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Thread: Barneys vs. Stone Glacier... a comparison

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    Default Barneys vs. Stone Glacier... a comparison

    I know that there are quite a few people out there wondering if they should ditch their trusty frame packs for one of the new UL hunting packs now on the market. The 4+ lb weight savings is extremely tempting, especially for a mountain hunter.
    Iíve been wondering the same thing myself, and recently got to opportunity to borrow a Stone Glacier Terminus pack which comes in <4 lbs ready to roll. Iím still in testing mode, and will be for a while, but thought I might throw up some photos of how is compares dimensionally with my trusty Barneys Pinnacle.

    The first thing I suppose I should mention is that these packs arenít really designed for the same demographic, so there are some fundamental differences in function. If you think you are ever going to be hauling 9 ft bear hides, big moose racks, or bone-in moose quarters, then itís Barneys all the way. The Stone Glacier is more of a specialty pack geared more specifically toward high country sheep, elk, and mule deer hunters who are going to be packing in light camps and bringing out loads of boned meat. Nevertheless, they are going to get cross shopped by a lot of resident Alaskan sheep and goat hunters, so perhaps some side by side photos might help people compare.

    First taking a look at the frames:



    The Barneys on the left is an aluminum frame measuring the traditional 14Ē W x 31Ē T. Ití provides a large stable platform for big and awkward loads. The Stone Glacier Krux frame on the right is a high tech external frame using two carbon fiber rods as outboard stays, stabilized by an X of two more rods, and all sewn into a fabric envelope. Frame dimensions are about 9.5Ē W x 26Ē T. That makes it a slightly larger platform than most large internal frame packs, but still almost 50% smaller than a traditional external frame. Perhaps good for stabilizing a 6000 cu in bag, but not so good for stabilizing a 60Ē moose rack. Again, thatís not what it was built for. The design intent of Kurt at Stone Glacier was to reduce weight for backpack hunts, and he met that goal nicely with a frame that comes in just under half of what a Barneys frame does.

    Iím not going to go over the bag designs, since there is lots of other information on both packs out there on the internet. Suffice to say both appear to be well built from 500d cordura and that is about the only thing they share in common.

    The thing that really struck me is the vast difference in physical size between the packs. The Barneys is listed at a nominal 7800 cu in, while the Stone Glacier is listed at 6000 cu in, so I knew it would be biggerÖ but in person the Pinnacle bag looks like it could eat a pair of Terminus packs for dinner and have a Solo for desert!





    So a broke out the tape measure and did some data collection. If I stuffed the Terminus full and measured the L x W x H I came up with right at 6000 cu in as advertised. Thatís not a completely legit number in my opinion, because it doesnít take into account the rounding of the corners, etc. However, I believe that is how most packs are measured, and I think this thing compares very well size wise to other packs listed in that capacity range.

    Then I measured the Barneys pack using roughly the same methods and came up with about 8000 cu in NOT COUNTING POCKETS. Once I added in the pockets, I was easily pushing ~9000 cu in. Thatís 50% more than the Stone Glacier both visually and by measurement. Even using the load shelf on the Stone Glacier, I couldnít reach the volume of the Barneys bag. Of course measuring something as funky shaped as a pack is an in-exact science, but it does appear that the Barneys uses a more conservative method of volume estimation.

    Iím not going to stand here and say one pack is ďbetterĒ than the other, but maybe this info will be useful to somebody. If you are sheep hunting and have a dialed in lightweight camp system, I think the volume of the Terminus will do the trick. However, Iíve hunted with a pack that size before, and you will likely be either strapping stuff to the outside or using the load sling to make it work if you are one of those guys that can carry a full camp + entire sheep.

    If you want your pack to swallow your whole camp + sheep inside the main bag, or need to be able to drop a big bear hide through the opening, or just donít want to worry about running out of space when you load up 10 days worth of foodÖ well itís hard to beat those big frame packs, and I donít see them going away anytime soon.

    Yk

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    Thanks for the write up. Ya, I don't think a guy can say the SG is a replacement for the Barneys or any other large frame/bag pack. I think its a specialty pack for guys who have their methods/means/gear dialed in for mountain hunts. I'm not sure this type of pack would be worth 600 bucks to me. Be sure to let us know how it feels with 150lbs in it though.

    Pack are like boats. The bigger they are the more junk your gonna throw in em
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Great breakdown YK!!! Much more in depth than I would have thought to review about! Oh yeah and fun hunting with ya this weekend!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Be sure to let us know how it feels with 150lbs in it though.
    I haven't tried it, but will speculate that 150 lbs is always going to feel miserable. I have no intention of carrying that much in the mountains. Wayyy to easy to hurt something.

    The "how it feels" think is going to be pretty subjective I think, so not really planning on going there. I can report that the frame is plenty stiff, and not prone to the barreling and stay flexing that many internal frames are.

    Yk

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    Could you say one or the other carries the weight centered or low or what might the natural fit and feel be like empty- full.Surely a comment about the waist belts was there rubbing sore spots, slipping Load lifters effective ?.Does the terminus push backwards come on lets here you're experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramcam View Post
    Could you say one or the other carries the weight centered or low or what might the natural fit and feel be like empty- full.Surely a comment about the waist belts was there rubbing sore spots, slipping Load lifters effective ?.Does the terminus push backwards come on lets here you're experience.
    Easy there man, I've only had it for two days, and it's been cold out!

    Yk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknife View Post
    Easy there man, I've only had it for two days, and it's been cold out!

    Yk
    No excuse, we could have let you pack your caribou atleast to the road in it....that would have been a good test.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska_Lanche View Post
    No excuse, we could have let you pack your caribou atleast to the road in it....that would have been a good test.
    I dunno. All that snowshoeing stuff is too much work, and besides... I thought my method worked out ok.

    Yk

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknife View Post
    I dunno. All that snowshoeing stuff is too much work, and besides... I thought my method worked out ok.

    Yk
    HAHA it did indeed....I know they have the ski/shoot sport in the olympics...I think the speed snowshoeing and shoot needs to be invented yet. Ok thread hijack over...sorry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramcam View Post
    Could you say one or the other carries the weight centered or low or what might the natural fit and feel be like empty- full.Surely a comment about the waist belts was there rubbing sore spots, slipping Load lifters effective ?.Does the terminus push backwards come on lets here you're experience.
    Just for you Ramcam, I got started testing tonight. It was -5 F, but we had part of a moon, so I took it for a spin through the neighborhood with my favorite 80 lb sack of cement in the bag. It needs some tuning and some more miles before I decide if I like it, but can answer a few of your questions:

    - No issues with the load lifters. Work as advertised.

    - In fact, no issues with any slipping buckles, straps, etc. Good load control with the compression straps.

    - With 80 lbs loaded high in the bag, it rode fine and didn't pull me back. I didn't try it with the load sling.

    The "feel" of the pack kind of splits the difference between an internal frame and a traditional external frame in my mind. It's rides against your back like an internal, but uses a stiff straight frame and wrap belt like an external. Personally, I'm used to the feel of an external. I like fact that the frame is outboard of my shoulders on a Barneys, and the only thing against my back is flexible mesh. If you are used to an internal, I suspect the transition wouldn't be too hard. As I play with it more, I'll develop my personal opinion.

    With less than 50 lbs, there is no question the Stone Glacier is the more comfortable pack. I'm more interested in the heavy end of things though.

    Yk

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    Thanks for the write up! I hadn't decided on trying a stone glacier as I am friends with Kurt, but I have never had an issue with the going in part of sheep hunts, it is the coming out with the 120#'s+ of weight that makes the pack.

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    Thanks.It will be interesting to see how heavy loads over time test the packs durability.I 'm using an MR Kodiak but it is over 10 lbs empty.Great pack and durable but if i can get the same for less weight i'm definitely interested.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramcam View Post
    Thanks.It will be interesting to see how heavy loads over time test the packs durability.I 'm using an MR Kodiak but it is over 10 lbs empty.Great pack and durable but if i can get the same for less weight i'm definitely interested.
    Ramcam,

    The simplistic design of the packbag really eliminates most failure points on that portion of the pack Very few seams, and the only zipper is on the lid. Stitching all seems pretty stout.

    It's tougher for me to guess on the long term durability of the frame and suspension. However, the one I have has been used and abused by several people and looks like new so far. The bag hangs on the frame using reinforced fabric pockets that the top of the frame slides into, a similar method as the Kifaru duplex I believe. Those frame pockets are the main high stress points I see, but the system has worked and is proven in other pack designs, so I suspect it will in this one also. Pretty hard for me to pick out weak points, except by lots of use over the next few years.

    Yk

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    In watching his "how to" videos I see that the belt/shoulder straps/frame are all held together with velcro. I guess it's super velcro or something but it still seems like a point of weakness over time. My current pack of 9 years used velcro to position the belt. I had it in its lowest position but over a few trips of hauling heavy loads the "loop" part of the fabric began to sag and stretch. The velcro still sticks but the whole thing sags. I basically tied the belt down to the frame so it would stay put. The weight, constant motion and being soaking wet for a few days all added up I think. There something to be said for a nylon strap looped around a frame.

    Any thoughts on all the velcro?
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    In watching his "how to" videos I see that the belt/shoulder straps/frame are all held together with velcro. I guess it's super velcro or something but it still seems like a point of weakness over time. My current pack of 9 years used velcro to position the belt. I had it in its lowest position but over a few trips of hauling heavy loads the "loop" part of the fabric began to sag and stretch. The velcro still sticks but the whole thing sags. I basically tied the belt down to the frame so it would stay put. The weight, constant motion and being soaking wet for a few days all added up I think. There something to be said for a nylon strap looped around a frame.

    Any thoughts on all the velcro?
    The velcro thing is a good question. I previously used a Dana pack that used velcro to attach the shoulder harness, so I'm familiar with it's use in packs. I used that pack for 10+ years until I finally started getting stitching failure on the harness and had to retire it. No issues with the velcro though, so I think if it's applied properly to the design it is fine. The reason the Dana worked well was because it was set up so that the "pull" on the velcro was in-direct, if that makes sense and once adjusted properly it was rarely messed with.


    Looking at the Stone Glacier, he used velcro to attach both the hip belt and the shoulder straps.

    The hip belt is attached by three large patches between the frame and the hipbelt itself, and then is re-enforced by three black pieces of x-pac fabric that wrap all the way around the belt and attach to the backside of the frame with three more good size pieces of velcro. It's hard to explain, but basically looks very sturdy and is likely stronger in shear strength than the two aluminum pins that hold the hip belt of a Barneys frame on. Suffice to say I'm not concerned about it.

    The shoulder straps are a different deal and receive a more or less direct shear pull on the velcro. The design includes a strap across the velcro pads that is supposed to insure that the "pull" will be in that direct shear only. Anyhow, I did what limited testing I could and found that with 80 lbs in the bag I could get the velcro to slightly pull and deform if I:

    A.) lifted it off the ground by one strap as if I was going to swing it onto my back and (which is dang hard with 80 lbs btw)
    B.) the load lifters were all the way loose so I was only pulling on the strap it self.

    Basically, by pulling it away from the frame, I could get the padding to compress enough under the keeper strap that it allowed the velcro to lift and pull a little. Once the load was on my back and there was no way those things were going to slip. It was only when I was lifting it off the ground by one strap with the pack in the horizontal rather than vertical position that I got any kind of ripping sound, and even then then wasn't visually noticeable slippage.

    If the load lifters were only partially loose (like they would normally be), then they end up taking most of the load when lifted in that fashion and it wasn't an issue.

    Long term? I dunno. It's not currently concerning me too much and I don't think catastrophic failure would be likely. If they do start to loose strength, you are going to notice it when yanking at odd angles like I was rather than when wearing it. Once adjusted, I suspect I could permanently attach it too the frame with a little sewing if I was concerned. Really though, long term use is the only thing that is going to tell the tale and any early adopter of a new design is going to run the risk of finding weaknesses, especially with ultralight gear. That's the hazard of being on the cutting edge..... case in point being the first Kuiu packs.

    Kurt seems to stand behind his products with a pretty solid warranty and more importantly he used, tested, and let others test his design before coming to market with it. How things will be holding up in 5-10 years? It's pretty hard for me to speculate on that.

    Yk

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    Thanks for the detailed answer. It sounds like the belt system is plenty stout and the shoulder straps will be fine under normal use. Personally I try to never lift my pack by any one strap when loaded heavy. No sense in over stressing one strap or row of stitches needlessly.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    Personally I try to never lift my pack by any one strap when loaded heavy. No sense in over stressing one strap or row of stitches needlessly.
    It is a rather dubious practice. I ripped the shoulder strap completely off a "backpacking" grade pack doing that same test. The design of the Barneys can take it, but it is rather abusive to most packs and not a good long term practice.

    Yk

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    I own the Barney's Yukon pack. A few days back I got that chance to try on a SG Terminus and put about 60 lbs in it and walked on a treadmill at various inclines and speed. The two packs are pretty similar on overall comfort. The load transfer and stabilization on the SG felt slightly better than my Barneys. Kurt is definitely manufacturing a great pack. If I was in the market for something in the 6000 cu in size, I would not hesitate to buy this pack. But it would be very difficult for me to part with my barneys to save 4 lbs. I'd rather shave the 4 lbs elsewhere from my gear. And no chance for me to have 2 six to seven hundred dollar packs. Not when I can do it all with my Yukon pack.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknife View Post
    It is a rather dubious practice. I ripped the shoulder strap completely off a "backpacking" grade pack doing that same test. The design of the Barneys can take it, but it is rather abusive to most packs and not a good long term practice.

    Yk
    I grab mine all the time that way.. YK this is about the best gear review I have read. Thanks for sharing, I have been thinking about this pack since I first seen it for a personal pack and if it were not for a few things that came up this upcoming season I woud probably give it a go..

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