With an elk tag finally in my pocket, it was time to find a pack that would handle every situation I could run into out west. After an extensive search, reading hundreds and hundreds of reviews, the Kuiu Icon Pro 1850 was the one I chose. The pack was everything I thought it was going to be and after eight days of hunting and 46 trail miles with the pack on my back, here’s why I loved it.
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The #1 reason I chose this pack was the versatility. I loved the idea of buying one frame and being able to put either a day pack (1850 cubic inches) or multi-day (5200 cubic inches) on the same frame. I chose to take the 1850 on this trip because we would be sleeping in the truck most nights and it still would have enough room to hold what I needed for a full day hunt. The first thing that sticks out about this pack is how COMFORTABLE it is. For a guy that has zero experience backpacking, I never had a single problem with this pack being uncomfortable or riding up/down my torso. The shoulder straps adjust up or down with the simple move of some velcro, allowing you the ability to get the pack settled right above your hips and the back pad settled in the small of your back. After adjusting the height of the shoulder straps, tighten the padded waist belt, pull down on the load lifters and you are ready to hit the trail. The majority of my trip I carried my bow, arrows, binoculars, range finger, water bladder, extra jacket, rain gear, snacks, GPS, knives, game bags, tripod, camera, and release in my bag, which weighed around 23 pounds which fit easily in the 1850 Icon Pro pack and rode very comfortably.
Of all the packs I researched, the pocket configuration of the Icon Pro 1850 is probably what sold me on it the most. It starts on the hip belt with the ability to add as many pouches/pockets as you want, with multiple sizes to choose from. In these pockets I carry my range finder, wind checker, and elk calls. Moving towards the back of the pack you have a spacious main cavity that held most of my extra clothes as well as my bladder. There is a mesh pouch inside the main cavity of the bag that is made specifically for your water bladder making it easy to install your bladder and run the hose out of your pack. A vertical pouch on the back the pack is perfect for a spotting scope, and is where my camera was stashed while hiking. The bottle holders on the side of the pack are made for bottles of water or anything else you can think of putting in them. I put the legs of my tripod into one of these bottle holders and used a strap to cinch it down tight. These would also be perfect for the butt of a rifle which could easily be attached to the side of the bag. With the ability to attach straps to almost every inch of the bag, there is no shape/object that cannot be strapped to this pack with ease.
My only con of this whole pack set up is the “butt bucket”. It is intended to hold the cam of your bow, with the top of the bow being held by a quick detach strap. I loved the idea of carrying my bow this way and the quick detach worked flawlessly. Where I ran into problems was with my z7 Extreme and it’s extremely parallel limbs. The combination of parallel limbs and a cam that is not oversized caused my bow to continually pop out of the bucket. I adjusted the straps dozens of times trying to put more pressure downward on my bow, but nothing seemed to work. At times I would go for a while with no problems, but then we would get off the trail and a branch would bump my pack and send my bow dangling from my pack. I ended up deciding to carry my bow in my hand for the majority of the trip, but I would have been in serious trouble had I killed one and been loaded down with 100 pounds of fresh meat and my bow.
Overall, I would rate this pack at a solid A. It certainly stood up to what I put it through and was perfect for our day hunts where we would walk in and out in the dark. Although I never had it loaded with elk meat, it was extremely comfortable to walk with and I feel confident that if I had it loaded down it would be my legs that would give out before the pack ever would. I have recently ordered the Icon Pro 5200 and look forward to putting it to the test next year.