Mystery Ranch Kodiak Pack Review
Basic Description of item:
Internal frame, hunting or expedition pack made to carry heavy loads and keep you out on the mountain for extended periods of time. It can handle just about anything you choose to cram into it.
Just the Facts:
The Kodiak pack was not built to strap on for a casual weekend trip or for anyone who is not a very serious hunter, backpacker or a seasoned, hardcore mountaineer. It has the ability to carry 7000 cubic inches of gear up to a backbreaking 120 pounds. Innovative and crafted with an Overkill Guide Frame, it has the very best Mystery Ranch offers with internal framing. Comfortable, the pack has the ability to transfer heavy weight with a Five Segmented Lumbar Wrap. This top loader has a dual draw cord shroud designed to keep out the weather and to enable upward expansion. A Daypack Lid separates the top into two separate compartments for organization and to stabilize the load. The lid has built in shoulder straps in case you want to take the top off as a day pack. A bottom compartment called a “SpeedZip” is designed for your biggest sleeping bag and is easily accessible. Side zippers provide immediate access to a huge main compartment.
I have abused the Kodiak for 3 hardcore seasons of guiding sheep hunters. It has been pulled up over cliffs and dropped off ledges, carrying over 100 lb. loads of boned out meat on more occasions than a sane person should admit! My Kodiak has survived snow storms, torrential rains, mud, floods and breath sucking heat. I even tried to melt the material once by securing the pack too close to the front headlight of my ATV.
This pack can handle all the gear you want to stick into it. On the outside are numerous daisy chains to attach extra pouches to or anchor “trophy horns or antlers.” All straps have unique Velcro “webkeepers” on the ends that help greatly in rolling up loose strap ends so they are not flopping around after being cinched . All straps have auto lock buckles and quick releases that I found to be very beneficial. Large side pockets on the outside of the pack can be used to store gear that you wish to get at quickly. I carried my rifle on the side against these pockets with the gun butt fitting nicely into a large water bottle compartment. Two of these large water compartments are found on both sides. Ice loops on each side of the pack are also useful. The compression straps worked nicely to secure the rifle against the pack.
Within the main compartment I pack my tent, food, stove, clothing, water filled containers and other heavy items. It will hold everything you need and a top compression strap sucks the items in tight. Inside the “cavern” there is also an internal small compartment that you can separate specialized gear into such as radios, fuel bottles, a water reservoir, etc.
When I’ve had to pack for long, extended trips up to 12 days I like to attach my sleeping pad and tent to straps and daisy chains on the outside enabling me to get extra food and other necessities into the main compartment.
The material on the Kodiak is practically “bomb” proof. It’s tough and takes unbelievable wear and tear. The pack itself, weighs just over 9 lbs, which is heavy to start with. However, it has been designed to pack heavy loads and not fall apart when you are exploring the isolated expanses of “no man’s land.”
I found the hip pads to be very comfortable and when fitted properly places the weight over your hips where it should be. However, it is very important you get the smallest hip pad you can or the pack will slip off your hips and ride uncomfortably on your lower back and glute muscles. I made this mistake when I first purchased my pack and had to have the good folks at Mystery Ranch send me a small hip pad.
The overkill Futura yoke is designed to slope around your shoulders. These straps are comfortable, but I wish they had designed them with a little more padding. It is very important that you understand how to fit the yoke to your pack and body. After several backpack trips, I learned quickly to cinch the load lift straps as tight as possible to pull the load in against my back. I suggest that you go to the Mystery Ranch website and view their instructional video. This will help out greatly.
I like the fact that the Kodiak is made entirely in the U.S. I’ve worn out a lot of backpacks but this one is almost impossible to beat if you plan on packing heavy loads and spending a lot of time on the mountain. My Kodiak has taken a severe beating but continues to meet my highest expectations. I like the fact that when a buckle or the material wears out I can send it in to Mystery Ranch for immediate repair. They have provided great service to me on several occasions.
What they could do better:
Put a little more padding in the Futura shoulder yoke
Shift the yoke buckles a little further forward so that you can pull the load lift straps ahead more. I ran out of room with these and would have liked to have been able to pull the pack load even closer against my back.
Experiment to find innovative ways to lighten the pack up without diminishing it’s tough durability. I would like to see them get the initial weight of the pack down to no more than 8 lbs.
Star Rating Per Category:
Functionality: [rating: 4.5/5]
Value: [rating: 4.5/5]
Ergonomics: [rating: 4/5]
Durability: [rating: 5/5]
Mystery Ranch Kodiak Pack Review