Kifaru MMR Gen 1 – Old but Gold
As you may know, I have a special place in my heart for Kifaru international and their products. I wrote about my first encounter with the brand in my E&E review and ever since I have been a Kifaru man through and through, and I am nothing if not brand loyal. The only thing that stands between me and covering myself with Kifaru packs and soft goods is the fact that their quality products are not cheap and that everything is Built-to-Order, so there are no European retailers that can provide me with their superb products.
Therefore I am constantly looking through different Finnish gear forums, searching for my “unicorn” bit of gear. And one such occasion happened when a guy was selling a large Kifaru ruck in US Woodland camo, which he identified it as MMR gen1. I did not hesitate for a moment. I had to have that pack (even though I had almost agreed on buying a Karrimor SF ruck from a different guy). So a swift message later I had agreed to pay $269.00 for the pack and two Kifaru Long pockets in Ranger green, which seemed like a bargain to me.
This is tricky, because I cannot go the Kifaru website to gather the exact information about the ruck, because the production of the Multi Mission Ruck (MMR) has been discontinued. So I turned to the Kifaru customer support and asked them about my pack and the answer I got was really exhilarating. They replied me, that the ruck I have is some eight years old and is pretty rare, since they made only about 50-100 packs with the Woodland camopattern.
They also said that the pack might actually be either MMR or EMR (Extended Mission Ruck, a bit bigger ruck than the MMR and still in production, though with a completely different design) because back then the rucks looked pretty much the same, but the stays of the frame are different sizes. After a quick measurement I am quite positive it is a MMR with a 26” Duplex frame. I rummaged through the Kifaru Forums and found out that most MMR packs have this frame. The frame is detachable (as I just now found out from the forum!) and usable on other Kifaru packs as well.
Kifaru has made MMR in several different colours. There has been some OD and multicam packs floating around their Forum, and some CB ones too. But apparently there have been no sightings of Woodland MMR’s there at all, or apparently any Kifaru packs for that matter. Not even once! Talking about good luck, eh?
The used packs range from little under or over $200 up to even $400 in price, depending on the lid, if there are other products coming with on the side and the condition. I am not sure what my pack would really be worth, but considering the rarity of the camo, I would say on the top part of that price range.
But the MMR’s basically have the following listed features:
- Loads and loads of molle estate, to attach your favourite pockets, on the lid, outerside of the pack and on the bottom part.
- A detachable lid with a small zippered pocket on the underside.
- Top entry point with a long draw cord to shut it with.
- Inside the main compartment there are two integrated zippered large pockets for smaller items, one against the back and one against the outer side of the pack.
- Inside the main compartment there are two metal loops to attach a Kifaru Chamber pocket or similar pouch to.
- Two zippered vertical entry points on both sides of the pack to the main compartment.
- Bottom part opens up with a horizontal zipper, wich circles the pack all the way to the harness on both sides.
- Inside the pack, there is a divider that can be used to separate the bottom part of the top part.
- There are several suppress straps: two for the bottom part, two to secure the lid on top and three on each side to secure the main compartment.
- The Duplex frame is very comfortable and fully adjustable.
- The padded belt is sturdy and also has two rows of molle for smaller pockets.
- The entire pack has been made with 500d cordura (This is a guess, if someone has deeper knowledge of this matter, please let me know!)
- The hardware is either ITW Nexus or National Molding’s Stealth buckles.
- And, being a MMR, it can hold up to 85 litres inside.
I have used the pack several times during the past six months. I have had it on for two longer hikes, the latest being the Seitseminen trip Blue wrote about, and a few times on shorter expeditions just to test it out. To put it in short, the simple quality of Kifaru products keep to amaze me. This pack is really good, in almost every way!
The molle estate really gives you unlimited options to personalise your pack and also give you extra space with clear organisation. I have used the Long pockets, together with the ITW clips and separate malice clips I bought, on the sides like the pockets you see on, for example, Bergans. And usually I have my E&E on the outer side of the MMR, as it is originally meant to be used. This way I have my daypack easily on hand, or say all the essentials I need in a crisis, if something makes me to leave my MMR behind. Usually I have smaller pockets attached to the bottom part, such as my tear-away first-aid-kit and a GP pouch or two to keep some stuff like water or food close at hand. But the possibilities are endless and I have yet to use the same exact configuration two times.
I think that you actually do not see this much molle anymore on almost any pack, which stands to a reason, because the MMR is not really the lightest of packs. It is quite heavy, I have not been able to weigh it, but to quote a guy from Kifaru forums: “Heavy but build like a tank”. And the seemingly endless molle rows are partly to blame. The other fact is that the pack is made really sturdy! Kifaru’s Military Division really knew what they were doing and there are many in the Kifaru Forums saying that this era MMR’s and EMR’s are still their favourite packs.
The frame is puzzle though. There are all these straps flying around and only God knows what to do with them. The guy I bought the pack from, said to familiarise myself with the adjustments, but being the idiot that I am, I just fiddled around it a bit and carried on with it. Now that I am writing this review, I realised how dumb I have been and found out an easy guide from YouTube on how you should adjust the Duplex frame. I have to go through the fitting next time before a major hike.
But the all in all, the frame is excellent. The padded belt is very comfortable and the shoulder straps have not once made my shoulders ache. I love the ability to be able to attach smaller pouches on the waist as well. My only grief with the frame is that the padding of the shoulder straps are broken inside the cordura. This does not really affect the use, but is a real pity.
The ability to divide the main compartment in two with separate points of entry on top and bottom is great. I usually have my water, cooking set and food on the bottom and on the top I have my sleeping bag and change of clothes. This works fine, but the divider might be a bit sturdier, because my huge sleeping bag (British PLCE Cold weather Sleeping bag. Yeah, I really need to upgrade that soon) tends to bulge through it and make acquiring anything from the bottom part a pain. The organiser pockets inside on either side of the pack are great for storing smaller items and I guess a laptop would fit in great too, it you like that sort of thing on a hike.
All in all the MMR is a superb ruck and if you do not mind the weight and want a ruck that carry all and then some, and also take the beating like a tank, seek one of these out, I promise you will not regret it! I am sure I will at some point want to try out the newer main packs from Kifaru, maybe even order one made for just me, but I am quite sure that I will never let go of this rare gem that has fallen on my lap.
The modularity due molle real-estate.
The sturdy and simple design.
Duplex frame for its comfort.
In this particular pack: the VERY rare camo!
The complexity of the Duplex frame (although this will go away as soon as I get a hang of it).
The weight is a bit much, especially when added to the full load.
And finally the “Five points assessment”:
Overall 20/25 in essence.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this product with my own funds. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
This review was first published in the Noble & Blue. Noble & Blue is a small Finnish outdoor and tactical gear reviewing blog, that also shares stories of learning and adventure. Click here to know more about Noble & Blue
Here is a video from Kifaru on how to adjust the Duplex frame, that I have on my ruck.