If I’m being honest, I love writing pack reviews more than I probably should. Aside from a hunter’s choice of firearm, a pack is an integral part of a mountain hunter’s success and proper fit and function can make or break a hunt. Over the years I’ve gotten to hunt with numerous different makes and styles of packs while developing a system that works for my style of hunting. From the external frame load haulers and the internal frame day packs to the hybrid modular frame design, there’s a place for all depending on the needs of the purchaser. While most of us don’t have the luxury of a closet full of pack options, with some careful shopping and knowing the uses that will be required, a hunter can cover their bases rather well with one or two.
Enter Stone Glacier, a pack, clothing, and accessory company based out of Bozeman, Montana. Stone Glacier is run by a hardcore group of mountain hunters who live and breathe anything with horns, antlers, or claws. The company started out by selling packs and has expanded into the tent, clothing, and accessory market to great acclaim. Their pack frames and bags are interchangeable, giving a user many options for different hunts. With one frame and one or more bags, a hunter can go from a 6900 cubic inch bag down to a 1700 cubic inch day pack on the same frame. All SG frames come stock with a built-in meat hauling shelf, allowing the wearer to pack out meat and cape externally and close to the back without removing the attached bag.
I recently returned from a nine-day Dall sheep hunt in Alaska where I used Stone Glacier’s Sky Talus 6900 on their X-curve frame. I packed in camp with my main bag and after setting up and consolidating gear, I used the straps to tighten down the bag to a nominal size for day hunts. My camp load was approximately seventy pounds (ten days of food for three guys, one tent, personal gear) and my day pack was around thirty (spotting scope, tripod, crampons, etc.). Once the sheep was down, I changed a few straps around to utilize the load shelf for a bag of meat as well as get my day pack contents back to camp. The pack off the mountain was particularly hairy through ribbon cliffs and shale slides as mature rams don’t tend to lounge in the easiest places to access but the Sky Talus kept the load secure throughout the day with a minimal amount of adjusting.
The following day we loaded heavy to get out of the mountains and meet our pickup. I put the full-body cape and a bag of meat (now half a backstrap lighter) on the integrated load shelf, stuffed the Sky Talus full, and headed out. Several hours later and the heavy work was done. I was pleasantly surprised at how the shoulder and hip belts absorbed the shock of the bigger loads, leaving me tired but not sore or chaffed.
While it’s difficult albeit impossible to find a one-size-fits-all pack, I was more than comfortable with the range of use my setup allowed. I carried a variety of sizes and weights on glacier fields and rock piles and never had an issue with pack performance. The loads could be secured tightly, allowing no excess movement while navigating difficult pieces of country. While there are many options for additional accessories, I opted for the water bottle holder due to the prevalence of snowmelt and a small front pocket for my rangefinder. Knowing what I know now about the hunt, I wouldn’t change a thing.
If that’s not enough to make you perk up your ears, packs are made in the US. From the SG website:
Stone Glacier backpacks and backpack accessories are proudly Made in the USA. Not only are the products manufactured in the USA, but all USA-produced fabrics and hardware are used where available.
Warranty questions? Also from the site:
Stone Glacier products have a lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship. Any issues associated with normal wear and tear can be repaired at a minimal and reasonable charge. Please call or email us for any warranty-related questions or issues.
If you’re in the market for a new pack that can be utilized for a variety of hunts, from day to multi-day excursions, give the guys at Stone Glacier a call. You can check out their website here: stoneglacier.com
Author’s setup below (MSRP $684.00):
- Weight – 5lb 12oz. on Medium Xcurve, bag only weighs 2lb 11oz.
- 6,400 cubic inch main bag
- 4,750 cubic inch bivy-mode
- Full center zip for access to the main bag
- 4 external side pockets
- 150+ pound load rating
- Hydration compatible (Hydro Sleeve – Sold Separately)
- 2,500+ cubic inch expandable load shelf
- Belt attachments
- Heavy-duty YKK #10 zipper
- Cordura 500 and Xpac fabric
- Heavy-duty, 1″ Duraflex military approved buckles and webbing
- Made in the USA