep. It has an excellent waistbelt and an internal frame. It has a dizzying array of options and configurations.
I also hunted with this pack in Alaska as well as Oregon last month. The guys constantly hassled me about all the "organizing" I was doing, but when you only get to try stuff out a couple weeks a year, you don't get to sort it out ahead of time. I tried several different configurations--basic pack alone, basic pack plus possibles pouch, basic pack plus possibles pouch and one side pocket, sometimes two side pockes, with cargo chair, without cargo chair, with the rifle in the gun bearer, with the rifle over my shoulder--you get the idea.
I finally settled on a configuration that was comfortable, quick, light, and practicle. I have the basic pack covered in the camo fleece panel (it's blaze on the reverse side), the 300 CI possibles pouch, the gun bearer, the cargo chair, and the waist belt. I put the 300 CI side pockets inside the 2300 CI main bag--one pocket had survival gear, one had misc stuff. I used the Platypus water bladder and drinking hose housed in it's own pouch in the pack. I finally settled all this on my last day of hunting--the one day 30 Sep deer hunt in Oregon.
I got this pack muddy, dusty, wet, and sandy. I have not babied it, and it still looks new. I have easily put 40,000 airmiles on it. I can very comfortably carry survival gear, 70 oz of water, lunch, extra clothes, and misc stuff. The joke was laways if we got lost in the woods, everyone would come try to find me because I would have a very comfortable emergency camp. I now use this pack for work, travel, and hunting.
I didn't get to sort out the Longhunter. It has a removable 6000 CI bag and a 1000 CI pouch on top. My plan is to hunt in the SpikeCamp, then if I get a big critter, take a small load back with the SpikeCamp and get the Longhunter. I'll keep the 1000 CI top bag on the Longhunter frame and put in the survival kit, add the possibles pouch to the Longhunter waist belt, and take a water bottle or two. The Longhunter is very comfortable, and I piled a ton of weight on it "playing" with it in Japan.
To sum up, the Kifaru packs are outstanding products. I can provide more details to anyone who's interested. I'm sure there are other good packs out there and am not trying to run them down. Kifaru packs are not cheap, but they are the last packs I'll ever buy. When you consider I use the SpikeCamp for work, travel, and hunting, it is the most useful piece of hunting gear I have ever bought. The website is: www.kifaru.net. Check it out."
Blaine via e-mail