KUIU ICON PRO 7200 REVIEW
By Randy Johnson
iReview Gear Lead Field Editor
HIGH DESERT WILD SHEEP GUIDES
Alti2ude Outdoors Pro Staff
KUIU ICON PRO 7200 Basic Description:
New, with some incredible added features is KUIU’s ICON PRO 7200 pack system. After listening to their vast network of outfitters/guides and extreme mountain hunters KUIU designed their ICON PRO SERIES to be extremely durable, tough and capable of carrying very heavy weight loads. The revised carbon fiber frame is stiffer, stronger and functions in unison with a new design in the Icon Pro’s suspension system whose focus is centered upon the creation of a comfortable backpack for those who may carry heavy loads. This Expedition Grade, complete backpack system features a well-designed internal and external pocketing system that allows you to organize your gear efficiently and more securely for ultimate comfort and organization. The PRO’S full horseshoe zipper allows total access to the main pack compartment, interior pockets and hydration system. Hunters, guides and hard-core mountaineers will find that the large exterior front and side pockets are perfect for carrying optics or other critical gear that requires immediate access. KUIU’s new system of internal lashing points and included removable straps allow you better interior organization. Very importantly, this lashing system make it easier to carry heavy internal loads high and closer to your back where they should be. Weighing in at 5 lbs. 10 oz. the ICON PRO is very light for a pack designed for “guide demanded” durability with the “beefed’ up strength to carry heavy loads.
The ICON PRO’S new suspension and adjustable lumbar padding are perfect. Designed with the finest materials available, including Toray carbon fiber, 500 Denier CORDURA® Rip-Stop, YKK Zippers, and Duraflex® hardware, the PRO will stand up to the toughest mountain hunting conditions. Featuring a newly designed, larger hip belt structure the ICON PRO has raised the bar for comfort when you are packing carrying heavy loads. The new removable side-of-hip-belt webbing system provides you with the option of utilizing your hip belt without any side straps, and importantly allows you to attach important accessories such as a gun, bear spray, or a rangefinder. The ICON PRO can be adjusted to fit all sizes and body types and the adjustable track system can be adjusted quickly to provide you with a perfect fit.
This external frame hunting or expedition pack features a modular system that when interchanged takes only a few minutes to go from one sized bag to another. Included in KUIU’s 2014 line are the 1850, 5200 & 7200 cubic inch bags. KUIU’s ongoing microscopic focus on excellence has made this pack system extremely functional and versatile in offering optimum weight distribution. The PRO’S comfort and organization for storage are unparalleled. The design and structure of this pack is perhaps the creation of the finest hunting backpack for its price on the market today and that’s a huge compliment considering the competitive, technological market for backpacks today.
Facts and Features:
KUIU’s ICON PRO 7200 was designed to take ultra light Mountain Hunting to another level for guides and hunters in unforgiving terrain. Built for durability, strength and toughness the PRO’S advanced design, with its new 2014 Carbon Fiber Frame and suspension system, creates a comfortable, lightweight pack that enables hunters and mountaineers to carry heavy loads into the back country and will stand up to the harshest treatment. This pack is big enough to keep you out on the mountain for extended periods of time. The ICON PRO Series packs are made with Toray Carbon Fiber, 500 Denier CORDURA Brand Rip-Stop fabric, YKK Zippers and Duraflex Hardware. The ICON PRO is lightweight, but durable enough to stand up against the abuse that guides are well known for after spending days in the field. Hunting guides and extreme mountaineers demand backpack gear that is lightweight, yet strong and tough as nails.
The ICON PRO 7200 features additional changes with its dual density foam padding in the shoulder pads, increased hip belt size and adjustable molded lumbar pads for comfort. These features are truly cutting edge and innovative.
Please review the following detailed features to comprehend just how well the ICON PRO has been designed:
• 49.2 ounces (bag only)
• 5 lbs. 10 oz. (full kit)
• 7200 cubic inches (volume)
• Water Repellant 2x PU coated CORDURA® ripstop fabric
• Modular System – All ICON Pro Bags and Frame & Suspension are
• Load sling between bag & frame for 2500 ci of added carrying capacity
• Load Use Tested to 150 lbs.
•VOLUME: 7200 cubic inches
• FULL KIT: Assembled Bag, Frame & Suspension
• Frame (torso length): Regular 15” – 17” Tall 17.5” – 22”
• Hip Belt (waist size): S/M 28” – 33” L/XL 33” – 44”
• 500 Denier 100% Nylon CORDURA® Brand Ripstop
• YKK Zippers
• Duraflex Buckles
• Doppio Futura Spacer Mesh
• Toray Carbon Fiber
FRAME & SUSPENSION
• Molded Carbon Fiber Frame
• Vertical Stiffness & Horizontal Flex
• Built in T-Lock Track System for easy torso length adjustment
• Full webbing reinforcement on shoulder straps to eliminate stretch
• Dual density foam padding
• Adjustable sternum strap
• Adjustable molded foam lumbar pad with 2 levels of thickness adjustment
• Increased belt size distributes weight over a large area
• Internal plastic sheet behind lumbar pad for additional structural support
• Power pulls for easy waist belt tightening
• Pivoting Hip Belt
• Frame – available in 2 sizes, regular and tall.
Regular fits torso length of 15” – 17”
Tall fits torso length of 17.5” – 22”
Hip Belt – available in 2 sizes, S/M and L/XL.
S/M fits waist size of 28” – 33”
L/XL fits waist size 33” – 44”
• Removable and extendable top lid
• 2 Organizational Pockets
• Horseshoe zip opening to fully access the main compartment
• 2 exterior front pockets with 1 internal pocket
• 2 large exterior side pockets
• 2 exterior stuff-it pocket
• 2 large interior hydration pockets (hold up to 4 liter bladder)
• 1 hydration clip and 2 access ports
• 2 interior pockets on back of horseshoe opening
• New internal system of lashing points and included removable straps allows for better internal organization
• New hip belt pouches with zip forward opening (sold separately)
• YKK Zippers
• Cord zipper pulls
COMPRESSION STRAP CONFIGURATION
• 4 external compression straps
• 4 extra compression straps for internal lashing system
PACK HYDRATION CONFIGURATION
• 2 large interior hydration pockets (hold up to 4 liter bladder)
• 2 internal hanging hydration clip
• 2 hydration ports
• The ICON PRO System is completely modular. This means that with a few simple adjustments, each ICON Pro pack can be interchanged onto the same New Carbon Fiber frame & suspension.
• When you need of extra space, the ICON PRO 7200 can be converted to carry a load between the bag and frame. With some simple adjustments, the bag separates from the frame, leaving a webbing shelf attached to the frame, creating a load sling for an additional 2500ci carrying capacity. The load sling is designed perfectly to fit KUIU’s XXL roll top dry bag.
My resume is simple – I guide desert sheep hunters in some of the most difficult high desert plateau terrain in North America. My hunts are demanding on equipment as they involve backpack only Mountain Hunting in isolated, very remote, hash environments. I often find myself on extended backpack trips for numerous days where I require the best in gear, not only for safety, but to enable myself and those who are with me to stand toe to toe against the mental and physical challenges that Mother Nature will throw our way.
I’ve loved all my KUIU ultralight Mountain Hunting backpacks but have felt that to stand up against the abrasive sandstone terrain that I spend my time in and to meet the demands of extremely heavy loads that KUIU needed to consider designing a pack specifically for the rigors that guides can dish out. In the ICON PRO KUIU has not only met these specific needs but they have created a pack that hardcore hunters will love. The new PRO is in my opinion, after an extensive review out in the field the best overall ultralight, yet tough backpack system that I have ever thrown onto my shoulders. After demanding a backpack that will hold up under the most extreme conditions, yet be extraordinarily functional and comfortable, I’m excited about the ICON PRO’S functionality, and organizational features. I utilize a wide variety of gear such as climbing ropes, rifle, stoves, food, water filters, and many other miscellaneous items that need to fit comfortably in my backpack. Not only does the ultimate success of my hunts depend upon the functionality of my backpack but also there are times it can be the difference in keeping my hunters and I out in the field a little longer to pursue a trophy ram.
Field Testing the ICON PRO with a heavy load in rugged terrain!
For nearly two months now I have field-tested the ICON PRO out on the mountain in difficult and downright mean conditions carrying heavy loads through boulder fields, thick oak and miserable deadfall. KUIU’s stronger Carbon Fiber frame and flexible suspension have performed flawlessly. I love the new bags internal compression straps that enable me to compress heavy loads securely in the middle of my back against the frame and close to my body. The heavier weight no longer sags to the bottom of the pack bag and then onto my glutes causing discomfort.
The pocket configuration on the ICON PRO has been well thought out. The two large inside panels of the bag are great for hydration bladders with the smaller organization pockets on the panel perfect for other items. The two spacious pockets on the lid provide me with the ability to store items that I need quicker access to. There are two drawstring pockets designed on the outside bottom of the bag that I like to use for Nalgene bottles. Along the side of the bag, above these pockets are two long, double zippered panels that I like to use for my tripod, and rifle. With the double zippered design, I can open the top and bottom of these pockets so that I can slide my tripod or rifle through and into one of the two bottom drawstring pockets that sit below the zippered pockets. Also, in the architecture of the pack there is a large zippered pocket in the middle of the bag on the exterior that I can place my spotting scope in. This feature is very nice and convenient.
The horseshoe zipper for the main body of the bag is the same as the old Icon 7200 with the exception that all the zippers are now heavy duty YKK. With the ability to open up the bag by utilizing the horseshoe zipper I find that it is much easier for loading and the unloading of gear. The interior of the bag has four removable compression straps that work great to secure meat close to your body or you could secure a fairly large dry sack in it, with your heavier gear to keep it close to your body.
If I choose to load some of my gear through the top, a convenient shroud with two drawstrings allows me convenient access as well as the ability to secure items when I need more space. I find the drawstrings also help keep out moisture during inclement weather conditions.
When appropriate I can interchange smaller bags from my other KUIU packs onto this frame. It’s a very simple process as the straps are designed with simple, small plastic/metal ends that I can open and close with one hand. Open the ends up and slide them through the appropriate webbing, close, and you’re done.
I don’t know about you, but the adjustment systems on some backpacks were always a pain in the backside. KUIU’s ICON PRO suspension is simple to adjust for your individual torso length. Slide the straps up or down on a “sliding ladder,” then secured with velcro to get your desired adjustment and angle for the load lifters to be effective and comfortable for your build. This system works great.
ICON PRO’S Shoulder Straps/Adjustable Suspension System
In the past, when I’ve packed extremely heavy loads the shoulder straps and hips belt on my previous packs were invariably uncomfortable. KUIU’s new hip belt on the PRO is larger and wider, featuring a lumbar section with two different pads for personal use depending on what you like. The shoulder straps, with dual density foam don’t bite me at all and help greatly with comfort while carrying a heavy load.
What I have appreciated about the team at KUIU is that they listen carefully to what we, as guides and Mountain Hunters say to them about the design of their products. It’s my observation that they take a tremendous amount of pride in their gear to ensure that it functions at the highest levels to meet the demands of their customers.
I’ve purposefully tried to abuse the ICON PRO on some very tough scouting trips this summer. Last week I was on my first sheep hunt of the year, helping a close friend on his rocky hunt in Colorado, and we packed a really big ram off the mountain in some tough terrain. My PRO handled this situation very well.
In just a few more weeks I will be pulling my ICON PRO 7200 up over cliffs on several desert sheep hunts and know that I will be carrying loads well in excess of 90 pounds. After my difficult field testing I have no doubts that this pack system will stand up to anything that I or Mother Nature’s can come up with. My PRO undoubtedly won’t look as new after I complete my hunting season in December but this will be the pack I choose to wear for the following, specific reasons:
- Loading, Capacity and Organization – Loading, capacity and organization are very important features that I love about the ICON PRO. How many backpacks can be loaded from the front, side, or top? This feature in the PRO is extremely important to me. The main compartment/panel of this pack system can be easily accessed or loaded by unzipping the dual direction zippers on the front of the pack to expose the entire compartment. It has been simple and efficient for me to load and organize my gear according to weight, size, and bulk.
- Load Sling – Wow, what a great, ingenious, innovative feature! Jason and his industrial design team built the Icon suspension so that you could easily prepare the pack for what KUIU refers to as “load sling use.” By simply disengaging the load lifter strap and compression straps from the pack bag, I can open the lower frame stay pockets and engage the ICON PRO pack system into load sling mode if I ever need to. This allows me additional space to carry a boned out ram with no problem in the extra load sling space between the frame and bag when necessary. This clever architecture is ingenious. I now don’t have to worry about stuffing a hunter’s boned out animal or cape into the main compartment of my bag with all my other gear! Great job guys! Super feature. The load sling can also be used for your tent or other gear if necessary.
- Carbon Fiber Frame/Suspension– When I’m out on the mountain every single pound, every ounce counts when having to pack the weight on your back. Remember, the lighter your load, the more mobility and flexibility you have to climb mountains in pursuit of trophy rams, bucks or bulls. With that said, KUIU’s 5 lb.10 ounce total package in the ICON PRO is incredible. It’s lighter in weight than other frames and bags but much stronger. In fact, Carbon Fiber is twice as strong as steel and half the weight of aluminum. At no time when I was packing extremely heavy loads has my newly redesigned ICON PRO Carbon Fiber suspension felt like it wouldn’t support the load. Engineered with increased vertical stiffness for heavier loads and horizontal flexion this frame literally moves with the hunter or backpacker to maximize comfort and mobility. The Carbon Fiber frame is arched so that it provides me with the critical ventilation I need to not overheat in the hot, dry air of the desert. KUIU’s inset waist belt pivot and independent shoulder pad adjustment provided a very comfortable fit. Talk about taking the bar to another level.
ICON PRO’S NEW SUSPENSION SYSTEM
Waist Belt/Lumbar Pad
The ICON PRO’S wider, larger waist belt and lumbar pad is another step up. The new dual density foam combination and additional lumbar insert allow for the appropriate adjustments for comfort. I have found the pad to be comfortable and very supportive to my lower back.
Well Thought Out Details That Make A Difference
The difference between a great backpack and one that is mediocre always comes down to the additional, well thought out details. KUIU has designed this pack system to meet the diverse needs of Mountain Hunters who demand light weight, yet durable and tough gear. Here are a few of the specific little details that definitely sold me on the KUIU ICON PRO.
Large, angled bottom pockets with drawstrings that can be tightened or loosened.
Reverse coil YKK zippers with custom pulls that allow you to open the pack and outside pockets from different directions. For instance, on the vertical outside pockets, I can pull the zippers in two different directions so that my tripod can extend through the opening created at the top and bottom of the pocket. This allows me to remove my tripod or other needed gear more quickly. Excellent feature.
Waist belt pockets that allow instant access to items such as your headlamp without having to take the pack off of your back.
Web keepers on the straps keep loose ends from dangling.
Multiple direction compression straps that can be tightened on the sides and on the front of the backpack’s main panel. This allows better compression of your gear.
Hydration shoulder strap holder.
The large center pocket on the pack is very handy for my spotting scope.
The occipital cavity created with by the Carbon Fiber suspension gives you head space to look around when hunting in steep mountainous terrain. With other backpacks I’ve found that the top lid uncomfortably pushes my head forward.
The waist belt has a dual pull tightening system that allows me to adjust the waist belt uniformly around my waist. On other backpacks that I have used I’m forced to tighten each strap separately.
The shoulder harness straps can be adjusted vertically with a sliding track system and Velcro on the straps to easily fit the size of your torso. These straps are actually a pleasure instead of a chore to adjust!
Adjustable sternum strap.
The backpack frame handle is well sewn and designed to lift the heavy load of your pack without tearing the material. When you have 100 lbs in your backpack you don’t want to have to lift it by the shoulder straps.
The Tri-Glides, buckles, tension locks and hip belt clips will take all the abuse you can give them without breaking down in the field.
The reinforced 500 RIPSTOP CORDURA Denier on this pack has made a huge difference in overall strength and durability.
The Doppio Futura stretch mesh on the elongated hydration pockets and all other internal pockets is amazing. I thought this material might be easy to tear but it expands to provide enough room to even store a one-man tent in the panel.
The 4 extra internal lashing straps are well designed to secure heavier items/loads in the middle of the your pack against your back.
In the hunting world today you must be willing to pay the price for quality gear. There’s no doubt that successful hunters incorporate and utilize the latest and best innovative gear that technology can offer when they are “out on the mountain.” Because of their success KUIU is now able to offer lower prices on high-end backpacks such as the ICON PRO. At $449.98 you can purchase one of the finest, most durable backpacks on the market today.
Please note that the ICON PRO is available in Vias Camo, Verde Camo, or a Phantom Grey with Steel highlights. Available pack accessories include Hip Belt Pouches, Sil-Nylon Dry Bags, Rain Covers, and Rifle Holder.
ABOUT KUIU: Based in Dixon, California, KUIU was founded in 2011 to provide customers with the world’s most advanced hunting layering system and equipment on the market. KUIU provides remarkable apparel and equipment that is light, packable, and dependable. By eliminating retailers and selling their products exclusively online, KUIU drives the ultimate shopping experience. They provide superior customer service, lower pricing, and the highest product quality. For additional information visit www.KUIU.com or call 1-855-367-5848 Monday-Friday from 9:00AM-5:00PM PST.
Stay safe everyone and “keep your boots warm” for your next hunting adventure. I hope that this review has helped you in making a very critical decision as to what your next purchase may be in a backpack system.
What They Could Do Better
Great pack system. I don’t have any recommendations for improvements at this time.
KUIU ICON PRO 7200 Pack Review