AMK Sportsman

Mystery Ranch new packs

cowboy

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Jul 26, 2009
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709
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Mt/Id/SD
Anyone actually know what is going on? The below is a cut and paste from Outdoor Life 2015 Gift Guide:

Mystery Ranch Pintler Pack
www.mysteryranch.com / $400*



Montana-based Mystery Ranch is getting set to introduce a new line of packs, all built around the company’s Guide Light frame and weight-hauling Overload Shelf. The 5.2-pound, 2,500-cubic-inch Pintler isn’t the biggest pack, but it’s sized right for 2-3-day trips, and the frame and shelf allow successful hunters to pack out a prodigious amount of meat and antlers.



* New product; pricing is estimated
 

zfountaine55

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Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
186
Location
SW Montana
From what I understand, the Ranch is phasing out the NICE frame as a hunting pack and replacing it with the guide light frame. What I was told is that it would all be early next year new frame and new bags. I saw the product catalogue and it looks like pretty sweet stuff.
 

Big Fin

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Bozeman, MT
Here are some more details on the redesigned Metcalf, in an announcement they released this morning.

http://www.theoutdoorwire.com/story/144893580044v1hysn8cm

A few of us have been working closely with them. I can assure you that if it has the Mystery Ranch brand on it, you are going to get your money's worth. Dana, the founder of MR and a legend in the backpack world, is not going to do anything half-assed. If you know him, you know that he is a pack geek of the highest degree. His persona is reflected in the company.

Last summer we were talking and I remarked how he has withstood the test of time in a backpack world that is pretty fickle; where companies and designs come and go like autumn leaves. From behind his beard, in classic understated Dana fashion, his reply was, "Make the best pack you can and the rest of the details will take of themselves."
 

belly-deep

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Oct 31, 2009
Messages
3,465
Here are some more details on the redesigned Metcalf, in an announcement they released this morning.

http://www.theoutdoorwire.com/story/144893580044v1hysn8cm

A few of us have been working closely with them. I can assure you that if it has the Mystery Ranch brand on it, you are going to get your money's worth. Dana, the founder of MR and a legend in the backpack world, is not going to do anything half-assed. If you know him, you know that he is a pack geek of the highest degree. His persona is reflected in the company.

Last summer we were talking and I remarked how he has withstood the test of time in a backpack world that is pretty fickle; where companies and designs come and go like autumn leaves. From behind his beard, in classic understated Dana fashion, his reply was, "Make the best pack you can and the rest of the details will take of themselves."

The only difference I can see is that it lost 0.9 lb.

Is there anything else?
 

Randy11

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Jan 12, 2009
Messages
6,109
Randy, have you heard if they're keeping production of the hunting line in Bozeman? Kind of feels like they're trying to get all non military/government pack production overseas.
 
Joined
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Messages
572
The only difference I can see is that it lost 0.9 lb.

Is there anything else?

It looks like the smaller packs are getting load cells. REI is starting to carry a line of Mystery Ranch Pack this spring. The way things are on sale and going it looks like a change of management, direction, ownership or production are coming.
 

d-bone20917

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Jan 16, 2012
Messages
359
Location
Eastern Idaho
Randy, have you heard if they're keeping production of the hunting line in Bozeman? Kind of feels like they're trying to get all non military/government pack production overseas.

I believe they said this new line will be manufactured in the Philippines. It doesn't look like the actual bag designs have changed much, but they have the new "guide light" frame which is supposed to be lighter and has the lift kit built in. Hopefully they go back to letting you purchase bags and frames separate because it kind of defeats the purpose of a modular pack system if you can't.
 

belly-deep

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Oct 31, 2009
Messages
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Randy, have you heard if they're keeping production of the hunting line in Bozeman? Kind of feels like they're trying to get all non military/government pack production overseas.

I called them a few weeks back and asked. Hunting packs will no longer be made in the U.S.
 

Big Fin

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Randy, have you heard if they're keeping production of the hunting line in Bozeman? Kind of feels like they're trying to get all non military/government pack production overseas.

Most people know that MR's primary business is military and firefighting packs. They have outgrown production capacity for those pack lines many times. They have expanded as they can, and each time, the production capacity for hunting packs gets more difficult.

As a result, they are moving the production of hunting packs to the Philippines. This is not a decision they came to without a LOT of research. It has been a few years that they have been working on it, with the biggest issue finding a facility that they can have full ownership of the production. The facility they have worked with will only be making MR packs. They have spent a lot of time and effort to examine many possible production partners, as Dana will take no substitute for quality.

The demand for hunting packs has been very high. Yet, production capacity has not been able to keep up. Many retailers have asked for a high-end hunting pack. To this point MR had to decline. Now, they will be able to provide high-end packs to retailers, making MR more available to the hunting user.

I will be picking up my new Metcalf next week, sporting the new Guide-Light Frame. The first test run will be in Wyoming on a bison hunt later this month. I used the Gen2 Metcalf with a NICE Frame all year, while Tyler, my camera guy, used the new Guide-Light Frame (GLF) prototype and another prototype bag all year. Those who know Tyler and what abuse he puts on equipment, realize he is about as good of a testing ground as you can get. He gave it a big thumbs up.

The GLF is lighter and taller than what you have seen before. It is designed to get stiffer as you add more weight. I am excited to try mine.

I hear all the chatter about the hunting pack production being moved to the Philippines. Personally, I'm not worried about it. I've known Dana for many years, watching him build amazing packs right here in Bozeman; first with Dana Designs (1990s) and now with Mystery Ranch. He has succeeded by making no compromise to quality. That will continue. He is a smart business person and is not going to risk his brand reputation of super high quality by doing something that is below his standards.

Yeah, I share Dana's wish that there was US production capacity to do what is needed at this quality level. Yet, just like the textile, clothing, and boot businesses, almost all of the production capacity and infrastructure is overseas. There just is not the production capacity domestically that can do it to the standards MR requires. I understand that might be a pivot point that drives the decisions of some. Not much can be done about that. I suspect when people get these packs and start using them, the chatter over foreign v.domestic production will go away.
 

exponentialpi

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Joined
Nov 7, 2010
Messages
105
Location
Boise
I have had a number of Osprey packs that are manufactured in Vietnam and have been very satisfied with the performance. I would anticipate MR to provide similar quality with overseas production as the stateside production.
 

MontanaWild

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Jan 7, 2012
Messages
301
We have had the chance to use a production sample of the new Metcalf with the Guide Light frame this fall. The pack is right in line with what you've come to expect from Mystery Ranch and performed great on four bull elk, a whole antelope and recently a mule deer buck. The new frame is definitely a very solid platform and lighter than the previous NICE Frame. The padding on the waist and shoulder straps is thinner on the new frame. I was able to pack out a boned out front and rear elk quarter in one load with the pack and didn't have any comfort issues. A nice feature is that the waist belt now tightens from the outside in and is much easier to get the waist belt tight when packing out meat. I think the side zipper and overall bag size is just slightly smaller on the new version coming in 2016. One small issue I had was getting items in and out of the zipper with ease now that the bottom of the zipper is covered with a new single-stretch pocket. The pocket kept me from zipping the side all the way open and made pulling out my spotter a bit more difficult than I'd like at times. The pocket located at the bottom of the side zip is great for a water bottle, gloves or the butt of your rifle if you strap your gun to the side of the bag. It also sounds like they are losing the option for waist belt pockets. This was something we voiced in opposition to and we will see if that feature shows up when the final lineup is released. The attachment from the shoulder straps to the lift kit is now a strap fed through a plastic attachment versus a buckle that was on the older model. This is just one of a few great new packs coming for 2016. As always they are built for a lifetime of abuse.
 

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MT_Wyatt

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Jan 6, 2013
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86
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Great Falls, MT
New frame looks really interesting, in a good way. Glad they stuck with their yoke system, that's one of their best features. Anyone know what the main stay material is? Looks like it's a little more flexible and follows the contour of your back as it goes up (under load) in the Montana Wild post above. Also curious to hear if the waist belt has their "built in" shaping like the NICE frame, that was another great feature.
 
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Oct 7, 2014
Messages
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I bought a Metcalf a few weeks ago and got to pack out a mule deer 3 miles with it 4 days after recieving it. It truly is an amazing piece of gear and I'm glad I got a Bozeman made pack, but I see the up side in overseas volume and I don't doubt the infrastructure issues. I work in manufacturing and can tell you its a night an day difference of being in an area with a network of support vendors, techs and good access to air, sea and land transport that comes with being in the right place for your industry. You have talented pools of experienced workers constantly available.

Consumer goods is really a different game than government contract manufacturing and procurement and really requires that you respond much quicker and constantly be competitive. I've always wondered why Cabelas or similar never really had a load shelf internal frame pack and this explains a little bit why. SE Asian manufacturing is advanced in a lot of ways these days and a lot of companies have found you can do a lot by implementing your own external quality control and very good US based customer service to fix any issues that come up.
 

Randy11

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Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
6,109
Most people know that MR's primary business is military and firefighting packs. They have outgrown production capacity for those pack lines many times. They have expanded as they can, and each time, the production capacity for hunting packs gets more difficult.

As a result, they are moving the production of hunting packs to the Philippines. This is not a decision they came to without a LOT of research. It has been a few years that they have been working on it, with the biggest issue finding a facility that they can have full ownership of the production. The facility they have worked with will only be making MR packs. They have spent a lot of time and effort to examine many possible production partners, as Dana will take no substitute for quality.

The demand for hunting packs has been very high. Yet, production capacity has not been able to keep up. Many retailers have asked for a high-end hunting pack. To this point MR had to decline. Now, they will be able to provide high-end packs to retailers, making MR more available to the hunting user.

I will be picking up my new Metcalf next week, sporting the new Guide-Light Frame. The first test run will be in Wyoming on a bison hunt later this month. I used the Gen2 Metcalf with a NICE Frame all year, while Tyler, my camera guy, used the new Guide-Light Frame (GLF) prototype and another prototype bag all year. Those who know Tyler and what abuse he puts on equipment, realize he is about as good of a testing ground as you can get. He gave it a big thumbs up.

The GLF is lighter and taller than what you have seen before. It is designed to get stiffer as you add more weight. I am excited to try mine.

I hear all the chatter about the hunting pack production being moved to the Philippines. Personally, I'm not worried about it. I've known Dana for many years, watching him build amazing packs right here in Bozeman; first with Dana Designs (1990s) and now with Mystery Ranch. He has succeeded by making no compromise to quality. That will continue. He is a smart business person and is not going to risk his brand reputation of super high quality by doing something that is below his standards.

Yeah, I share Dana's wish that there was US production capacity to do what is needed at this quality level. Yet, just like the textile, clothing, and boot businesses, almost all of the production capacity and infrastructure is overseas. There just is not the production capacity domestically that can do it to the standards MR requires. I understand that might be a pivot point that drives the decisions of some. Not much can be done about that. I suspect when people get these packs and start using them, the chatter over foreign v.domestic production will go away.

Thanks Randy. I'm intrigued by the new packs. I'm hopeful they're a bit narrower than the NICE frames are. I felt like a turtle whenever I tried them on. Hopefully the prices are a bit lower to reflect the country of origin.
 

JLS

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Mar 26, 2012
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12,529
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Where the Wild Things Are
I sincerely hope the business change works for them, and I suspect it will.

I'd be pretty hard pressed to buy new MR stuff given how well the NICE frame works with the Longbow and Metcalf 2 bags. Maybe someday they will be collectables like pre 64 Model 70?:D
 
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