How to test run a pack if sales are only online?

MT Bound

Well-known member
Nov 20, 2014
I have a stupid question, cause I'm looking to upgrade my backpack for this September elk hunt. I'd like to try out some of the recommended packs, such as Mystery Ranch, Kirafu, EXO Mountain Gear, Eberlestock, etc. to see how they fit and feel, but I don't know of anywhere that a guy can do that?

So is a guy pretty much limited to doing all his homework online then ordering one and hoping he likes the feel of it? That kinda sucks to me. Just wondering what all you guys do? thanks

Where are you located Phil? Im sure you would be able to find guys near you that would be willing to let you borrow their pack for a hike or two.
If you can't find them locally to test drive, I would make a list that encompasses what style you're hunting with what you want out of your pack and narrow your search down to 2 or 3 packs. what order do you value characteristics like cost, empty weight of pack, minimalist or organization, ext frame or int frame, load hauling capabilities, day pack/3 day pack/10 day pack, meat/camp in the bag or on a load shelf, compressibility, ect. You can get a pretty good idea what packs fit your needs and hunting style on the internet, but you can only find out if the pack fits you in person. After you have a few solid candidates order them. Most good pack companies (Stone Glacier, Kifaru, Exo) have a 30 day return policy for a full refund. Load them up and see how they fit and carry weight, just be careful so you can return the not perfect ones in new condition. I'm not sure if Mystery Ranch has that policy (and at this point I'm not sure if they know either), but I love mine....I got to drive to Bozeman and compare it against the Stone Glacier too though. Happy hunting.
Kurt at Stone Glacier has often kept demo packs around. Shoot him an e-mail. It was two or three years ago now but that's how I tried out the SG Solo the first time.
If nothing else, go to a store you like and put a bunch of gear (preferably stuff that you'd really take into the field) in a pack you're interested in. Any good store will let you take gear from the floor and load it into a pack and then walk around and get it fit correctly for you. It's not a true test obviously, but it can certainly tell you a lot.
if yer going to spend 4-800 hundy on a pack, do some diligence and go to the store.
otherwise just buy and sell.

Stone Glacier is the new hot pack- its to be sweet lite and comfy The Exo is to be pretty stellar. Mystery Ranch is a work horse but heavy.
thanks for the input guys, I think based on my use for now I'm going to try the Eberlestock X2, did a bunch of research this weekend. Can't wait to try it out

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