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Kifaru Tactical Platform Frame and Suspension

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo: Kifaru Tactical Platform Frame and Suspension expedition pack (70l+)
Version reviewed: with Cargo Panel

This is a pack frame that you can carry anything that your legs can lift in, comfortably, whether it's an ultralight sil-nylon bag, firewood, or your friend who sprained an ankle. My configurations vary from a 2000 cubic inch day pack, rifle, and a cargo panel for meat, to a dry bag with an 8-man tipi, wood stove, and gear for me and my two kids.

This pack is for those that want the ability to carry really heavy loads easily. Great for military, hunting, or all around backpacking, with the capability to scale up to whatever your needs are.


  • Great suspension!
  • Secure carriage of any load your legs can carry.
  • Flexible. Carry firewood, dry bags, friends!!
  • Durable. 1000d


  • Built to carry HEAVY loads. Comfortably.


This frame is designed for adults and when ordered, custom fit with shoulder straps and waist belt to match your measurements. It can be ordered with 22", 24" or 26" stays, but the stay lengths enable different sized loads, the yoke of the shoulder straps can be adjusted vertically to fit different torso lengths.

My 26" frame can be adjusted to fit me at 5'9" or my friend who is 6'8". Adjust the torso length first, then never touch it again. The waist belt is what really bears the weight, cinch that after your torso length is right, then adjust the shoulder straps and the lifter straps at the top to pull the upper part of the pack vertically above your butt. Finish with the delta straps that pull the middle of the pack into your lumbar, and your frame is dialed. 

Whatever is loaded onto the frame, whether it's a packbag (Kifaru makes many) odd shaped loads, (cargo panels hold these well, could be your friend, ammo cans, gas cans, air compressors, 45lb plates), moose quarters, or cylindrical dry bags like the 65 liter ILBE sacks made by SealLine, or cubes made by Granite Gear. All strap to the frame and cinch down with ease and don't shift at all.

If it's your friend, cinch them in tight. If they're clumsy enough to get hurt in the backcountry, they deserve what they get...  :-)  I've seen all of these loads and carried quite a few myself.


Here's a GREAT video about the Cargo Panel being set up with this frame:

My son's first backpacking trip, at 3 1/2. This was my first tactical frame. This was with about 45 lbs of gear and a 3 1/2 year old on top for part of the ride totaling about 85 lbs. Comfortable...
Packing-with-Fin.jpg  Packing-Fin.jpg

Why does somebody need to carry 85 lbs? Make the kid walk, right? Well, I want my kids to ENJOY being in the middle of nowhere, and I don't want to feel like a broken down abused mule. I want them to be this comfortable, and want to go again...

I left the kitchen sink at home, but brought the Kifaru stove. My daughter seemed to like it.  

JosieandRobCampingMay2012014small.jpg JosieandRobCampingMay2012004small.jpg

The dry bag/sandwich method is one way to use it. Here's a pic of it with a sand-filled PVC 70lb weight that I climb hills with to train. The heaviest load I've carried was this summer with both kids' sleeping bags, the stove, sleeping pads for all, food and an 8-person tipi. And bb guns and bows. Fishing rods, tackle. And a hammock.

This pack can carry more than my legs can in comfort...


I've been using this setup since about 2010, on trips up to a week here in Colorado and in Wyoming, and while I like the notion of a traditional internal frame pack (I've had several Mountainsmith packs, also designed by Patrick Smith), the versatility of the frame with a cargo panel or other removable pack bag in stabilizing loads that change for me with every trip is what continues to amaze me with this pack. 1000D cordura (absolutely bomber).

This system really defies categorization. It rides like an internal frame, but it packs easier than an external. Volume adjusts to whatever you can dream of, from near nothing to as big as you want without flopping around due to easy compression.

It can accept PALS pockets, and the Kifaru Gunbearer is frankly the best way I've ever seen to carry a rifle on a pack. (I can use it on any of my Kifaru packs, from my day pack sized Tailgunner or Scout, my 2,300 cubic inch Molle Express, or this one.)

Another note: Kifaru's customer service is better than any, period. These guys use, abuse, and test the heck out of these packs, and are always available to answer questions about their stuff. You won't break it. If you do, they'll fix it. Period.  

Buy with confidence. They're made 100% in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, USA, and Patrick's been designing packs since the late 1970s, and designing mountaineering gear too. Their entire catalog is well worth a look and it keeps getting better.

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Kifaru Tactical Platform Frame

Kifaru Cargo Panel

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $375 with Cargo Panel

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Price MSRP: $376.00
Reviewers Paid: $375.00
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