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Kifaru ARK Frame: A First Look at the Carbon Mountain Hunt Hauler

The Kifaru Ark is finally here and we're taking a first look at this carbon-built, mountain hunting pack frame.

Kifaru Ark Frame(Photo/Kifaru)
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A few brands are always included on the hardest hunters’ gear list. Kifaru is one of them. Arguably one of the best mountain pack manufacturers in the game, the introduction of the new ARK Frame is exciting. It launches tonight (Thursday, February 15, 2024), and I already have my hands on it.

Before we put this new frame system through our brutal GearJunkie testing, let’s give this thing a first look and build a bit of pre-test hype, shall we?

The Kifaru Ark Frame

Kifaru Ark

Kifaru ARK Frame; (photo/Kifaru)

Holy carbon, Batman. If you have any experience with an external frame pack, that giant sheet of carbon may look a bit jarring. What looks like a sheet of plastic comprising the frame is actually a solid sheet of sturdy, lightweight carbon.

As I write this, I’ve got the frame sitting here next to my desk, and I can attest that the feel is similar to powder-coated steel, with all of the strength and almost none of the weight. In my giant pile of packs and frames, it certainly stands out as being distinctly different.

The ARK Frame Breakdown From Kifaru

The synopsis comes down to this: strong, light, comfortable, and easily adjustable.

Kifaru has essentially combined the advancements of all its other pack frames into the new ARK Frame, with additional strides forward in pack tech. New clips, a laser-cut MOLLE panel, a new angle of shoulder straps, and a full carbon sheet for support round out the features of the pack.

This frame is lighter, more durable, and comfortable. The brand has been testing it hard, and we’re looking forward to doing the same.

First Impressions of the ARK Frame

Kifaru Ark Frame and Hellbender Pack
Kifaru Ark Frame and Hellbender Pack; (photo/Rachelle Schrute)

Anyone who knows me (or has read much of what I’ve written) knows that it’s rare to find me doing anything without a Stone Glacier pack on my back. No matter which pack I test, I tend to default to one of my SG packs on my days off. The gear I grab on my personal time speaks volumes.

Now, I haven’t had a chance to get this sucker on the mountain, but my gut instinct from wearing it around the house and out to feed my dogs is that my Stone Glacier fandom may have some competition.

It is so light, and even with the ample storage options, it doesn’t feel overburdened with stuff. Now granted, the Hellbender isn’t a big pack, but even so, it has the feel of a much smaller pack.

The lumbar pad on the ARK is substantial, and the frame itself has a totally unique feel compared to any other external frame I’ve worn. The attachment points on the frame are essentially MOLLE panel holes, but solid. The connection is so much more sturdy than you would find on what we’ve come to consider a traditional frame. That fold-over top-hanging attachment point for the pack to the frame is epic (so far).

OK. I haven’t tested the dang thing. I’m just waxing poetic at this point about how I think it will perform.

First Impression? I Dig. I Dig Big.

Once I get this puppy on the mountain and get some serious weight in it, I’ll be sure to update you with my full findings. So far, I think this may be a contender for a new favorite pack frame.

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