Having worked as a sniper for over two decades has left me with some knowledge and an incredible amount of load bearing gear. Some good some bad and a little that performed as I wanted. So many rucksacks have been purchased that my wife says I should open a used backpack store. Large and small Alice packs, CF90's, Becker's, one off and 3 Day packs litter my gear storage area. I always find something I don't like about a design. It usually only takes a few days with a heavy load out to find the fault with any design.
Either they seem to snag on everything, bump me as I move or kill my back and shoulders with heavy loads in them. One thing certain is most packs are designed by gear companies and not by guys who frankly "Hump a Ruck". With that said the designs are hyped up as "High Speed" and advertised to death. Like me, the owners use them until they find out the flaws. Then off to the gear storage and the hunt for what is needed continues.
Recently I was introduced to Kifaru, a company out of Golden Colorado. They have a military division that makes packs and tents designed for field military use. They have many pack designs from the fairly small to huge. All of their packs are made completely in the United States. Since most sniper missions can be classed into two areas of either up to three day or up to one week, I choose two packs to provide the needs of both. They make additional packs that hold between 4000 and 7200 Cubic Inches of cargo. I look forward to testing the other Kifaru packs at a later date.
The Marauder is probably the best three-day design ever made. In fact it's the only three-day type I have used that would carry heavy loads with ease. Loaded with enough gear and water to perform a three day mission it carries heavy loads like a much larger framed pack. The Marauder is an internal frame design with Aluminum stays to help with the heavy loads. Most packs in this category are frameless and a frameless pack does not do well with a heavy load. The Marauder is covered inside and outside with PALs webbing. More and more companies are putting PALs webbing on the outside but this is the first pack to add it inside. If you wonder why the PALs webbing is added, the answer is simple. With PALs you can add any number of pouches to fill any carry need. The webbing on the inside is great for Snipers, EOD and Medics because it allows these operators to store gear in easy to get to compartments. The pack further zips out to allow you access to the inside compartment with ease. The inside pouches lay out like a well-built tool box. In my opinion all packs of this type should have the PALs webbing on the inside and out! The pack is completely adjustable to fit most any user on the planet.
The Marauder will fill the needs of all LE Snipers, EOD and Medics. It is the perfect SWAT Type pack. It has approximately 2000 Cubic Inches of space inside. Additional pouches can be added to allow for more days out and make the pack carry approximately 4200 cubic inches in total, but really if more room is needed you should step up to one of Kifaru's larger packs. The Marauder can also be used as an add-on to any of the Larger Kifaru Packs. Mine rides on the back of my Point Man when I am to be out for more than a week, or have additional gear to carry. I sometimes find with classes I teach, that I become the re-supply for students. In most cases I will load up the Point Man with additional food, first aide and water, then add my gear to the Marauder and strap it on the outside of the Point Man. This just takes a few seconds and has been well worth the trouble.
The next size up pack, is called the Pointman. It is also an internal frame pack, with aluminum stays. It is a top loader, with the top easily folding away for quick access to all items inside the pack. It is fitted with a carrier for a 100 oz. hydration system, that can be accessed without opening the pack's main compartment. This allows you to add water without unloading your pack (this feature is also on the Marauder). It is called a Three Day pack but don't let that mislead you. This pack is good to go for a week in the field, as long as the usual, water, is re-supplied. In size this is about 2/3 the size of a CF90 Pack but much easier to use and carry. It has PALs webbing on the outside so you can add any pouches that fit your requirements for the mission. It does not have PALs webbing on the inside. At 3000 cubic inches of cargo space, it would be the one pack I would have if I could only have one. You can once again add pouches and the overall capacity will be over 5200 cubic inches of cargo space. The Point Man pack's bottom panel zips open and then provides a place to strap a smaller sleeping bag, such as a Wiggy's Desert or US Military Patrol bag with Gortex Bivy Sack. The sleeping bag lashes to the inside or outside of the bottom panel. It will not carry the three part sleeping system inside, but will allow the system to be strapped on the bottom.
The Point man, as any of the larger Kifaru packs, has several options that should be considered. One is a hard bottomed carrier, called "The Cargo Chair" that straps to the frame and allows the operator to carry a person seated or even a five gallon Jerry Can, while not compromising the pack's ability to carry gear inside. Once you have arrived this carrier can easily be converted into a seat, while still on the pack. This carrier can be used on all the Kifaru packs.
Another option is the weapons carriers. They have several. One is designed to hold an additional weapon against the Ruck, while wearing the pack. This is excellent for a Sniper who carries a Carbine for movement and straps a Sniper Rifle to the ruck for mission requirements. The second weapons carrier is designed to allow instant access to the weapon while taking the weight out of the operator's arms. Both are excellent designs and should be considered.
Both of the Kifaru packs tested rode on my back as if loaded twenty pounds lighter than they actually were. With the PALs webbing I was able to put the additional pouches in places that balanced and did not bump me as I moved.
The packs are exceptionally well made. The materials are top notch. All the seams are over sewn and just will not rip out. In fact they are the best made and designed packs I have tested to date. They have a money back guarantee if you are unhappy for any reason with the pack. If anything ever fails just return it for no cost replacement or repair. You can be sure to see me using Kifaru in the future. These are packs designed by someone who has "Humped a ruck".
"To speak with a military specialist regarding our gear, please call Mel at 1-866-308-1911 For technical pack information or ordering information, please call 1-800-222-6139 or 303-278-9155 for a live person, call Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m."