If you are into backpack hunting you’ve probably heard the name Kifaru more than you can count, and if you are like me you may even be a Kifaru “Fanboy.” However the biggest problem with Kifaru (which isnt a bad problem to have) is the overwhelming amount of choices!! From a small sub one thousand cubic inch go bag to a bag and accessory combo of over 10k cubic inches, the options and combos are pretty much endless and only you can find what is truly right for your style.
A very common question I see and one I had myself was whether to get the newer organizer guide lid or stick to the standard guide lid. I decided to buy both and I figured out I much preferred the standard while a buddy told me he preferred the OGL, yet again it came down to personal preference…. I think with a small side by side break down and some examples of ways I tried both may give someone an idea of which will work for them without ponying up for doubles.
For a base level of what my set up is, I run the muskeg 5k bag with 2 small pockets on my hip belt, I use this bag for day hunts or hikes to fully loaded week long backcountry trips. I wanted to add the lid for a few reasons, first off is obviously the extra room afforded to you when attached, the next thing is that even though I could make the bag alone work for most trips I do not like digging through my main bag constantly, and lastly I wanted something that I could take as a stalk or fishing bag which led me towards the lids over just extra pockets.
Both of these lids were bought directly from Kfiaru and bought in xpac material to go with the muskeg, the lids are pretty well the same size and both come in at roughly one thousand cubic inches. The standard lid seems to have more of a taper to it and has the loops on it allowing you to mount another pouch to it if you wanted (my plan is to add a medium pocket for my camera equipment). Both lids have a flat “pocket” on the rear of them, these could be great for things like maps or face masks or other things that have little to no bulk. The standard lid has a velcro closure on the rear pocket whereas the organizer is zippered along this part, the other big difference is that the standard lid has built in shoulder straps and a top grab handle when the straps are in use. Now either lid could be easily used as a standalone style day pack, the standard has the built in straps but the organizer is sent with straps and buckles to clip on to create a pack, this is a nice little feature if you want a fishing bag or stalking bag instead of taking your whole set up with you which is a big plus over just adding additional pockets. Pictured below is the standard lid with the built in straps and handle out, you can see the soft velcro side just above the lid, that is the point of closure when the straps are not out.
As always with kifaru everything has been top quality and well thought out, I have no complaints about the build or design other than I personally do not like velcro with my hunting equipment. I wish the standard lid used a waterproof zipper for the back pocket but so far I have to say it has not made any noticeable noise during just general use of the lid so I cant complain much. Another note of the build is that this xpac is waterproof and has a waterproof zipper however there is a bit more noise than the standard material but nothing to worry over.
Now getting on with which may be right for you…. I use a few kifaru pull outs to keep the “small stuff” all together, and then the pull outs slide into the front sleeve of the muskeg, by using this system and the 2 small belt pouches on my hip pockets I find that I need very little help with organizing. Where the lids played the biggest roll for me is I like to have my puffy jacket and pants, rain jacket, gloves, beanie and kefya all in a spot that I can grab or stash them with minimal effort. The smaller main pocket of the organizer lid just barely allowed me to fit my Kelvin active and rain jacket together then the smaller pockets could hold my beanie and gloves and I slid the kefya into the back pocket. This system could have possibly worked well but I tended to not need the full space of the smaller pockets, I also found that I was still digging into my bag to pull out my puffy pants or if I needed to take off a layer the main compartment was already maxed out with my other two jackets.
In comparison of ways to use them a friend mentioned that he sticks his layers into a grabbit instead of a lid because he doesnt like risking material getting caught in a zipper or having to use the zipper to access layers. He also doesnt use pull outs to organize smaller stuff like I do, he found that being able to stick all the smaller stuff he uses into the lid versus it getting tossed into his main bag and potentially being lost to the abyss he had only 3 smaller pockets to dig through for items.
If you find yourself still torn between the two options one other thing of note is that the standard guide lid has the attachment point inside for a chamber pocket. To those unfamiliar with kifaru this is just a small zippered pocket that attaches in many of their bags and gives you a small storage compartment. This additional feature in the guide lid does mean that you could still have the larger bag with a small amount of storage for small stuff like car keys, a head lamp and a lighter.
Hopefully this helped give some ideas of how each lid could potentially be used for different styles and makes the decision of which one to buy easier!!
Or maybe it just muddied the waters even more…..