Iam new to backpacking, I have most of kuiu's gear and will be adding the chugach nx and a pack. I was wondering a littel more specifically what you guys mean by comfort and durability differences. The other question is does the t2 have a built in frame( for the lack of better words ) and would that be a disadvantage compared to being able to remove it on the icon? I have been reading on both lately due to having hip surgery at the rip age of 31. Thanks in advance.
Though I havent tried a kifaru I have done enought research to tell you that by comfort and durabilty they are talking about the kifaru system under a heavy load... you hard pressed to find a negative review about how it carries under a heavy load. Durabilty is top notch as well. US made and done right. You can find video reviews of people tossthing down mountains and trying by all means to destroy them. The T2 does not have a removable frame but you can get the T (timberlins) as a bag only and put it on the Bikini frame (BT2) or the Duplex frame (DT2).
By doing that does that allow to by there day pack and use it like the icon system. My biggest thing is I want one bag for packing in and liked the idea of having the 1850 for packing meat but the t2 or the other set up you mentioned could work if the bag could compress down when not fully loaded. That being said it needs to handle loads well and comfortable, and if the icons have durability issues Iam not even going to go there. I love kuiu and have been happy with all my gear but Iam not going to buy off name only.
Bryan, J is quiet correct in his response, it is the Kifaru's comfort under heavy load that makes it so good, I have carried a lot of heavy packs, and nothing comes close to Kifaru, and I was sceptical until I tried them.
The bikini is great.
As mentioned earlier, I tried an Icon 5000, and sent it back.
Kifaru works off the concept of emptying the pack at camp and compressing down to 'daypack' mode.
Check out the Kifaru site and Rokslide to gain a better understanding.
Back in July I went through this very same delima. At one time I had 3 packs in my arsenal to compare, I was very interested in the 5200 with the features that were offered, light weight/high-tec materials. But In the end it came down to the Kifaru and Mystery Ranch for the proven load carying capability. I decided to go with the Mystery Ranch for the fit and service that was provided and have been very happy with my choice.
Ok everyone, I thought I would post a response on my choice.
I went ahead and purchased the Icon 7200, 1850, and frame and have since been able to use it on my most recent hunt in the mountains of Idaho. Anyway, unfortunately I was not able to put any meat in it, but got to put them both through their paces. The 7200 was awesome for the carry up to camp and the trek back carrying about 35 pounds worth of gear and food. We went about 3 miles in and ended up at about 9500 ft and the pack did what I had hoped. I was a little nervous about the stiffness of the frame, but found that it held up great and moved with me. I never had any issue with the pack sliding down my "rear" while hiking and the load lifter straps were great. When at camp I switched to the 1850, which was a little challenging. I have since done it a few times and am getting faster each time I switch them. My biggest issue with the changeout was the shoulder strap webbing fitting in and out of the strap locks. Just like in Jason's video when he states that the webbing is folded over itself, so it might be difficult to pass through. It is and has not got any easier. Besides that, it is a breeze. The 1850, as a daypack is incredible, even with the frame. It handled the relatively light day load perfectly and didn't really feel like it was there most of the time. I wish I could have used it for meat however. The organization of the pack is great and allowed just enough room for the things I like to take. Mostly rain gear, a few power bars, water, knives, rangefinder, headlamp, insulation, spotting scope, spotter, and a few other personal preference things. My scope fit great in the vertical pocket on the back and the tripod was perfect in the side pocket, being held down with compression straps. Overall, I had a great experience with my first trip out with both bags. The only time I used the 7200 was on the way in and the way out, so don't have a lot of info on it, except the organization was great and it was comfortable. Also, I did not have any trouble with noise, at least not more than any other pack I have had. And the material seems fairly durable so far.
My only con is the zippers. I did feel like the little "rubber" finger pulls where going to rip at any moment, especially when I had the 7200 loaded up. I didn't feel like I could really crank the zipper closed to seal it shut. When it was full I really had to make sure I pulled the two sides of the zipper together, and tried to hold it that way while I zipped. This was a pain, but I got through it. I am thinking about replacing the finger pulls with some paracord, or something.
If anyone has any questions, let me know. I know I rambled a little, but I just thought I would give everyone an update.
Shoot, one more thing I wanted to add. What finally sold me on the Kuiu was that after my original post, Todd at Kuiu called me personally to see if I had any questions about the packs. I called back, but it was after hours. Never actually spoke to him, but just the fact that he called to check in on me gave me a huge confidence boost in the product. I knew in the back of my mind that if I ever needed any support, Kuiu would be there for me. That is huge!!!!
I am sure that Kifaru would do the same, but it just shows how far customer service can go in today's world.
Zipper pulls are easily remedied, lots of after market options. Just take a walk through the pack accessories section at an REI. I like the zipper pulls, but also had issues with a few of them. I love the pack bag, its the best pack bag on the market. The lid, the pockets, the way to secure the rifle, its the bomb.
I have struggled a little bit with the flat back and the waist belt, but no more than any other pack I have ran with. My buddy has a Kifaru T1, its not a duplex, but comparing the two side by side on our 2013 sheep hunt neither one of us was willing to switch with the other. (Although he was very envious of all the pockets and layout of the pack). The ICON has so many darn straps and pockets! It provides a lot of optionality around how to secure gear and loads.
I've not had any issues with durability on the fabric. It was easy to clean up and and although it does not look like new every thing still functions as it should.
I think the 2013 frame is a 90% solution. Its great, but it could be a little better. From everything I know about Jason and KUIU they will not be happy until the pack dominates the market and a few tweaks here and there are probably in the works. (assumptions on my part, no secret info)
Would I trade my ICON 7200 for any other pack out there? No. Would I be willing to try another pack, perhaps and only if it was no cost to me. I'm glad my money went toward the ICON. It was a heck of a lot shorter weight than other packs and ANY ISSUES can be resolved with a phone call to the KUIU team. For the dollar I've been happy.