My first experience with Kifaru International was while standing in my SF team room. Aron Snyder of Kifaru International had done our team a favor and put us at the top of the list for five of the new EMR II’s. When I first saw the EMR II in its smallest configuration, my thought was, “Why the hell did we order these things? This ruck is way too small!” Of course I had no idea the versatility, load bearing capacity and downright comfort that this ruck offers.
I have to admit that, initially, due to my first impression I was leaning toward passing judgement and not giving this ruck the benefit of the doubt as to whether it was good at its job or not. All that changed when I opened it up for the first time. This thing gets HUGE! I quickly ordered my own personal EMR II to use on future military trips and a Fall 2015 Elk hunting trip. My first real experience with my EMR II came on a 5 day training mission into the wilderness of Africa where there is nothing but 100 degree temps and desolation for hundreds of miles in every direction. We started with a 12 mile/2500 ft. ascent on foot, while carrying enough water, food and work equipment to weight down a mule. Of course with extras of everything to accommodate the work trip means a ruck that weighs over a hundred pounds.
Kifaru International had these conditions in mind when they designed the EMR II. The EMR II effortlessly stored all the gear in a way that was easy to stay organized. Which means less time wasted fumbling through your pack trying to find a piece of gear. A pack with the ability to adjust the shoulder straps, torso length and waist straps will make the difference in comfort when you consider how much equipment that the backcountry bow hunter or Special Operator must carry to achieve mission success. I am 6’4’’ and I need a ruck that goes beyond “one size fits all”. Kifaru International’s EMR II went the extra mile in making sure that with such a large payload capacity, comfort must not be overlooked. The EMR delivers in the comfort category.
The EMR II also has a unique butterfly design which gives the user the ability to open the pack from top or bottom, left or right. These side pouches are great storage locations for tripods, spotting scopes and even a rifle. When fully closed the pack holds all the items very securely in the side pouches. Kifaru’s employed high quality fast clips to ensure strength and durability, even in the cold. It also allows the EMR II to be used for Rocky Mountain Elk archery hunting.
In my first trip hunting Rocky Mountain Elk, I took my Kifaru EMR II. My previous experience with EMR II told me that it would excel as a bow hunting day pack as well as a heavy Infiltration pack. My assumptions were correct as this pack is comfortable for long term wear like call & stock or spot & stalk bow hunting. It get big enough for all the gear and food you would need for a 3-4 day trip into the back country on foot. Once at your destination you can unload and set up your camp, then compress the pack down to include essential equipment only like a kill kit and emergency supplies.
The only serious critique that I would give the EMR II is that it does not have a purpose built hydration system carrier. We all need water and when at altitude in September, everyone should be drinking lots of water to avoid undue exhaustion. Otherwise I would give the Kifaru International EMR II top marks for a tactical recon pack as well as a back country or local country bow hunting pack.
In my opinion, Kifaru once again goes above and beyond for designing a pack for the Operator and the outdoor enthusiast/hunter. I give the EMR II five out of five stars in comfort, accessibility and overall design. Take it from me, when you find that one pack that blends the Operator world and the hunting world, you jump on it and never look back.
EMR II Specs:
Total of 8400 cubic inches (137 Liters) available to the user. 6000 cubic inches (98 Liters) in the main compartment. Two 1200 cubic inch (19 Liters) zippered pockets on the side. Two front pockets with bungie retention (10″x 8″x2.5″). Accessible from the top and front. Made from 500d DWR Coated Cordura (with the one I ordered being in Multicam). Kifaru offers a multitude of add-on pockets to customize your needs.
To purchase the EMR II click on the link below: