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.