First Pack


New Member
Apr 17, 2017
I'm sure all of you forum regulars have seen many threads like this before, so I apologize for the redundancy in advance.

I'm not new to hunting out west, but I am new to backpack hunting. The elk and muley hunting I have done so far has been out of a base camp. I've been building bonus/pref points in many states for deer and elk for quite a few years now while I hunt OTC units in Colorado, and I know most of these premiere units will require me to hunt out of a backpack. While I am a very serious whitetail bowhunter (I hunt probably 50-60 days per season in various states), I'm definitely not used to hunting out of a pack carrying everything on my back. Now, this year I plan to hunt my regular OTC units in Colorado, but I plan hunt from a pack instead of a base camp. I feel like it will be the perfect practice for me since the only backpacking knowledge I have has come from many, many books, Eastmans' articles, and podcasts, HOWEVER, I will be within a few hours from my regular base camp and the rest of my hunting buddies in case something goes wrong.

I have spent several years researching what gear I will need, so I won't ask that here. What I do want input on is what pack to choose. I am looking for a 4,000-5,000 cu inch pack that I can use on weekend-multiday hunts, but I'm not opposed to something a bit bigger that I can stretch into longer hunts. I have done alot of research on pack companies, and have narrowed my search down to the Mystery Ranch Metcalf, the Kifaru Reckoning or Fulcrum, and the new Stone Glacier EVO 40/56. I'm focused more on durability rather than ounce-shaving for this instance. Right now, I'm leaning toward the Mystery Ranch. I would appreciate any feedback or info.


Staff member
Feb 22, 2011
Reno Nv
Welcome to the forum

Please head over to the new members section and give an intro

The packs you have listed are all great packs. Stone Glacier is my favorite, a buddy just got a Kifaru and it is a very well built pack as well. Eberlestock has some great offerings for what your looking for too.


Active Member
May 18, 2015
Eastern Oregon
You might want to check out Blacks Creek Packs. I have the Cure, which is a lumbar pack. A couple of buddies have their larger ones and are really pleased with them. You won't deal with nicer people.


Very Active Member
Apr 26, 2013
Colorado, was Az.
Mystery Ranch Metcalf or the Marshall would be suitable. Remember to keep in mind how the fit is for your build. They are all different and a pack of this nature you talk of is a big investment. Good luck...


Active Member
Aug 24, 2012
Your 'short list' looks solid. Check out Linton Outdoors, I ordered the MR Metcalf/Guide Light frame a couple months ago from them for $420, which is about $100 off retail. I can't say how the pack performs yet, since I haven't trained or hunted with it yet, but it appears very well made, just based on close inspection.

Good Luck


Active Member
Jun 22, 2014
nw oregon
I really like my kifaru AMR. Honestly though I have been getting a itch to try a stone glacier or exo....


New Member
Jul 16, 2016
On your list, Kifaru Reckoning is an awesome choice. Very durable and you can set it up the way you like with pockets. My second would be the Stone Glacier.


New Member
Nov 5, 2018
You might want to check out Blacks Creek Packs. I have the Cure, which is a lumbar pack. A couple of buddies have their larger ones and are really pleased with them. You won't deal with nicer people.
I agree that you should check out Blacks Creek Guide Gear. Living in Idaho with three major pack manufacturers right here, I've tried a number of packs and by far the most comfortable with a lot of weight is BC Guide Gear. Now my husband and I own three of their frames and four of their packs. The packs are interchangeable on the Grip or Talon frames. Great customer service as well. I train with the frame loaded up with an ONUS Training bag ( and train heavy with no comfort issues whatsoever. If you're local, go visit them all, but the key is getting some weight in them.


Active Member
Jun 10, 2012
I did a lot of research and ended up with Kifaru….no regrets! My 2nd choice was Stone Glacier. The deal breaker for me was Stone Glacier didn't have camo patterns or the large selection of accessories, lids, pouches, etc. I would recommend getting a larger bag than 5,000 cu in. There is hardly any difference in weight and you'll be able to haul a lot more bulk. A larger bag cinches down tight when unloaded. You'll always have enough room with a larger bag but you are screwed if you don't have enough room with a smaller bag! I usually have my bag filled to the hilt when heading down the mtn after a successful hunt....and mine is around 8000 cu in! There's no way I would have room for meat, cape, and all my gear on multi day Alaska and other hunts.