Stone Glacier Sky 7400
by Matt Wymer, Rokslide Prostaff
The last few years have seen an evolution in the gear I use and own. I've progressed from wool solids and external frame packs to finely tuned high quality gear. I continue to be impressed with the innovations and technologies now available. As hunters, it's a great place to be as gear technology and options are expanding exponentially making it a tough balance to stick with what works vs. try the latest and greatest.
Since 2006, I have cycled through several packs trying to find a balance of durability, load carrying capability, and most importantly fit. Each "upgrade" helped me move closer to what I was looking for, but I never could find the perfect combo. My trouble with packs is that when I get much over 50lbs, they start to sag off my waist, primarily at the small of my back. I have to constantly tighten the waist belt and it's a nagging issue that I have dealt with over the years.
Convinced this issue could be at least mitigated, I began to look around at different packs. Several things pointed me to Stone Glacier, the chief being the light weight and configuration options. As an Alaskan sheep hunter, weight is always a key component of gear decisions. The Sky 7400 is incredibly light considering its size, durability, and capability.
Kuiu Ultra 6000
Given all the drama surrounding this pack when it was introduced I was apprehensive to purchase it for review. I do my best to avoid such nonsense and feel that “taking sides” with gear companies doesn’t do any good. Rather I just prefer to call it like I see it and choose the gear I use because it’s best suited for my needs given what I can afford.
Eventually the gear junkie in me won out. In April I bit the bullet and ordered up a Kuiu Ultra 6000 in sage green with the tall frame and small waistbelt. I couldn’t resist trying out a 6000 cubic inch pack that is only roughly 3.5 pounds with a frame stiff enough for heavy loads, and a price tag of only $350. Below are my thoughts on the pack. Others may come to different conclusions. Take these opinions for what you paid for them :)
A Season with an Icon – KUIU’s 1850 pack system
Kurt Toney packing a boned front quarter in his carbon framed Icon 1850 and a massive 8 x 7 rack
After trying about seven different daypacks in as many years, I found myself once again doing pack research going into the 2013 season. I didn’t find many that I either hadn't already tried or that suited my needs until I got a chance to check out a friend’s KUIU Icon 1850.
Mystery Ranch NICE Metcalf Initial Impressions
By Todd Kelly
When I heard that the guys down at Mystery Ranch (MR) had a new bag design for the NICE frame system, it got my attention! I could not wait to see what they had come up with. The announcement came this spring during the 2013 SHOT show where the NICE Metcalf bag was revealed.
I have been through many backpacks over the last 10 years and finally settled on the NICE frame system in 2008. The NICE frame fit my body well and really handled heavy loads like no other frame system I had tried. The only issue I had with the NICE frame was the use of a functional load lifter which is reserved to the larger 6500 and 7500 bags with their frame extensions built into the bag, while the smaller daypack sized NICE bags lacked any actual usefulness out of the load lifter hampering their ability to handle really heavy loads comfortably. My original purchase of the NICE 6500 was great for backpack hunts and hauling heavy loads, but left a lot to be desired as a day hunting bag. It is too large for my liking, even while compressed, so when I read about the Metcalf and its smaller, low-profile design with frame extension, I put my order in as soon as they were available and immediately put it to work.