Mystery Ranch pack frames



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  • Mystery Ranch pack frames

    Dos anyone have any experience with this line of packs and frames? I am still looking for a pack frame and found these to be quite interesting.

  • #2
    If I'm not mistaken, this is a previous owner of Dana Designs though I have no experience with this new line of packs.


    • #3
      Yes, Dana Gleason designs these packs, it doesn't appear that very many people have used these before.


      • #4
        Mystery Ranch packs...

        AKHunter45 -
        I got one of their G-6000 (internal frame) models this year, and am planning on taking it on several hunts this fall. I've been carrying it on several conditioning hikes so far this summer, and although I've not really loaded it down (no more than approx. 55 lbs), so far it's hands-down the most comfortable backpack I've ever carried. Loaded, it feels completely different than any other pack I've ever carried. The best way I can describe it is that while the weight is there, I don't notice it as much - it rides better, and doesn't seem to 'run away' from me like many other backpacks I've owned. It's also completely bombproof, with heavy thread and great zippers. At approximately 9 lbs, it is a little heavy, but I didn't buy it for carrying light loads. Hopefully I'll be able to report how it carries with a dead animal in it in a few weeks.



        • #5
          Have you tried Dana W. Gleason's Mystery Ranch G-6000/-7000 Series (or their
          military counterpart, the BDSB) internal frame packs, AND the K2/Dana Design
          Loadmaster series external frame packs (either the Terraframe, T-1,
          Shortbed, Longbed, or Flatbed)?

          If so, I am keenly interested in your impressions concerning the difference
          between how these packs felt with respect to load transfer to the hipbelt
          and the packs' comfort for trail walking over moderate terrain.

          By way of background, Dana's external packs handle load transfer differently
          than the G series. Specifically, Dana's Loadmasters featured two fiberglass
          poles called "Magic Wands." The tips of these poles were inserted into
          holes on the left and right side of the horizontal metal tube second from
          the top. See the X-ray view of these packs at
          These poles then ran through a yellow, tubular fabric sleeve and went
          straight down to the outside of the hipbelt (without inserting into it) and
          terminated near where the hipbelt attached to the bottom of the frame

          The bottom of the wand inserted into a thumbnail-sized pocket at the end of
          a black fabric strap with a buckle to shorten it. In turn, this strap was
          connected at an angle to the top edge of the hipbelt towards the front
          opening. By tugging on these straps and pulling them through their buckles,
          the Magic Wands could be made to bend at their ends by about 45 degrees
          forward. As JBrent said on the Backpacker forum, "When the fiberglass rods
          are tensioned, the load is literally lifted UP, eliminating any sag
          whatsoever. It makes the load feel twenty pounds lighter." See photo,
          showing an untensioned Magic Wand in the straight down position:

          Dana received a patent for this design on January 30, 2001, which was titled
          as an "External frame backpack with flexible harness," number 6,179,188
          (related to U.S. patent 5,704,530, January 6, 1998). See,
 (viewing patent images may require using a free
          viewer at

          In contrast to Dana's external packs, his Mystery Ranch G series internal
          frame packs do not use Magic Wands. Instead, as Dana's patent, number
          6,626,342, titled as "Backpack having a modular frame,"
, issued on September 30, 2003, states, "The pack
          bag and pack frame are also attached at a centrally located bottom flap.
          The weight of the backpack's contents and the tension created by a hip belt
          of the backpack cause a concentrated, compression load at the area where the
          hip belt connects to the pack frame. Accordingly, this load is transmitted
          to the pad of the pack frame and the load is safely and comfortably
          transferred to the user's body."

          The Mystery Ranch Website @ further explains that
          "Extending the five segments of the Cush Lumbar Wrap across the entire small
          of your back increases the amount of contact with your waist, distributing
          the pressure over a greater surface area, alleviating pressure points."
          Here is a link to the only photo on the Web of the five-segment G-series
          Lumbar Wrap: In contrast, the hipbelt on the
          Loadmaster consists of just three segments - a left and right "wing" and a
          lumbar pad on the frame which nestles in the small of your back. It should
          be noted that there were some variations over the years in the design of the
          Loadmaster hipbelts which affected user comfort.

          Thank you.


          • #6
            Nice Frame/G-Pack Comparison

            I purchased a NICE Frame over a year ago in preparation for an Alaskan hunt last fall. The frame worked great on that hunt and since then for training/hunting and hauling all kinds of heavy awkward loads.

            In preparation for a BC Goat hunt for this fall I ordered a NICE Frame 6500 ci packbag. MR mistakenly sent me a G-5000. After strapping the thing on for kicks before I returned it, I instantly noticed a big difference in the feel of the hipbelt. As much as I love my NICE Frame, I couldn't get past how comfortable the G-Pack was. I still sent the G5K back but had MR send me a G6K (6500 ci) and after having it for a couple weeks and loading it down and hiking with it, all I can say is I'm glad MR sent me that G5K by mistake.

            After speaking with Andrew at MR and as I understand it, the extra design with the belt on the G-packs makes them so comfortable with heavy loads. I can tell you it's no hype, I read the reviews and absolutely agree on this things ability to carry a heavy load in comfort. Hopefully I'll arrow a big Billy in BC in a couple weeks and have some more practical in-field experience with the pack to report.


            • #7
              Busta. Good to hear about the G pack. Question: What do you call a heavy load? To some it's 75lbs. I'm thinking 125+ How much have you hauled with it for training? Those MR packs look like the real deal to me. Good luck on your goat hunt.
              A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again


              • #8
                heavy vs. HEAVY

                Snyd, My pack weight for the upcoming goat hunt is going to be between 50-55 lbs before I throw in half a goat (and I'll probably let my guide carry the heavy half). Ten days on the Mountain and not really sure if I'll be hauling everything daily. That being said, I've been training all summer here in NJ with up to 60 lbs. on a regular basis.

                The NICE frame worked great last year but I was on a Sitka Blacktail hunt and packing out a deer with it in one trip was no problem. I frequently haul 100 lbs of shelled corn to fill feeders here in NJ with the NICE frame and it's a grunt for me with that kind of weight but the frame makes it possible to haul 2 50's at a time as opposed to one over my shoulder as I did before.

                My research on frames led me to the Dana packs. I was looking for a used Terra/Astra plane on eBay last summer when I discovered MR. Shawn Hooten from Seahook Charters in AK has quite a bit of input in this sites archives regarding the Dana frames and their ability to haul HEAVY loads, including 150 lb wet Brown Bear hides.

                Keep in mind that I just got the G-6000 a couple weeks ago so most of my experience has been with the NICE frame. I love the thing and really thought that would be the last pack I ever needed until MR sent me that G-5000 by mistake. But the Gpacks really are noticeably more comfortable then the NICE frame, at least for me.


                • #9
                  Thanks. Let us know how the G-Pack does hauling 100lbs. Or better yet, 55lbs and half a goat!!
                  A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again


                  • #10
                    MR rifle sling?

                    Busta Ribs,

                    What do you do for a rifle sling with the MR pack? I didn't see anything regarding an option for strapping a rifle down.


                    • #11
                      Size of the guy humping the pack?

                      Busta, thanks for all of the info. I am in search of a great pack too and I was just wondering what size guy you are. As you know, packs and people don't always match up. EX, a 145lb guy like me might not carry the same pack as another guy weighing in at 300 lbs. Never thought I'd say this to ANY guy...what are your measurements?


                      • #12
                        Mystery Ranch ??'s

                        One of the unique and innovative features of the Mystery Ranch Nice Frame & G Packs is the sizing adjustment. It's a little hard to explain but it's really a very simple concept. Imagine the waist belt (ordered to fit the user of course) fixed to the bottom of the frame but the shoulder harness "floating" up and down, so to speak, to accommodate various size torso length. With this system, MR can provide adjust-ability to fit a wide range with the same suspension size, and different size belts. Buck/Rut, to answer your question, I am 5'10", 175-180 lbs (depending on the amount of pizza I had this week), 34" waist, 42" chest. If I were you, I'd speak with Andrew at Mystery Ranch and he'll make sure you get the right fit.

                        As far as packing a weapon, I'm a bowhunter so I have no practical experience strapping a rifle to the pack. It was a bit of a challenge coming up with a system to haul my bow safely. I use a Dana Design Beavertail Shovit to pack my bow, along with simple a strap near the top of my pack to stabilize it ( ) For a gun, I'd have a look at the Kifaru Gunbearer ( ), I'm sure it could be fitted to any MR pack/frame with no problem. I did see a recent report where a guy had one of these fail on a sheep hunt but overall Kifaru stuff seems like high quality gear.


                        • #13
                          Fancy Fittin!

                          Busta, I looked into MR's sizing adjustment system...looks like a sweet deal. I have always struggled with sizing and have always favored external frames because of the easy of packing meat, but I think I am going to have to strap one of these MR's on and see how it rides!



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