Mystery Ranch or Stone Glacier

375H&H

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Nov 16, 2017
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Northern Wyoming
I recently bought a pack after lots of research and decided on the Exo 5500. The SG and Exo were the final two packs I was choosing from. After a call to exo and excellent customer service I placed the order and received it within a week. After a little time with it I really like the layout of the pack and would recommend it. Also Exo offers a 30 day return policy if you decide you don't like the pack or it doesn't fit you right. Pick any of the packs above and you will probably be happy with what you purchase.
My final pack decision was between SG and Exo as well. The Exo is unparalleled due to its organization, compartments, and little features along with better weather protection. I couldn’t get over buying an expensive pack AND THEN having to buy more small organization pouches to keep my items organized. With the Exo, minimal extra pouches are needed, unlike the other option which would require a lot.
 

lr123

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Feb 21, 2019
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112
My final pack decision was between SG and Exo as well. The Exo is unparalleled due to its organization, compartments, and little features along with better weather protection. I couldn’t get over buying an expensive pack AND THEN having to buy more small organization pouches to keep my items organized. With the Exo, minimal extra pouches are needed, unlike the other option which would require a lot.
This was why I wasn't a fan of Kifaru packs. If you want a huge main pocket with minimal smaller pockets SG is a great pack.
 

geetar

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Jan 28, 2019
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North Carolina
I think the comment about durability is a little bit off base. I have MR pack and and SG, build quality is pretty similar although MR definitely has the upper hand on some pack models.

Biggest differences SG is $100 more, 15ish% lighter, 15ish% bigger, but it has a super sparse design without any internal pockets, water bottle holders, etc. The mystery ranch is a great hunting pack for people who like the traditional pack design/organization, the stone glacier is more geared towards someone who wants a bomber pack with no frills.

Seek Outside, Exo, Kifaru, are all in the same class of pack, kuiu and outdoorman's are a step down but good. If you are 6'3" build like shit house and expect to be packing moose quarters bone in don't screw around and get a barney's. I'm 6' 150lbs and when I put on a barney's I felt like a 10yr old wearing around his dads shirt... those things are built for ogres.

Biggest thing to remember is everyone is going to have an opinion and because packs are 1. Expensive and 2. Will last forever (so you aren't buying lots of packs), and 3. They probably just bought the pack that they could try on, ie was made in their state... CO guys like Kifaru and Seek, MT guys like MR and SG, ID guys and WY guys love EXO... You are unlikely to talk to anyone who has actually owned more than 1 or 2 and definitely not 3 or 4 of the same manufacturing year, and people are just rooting for the pack they chose in order to justify their decision to drop an insane sum of money on a pack. Gotta keep the cognitive dissonance at bay or your are gonna be f-ed justifying your purchase to your spouse. ;)

So in the spirit of the tribalism that we humans love to embrace: Exo sucks...boooo... what a piece of crab don't buy that garbage.

A bomber pack with no frills. I like that analogy. 👍
 

geetar

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Jan 28, 2019
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North Carolina
Has anyone tried an Eberlestock J34? Seems a little on the heavy side but the features are kinda neat given that it can have a bag zipped onto it for extra space and has the rifle scabbard. Might be too heavy and have too many pockets though. I’m leaning towards the SG 40/56 as a backcountry pack to purchase.
 

SnowyMountaineer

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WY
I have not used one because I don't think the weight of the Eberlestock gets you any realized benefits, and I've never wished for a rifle scabbard on a backpack hunt personally. ymmv
 

clueless

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May 31, 2019
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Pardon my ignorance, but what stores do y'all go to in order to try on all these top packs?
 

wllm1313

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Dec 9, 2015
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Aurora, CO
Pardon my ignorance, but what stores do y'all go to in order to try on all these top packs?
The only store I’ve ever been to that had multiple brands of these packs was Barney’s in Anchorage, other than that you are going to each brands show room, or speciality hunting stores that carry high end gear, RMS in Denver for instance or schnees in Bozeman.

You won’t find any of these packs in big box stores, except for maybe mystery ranch.
 

The Yetti

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Jun 5, 2017
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Widefield, Colorado
I went through this a few months ago and went with a Seek Outside. No meet packed yet with it, but some packing trips with it and I’m in love with it. A lot of the pack companies have a 30 day return period, so if you can’t try one out at a store or a member on here having one, that is an option.
 

clueless

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May 31, 2019
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The only store I’ve ever been to that had multiple brands of these packs was Barney’s in Anchorage, other than that you are going to each brands show room, or speciality hunting stores that carry high end gear, RMS in Denver for instance or schnees in Bozeman.

You won’t find any of these packs in big box stores, except for maybe mystery ranch.

Thanks. Just couldn't figure out where everyone was going. Sounds like you have to live in or near the right place.


J
 

Kearnsie14

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Mar 17, 2018
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Ohio
Thanks. Just couldn't figure out where everyone was going. Sounds like you have to live in or near the right place.


J
That’s true. I don’t have any of those stores anywhere near me. So I just ended up ordering a MR Selway and figured I could return it if it didn’t fit right. Ended up fitting great.
 

kmott

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Jan 16, 2010
Messages
255
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idaho
Pardon my ignorance, but what stores do y'all go to in order to try on all these top packs?
eberlestock and exo are based In boise Idaho. cabelas here in Idaho carries eberlestock packs . exo is strictly internet or you can stop by their boise store. I recently bought the exo 3500 and believe it to be far superior to the eberlestock packs, for fit and my needs.
not to dis eberlestock packs , I just personally prefer EXO
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2010
Messages
445
Location
Idaho
Pardon my ignorance, but what stores do y'all go to in order to try on all these top packs?
I flew to Bozeman a couple weeks ago and went to Stone Glacier HQ and Mystery Ranch HQ. Mystery Ranch sent me to Schnee's in Downtown Bozeman because they are revamping their showroom. I tried on both companies packs and I will be going with a Stone Glacier Xcurve frame. It was the most comfortable frame with 60lbs loaded on it. I asked if they could add more lumbar padding and they would as long as I put it in the comments when ordering online. Both companies make good packs, but for my back issues, Stone Glacier beats out Mystery Ranch, Eberlestock, Blacks Creek Guide Gear. Good luck in your decision. Let me know if you have any questions.
 

Hoytxl2009

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May 28, 2017
Messages
40
Try them both on and see which you like best. Everybody's bodies are different. I've tried them all except SG, and the EXO is what I liked the best.

The thing I didn't like about MR was the lack of external pockets. I don't need a bunch but a few more is nice. I had the metcalf. Also the waist belt always needed to be tighten and would slip over my hips. Maybe some of the kinks are fixed now, but that's my experience.
 

LopeHunter

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May 31, 2007
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MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ&NW
I have not used one because I don't think the weight of the Eberlestock gets you any realized benefits, and I've never wished for a rifle scabbard on a backpack hunt personally. ymmv
Off topic. I love the ancient Eberlestock X1 with scabbard for day-hunting in steep stuff. I just looked and the X1A3 is the current version and looks like bloated in size. Having the rifle centered on back with both hands free is great in the steep stuff. I did a couple of mountain hunts with a belly day pack and rifle on the shoulder and must have banged the rifle into things and had it fall off shoulder over 100 times with each incident causing me to cringe re scope and rifle crown. The X1 fits my muzzle or my scoped rifle.

On topic, I bought the MR 6500 a decade ago for a mountain goat hunt and was amazing how well the pack fit and how heavy loads felt 20 pounds lighter than were. I bought it direct at an outdoor show and Dana was there to make sure I got the correct size and fit. I still use this pack if need to carry more than 40 pounds of stuff. I would likely buy a different brand today but the money spent a decade ago was a lot and worth every penny to someone who grew up will ill-fitting external frame packs handed down by relatives. There is no need to have painful pressure points when carrying a heavy-loaded pack. Shifting load weight between hip belt, shoulder straps and load lifter is brilliant. Again, a lot changes in a decade but the pack you buy today should be fine for a long time.
 

SnowyMountaineer

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Dec 11, 2009
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WY
I never really understood how an upside down rifle sticking a foot below my butt would be an improvement over just strapping it to the pack or using a Kifaru/SG quick release system, in terms of scrambling agility.
 

Vthntr

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Apr 21, 2019
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Location
Northern Vermont
I don’t have nearly the experience several others in this forum have but can give you my obeservation on the Metcalf and Beartooth. I got a metcalf this spring. I love it. My hunting partner got the beartooth and I instantly wished I got the beartooth instead. It has a little more capacity but the system is just more organized inside and has full zipper closer / opening so you can minimize the yard sale when your looking for something. Overall though very happy with the Metcalf. Super comfortable with weight it. Very adjustable. You’d be happy with either.
 

lr123

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Feb 21, 2019
Messages
112
In regards to the Eberlestock J34 I don't have experience with that particular pack but I did have an Eberlestock Gunslinger2 which has the rifle scabbard built into it. However the GS2 doesn't have an internal frame which is why I sold it. As far as the quality of it I felt it was built extremely well but that also made it very heavy in comparison to my Exo. The Exo in comparison seemed to weigh almost half as much. In my opinion the Eberlestock wouldn't be my first choice given the quality and weight of the new packs on the market.
 
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