Kifaru Timberline 2 Pack Review EDITOR CHOICE AWARD
A lightweight load hauling pack that can go from a 7-10 day hunting pack to a sleek and slender day pack with the use of side, top and bottom compression straps. It has 26 inch stays that can fit very tall people with 23 inch + torsos. The shoulder straps are independently adjustable from one another, and allows for people who are not symmetrical. It also has Kifaru’s patented precision lift allowing you to infinitely adjust the angle of the load lifter straps. The pack also uses their ultra light stays that are made from carbon fiber and exotic hard wood.
Just the Facts:
-5,200 Cu inches, with 1,700 Cu inches of external pockets
-Choice of 3 top lids, Standard lid, XTL lid, Longhunter lid
-5lbs 4.5 ounces
-24 or 26 inch ultra light stays
-Single Layer 500D Cordura pack body and double layer on bottom.
-Comes in Foliage, Olive Drab, Multicam
-Kifaru’s tried and true wrap tech plus suspension system
-Independently adjustable shoulder straps
-Custom waist belt sizes
-An array of pockets that can be attached via Dock n’ Lock or Lock n’ Load mounting system
-Price starting at $566 (with aluminum stays) $606 (with ultra light stays)
I discovered Kifaru International about a year and a half ago and the first thing I said was, “I will never be able to afford one of those packs! Who would pay that?” I can tell you that I understand very clearly why the price is of no concern to so many Kifaru users and myself now included. Kifaru was founded by Patrick Smith, who used to own Mountainsmith pack company. They have been building packs and gear since 1978, 10 years before I was born! They have some of the best customer service in the industry and have always answered my questions and emailed back promptly answering anything I have ever asked. Now enough on the history lesson and onto this awesome pack; in a nut shell, this is hands down, without question the best pack I have had the privilege of owning. Let me explain why.
The Timberline 2 uses Kifaru’s wrap tech plus suspension system. The suspension is very robust and comfortable. I have had over 120lbs in this pack and I never knew 120lbs could feel this comfortable. The first thing that stood out to me was the waist belt (which is offered in different sizes so you get a custom fit). It is wider than most and utilizes a very dense foam padding, so it does not break down overtime while hauling heavy loads. It is also sewn in a way that allows it to “cup” around your hips and wraps around them quite nicely reducing hot spots and increasing wearer comfort with heavy loads. It also has a forward pulling waist belt which is a must in my book for a backpack. The lumbar pad is very large and also has dense foam padding and has their patented Packlock patch on it. It is a tacky substance which helps to keep the pack on you lumbar region and prevents the pack from sliding down under heavy loads. So all in all the best waist belt I have seen on a pack. Next is the suspension system and it all starts with the use of their ultra light stays. These things are freakishly light weight, yet they are the most rigid set of stays I have seen in a backpack. With 120lbs in the pack they do not even budge! If you know from my last pack review this rigidity is key to keeping a heavy load off of your shoulders and allows the load lifters to actually work, redistributing the weight to the frame and thus to your hips. The lifter straps also have their patented Precision Lift adjustment system. It allows the user to adjust the angle of lift up or down depending on the size of load you are carrying, or for people with different size torso lengths. It is so simple it is stupid and yet it works so perfectly!
The layout of the actual bag and pockets is very nice, especially for someone who is going to be doing a pack in or bivy style hunt and is going to be using it for a daypack. It has two 300 Cu inch zippered pockets on the front of the pack and 600 Cu inch slot pockets on each side of the pack. The side pockets are large enough to fit 80mm spotting scopes and tripods. While the zippered pockets can fit your water filter and day hunt gear. You also have the option of getting a different lid which can increase your Cu inches by 600 or so. I opted to get the XTL lid with my pack. Inside the pack you have a sleeping bag divider/meat shelf and a water bladder pocket on the rear of the pack that will fit up to a 6L bladder. It also comes with one chamber pocket which is attached to the top inside of the pack with 3 bar sliders that run through buckles fixed to the pack. It really is the perfect pack in my opinion. It is smaller than a badlands 2200 when compressed and it is lighter weight!
Now I realize pack design is somewhat of a personal preference and some people like waist belt pockets, some like lids with pockets, some like pack pockets etc… and this is where the Kifaru really shines! Kifaru has a modular system where you can attach accessories and pockets with using the Dock n’ Lock method which uses a split lock buckle that attaches to webbing or fixed loop points or their Lock n’ Load method which used 3 bar sliders attaching to pals webbing/molle webbing or square buckles. I ordered a grab-it and a couple of small belt pouches to attach to my waist belt for range finders, calls, wind indicators and small items I want to have handy. The grab-it attaches to the bottom of the pack and is a sling of sorts that can hold a bow, sleeping pad, Elk quarter, or a whole deboned deer. The options are endless and I encourage you to look on Kifaru’s website and explore all of their options.
I want you to know that I have only had this pack for a month or so and I have not hunted with it yet. I have gone on hikes and carried a lot of weight with it to test its comfort and function of the frame. I will keep you posted on long term durability after this season is over but I have a feeling you will have to check back with me in 10 years or so to get a real report as I see this pack lasting my entire lifetime. My good buddy and co-designer of this pack, packed out over 15 animals in his last year and the pack looks like new minus the blood. So I have no doubt this pack is durable. You also hear about products that fail on the internet and Kifaru has been around awhile and I haven’t heard of a failure yet.
This pack is expensive and yes it is hard to swallow dropping $600+ for a pack. (The way mine was configured it was over $750) But it has a lifetime warranty and to me the comfort alone is worth the price. If you are serious about back country hunts and you want the best pack money can buy, get a Kifaru and I have no doubt you will be impressed.
What they could do better:
Kifaru Timberline 2 Pack Review