Stone Glacier and Other Packs

fowl_minded

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Aug 28, 2014
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Big Sky Country
I know there are many threads about packs, but I have some questions about today's packs. I have been using Eberlestock for a few years now and i am looking to upgrade to the next generation of hunting packs. I am wanting to get away from having a pack that isn't all that great for packing a load in or out so i would have to have a extra pack frame. and for a day pack they are too bulky so i have a smaller daypack. I have been looking at these packs for awhile now and I am torn between a couple. Just curious to hear some responses! I'm leaning more towards the Stone Glacier packs because of the bulkiness factor I guess you could call it. I know the Mystery Ranch packs are great packs and people speak very highly of them and they seem to be far more superior than my Eberlestock. But I feel that if i was going to go with The Metcalf or 6600 i would be in the same position as I am now. With getting to my destination and unloading my gear and hunting with a bulky pack. Any thoughts?
My first two picks are from Stone Glacier and they are the Approach vs. The Solo, Most of the time I am a long day hunter, however I have packed in for some overnight experiences. With the load shelf capabilities for packing in or out I feel that these packs give me the versatility that I would like on the hunt. Between these two packs I feel like a guy could hunt everything from back country elk to long days chasing lions with either pack and still use them for day pack situations for antelope, deer, etc. I usually do carry a large scope (Swarovski) and tripod as well as a firearm. The solo seems to be more popular than the Approach curious to why. Any feed back on either pack would be great. Also how does that rifle sling work? Going for having your firearm totally protected in the Eberlestock to having a sling is a little different. Are these pretty sturdy? And when a guy gets into situations of climbing shale or going down steep terrain do they secure your firearm very well?
My Second choice would be the Metcalf, from Mystery Ranch. I know people love these packs and I also have heard the way these packs ride is far superior to most packs when fully loaded. Again my biggest concern with these is bulkiness! I have a buddy that does a lot of overnight hunts and he does some filming as well. He said he loves his pack but it is too big to hunt out of, so he would pack a extra day pack. That is something that I don't want to have. Any thoughts?
Third choice is the ExoMountainGear packs, i don't know much about them however they do seem like a really nice packs, does anyone hear have any thoughts, or has anyone tried and tested these packs.
 
Joined
Sep 7, 2011
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96
Location
Roswell, NM
I just upgraded from a J34 to the stone glacier sky 5100. I really like the new pack. It seems to fit well and is noticeably lighter than my J34. IT carried a load of meat much easier than my J34. I will say that I really miss the scabbard on my J34. I like that my rifle is protected, doesn't move around and I can get it out with out taking my pack off. I was not impressed with the rifle carrier on my SG. I couldn't get the rifle out near as easy as the videos showed, the quick release buckle kept getting stuck between the scope and the rifle, it seemed to cause the pack to feel unbalanced, and my bipod was digging into my shoulder.
My solution:
There is a way to use the meat shelf to attach items to the bottom of the pack for quick access such as rain gear. The second day I used the pack, I put the butt of my gun in that meat shelf and strapped the gun to the back of the pack. This worked much better than the gun carrier. The load felt more balanced, the rifle didn't swing around, and the bipod didn't dig into my shoulder. The only problem is that it isn't as protected as the scabbard on the J34 and you have to take the pack of in order to get to the gun.

I will say that I need to play with the rifle carrier more and see if I can resolve some of the problems I encountered, but I think I am going to really like the SG as a day pack and as a backpacking back pack.
 
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Baerman

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Oct 3, 2008
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Boy-see
Stone Glacier is a great pack. My wife has one and it does haul nice. The downfall is that there are hardly any pockets for organizing gear or carrying rifles or spotting scopes in a protective sleeve. I highly recommend you check out Exo Mountain Gear. They have a 3500 or 5500 that is really slick. I used one last fall and sold my mystery ranch longbow as I was sold. The Exo is light and has plenty of pockets for gear.
http://exomountaingear.com/shop/
 

MontanaWild

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Jan 7, 2012
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No experience with Stone Glacier but I'm sure they are great packs and many guys on here enjoy them. I would definitely say the Metcalf is not too big to day hunt out of. Actually its quite nice as a day pack. Just tighten down all the compression straps and it compresses down as small as the NICE frame. Depends on what you have in it but it also has a load shelf and built in lift kits. I packed out 10 big game animals just in 2014 in a MR pack and never once had a load ride poorly or feel uncomfortable on my back. And the track record for these packs holding together over time is maybe only matched by some of the Kifaru stuff from what I've seen and heard. I could definitely think of worse things to shop for haha. Good luck!
 

fowl_minded

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Aug 28, 2014
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Big Sky Country
Great posts so far I appreciate the info. I want to be sure of the pack for when i can get my self to pull the trigger. I think what I'll do is next time I go to Bozeman I will go by both shops and check them out. I am very curious about the exo mountain great pack though does anyone know if a could find one in Montana to go look at or is there even a dealer in the state?
 

Spitz

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Jan 25, 2007
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Idaho
Exo is only in Idaho. I don't think they use dealers at all. I picked up the 3500 and love it. The difference for me between Stone Glacier and Exo is the pockets. 90% of the time I'm day hunting and the pockets make it much more user friendly.
 

dustinf

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Jan 2, 2012
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Pittsburgh, PA
No experience with Stone Glacier but I'm sure they are great packs and many guys on here enjoy them. I would definitely say the Metcalf is not too big to day hunt out of. Actually its quite nice as a day pack. Just tighten down all the compression straps and it compresses down as small as the NICE frame. Depends on what you have in it but it also has a load shelf and built in lift kits. I packed out 10 big game animals just in 2014 in a MR pack and never once had a load ride poorly or feel uncomfortable on my back. And the track record for these packs holding together over time is maybe only matched by some of the Kifaru stuff from what I've seen and heard. I could definitely think of worse things to shop for haha. Good luck!

Just curious if you are sponsored by MR?
 

Jon Boy

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Nov 15, 2011
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Clyde Park, MT
The exo is a great pack, comfortable, light and practical. But if you hunt the 9 months of montanas general seasons, it will not last. I will be going to a SG or Kifaru this season.
 

mtnwrunner

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Feb 15, 2015
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Carey, Idaho
The exo is a great pack, comfortable, light and practical. But if you hunt the 9 months of montanas general seasons, it will not last. I will be going to a SG or Kifaru this season.

Yeah, I'd like to hear what issues you experienced also. I have both packs and the EXO has been my go to. I used it very extensively last year and hauled out a lot of animals with it and have not issues whatsoever. I highly recommend both packs but the EXO is the fav.

Randy
 

Chucknduck

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Jan 30, 2015
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Montana
I'd be interested to hear about wear on the exo also. I've been researching packs and thought I was sold on a mystery ranch. Then I started looking at exo and stone glacier. I'm really interested int sg approach. Wish I could try them all out before pulling the trigger
 

Baerman

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The exo is a great pack, comfortable, light and practical. But if you hunt the 9 months of montanas general seasons, it will not last. I will be going to a SG or Kifaru this season.

Interesting. I've had Mystery Ranch and I currently have the SG and Exo. I'll say the Mystery Ranch is bullet proof. It only lacks in weight as it is too heavy considering other options on the market.

My SG is a great pack too it only lacks in pockets for organizing gear. You can strap your weapon to the SG with the straps but you can't completely store the butt and scope of your rifle in a pocket, adding that extra bit of protection. You can't easily store your spotter on the outside in a protected pocket either without buying accessories. The Exo does all of that and more.

The materials between the SG and Exo and dang near identical. I put my Exo to the test last year with a heavy load of deer on steep terrain and another heavy load with moose on it. I fell back on the bag a few times in rocky terrain and it shows no sign of wear except for the blood stains. If you still are concerned about durability, you can feel comfortable with the lifetime warranty that comes with the bag.

I'll admit and I was very upfront with them about the bags durability being a concern. I was selling my Mystery Ranch for something that didn't feel as durable. They assured me I would be surprised and reminded me of the warranty. I'm not disappointed so far. I think anyone will be pleasantly surprised by the Exo 3500.
 

Jon Boy

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Nov 15, 2011
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Clyde Park, MT
Stitching popping, pack color fading, and zippers failing has been my experience. As far as comfort goes It would be hard to beat.
I will say I worked on a trail crew over the summer and used it most days I wasnt packing a saw, I hunted every day for 4 weeks of archery season. And I hunted/guided every single day of general rifle season with it on my back. Been wolf hunting with it and doing training hikes several days a week over the past two months. I am also very hard on gear as I dont take the time to pay attention to taking it easy on my gear when I'm in the woods. That kind of abuse I would say isn't common for most people though so take it for what its worth.
 

Baerman

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Stitching popping, pack color fading, and zippers failing has been my experience. As far as comfort goes It would be hard to beat.
I will say I worked on a trail crew over the summer and used it most days I wasn't packing a saw, I hunted every day for 4 weeks of archery season. And I hunted/guided every single day of general rifle season with it on my back. Been wolf hunting with it and doing training hikes several days a week over the past two months. I am also very hard on gear as I dont take the time to pay attention to taking it easy on my gear when I'm in the woods. That kind of abuse I would say isn't common for most people though so take it for what its worth.

That is some good use for sure. I'm unsure of what improvements were made to this years bag that might address any of your issues but I'd be willing to say the would take care of you if you contacted them.
 

Jon Boy

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Yup steve is taking care of me. So good news on that end, hes really good to work with and seems to get back to his customers promptly with a solution. Some of my problems were also associated with the ASAT color. They weren't impressed with the dye used and it was known for fading. I believe they have fixed that problem.
 

BuzzH

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Jan 9, 2001
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Laramie, WY
I quit looking at packs once I bought the NICE frame and associated packs from MR.

I have a crew cab, 6500, and an old penguin. The crew cab I use primarily at work, and after 900-1100 days of use, it was showing signs of wear. A zipper on the lid was shot, had a couple holes in the pack itself (at least one my own fault), and some wear on the shoulder straps where they attach to the frame. I use that pack pretty hard at work...packed in with horses, in the cargo hold of fixed wing and helicopters, strapped to ATV's/motorcycles, etc. Plus, all the miles hiking with it on...pretty amazing pack.

I stopped by Bozeman and showed them the pack, which they fixed up for nothing, including new shoulder straps. Functionally though, the pack was still fine and really didn't need anything other than a new zipper and patching a few holes. But, MR replaced the shoulder straps on it as well.

I'd have to see some damn convincing evidence of better quality and durability to switch to another brand.
 

fowl_minded

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Aug 28, 2014
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Big Sky Country
Well after three weeks of racking my brain on packs and what tags I am going to put in for I think I'm going to roll with SG I'm thinking the 5100. But I am going to wait because when I was up at the shop Kurt and Pete told me they were going to have a new pack that they were going to release at the end of March. So I might wait to see that. I am planning on doing some more pack in trips on the future so that's why I went with the bigger 5100 over the solo and approach. I was going to pull the trigger on exo at first and I have exchanged a couple emails and phone calls with Steve. I do really like those packs but now that I have sold both of my eberlestock packs I am without. I need something for sheds and spring bear so I can't wait until may for them. Steve told me if something came up he would try to get me one but didn't know if it would happen. I do tip my hat to exo I think they have a great product and great customer service. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking at this type of product. Kurt and Pete are awesome to I thank them for answering all my questions and taking time to help me out. Thanks for all the replies to my questions you all were helpful as well. When it comes time we need to start a thread on "show your load" whether it's sheds, hides, sheep or meat. That would a cool thread. Good luck to all this year. I will be sure to show the first couple critters that make it into the pack this year!
 

MontanaWild

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Jan 7, 2012
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Just curious if you are sponsored by MR?

We do have a working relationship with them but I sure wouldn't call it sponsored. We only use gear that we would buy if we weren't involved within this industry. Like I said I'm sure that the Stone Glacier packs are a solid option, I just have zero experience with them. Last season I packed out 10 big game animals with both a Longbow and Metcalf and have no problems or serious complaints with the packs. And that's just last year and not including the 2 years previous. I think there are many others that would agree MR makes a great product that will continue to become better and better over the next few years. I'd put money on MR or Kifaru holding up longer than any other packs on the market if you comprehensively tested all makes over a 5-10 year period under intense hunting scenarios and pack-outs.
 
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