Icon Carbon Fiber Frame

I created the KUIU model to develop and produce products like the patent pending Icon frame; the worlds first carbon fiber backpack frame.  At a mere 13oz the Icon frame is the foundation to supporting heavy loads while still remaining comfortable to hunt in all day.

Carbon fiber is half the weight of aluminum and twice as strong as steel. It has held up perfectly to heavy stress during a variety of extensive lab & field testing.

The key component to this design as I have mentioned in the previous posts are the stays on the outside edges of the frame that pull into the hip-belt and run up to become the load-lifters.  This design decouples the load from your shoulders and hip-bones and redistributes the weight to your lower back, upper back and chest.  In testing this design I would wear this pack for hours and never need to adjust the load

Functional load lifters.

Two touch points allow for maximum airflow and breathability.  No sweaty backs with the Icon.  The ergonomically correct shape of the frame is tight to your back and angling forward for perfect balance.

The Icon suspension maximizes comfort, breathability, durability and support.

The hip belt is shape molded to fit well to your hips to support a heavy load and uses a pivot to connect to the frame to increase mobility and comfort.

The shoulder pads are designed to breath, using spacer mesh against your body, perforated foam and then mono-mesh that allow air to flow through the shoulder pats. They are attached to the frame by aluminum hardware into an inset track system to allow for easy adjustment and correct fit for a wide variety of body types.

One of the big advantages to this design is it is modular.  You can exchange bags the and suspension in mere minutes.  This will allow us to continue to develop innovative designs without the need to replace the frame.  The Icon packs will be available at the beginning of May.  Inventory is limited, make sure you are subscribed to the blog to get into the early subscriber purchase if you are interested.

Thank you for your support and interest in KUIU products. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments on the Icon Frame.


105 comments to Icon Carbon Fiber Frame

  • kendall

    Can you go into more detail on how your frame and load lifters will accommodate and adjust to different torso lengths?

    • Hi Kendall,

      Great question, not surprising coming from you. The track system and load lifters were designed for functional load lifters with the shoulder adjustment at the top and bottom of the track. Something we carefully measured during the design and development process.


  • Grady

    Can’t wait to test it on my dall sheep hunt in NW Territory. What is the attached bag made from? A lightweight fabric to go along with the lightness of the frame or a heavier fabric comparable to the mystery ranch system? Is the pack fabric waterproof or water-resistant? Looks like someone finally figured out how to manufacture what guys really need.

    • Hi Grady,

      The bags are made from a new light weight 100% Nylon rip-stop Cordura. KUIU and a French Backpack company are the first to use this latest fabric development. The packs by construction are not waterproof, the fabric is PU coated and is water resistant. However, I do recommend a rain fly and am developing one for 2012 for all the packs. In the mean time when we launch the packs I suggest several that fit our packs. Thanks for your interest and questions.


  • That’s insane innovation! Sign me up…I must have one on my back this fall on my Yukon backpack hunts. Can’t wait to see the bag options!

  • Gordon T. Brooks

    Jason, the ICON looks to be one lean packin machine, distributing the weight where it needs to go. This changes everything! Can’t wait to put one to the test.

  • Josh

    Lightweight, adjustable, well thought out………I will own one of these this season. Nice work. You may have converted a die-hard MR user.

  • Cody M

    Awesome, Awesome, Awesome. I have a pile of backpacks in the corner of my closet and im always looking for a better one. I can never seem to find one i really like. I think you have hit the nail on the head with this design. Good job. One question, if i understand you. We should be able to use the frame on both the large and smaller packs correct? So one frame will fit multiple types of bags? Cant wait for the launch.

  • Chris Jasmine

    This frame is everything a backpack hunting frame should be…. light weight, stiff, allows airflow, and has a modular bag set up. I can’t wait to get one on my back!!! Hopefully the initial production run will be big enough for me to get my hands on one! Thanks again Jason for setting the bar higher in the hunting industry.

  • Lee

    I’ll take one!

    Perfect for my bivy hunts, lightweight is the name of the game and is this is it.

  • Doc


    A couple of questions for you. First off that is a great looking frame.

    #1. I noticed that there are two strap that go across the back of the frame. Is this to allow for hauling meat without the use of a bag? If not is it possible to use the frame by itself as a meat hauler?

    #2. I know one problem that I seem to have with packs that have a fairly thick padded hip belt is there no place to put a gun holster or bear spray. Most of my elk hunting is done in the heart of bear country, and having a spot where I can put my 45 and/or bear spray where it is easily accessible plays apart in my discussion process. It look like there could be one possible strap that could be used to accommodate this, but without real seeing the pack its hard to tell. Have you thought about adding a feature for this or is there already a spot where this would work?

    • Hi Doc,

      You could use the frame to haul meat, but I have not specifically designed the frame for this. I am working on a load sling design for 2012 that will work better than the frame by its self. The straps from the bottom stays and hip belt could be used to strap on bear spray, a 45 could work on this strap but the webbing is only 15mm. I have thought about adding this to a waist belt design in the future.


  • Cory Benge

    Just a little proof in the pudding here. I got the Kuiu post about the pack at little less than an hour ago and after reading I immediately went to ‘comment’ on just how high the “coolness” factor is with this product. As I scrolled down there were already 14 comments of outdoor enthusiast expressing their extreme desire to own and use this new Kuiu pack!! The future is bright my friend! Keep up the good work!
    Will you be at GSCO in vegas this February?

  • Tye Abell

    Jaon, awesome innovative design. I was thrilled when I saw back during the summer that you were asking for input as I’ve always wondered why more pack companies don’t do the same.
    On a sizing note, what torso lenghts/ranges will the frame be available in. I’m a long limbed, broad shouldered but short torso guy, and fit is difficult. Thanks.

  • Matt

    Great stuff Jason. As you get this out I would be interested in seeing pictures of the pack fully loaded. Especially with the sheep hunting list you developed. Just curious as to how it will all lay in there and look forward to seeing your plan for how to attach one’s rifle and bow. Hope you get some rest between now and your launch!

  • Aaron

    Will the load lifters still have a good angle on a 21″torso? On a lot of packs I have tried, that has been a problem…

    • Hi Aaron,

      I will be more than happy to confirm this for you. From where to where are you measuring? Shoulders to belt?


    • Jeff Short

      I have a 22″ torso and tried on a prototype Icon last week. It fit me great with good load lifter angle. I was surprised with how much adjustability it had with such a simple design. It is an exceptional pack, far beyond anything currently in the hunting market.

  • Doug

    Looks great…I’m looking forward to giving one a workout. My only concern is that pack fit is a very personal thing. I love the idea of direct selling to keep prices at a minimum, but hate the thought of spending good money on gear that ends up not fitting correctly. What type of return policy are you going to offer?

  • Any abrasion concerns with the carbon material where attachment buckles rub against it? I know with fly rods and rifle barrels hoop strength/weakness is a concern with carbon fibers, which have amazing lateral strength (going with the fibers), but little strength at right angles to the fibers. Whack a carbon flyrod and it breaks at that point. I trust this is addressed in the construction? Should we be concerned with fiber breaking/fraying under pressure or abrasion? Also, what about abrasion of the hip belt by the lower stays rubbing it under load?
    Thanks for your efforts and keep it going!
    Other than this issue, great idea, innovation. Could have a major impact on the industry.

    • Hi Ron,

      Very good question. During design, development and testing we have not experienced any issues with rubbing or abrasion against parts. The bottom stays pull the load off your hips and into your lower back but do not support much of the weight. Most is sitting on the pivot. This does not put very much weight onto the hip belt, they are “pulled” up against the sides to transfer the load. I hope this helps and does not make it confusing.

      Carbon Fiber has a high modulus, stiff & strong, point loading can create a stress riser for any carbon fiber component, as well as this fram. It will take quite a bit to create a stress riser that will cause this frame to fail. You would have to purposely try and destroy the frame to make this happen. I do not recommend taking sledge hammer to it just like any other pack. If you use it under the worst conditions a hunt can throw at it you will not hurt this frame. We have engineered for this. Sledge hammers we have not:))

      Fantastic questions, thanks for asking them. Please let me know if you have any others.


  • Nothing short of revolutionary. Less IS more when the materials and laws of physics support the objective so succinctly. Can’t wait to experience this pack system!


  • Shane J.

    KUIU has changed the future of hunting packs! I was sick of having a 8 pound pack before even putting anything in it. In fact, I just sold it. Just by cutting 3 pounds (plan on purchasing the 6000 bag/frame) I can carry my tent, and still not equal the weight of my old pack. That’s a huge difference! Hopefully, I get one before they are all gone. Keep up the good work!

  • Kit Baughman

    Hi Jason,

    You’ve done it again! The frame looks awesome – outstanding clean and functional design. The quick reconfigurability is a real bonus, too! I’m really looking forward to hitting the trail with one. It will be nice to sell off, or throw out, my pile of packs that didn’t quite work out…



  • Shane

    So in order to use the “3000 bag”, the Icon frame has to be purchased? The 3000 is not a stand alone pack? Definitely innovative frame, but pack and frame together would come to roughly $500.

    • Hi Shane,

      The 3000 is not a stand alone pack and the frame and bag is $500. This is an investment, but the technology in this frame I believe is worth the value. Once you invest in the frame the bags are relatively inexpensive considering the build and fabric on each. I plan on continuing to expand the pack line off of this frame and future bags will continue to be fairly reasonable. I hope the price will not put you off from experiencing this pack.


      • Shane

        Thank you for the response. The price will likely just mean I need to put more money back because I really like the concept of this frame. Looks like a lot of thought has been put into it. Breathability (if thats a word) along with super light weight is what I like. Since the material is Carbon, I would expect that it isn’t as rigid as aluminum and has a little more flex while still maintaining the strength?

        • Hi Shane,

          One of the huge benefits to Carbon Fiber and this frame is the flex horizontally for comfort/mobility & stiffness vertically for carrying a load. It is an absolutely amazing ride. Everyone who has tried it says it is the most comfortable pack they have ever put on. I hope we can get you into one. Make sure you are subscribed to the blog.


  • Jason,
    This pack system looks perfect for my backcountry needs. Hopefully there will be enough for everyone. This is a must have for my 2011 huntng season. A few questions.
    First, it appears that there will be several stress points between the carbon fiber and pack. Which could possibly lead to a squaky pack. Any signs of this in your testing with a loaded down pack?
    Second, I’m curious what the waist belt size is going to be? Being that I have a large torso with a small waist I can never find a pack that fits right. I hoping that the Icon will be different.
    Keep up the great work and can’t wait to try out the Kuiu System in 2011.
    Tyler Preszler

  • Colin Schmidt

    What about the pack bags for the frame , i dont seem to see any looking into the 6000 one thanks

  • Mike Adams

    I like the design; what do you have in mind for securing loads to the frame? For example, is there some way to lash elk quarters to the frame, since there is no shelf, and there do not appear to be holes along the side for tying off.

  • Craig Germond

    Your packs look great! Have you had a chance yet to get the total weight of each individual pack empty with bag attached? I’m sure there very light just would like to see some numbers.

  • Brandon Omernik

    Looks like and awesome frame, but are the bags going to be able to be carried without the fram as a regular shoulder strap system, cause where I hunt I wouldn’t need the frame for hauling extremely heavy loads. If it doesn’t work, will there be any future plans for a smaller day pack around the 2000cu mark. Looking forward to the release.

    • Hi Brandon,

      I have not set this up to drop the frame and hunt with a convertible day pack. I totally get what you are asking for and this is certainly something we can design for in the future. I would be a bit concerned with the added weight of adding a functional day pack to the back of the frame. But it certainly could be done.


      • brandon omernik

        Sorry, think I worded that wrong what i meant to ask was if the 3000 could be wore alone but I saw in a question before mine it can’t. So my second question was is there possibly any future plans for a day pack not requiring the frame?


        • Hi Brandon,

          No problem. I love the questions! There are so many good day pack to choose from and it is tough to carve out a performance advantage in that market. This Carbon fiber frame is such a game changer that in the near future at least I am going to concentrate my designs around this advantage. I encourage you to try the 3000 with the frame in it. It is the worlds most comfortable and best fitting day pack and cinches down to nothing.


  • Ryan Sanpei

    Load lifters….Ingenious! For years I’ve tried to figure out how to disperse the weight of my pack instead of having all the weight just sit and sag. On extended hauls of heavy packs, I’ve always had to stick my thumb in between my chest and my straps and wedge my elbow into my pack and push on the straps with the web of my hand. If I’m not mistaken, the load lifters will function in a similar way? I’ve tried to build things in the past with many failed attempts. This one looks like a winner! This will allow for longer treks with less rest stops, and that’s only one of the many cool and innovate features!

  • Mike

    Jason, this pack looks like the pack I have been dreaming about for a long time. I have been researching packs now for a couple of years and have not found one that I believe is superior to the old pack I own now. The old pack may not be quite as good as the new packs but now YOUR new pack looks and sounds like an amazing piece of gear. Once agian nice work. Thanks for helping me spent my money on gear that really is superior.

  • Aaron

    Jeff, thanks for the heads up on the torso fit. If it fits your 22″ it will definately fit my 21″!!!! Can’t wait to pick up both bags and frame! Exciting times for high quality gear innovation!!!

  • Aaron

    I guess one other question I have is concerning the upper attachment points for the shoulder straps. Are the slots notched where the shoulder straps bolt through to help keep them from slipping under a heavy load. For example, lets say I have a couple boned elk quarters in the pack and sluff the pack off one shoulder at a time and swing it to the ground by one shoulder strap. Is having all the weight concentrated on that one attachment point going to cause the shoulder strap to pop loose and slip up the slot under all that pressure? I am curious if you have tested that is some way or have engineered the frame in a certain way to prevent that from happening.

    • Hi Aaron,

      We have tried a LOT to move these under crazy heavy loads. Totally solid. It is a question we had with the design. You will see when you feel this frame it is not a slick finish. It has a “feel” to the surface that gives the hardware something to grab on to. I appreciate the questions and interest. Keep them coming.


  • Adam Casagrande

    Jason can’t wait to get one of these on my back. Do you have a date set for the opening of the headquarters yet. I would like to get it on my calendar before the wife books something else.

  • Joe Coots

    Ryan and a couple of others turned me on to your site and blog to check out the upcoming products. Looks like you’ve spent a lot of time under a pack frame and this one seems extremely well laid out…with the technical aspects it looks comfortable. Where I typically hunt I very seldom have the need for a large pack but when I do, it’s heavy and at that point everything is second to comfort to me. Looks like you may have a new answer to the previous compromises between comfort, weight and stability. The pivoting hip belt is one of those “why the heck didn’t I think of that!” innovations.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your new line.

    • Thanks Joe,

      Welcome to KUIU! Let me know if you have any questions. Please make sure you are subscribed to the blog to get in on the pre-order for subscribers only. It looks like our first shipment will not last long.


  • John

    I am looking forward to the new 6000ci pack and Icon frame. I will be ordering one with my cloths! John

  • Justin Starck

    The frame looks great and sounds like it functions great as well. I didn’t realize it had an adjustable torso before this thread and am glad to hear it works well.

    I though I would make a couple requests for when you post pictures of the bags. I was hoping you could show them both in a compressed day pack mode. I know alot of people are like me in that they pack in, drop their camp, compress their pack, go hunting with a lighter load and then return to their camp. I wanted to get a feel for how these packs would function when not full. It would also be nice to see how a spotting scope and tripod could be strapped on.

    • Hi Justin,

      This is exactly how I use both of these packs and they compress very well for a day pack because the fabric is lightweight and the frame is only 1/4″ thick. I will shoot and post these photos for you in an up coming post.


      • Justin Starck

        For this reason, I wouldn’t see a need for a smaller pack than your 3000 as many have requested. For me, the benifit of day hunting with a pack that has the ability to haul an elk quarter is a big advantage as it saves what could be a long round trip. Although, a day pack with more orgainization features could be a benifit to some hunters.

        • Hi Justin,

          I am with you on a smaller pack than the 3000 for day hunts and still incorporating a design that can haul a quarter. We have been working through a design concept today that will do exactly what you are asking for. I will keep you posted on the development.


  • Julien

    This is awesome. Cant wait to get the Icon frame. Will the packs come in a smaller CI geared more toward a day pack as an option besides the 3000 and 6000 ci? also will the pack be offered in camo only or will there be a solid color as well?

    • Hi Julien,

      The pack will be available in a neutral brown color as well as camo. We do have plans for a smaller set up for 2012 due to a lot of requests for a smaller day pack here on the blog. I will keep you all posted as we move into development.


  • Curt Cabrera

    The possibilities for this Icon frame are endless! Amazing innovation Jason! I wonder how it would haul a Double Bull blind, decoys and two stools for my son and I? Turkey season is coming….

    Can’t wait to see the pack and bag together in the KUIU camo.

  • Larry Schwartz


    The 6000 should definitely be big enough to haul your blind in when it is collapsed and the two horizontal straps on the packs should do well for your deooys and stools.

  • Curt Cabrera

    That sounds exactly how I was planning on trying to pack it…except maybe ,decoys in the bag with the blind and a stool on each side…we’ll see…

    But I do know I’m looking forward to a better way of carrying it after so many years with just a soulder strap. Tough on both my shoulder, and my back.

    As you know, I’m very much looking forward to it Jason!

  • Larry Schwartz

    Hey Curt,

    Bring your Icon to the Muzzy and you can carry extra arrows in and your trophies out!

    Larry, aka Snakeeater

  • Bill Watts


    Sign me up for one, if you could.

    On a recent Ibex backpack hunt in the Florida Mtn’s of southern New Mexico a rodent chewed through the shoulder strap and part of the waist belt of my MR/CC leaving me somewhat screwed. Thought I may have saw a KUIU hat on him but could be mistaken. ;^)

    In all seriousness, I am impressed and intrigued with this pack as well as the rest of the line, and look forward to using it in the near future.

    Thanks for taking hunting clothing and gear to the next level!


  • Curt Cabrera

    Jason, A smaller day pack will be a great addition to the line up.
    I’m sure it will be lightweight, ergonomic, quiet, and somehow “different” from what is out there now…that is ,”different” in a good way!
    I look forward to what you come up with…

  • Nick

    It looks like you have gotten a lot of questions about fit and function of the new pack system my question is on noise. I bought a Sitka pack last year for backcountry backpack elk hunt in Wyoming. The pack had the X frame suspension in it and squeeked extremly loud every step I took no matter how tight I cinched it down . It was kind of a joke between my hunting partner and I the first few days then it became a real issue as we got in tight to the elk. Have you looked into the noise issue?

  • Tim Donovan


    I really look forward to trying out your new gear, especially the pack. I have a couple questions/suggestions, if I may.
    #1 I have found that the most disappointing aspect of most pack is, believe it or not, the buckle on the waist belt. It always seems that I am constantly having to re-cinch my waist belt to get it tight on my hips and the loads off my shoulders. I have often wanted to rig my waist belt up with a ratcheting system like those used to tie down loads. Have you addressed my perceived problem with your packs? (i can’t find any pics of your buckle)
    #2 Will there be a gun/bow carrying system that will leave your hands freed up and will allow you to retrieve the gun/bow without taking off the pack?
    #3 Would love to see some type of small storage on the front of the pack tobe able access small things like calls, wind smoke or jolly ranchers.

    • Hi Tim,

      Great questions! Thank you for taking the time to ask them. If you go back into the blog in the frame post there is a photo of the waist belt. We adopted a proven design with two large tension locks that hold your belt really secure and are easy to adjust. You will really like this set up. We are working on a gun mount for the pack that will be a future accessory. As far as the bow, there are a lot of options to strapping the bow to this pack. We have not designed in a specific set up that allows for packing your bow and accessing it without taking your pack off. Is there a current set up you like so I can get an idea of what you are looking for and we will work on some designs. There are two stretch mesh pockets on the waist belt for the storage of calls, wind indicator, Chapstick & yes Jolly Ranchers.


      • Tim Donovan

        I have been using the Kifaru Longhunter/freight hauler pack for several years and really like it. Similar concept to what you have going really, but your pack may be lighter. Their gun carrier works pretty well. Eberlestock’s X1 pack has a decent quick release set up that allows you to pull the bow off of your back without taking it off, but there were other features I didn’t like with that pack. I am really looking forward to your daypack version for this frame. Thanks for your quick response and your attention.


  • Sean

    Hi Jason. I am not much of a hunter but would be interested in using this frame for backpacking. How difficult would it be to adapt the frame to attach a large dry-bag such as a Sea to Summit 65 liter drybag? This bag: weighs only 10 oz and would make for a great waterproof, lightweight carry system.


  • Todd

    This pack is amazing, Carbon fiber is great stuff, so glad you stick with the best materials out there Jason, I’m ordering the frame and both bags so don’t leave me hanging this fall !!!

  • Mike T

    Will the frame fit us tall guys? I’m 6’8″.

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