I reached out to Trail at the GoHunt Gear Shop. He said that I'd have to cover the return shipping, but as long as the packs were still in new condition with the tags still on, it's no skin off their back. I plan to order the MR Beartooth 80 and Metcalf, along with a SG Sky 5900.It’s whatever you’re comfortable with. As long as it’s clean with tags, and they can put it back on the rack I’m not worried about. I did the same with boots this spring and was glad I did.
Hey Beau, did you end up buying a pack? I also live in bakersfield and have a beartooth 80 and a badlands 2200. I have yet to hunt with them but have had a couple trial hikes where I threw 40 lbs in the beartooth. Let me know if you haven't purchased one and we could meet up so you could check it out.I know, there's a million threads out there about packs. So many that it makes it difficult to decipher what's credible. I'm hoping you all can help me decide on a new pack....
I've been using a cheap, ill-fitting Gregory 75L pack for the last handful of years. It gets the job done, but boy is it uncomfortable. The shoulder straps are thin and tend to dig into my traps and cause shoulder pain. Even after maxing out adjustments, the waist straps sit too low and restricts hip mobility. My hip flexors feel like they're on fire with any weight in the pack. Hunting is hard enough, there's no sense in punishing myself with an uncomfortable pack too!
What I'm looking for in a new pack:
I rifle and archery hunt for deer and elk. I mainly hunt multi-day (2-4 days) backpack trips and long, backcountry day hunts where I'm covering 5-10+mi, often times alone or with a buddy who is trying to fill his own tag. Point being, I'm usually packing my own animal + gear out for a sizeable distance...and the fewer trips the better. The 75L pack seems to been a good size for my needs, but I'm not opposed to something a little bigger. The packs with a meat shelf seem to accomplish this. Also, I'm typically carrying a spotting scope and tri-pod, along with the standard clothing/gear.
I'm loosely familiar with the "big name" hunting packs out there: Mystery Ranch, Stone Glacier, Kifaru,... but don't have any first hand experience with any of these. Unfortunately, I don't think there are any nearby retailers where I can test them out and compare. Browsing the GoHunt gear shop, the Beartooth 80 and Marshall from Mystery Ranch stand out. As do some of the Stone Glacier packs (e.g. Sky 5900), but their distinctions/features seems a little less clear to me.
Do any of these brands/packs standout among the rest? I'm willing to spend the money for something nice, so I wouldn't consider price the distinguishing factor (granted it's reasonable).
Oh, and I'm 6'2" 195lbs in case that factors in...
Any help is appreciated!
Wow, that's an amazing offer. Thank you! Funny enough, I just ordered the 3 packs mentioned above and received them yesterday. I'll do some testing over the next few days and report back with my decisionHey Beau, did you end up buying a pack? I also live in bakersfield and have a beartooth 80 and a badlands 2200. I have yet to hunt with them but have had a couple trial hikes where I threw 40 lbs in the beartooth. Let me know if you haven't purchased one and we could meet up so you could check it out.
I have a metcalf and it fits everything I need to in it and it has the shelf that you can use for meat/tent etc. I have also handled the beartooth 80 and it was a bigger version of the metcalf except with a zipper for the closure which I'm not a fan of zippers so thats why I went with the metcalf. If I would have to pick a different brand of pack, there are certainly others like exo, kifaru and stone glacier that come to mind. Just depends on your body type/needs and your wallet as well.The Metcalf look like a great pack and pretty close in size to the pack I'm currently hunting with. I certainly haven't ruled it out.
I just don't really see any major downsides in going for a roomier pack. Sure, maybe some minor inconveniences when day hunting, but you can always cinch it down. You can't make a pack bigger...
Great advice. I was going for the SG Sky 5900 myself and feel more confident about it after this read. Thank you!Well, after some fitting and testing, the results are in.
On paper, the Beartooth 80 was the perfect pack. Good size, internal organization, water blades pouch, and a good deal at $440.
I loaded up the beartooth with 45lbs and was generally pleased with how it felt. Way better than my ill-fitting Gregory pack that I've been using. If I had only ordered this pack, I'd probably be content. But, I had more packs to try...
Next up, the Metcalf. It felt very similar to the Beartooth, just a little smaller. I really only ordered the Metcalf in case it happened to fit better than the Beartooth. Given the choice between the two, I would opt for the Beartooth just because of the extra space.
Last up was the SG Sky 5900. Straight out of the box, this pack was perfect. WAY more comfortable than the MR packs. Night and day difference. I really wanted to like the Beartooth 80, but after doing all kinds of tweaking and adjusting, it was never even as close to as comfortable as the SG.
The Beartooth just felt like the weight in the pack sagged low, and didn't ride as solid as the SG. The waist belt felt like it wanted to slide down as well.
So, I'm keeping the SG Sky 5900 despite it costing an additional $220.
I had to eat $67 in return shipping, but im really happy with my new pack. Thanks for all the advice here!
I've seen a couple in action that I would say sucked quite badly. For a meat packing and camp, and non-bukly loads, they work quite well, same with MR. Once you add on weird heavy stuffy, the frames aren't ridged enough to keep it from flopping around.Buy a stone glacier everyone else sucks.
Nice Break In! Hope you get a deer soon!Got a chance to pack some meat with the new SG Sky5900! I was headed in for a backpack archery deer hunt and came across a pig resting in the shade under an oak tree. I couldn't pass up the opportunity, so I aborted my deer hunt and focused my energy on killing, butchering, and packing out the 150ish-lb boar. While carrying a 100+ lb pack for 2mi and 1,000 vertical ft is never pleasant, it was far more bearable with a solid pack on my back. Looking back, I wish I had put a little more effort into balancing and securing my load. I loaded up in a hurry, trying to get on the trail before dark (didn't happen anyway) and did a sloppy job. A mile later, I was regretting that decision! Either way, I toughed it out and the pack performed great. I'm excited to get some furrier animals loaded on there next.
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