Mystery Ranch NICE frame load lifter mod

nevadabugle

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Mar 8, 2013
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Like most people out there over 4 feet tall the Mystery Ranch NICE frame is too short to provide much lift off my shoulders. So, instead of selling the frame I just modified it to become a 23-24" frame. The mod is basically temporary and you can remove the extra height at any time. For a recent trip to Alaska I removed the extra stays and packed them in my bow case so the NICE frame was short enough to carry on. Once on the ground I reinstalled the extra stays and the pack was ready to hunt at 24" height.

Picture 1 shows the buckles and webbing that I built to attach the stays to the frame. Picture 2 shows the buckles and one of the stays. The stays are a piece of aluminum tubing with some webbing and a ladder lock attached. I also JB welded a male buckle to the bottom of the stay. Picture 3 shows one of the buckles attached to the cross member. Picture 4 is both stays attached and Picture 5 shows the amount of lift I can now get with the upgrade.
If you never plan on using the NICE frame buckles that are intended for the load sling you do not need to sew the buckles on like I did. You can simply flip the origional buckles up between the frame and the cross bar. Infact, I used my stays this way for years before adding the new buckles.

Does this carry as well as a 26" Longhunter Frame....NO. Does it carry better than the standard NICE.....HELL YES!!

1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg
 
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nevadabugle

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Mar 8, 2013
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The JB Weld looks really ugly in my pictures but I have put a ton of miles with 80# loads and they are still going strong.
 

bcimport

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Mar 15, 2013
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I have a Crew Cab, 6500 and longbow. The 6500 has the extended frame and a better angle on the "load lifters". I'm 6'2" tall and can not tell a difference in how the weight rides between them. I see these "extended lifters" mods all the time and am trying to figure out the rationale. If your yoke is adjusted to the right height the weight will be off your shoulders, if the load extends above the frame it will need to be secured and compressed to keep it from getting unruley and loose. That is why the straps on taller packs need to extend higher (in my opinion). If you are wearing a pack and I stand on your hips, transferring all my weight there and lift up on the shoulder straps why would anything change? If your NICE frame feels like its pulling on your shoulders the yoke is probably adjusted too short. If you feel like the whole bag feels floppy on your back the yoke is probably too tall.

I think much of the "load lifter" talk as of late has been more of a sales pitch than real engineering or function. Please feel free to disagree and tell me why so we can all get smarter together.
 

wapitibob

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Feb 24, 2012
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3,466
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Bend Oregon
It's pretty simple, when the lifters are attached to the frame and yoke, raising the yoke above said frame reverses the load on said lifters, causing the load to pull down on the shoulder straps rather then providing lift.
Pretty hard to get any lift when the lifter attachment point is on top of a 20" long frame, unless you like wearing the hip belt as a bib, which I have done. The only way to get any lift with a std Nice frame is to get the belt well above the hips.

Pretty hard to get lift if the lifter is below what it's "lifting".

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wapitibob

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Feb 24, 2012
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Nevada, I raised my whole system 6". I added a plate that slips behind the cross bars and added new buckles so the bag and all is raised.
 
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nevadabugle

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Mar 8, 2013
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Thanks for the input. I appreciate it and agree in depth discussion helps us all get smarter.
I have owned a crew cab, wolf pack, and still own a nice frame with a manticore bag (best bag MR ever made IMO). I've also owned or own kifaru long hunter, multiple badlands, multiple eberlestock, multiple old school externals, keltys, Lowe alpine, home made frames and packs and several others not worth mentioning.
For me, regardless of brand I prefer a frame in the 24 inch range. If the frame is much shorter than that I never feel like I can get a heavy load to carry comfortably. With short frames like the Nice or alice I can carry 45ish comfortably but the comfort diminishes greatly after that point. With short frames I always feel like I need to bend forward at the waist to offset heavy loads. Longer frames allow me to stand more erect with the same weight load. In my mind it is a leverage thing.
I have tested that theory with both MR and kifaru packs. I loaded a MMR and an EMR frame with 85 pounds one is 24 inches the other 26. With both yokes adjusted correctly the 26 incher handles the load better. By better I mean it let's me stand more erect. I have repeated the same test with my nice frame with and without my additions. I have the same results. My experience with other packs has been the same as well.
I love my MR pack and feel that the yoke is the most comfortable of all the packs ive owned and the build quality beats all others hands down. But I truly feel the standard frame is too short.
 

bcimport

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Mar 15, 2013
Messages
500
Location
BRITISH COLUMBIA
I will agree that a heavy weight can feel better in a taller frame (6500 vs CC) but I think that has more to with the fact that the load is spread more vertically and closer to your back. A short pack tends to grow out more than up if you're not careful. I will also agree that you can overtighten the "lifters" on a NICE frame.

All that said if the frame is a rigid verticle support directly hooked to the waist belt and the attachment height of your shoulder straps is set to the correct position the percentage of weight transferred to your hips is based on the height difference in your set up there. Pulling on the load lifters will pull the bag toward your back, but you cant pull up on the shoulder straps if the weight is already on the hip belt.

I am a huge gear junky and love high end gear, just trying to see where the engineering works here.
 
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