Help narrowing down choice for first backcountry pack.

Grifm

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2020
Messages
23
Location
TX
I would appreciate some help from those with more experience backpack hunting to narrow down the pack choices. I've read through many threads on this and other forums as well as countless youtube reviews and comparisons and find myself stuck going around in a loop trying to decide between 3 maybe 4 packs (2 manufactures). Through my research I narrowed the field to either a Stone Glacier or Mystery Ranch pack. Specifically one of the R3 packs (3300 or 5900) from SG or the Metcalf or Beartooth 80 from MR. I am hoping to at least narrow down to 1 pack from each manufacture and then order them both, try them with weight, and then keep the more comfortable one.

Background:
99% of my hunting experience is on East Coast Whitetail hunting. I'm starting to get ready for a guided elk hunt for the fall of 22. I am trying to spread out the big purchases. The first thing on my list is a frame pack. For this hunt we are staying at a lodge and hiking in each day but I want to use the same pack in the future for DIY backpack hunts for elk/mule deer. When I start doing the DIY trips I am thinking that they will be rifle hunts in the 5-7 day range.

Where I'm stuck:
I started out thinking the SG R3 3300/MR Metcalf as they seem to be reasonable size for hunts out west while still being able to be compressed to a reasonable size for hunting back east. Because I qualify for Expertvoice I was leaning towards the MR Metcalf. Then I read a post or watch a video that point out that during the late season it is nice to have a little more room for extra layers especially when you start pushing the trip length up to/beyond the 7 day mark. Since most if not all of my hunts will be rifle hunts, I start looking at the Beartooth. Well the Beartooth seems really heavy for its size so I start leaning towards the SG R3 5900. The SG packs bring in another question as to the X-Curve or the R3 frame.

Thanks in advance for any perspectives.
 

Wildcat99

Active Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2021
Messages
33
Location
Montana
I hunt with a lot of different packs, but have done more with my SG Solo than any other over the last handful of years. It is light, durable and can pack a very heavy load, all out of proportion to its bulk. The harness tunes very easily for a comfortable fit and I've used it to haul elk quarters and moose quarters in the backcountry many, many times. It is a great pack. The rifle sling that goes with it is excellent too. It snugs the rifle tight to the pack and minimizes sway and fatigue. You can carry a pistol on your chest or hip, along with bear spray to deploy quickly if needed and can get to the rifle pretty fast as well. A great system.
 

hdk82

Member
Joined
May 26, 2013
Messages
6
I've been backpacking and backpack hunting for over 20 years, as stated above - I agree and have also done more with my SG Talus than anything else. It can slim way down for a daypack and can also expand to almost 7000 for week long expeditions. As far as hauling a load, it is THE most comfortable pack I have tortured myself with, if that makes sense. No heavy load is fun, but the SG sure makes it easier.
 

Lobber

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
733
Location
Wyoming
Also check out EXO Mountain Gear. I love my 5500. Lighter than MR and SG, the big bag option is still suitable as day pack, but quickly turns to a freighter if needed. Worth having in the mix for your consideration!
 

drake2h

Member
Joined
May 3, 2010
Messages
13
Also check out EXO Mountain Gear. I love my 5500. Lighter than MR and SG, the big bag option is still suitable as day pack, but quickly turns to a freighter if needed. Worth having in the mix for your consideration!
I’ll second this recommendation. I also run the old 5500, but you could go with a new 3200 or 4800 and be in a sweet spot under the use cases mentioned.
 

Grifm

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2020
Messages
23
Location
TX
All,

Thank you for the replies, sorry I am just getting back to this thread. Normally I get an email when there is a new post in a thread that I have posted in. I never saw such an email for any of your posts... After talking with both SG and MR. I have decided to do my own try out... I have ordered the MR Beartooth 80 and am waiting on the SG Xcurve frame to come back in stock. When that happens I am going to order both the Xcurve, the Krux, and probably the R3 5900 bag and try all 3 for a couple weeks week (around the house) with varying amounts of weight in them to see which one feels most comfortable. Then I will just return the other 2.
 

Sam4886

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2021
Messages
19
Location
Eastern WA
It's all about fit, and what you think fits great at first will get tons of adjustment. If you can find somewhere that stocks them, that's best, but tough to find. The other option is buying used, trying them out, and reselling if you don't like it. Rokslide usually has tons of them for sale in the forums, as well as info.

My Kuiu 1850 is comfortable, fwiw, but I've also never used the SG or MR. I'm not doing week long hunts, so I haven't bothered trying anything else.
 

Plinker147

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2015
Messages
877
Be Tuff to get 1 pack that good for day packs and 5 day trips. I second the Kuiu for day pack, resell or keep after and then buy a good multiple night pack.. It is expensive but don’t go cheap, good quality, very adjustable are worth it in the long run.
 

ssssnake529

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2015
Messages
193
Seek Outside Brooks is big enough for 5 days and is designed to be compressed down to daypack size. Light, comfortable with a lot of weight.


 

Lnewton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2020
Messages
68
Location
Duncan Oklahoma
I will have to jump on the mystery ranch bandwagon. I purchased an MR HiDice with the nice frame and load lifters from another member here on LRH and it is awesome. I used it and an Alps outdoors commander two weeks ago and we packed out two bulls for a total of 12 miles of loaded pack out and the MR easily won the comfort, fit, quality and capability tests. It is about 5500 capacity from what I have ready and had no challenge packing the load.
 

Attachments

  • 5FBA9C26-316A-440D-BABD-2EA97E4FF00B.jpeg
    5FBA9C26-316A-440D-BABD-2EA97E4FF00B.jpeg
    1.9 MB · Views: 32
  • 407F6C94-D077-47E7-B33F-1BC87E463565.jpeg
    407F6C94-D077-47E7-B33F-1BC87E463565.jpeg
    1.6 MB · Views: 28
  • 58E6A8E4-E389-4B6F-8072-3A6CE0CD71C2.jpeg
    58E6A8E4-E389-4B6F-8072-3A6CE0CD71C2.jpeg
    89.4 KB · Views: 31

GT123

Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2021
Messages
13
Location
Ohio
There is a shop up in Anchorage that specializes in mountain hunting...Barney's Sports Chalet. Those of us that chase Dahl Sheep and Mountain Goat up there recognize the equipment that Barney designs, makes, and sells as absolute top shelf. They use a freighter frame system, and then you pick the bag size (1 of 3). They are rugged, super light (matters a lot), and spacious. I've had mine for almost 20 years with many miles on it. Check it out...they now have a website.
 

Primary

LRH Assistant
Here are some related products that LRH members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to LRH’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to LRH discussions about these products.

 
 
Top