We mentioned last summer that we had one more gear change for this season that would further reduce weight from our loaded packs. We wanted to put a full hunting season on our new Kifaru Grab-Its to see if we really did favor it over our tried and true Cargo Chairs. We both hauled out multiple animals on our backs this fall so it was a good test year.
Ever since our initial purchase of our Kifaru Longhunter backpacks back in the early 2000’s, (our model is out of date, current model is the Kifaru Longhunter Legacy with Duplex Frame) (http://store.kifaru.net/long-hunter-legacy-6300cibag-only-p7.aspx)we’ve been running Kifaru’s Cargo Chair. The Cargo Chair has been used to help support the heavy loads we’re hauling out to the truck. I (more than Steve) use the Chair as a stash point during the hunt with the lash points attached to the back of the bag and not the frame. It typically holds rain gear, gaiters, and sometimes tripod with camera/spotting scope for short hikes. For bow hunting, it’s been a great accessory for attaching the bow to the pack.
Once the animal is down, I switch the lash points so it’s used as a shelf attached to the frame. The idea has been to take some strain off the bag and transfer the weight through the Cargo Chair to the 4 points of contact on the frame, similar to an external frame pack with a load shelf. The new Grab-It does the exact same thing but at about 12 ounces less than the cargo chair.
We have to admit, the Grab-It looks like a backpack diaper when it is attached in this configuration. Maybe that’s appropriate since it helps you haul a lot of crap. The funny look is made up for in its use and weight savings over the Cargo Chair (Cargo chair weight without fleece panels: 16.1 oz, Garb-It: 4.5 oz). If you get your grab it in the same color as your pack I bet the diaper effect wouldn’t be as noticeable. But hey, we aren’t complaining.
The Grab-it also provides a great spot to place light weight misc. items like a sleeping bag or clothes bag for that heavy load out to the truck. While I have enough room in my bag to hold an entire dall ram and my camp for that long trip out to the truck it’s not a well balanced load that becomes very top heavy. Top heavy loads aren’t fun at all on steep sheep slopes and loose rock. Being able to place a couple items down in the Grab-It really changes the load balance and makes the hike so much more enjoyable than having to fight a leaning tower of “throw you to the ground with hurt”.
In summary; if you can’t get it all in your pack, the Grab-It provides a secure spot for external storage, while at the same time getting that extra load support that the cargo chair provided. All with a big weight savings at an affordable price ($31).
As a bonus it makes a pretty sweet kid carrier. Try doing that with a cargo chair.
There is one compromise however, and that’s the loss of the “chair” option that the Cargo Chair afforded. That’s a function we rarely if ever utilized out in the field so it comes at no loss to us. But if you use your Cargo Chair extensively as a seat, the grab-it option might not be for you.
The Grab-It is a great piece of gear, a sweet upgrade for us that we feel is crucial to extending the life of our old school Kifaru packs for yet another 10 years of use. It’s an affordable way to knock a big chunk of weight off or as a lightweight add-on that increases the functionality of your pack.
Thanks Kifaru and Aron Snyder for the help with this.
Another 11.6 ounces, adios.
Kifaru has some great new packs and products that continue to allow them to be leaders in the backpack hunting market, check them out at: http://store.kifaru.net/hunting-c2.aspx
Sheep Hunting Gear List
All the gear and food used in the Lace'em Up video listed in a free download.
The Keys to Success
What it takes to be successful as a dedicated backpack sheep hunter.
7 Rams, 7 Mountains
Steve completed the first ever walk-in Alaska sheep slam this past August 2012. Read about his journey here.