Dana Glacier v Dana Terraplane

5:09 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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Friends,

I am potentially about to purchase either a DD Glacier or a DD Terraplane, and I wanted to get some opinions as to which folks preferred and why.  I have read the reviews on this website and others, and universally the Terraplane gets good reviews while the Glacier on one site has some negative reviews. 

I have researched the suspensions for both and it appears that both should support a load of 50# which is about the max I ever, ever, carry, and that is only when I will be out for a week or more. I currently have a Marmot Terraplane but it is a large and I really need a medium.   

I am really looking for a pack that supports well.  I generally pack fairly light, but I have tried packs from Kelty, Gregory, Arcteryx, Osprey, REI, etc. and none provides the comfort of the Marmot despite the size being slightly off. 

When I am going out for a short trip or during the summer, my go to pack is a Osprey Aether 60 pre-2005 model with the sewn in hipbelt.  This pack has the fiberglass stays that mold to my back (very nice), and make contact over my entire back.  I get a similar fit with the Marmot, and so my thought is that a correctly fit DD pack will do the same. 

I have even considered going back to an external, but have not found one I like despite finding some DD externals and an Gregory Evolution.

Preferences as to either pack (Glacier or Terraplane), or perhaps another suggestion?

7:18 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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I have had my Terraplane for about 12 years and used it on a number of long-term expeditions. That's the pack on me in my avatar (in Antarctica). It has been with me to the top of Denali, Vinson, Rainier, and numerous lesser peaks, as well as to the high camps of some Andean peaks and lengthy backcountry ski tours.

I haven't actually used a Glacier, but several features pushed me to the Terraplane. One was the side zips - mine is an "Overkill" model, but the side zips are also on the 10th Anniversary and "X" models Barb has the "X" version. The latter two are significantly lighter than the OK (1000 denier vs 500 denier cloth). Another feature was the side pockets. These tall outside pockets will take 2 1-liter Nalgenes in the OR cozies, or 2 1-liter fuel bottles. I have also put one fuel bottle, TP, couple of WAG bags, and several large garbage bags in one of the pockets; or fuel bottle, an XGK, and a Katadyn Hiker Pro filter.

Basically, the Terraplane is a more versatile, full expedition pack. I have carried skis in the side loops with the tails in the bottom pockets, or wands in one side for several miles of trail wanding and several pickets in the other pocket to set belay anchors. Plus 2 ice tools for the steeper ice sections. I have the beavertail, which I got to hold an avy shovel, but found I could easily strap the shovel on using the daisy chain on the back.

The Terraplane is one of the most comfortable heavy haulers I have, except for a couple of externals. I have hauled 70 pounds comfortably in it on expeditions - that's clothing and sleeping gear for -30 to -40 temperatures, my share of the tent and cooking gear, and my share of a couple weeks worth of food (we typically do multiple carries to place caches for longer expeditions). I do have one external that is more comfortable for that kind of load.

I don't recall whether the Glacier has the detachable top pocket which you can use with the removeable hip belt for use as a fanny/summit pack as does the Terraplane.

I thought about the Astroplane at the time, but decided it was bigger capacity than I needed. And that has proven correct.

My impression is that the Marmot version is not quite as good, though it is still an excellent pack. But then I am a bit biased by my occasional talks with Dana Gleason (he has mellowed a lot in the past few years, but in the past he has expressed dissatisfaction with what K2/Marmot changed with some of his designs, like the Terraplane).

7:42 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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Good for you. I admire those of us that look bvack upon the great gear of just a few years ago. I have a slightly different suggestion for you. If you look at the quality of pack that you are looking at in today’s terms you are looking at packs in the $300-$500 range. Being as it's getting into winter and being that the economy of the mighty nation is in a really sorry state, your have the advantage as the buyer and have a chance to shop Craigslist and EBay and buying both of these packs for way less then the price of one new pack if you were to haunt stores like REI. I regularly see the glacier go for as low as $75 and the Terraplane for as low as $125 on Craigslist if you shop around. I have found the best cities for both these packs to be Seattle, Portland OR and Denver in that order. There are also a number of them that pop up on the different Montana Craigslist sights as well. This is a great time to be looking at packs both because of, as I said above the economy and the off season. There are some web sights that will tell you how to measure your lumbar length for each of the different Dana Design backpacks.   I will try and find them later this evening. There a number of very knowledgeable members that may have these sights handy for you and maybe they will chime in. If you do nto find your packs on Craigslist then look to EBay. Though the prices will be higher on EBay they will not be much higher. If there is anything I can do to help in the pursuit of such a pack then feel free to let me know. Another pack that got little acclaim and was every bit as quality as the Dana’s was the Osprey’s of that generation with the Sillouette being the pack that I would look at. I picked mine up for $45 on Craigslist and believe it to be every bit as good as the Dana's if it fit's you and meets your needs.  They were made in Delores Colorado and were one find product.

8:01 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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Ok here goes. 

On the purchase of a used pack. It can be a crap shoot. I just reviewed a pack and the 1st one I received blew apart in more than one area on one of my 80 mile jaunts, I found out it was previously used for testing.

The company was nice enough to send me another pack for further testing that was new with tags attached. Guess what? No problems. Same trip, terrain, etc. I had no idea what the previous tester/testers did with this pack. Did they stress it just shy of its breaking points? Did they try to remake the Samsonite commercial where the gorilla is playing Donkey Kong with the luggage?

The thing is this. If you buy used gear to the naked eye it may look to be in great shape but once ya load it, get on-trail with it, and it blows out you could very well be in a bad spot. You have no idea of what the prior user put this item of gear through. 

One does not know the previous history on a used pack. Its not like you can get a "packfax" report on it. In a situation that may very well have you covering miles upon miles in area where you may not have phone service so what do if your used gem of a pack peters out? Salvage what gear you can haul out and hope the rest is there when you return?

Then again there is the whole warranty thing. Some companies will not honor the warranty unless you are the original purchaser of said item. 

I would rather have the reassurance that I know my gear inside out... and its history since the 1st time it was on the trail. With some of the distances and terrain I cover(solo) my life depends on my gear at times. I don't mind paying a bit extra for the reassurance that my gear is in tip-top shape.

I don't know. On this whole used thing it may be great for some people but not for this ridge runner.

8:41 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

Ok here goes. 

On the purchase of a used pack. It can be a crap shoot. I just reviewed a pack and the 1st one I received blew apart in more than one area on one of my 80 mile jaunts, I found out it was previously used for testing.

The company was nice enough to send me another pack for further testing that was new with tags attached. Guess what? No problems. Same trip, terrain, etc. I had no idea what the previous tester/testers did with this pack. Did they stress it just shy of its breaking points? Did they try to remake the Samsonite commercial where the gorilla is playing Donkey Kong with the luggage?

The thing is this. If you buy used gear to the naked eye it may look to be in great shape but once ya load it, get on-trail with it, and it blows out you could very well be in a bad spot. You have no idea of what the prior user put this item of gear through. 

One does not know the previous history on a used pack. Its not like you can get a "packfax" report on it. In a situation that may very well have you covering miles upon miles in area where you may not have phone service so what do if your used gem of a pack peters out? Salvage what gear you can haul out and hope the rest is there when you return?

Then again there is the whole warranty thing. Some companies will not honor the warranty unless you are the original purchaser of said item. 

I would rather have the reassurance that I know my gear inside out... and its history since the 1st time it was on the trail. With some of the distances and terrain I cover(solo) my life depends on my gear at times. I don't mind paying a bit extra for the reassurance that my gear is in tip-top shape.

I don't know. On this whole used thing it may be great for some people but not for this ridge runner.

And that is most certianly another way to look at things.  If some people did  not buy new things there would be no used things for me to pick up at great values.  But as as the OP said he has already decided to buy either a Dana Deisgn Glacier or Dana Design Terraplane.  Remembering  of cource that he did ask for addition imput.  I just this past summer picked up a really nice As New never used Terraplane.  It's a spankin new never used pack for half the price of any pack that is even close to it's quality.  Coupled with the Marmots Warranty and you would have to check  with them, but I've heard that their  still covering Dana's Life time warranties.  I have found Marmot's warranties and service depart's to be second to none in my experiances with them.  Also rememeber that if for any reasone you do not like either pack yoiu can then sell it in the on season spring/summer and most likely make some money on either or both back packs.

8:44 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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I was just speaking on used gear in general. Believe me if I could find "new" older gear I would purchase it in a heartbeat. 

9:45 p.m. on November 16, 2011 (EST)
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The Glacier is smaller by around 800 cubic inches, but the pack design is darn near identical.  The Terraplane does include a couple additional compression straps.

I'd recommend the Terraplane (ArcFlex) over the Glacier (ArcLight) for one big reason:  the suspension systems.  The ArcLight holds its own against most other manufacturers, but against the ArcFlex, it isn't very close.  Most importantly, the ArcLight is cumbersome to fit and to really dial in.  They refined the system to make the Mystery Ranch packs easier to fit, because I think they realized how much of a problem it was with the ArcLights.  The velcro is facing the wrong direction on the ArcLight, and there are a lot of tiny variables that make that harness move while fitting it.  ArcLight use fiberglass rods, while ArcFlex uses carbon fiber bars.  This makes a big difference in load capacity because they both only use a single stay.  The stay in the ArcFlex is a higher grade aluminum alloy.  The bars hold their form to a higher degree.  The framesheet on an ArcFlex extends to near your ears, while the ArcLight ends around the insertion points of the shoulder harness.  The ArcFlex belt is also quite a bit more robust than the ArcLight's.  All this extra strength and padding does add up to be around 1.5LBs more for the Terraplane.  Personally, I think it's worth it.  Arbitrarily, I think the ArcLights top out at 75LBs or so, while you could carry 100+LBs with an ArcFlex pack.  The lesson to take from that is if you consider a packs top hauling capacity, you can safely assume smaller loads will be that much more comfortable and manageable.

I'd also consider the 1995-2000 Osprey Xenith and Silhouette models.  The Xenith might be a bit more than you need, though.  They're in this same size range and also built like tanks (and even more inexpensive on the used market than Danas).  The Xenith Pro, which is like talking about the Overkill models from Dana, has a really cool design in expanding baffles.  They have a sizable capacity range because when you don't need the baffles, they collapse.  When you do need them, they expand.  They're a superior design idea to the extendable skirt at the top of packs.  Those extendable skirts are far above the suspension systems and greatly compromise the integrity of the packs.  The Osprey Xenith Pro, with its baffles, is all contained in the confines of the suspension system.  I hope that makes sense without seeing pictures of the two against each other.  Though, the skirt extensions can be cool if you need to use your pack as a bivy.  I wouldn't hesitate to buy and trust an older pack from either of these companies.  I have a 1989 Terraplane that I'd stake my life upon without hesitation.

And as mentioned, Marmot will indeed honor the lifetime warranty.

3:12 a.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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I actually have been looking at the Mystery Ranch Glacier. I am going to put the Aether on the shelf(give to the wife) and either go with the Glacier or the Argon 70. I have developed a fondness for my Ospreys but everything I have heard about MRs has been very positive.

So this whole conversation is quite beneficial to me as well.

7:53 a.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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to me, there isn't enough of a weight/volume differential between the terraplane and the glacier to justify the smaller volume bag and slightly less robust suspension.  i would try to find a terraplane that fits if i were in your shoes.

my large backpack is a mystery ranch g6000.  i have been very happy with it; reviewed on this site.  

9:55 a.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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Friends,

Thank you for the responses; I think that I agree that the Terraplane is the better overall pack  given the relatively minor weight difference between it and the Glacier.  I may, just for the heck of it, look at the MR packs.

11:28 a.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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I have had and do have several Dana packs from the "Bozo" production and several of his Mystery Ranch packs, as well. I have also had and sold off "expedition" packs from Gregory, Kifaru and many other makers, US, UK and Euro. over my decades of outdoor activities.

I now will only buy packs from two makers, one is Dan McHale, from whom I am going to buy my "last" pack after Christmas and the other is Dana-Mystery Ranch. Dana Gleason's packs are THE BEST commercial production packs I have ever used or seen and once correctly fitted, a person can carry a "hunting load" in relative comfort.

In addition, DD and/or MR provide the finest customer service and most pleasant atmosphere on the phone when ordering of any maker I have ever dealt with. I am a unabashed longterm fan and I am a picky guy where gear is concerned and I am not one to "sugarcoat" my opinions for any reason.

11:34 a.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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Friends,

I did some more research, and I found that the used DD Terraplanes on EBay were priced very high for a used pack (in fact, the one medium listed now is at $250 and the auction does not end for another 2 days); additionally, a search of Craig's List showed that at least here in CO the prices were close to what was being asked on EBay.  That said, I went back to MR and reviewed the G5000.  I drooled, and I caved.  What closed the deal was Leadbelly's review of his G6000.  He had posted a long term report, and since the G5000 and G6000 are similar I think the two will perform similarly. 

It is heavy, and that concerns me a bit, but in sum total it is really only 2# more than the REI XT 85 I was considering.  Additionally, I was carrying my Marmot Terraplane this morning and while it carried well, because it is a size too large it just was not as comfortable as it should be.  If there were a dealer to go to I would simply swap it, but as we are all aware these packs are not made, so this is no longer an option.

Accordingly, were I to buy a used DD I might very well find that I needed to swap one or more components, and while one often finds them available I might find that I am spending more time and energy than it is worth.

In short I have justified my buying a MR pack.  May not logically make sense but in the worst case I will simply go back to my original plan.

1:34 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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@Bill- if ya don't mind please keep us updated on your findings over time with the 5000. I may very well go this route too. I am not into seriously heavy loads. 

My winter kit for a week on the trail is 55-70lbs max. More pack volume might not be a bad thing for me. As far as the pack being heavy...

...thats not a big deal to me as long as the pack carries well. 

2:35 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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Bill said "In short I have justified my buying a MR pack. May not logically make sense but in the worst case I will simply go back to my original plan.":

Makes sense to me. In the end your the one who has to be happy with your purchase. I always ask or try to get people to look at the used market out there as there is an over whelming crush of used gear out their on the given market. If the Dana Design Packs in your area going at $250, indicates a 45% savings over the New Mystery ranch g6000.

Here is one in Reno, yes it it is used for a OBO with no price listed.

http://reno.craigslist.org/spo/2601844934.html

and yet another Reno that states no reasonable offer rejected. In the off season there are no unreasonable offers.  Most often this time of year I do make unreasonable offer just to have them refused at first. 50% of the time I get a call back because an item is only worth what someone will pay for it.  If I'm the only one interested in the item my offer then becomes reasonable.  Not many peopleing Dana’s or any other packs this time of the year for esp. used ones for $250.  Remember Craigslist is mearly a giant garage sale on line.  I never pay what people are asking and I almost always get what I’m after,  esp. in the off season unless the item is so very very low I jstu can't make a lower offer.  I always have my Craigslist items shipped as I do not have time to run around thecountry buying stuff.  I cannot promise that you would not have any problems but I have never not recived an item that I've had shipped on Craigslist and I've done well over 300 transactions on Criagslist at this point.

http://reno.craigslist.org/spo/2691020347.html

Anchorage $200

http://anchorage.craigslist.org/spo/2677050496.html

Here is on in

rhode island craigslist for $90, but will not ship, do you know anyone in Providence that could pick it up for you. I know I wish I did.

http://providence.craigslist.org/spo/2633598755.html

And one for $125 in Atlanta

http://athensga.craigslist.org/spo/2664382166.html

 

Here is a Mystery Ranch g6000 for $300 in South Salem, NC I think

http://salem.craigslist.org/spo/2658429300.html

 

There are no less then 7 craigslist klsiting aound the countery for MysteryRanch bakpacks listed on Craiglist at the moment.  That was one of them.

 

There are many more out there both Dana Designs and Mystery Ranch backpacks.  I did not even start to loook athe all the huning and Backpack fourms, but I grow wearing of looking as I'm on dial-up and the pace is so slow.  Remember these are jsut some I've found looking for 30 min on a Thursday morning.  I regularly see these packs (Dana's)go for as little as $90 and quite regularly for $125-$150

What I find are there are two types of people.  Those who buy gear used and those who buy new. Quite often a person who buys used will switch over to to the camp of buying new when they can afford or think they can afford it. People who buy new almost never buy used or switch to the used camp. I'm of the used camp. 90% of the gear I buy I buy from people who think their going to use their gear but then life happens to them the gear gets put away and I get to buy their As New or hardly used  for 50% or less usually.   I jsut bought a Canada made Arcteryx Bora 80 for $100.  They are seeling the overseas versoion at REI as we speak for $400.  Mine was use twice and I bought a better one than the currently sell for 25%.

In the end I would guess that this is a good thing as if I can still carry anything on my back in 10 years and I want another back pack I will be looking towards the Myestry Ranch camp and getting my As New g6000 for $250 or less.  People think that because these are such good packs that they will retain their value.  Fact is they are selling so many of these because they are so good that there will be ton's of them on the open market soon for yet again really silly prices.

Might I suggest that if you have time to wait and look around that I also find Mystery Ranch packs on Craigslist in Montana and also see them on EBay.  There are no g5000 ro g6000 on EBay currently.  Good luck with what ever you buy and let us know when you pull the trigger.

.

 

9:18 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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Fair warning:  It has been about 6 hours since it posted my last post.  As no one has posted in reagards to that Mystery Ranch g6000 pack that I found on craigslist.  I can only assume that no one is interested.  Really............ok.  I have sent this person an email.  I have not yet made an offer.  If you post or PM me I will step aside as I'm not gear poor and I know that I will find many more deals like this in the next few years.  With that being said if no one steps up to the plate this is way to good a deal to pass up.  Peace out.

9:33 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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Be careful with older Mystery Ranch packs.  When Gleason first started up, some of those packs were made overseas.  I've heard bad things about their construction.  However, I don't take those at face value because a lot of the gnawing comes from the hunting and militia communities where they wouldn't acknowledge high quality from a foreign land if their life depended upon it.  Nevertheless, I do trust that the USA-made packs are the superior of the two eras.  I've seen the 5000 models go from $250-350 on eBay.  $300 is fair if it is in minty condition and lightly used.  I'm sure you'll make a lesser offer and likely bring that pack more in line with what is an appropriate price.  Knowing your pack arsenal, I can't quite understand why you'd want that pack.  (Not to discourage the collector, historian, and/or hoarder in you.  I can relate to all those perspectives.)

10:24 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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Zeno Marx said:

Be careful with older Mystery Ranch packs.  When Gleason first started up, some of those packs were made overseas.  I've heard bad things about their construction.  However, I don't take those at face value because a lot of the gnawing comes from the hunting and militia communities where they wouldn't acknowledge high quality from a foreign land if their life depended upon it.  Nevertheless, I do trust that the USA-made packs are the superior of the two eras.  I've seen the 5000 models go from $250-350 on eBay.  $300 is fair if it is in minty condition and lightly used.  I'm sure you'll make a lesser offer and likely bring that pack more in line with what is an appropriate price.  Knowing your pack arsenal, I can't quite understand why you'd want that pack.  (Not to discourage the collector, historian, and/or hoarder in you.  I can relate to all those perspectives.)

 Thanks for the warning.  I have mailed her regarding to the spacifics of the pack and what her lumbar measurment is.  I will most certianly make a lesser offer and she will take it or be able to wait and see if anyone offers more.  That is always my stratagy this time of year.  If it's something I want and can use that's great and if not it'll sell in the spring/summer and I'll make some money on it.  No down side there.  Plus, I bet it'd look mighty fine sitting next to my other packs.  Do you know the years that they were made over seas by chance.  Anyway telling by the picts?

 

It appears from my investigation that MR stopped overseas production in 2004.

10:36 p.m. on November 17, 2011 (EST)
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I can't say enough good things about MR.  I have the Trance as my primary load hauler and it has exceeded all of my expectations.  Robust suspension, excellent materials, excellent craftsmanship.  

11:41 a.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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Apeman,

I looked at the MR pack in NC; I just do not want a 6000 ci pack, but thanks for your courtesy.  The pack looked to be in good shape, and I am sure that MR will swap the yoke and belt if necessary.

Friends,

The MR thing may not pan out; I am very picky about packs as I broke my back in a military parachute accident years ago (If you ever visit Lawson Army Airfield you will see an imprint of my body on the runway - kinda did the Wiley Coyote thing).  An x-ray of my back is a sight to behold!  Anyway, the break was at T7 right about where you want good contact with a pack; if the pack frame does not conform to my back then after a few hours the site of the break begins to ache, and I become a grumpy person.

This is why I like the old Aether 60 I referenced above in my earlier posts; it molds/conforms perfectly (I got it off ebay) in a way the new Osprey packs do not.  I recently tried the new Kelty Trekker (mesh back), and it felt great, but the straps slipped to the point that it was miserable to wear.  The Osprey Atmos series do not fit quite right, although the mesh feels good, and so I am also considering an Argon 85. I have also been looking for a Kelty Tioga as an idea or perhaps, if the gods were willing, a Kelty 50th Anniversary pack, but I have not seen one for sale in some time.

If one were to look at my back from the front as I bent over at the waist you would see a slight rise to one side as well (courtesy of the accident), so many packs sit on my back slightly askew from the way they normally do which in term causes discomfort.

I had tried the Altra 75; nice pack, but I couldn't get the stays bent quite right so I did not get the pack fit I was seeking.  This is why I am open to suggestions, and also why I am still thinking/considering an old DD.

Bill

1:14 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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a medium/medium Terraplane is 5800c, and a medium/medium Glacier is 5000c.

4:32 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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So I guess I'm not going to hear back from the young lady regardign her MR g6000.   In the add she stated that she bought it in 2008.  MR brought back there production to the states in 2004 so is sounds like this is a USA model.  I guess your  just not suppose to ask "girls" such personal questions on the first date like, "hey baby, what's your lumbar measurements".  I'm assuming  that's the reason she did not get back with me since the add is still up.  If anyone else is interested feel free to try and mail her.   This could be a good deal for the right person if the price is right (I'd offer her less, of cource) and even a better deal if the belt fit.  Good luck!!

http://salem.craigslist.org/spo/2658429300.html

 

8:24 p.m. on November 18, 2011 (EST)
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Zeno Marx said:

Be careful with older Mystery Ranch packs.  When Gleason first started up, some of those packs were made overseas.  I've heard bad things about their construction.  However, I don't take those at face value because a lot of the gnawing comes from the hunting and militia communities where they wouldn't acknowledge high quality from a foreign land if their life depended upon it. 

 The hunting community and the militia are NOT the same and we serious hunters of long experience in real wilderness conditions will and do buy our gear based on performance, first and not on source alone. I know this to be the factual truth from decades of actual experience in this activity.

This type of hyperbole and "expertise" based on hearsay is detrimental to all true backpack enthusiasts and having used Dana Gleason's US-made packs since 1978, I can attest that I have never experienced a problem with any of the dozen or so I have owned.

Mystery Ranch packs are so far ahead of any other packs, except full custom Mchales, that comparison is pointless. The quality of any Dana product I have ever seen is firstrate and the customer service from MR is what other makers should strive for.

BTW, I have never met or spoken with Dana and have never been to his shop or met any of his employees in person. I simply know bloody good gear when I see and use it and I own stuff from al over the globe, because it is the best of it's type. When, did you last hear a serious alpine hunter refusing to buy Leica or Zeiss or Hillberg or Valandre products because of their origin?

 

4:19 a.m. on November 19, 2011 (EST)
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Dewey said:

 The hunting community and the militia are NOT the same

 I didn't intend to imply they were.  If I offended you, or anyone else, I apologize.  Truly.  But I will not own what is not mine.  I see plenty of nationalistic rhetoric thrown around when it comes to gear on hunting boards.  It might be a small minority of users, but they bark loudly (and are noticed thusly).  When based on levels of quality, it's merely a variable.  When based on pride, it gets in the way of having a useful discussion.

11:37 a.m. on November 19, 2011 (EST)
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Dewey said:

When, did you last hear a serious alpine hunter refusing to buy Leica or Zeiss or Hillberg or Valandre products because of their origin?

 By the time I realized I forgot to reply to this, I'd shut off the computer for the night.  There are different levels of bias.  The one applied to products made in Mexico and Asia is very different than the one applied to Scandinavia, Swiss, German, Australian, and British.  When it exists, the latter tends to be much milder.  (and speaking specifically about American biases because I don't have much experience with how this works in other countries)

6:38 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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i think it is worth judging gear on its own merit rather than downgrading it because it happens to have been manufactured somewhere.

the Asian-made gregory pack i use for shorter trips, the Baltoro, is a comfortable, sturdy piece of gear, and the Asian-made winter sleeping bag i'm using from mountain hardwear is fantastic. 

love my backpacks from mystery ranch.  if i'm not mistaken, the backpacks they made overseas were some of the smaller ones.  i don't recall hearing about manufacturing problems for any of their equipment, however. 

1:03 a.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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613 forum posts

We are getting a long way from the original poster's query, however, I might point out that ...bias... exists in and enters into every aspect of every decision humans make in our lives. We all use "bias" in our gear choices and doing this based on nationalism, as in attempting to protect American or Canadian manufacturing jobs by buying products made in one's own country is perfectly acceptable and in some ways, preferable in terms of sustainable environmental behaviour.

I buy Canadian and I have no intention of altering my bias in that respect, I also choose gear based on my specific uses for each item and my decades of experience. German optics ARE the BEST and after 44 years of often professional use of them daily, I am not going to buy lesser brands for any reason. BTW, I own and use German, Austrian, Japanese, "Asian" and American optics and use them all, but, binos and spotter scopes are Zeiss and Leica.

I also do not suggest that each and every hiker buy the most costly gear, one's needs in late autumn solo wilderness stints in northern BC are different from what one might need to backpack signed, patrolled and shelter-equipped groomed trails in the reclaimed "wilderness" of the eastern US. There is little point in hauling over a grand's worth of custom McHale exped. pack in such an endeavour, where using one in Canada's Northwest Territories MacKenzie Mountains on a 2-3 week trek is a very wise choice.

"Horses for courses", but, that implies a certain bias in choices and that is a good thing, IMHO.

5:22 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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277 forum posts

I have a Terraplane and use it only for winter trips as it has the needed space for bukly gear. Plus I have the Dana Wet Rib in front and two Dana plastic-backed, long side pockets that I seldom use.

My only complaint about the Terraplane is that it is HEAVY at over 7 lbs. Newer expedition packs come in at around 5 to 5.5 lbs.

 

Eric

6:12 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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1,236 forum posts

leadbelly2550 said:

i think it is worth judging gear on its own merit rather than downgrading it because it happens to have been manufactured somewhere.

the Asian-made gregory pack i use for shorter trips, the Baltoro, is a comfortable, sturdy piece of gear, and the Asian-made winter sleeping bag i'm using from mountain hardwear is fantastic. 

love my backpacks from mystery ranch.  if i'm not mistaken, the backpacks they made overseas were some of the smaller ones.  i don't recall hearing about manufacturing problems for any of their equipment, however. 

I'm constantly amazed when I hear such ignorant statements such as "I wont buy that as it was made in China" or "it wasn't made in the USA so I won't buy that“. I buy my gear based on certain stringent high qualities and must meet certain criteria . Is the item(s) that I buying the best money for the value that meets my needs? Yes. I own a number tents and backpacks that I would put up against any American made products that I have and in some cases their better products. My most stout tents were not made in the USA and in fact were made in China and these are the tents I would trust my life to.

When one buys an item based upon where it was made, and not based on its qualities of materials, quality of construction, personal needs and use of customer service and the company standing by their warranty, that is called discrimination. Yes discrimination. It is sad to see that discrimination rears it's ugly head here on Trailspace, but it dose seem to on a regular basis. The idea here for me is to buy the best product possible based upon my needs, not because it was made in a different land, but because it was made in a manner that someone cared enough to make a quality product that lives up to my standards, and my standards regarding backpacking gear are rather high. Now that's not to say that if a item made in a land other than the USA is of inferior quality then it should be noted just as any item that is not made in the USA should be treated the same way. Does it matter when your out in the pristine back country if your tents was made in the USA or Chile? If it does then I'd say maybe ones priorities are a bit mixed up as to why their out in the backcountry in the first place.

With that beings said both of the backpacks that the OP originally asked about are of the highest quality (and made in the USA) and I would have not have problem owning either and in fact I do own one, the Terraplane.

Of course the flip side is, is that if your not after the same quality products that I’m after just cause they were made in China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, pick you foreign country then that means I get all my cool gear for way less money than if everyone here wanted it as well. I guess there is a silver lining to most everything after all.

7:42 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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613 forum posts

I am a very discriminating person and this assists me to buy the best gear for my needs; there is NOTHING wrong with discriminating in any respect when choosing inaminate objects such as packs, tents or cooking pots. This is NOT the same thing as practicing bigotry in hiring for an employment position or, for example, what was done to James Meredith and others like him at "Ol' Miss" some decades ago.

I also consider it perfectly appropriate to buy any consumer item based on one's nationality in that supporting the manufacturing jobs in one's own country is both environmentally sustainable and socially beneficial. Why buy something that has a large "carbon footprint" due to being shipped from an Asian country when one can buy the same type of gear made in the province/state nextdoor?

If, it is beneficial to use pre-owned gear and thus reduce the waste so much a problem in contemporary consumer societies as you have stated in other threads-and I strongly agree this IS a "good thing"; then, it seems that buying from "local" sources is also beneficial in this respect and should be of equal concern to we who care about the Earth.

Life is not, IMHO, all about money and my priority is to do anything I can to support sustainable manufacturing jobs in Canada, my country and thus do my bit to end the selloff of our irreplaceable raw resources to other nations....Tarsands bitumen being a case in point. Anyway, that is how I see it.

9:15 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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Dewey said:

I am a very discriminating person and this assists me to buy the best gear for my needs; there is NOTHING wrong with discriminating in any respect when choosing inaminate objects such as packs, tents or cooking pots. This is NOT the same thing as practicing bigotry in hiring for an employment position or, for example, what was done to James Meredith and others like him at "Ol' Miss" some decades ago.

I also consider it perfectly appropriate to buy any consumer item based on one's nationality in that supporting the manufacturing jobs in one's own country is both environmentally sustainable and socially beneficial. Why buy something that has a large "carbon footprint" due to being shipped from an Asian country when one can buy the same type of gear made in the province/state nextdoor?

If, it is beneficial to use pre-owned gear and thus reduce the waste so much a problem in contemporary consumer societies as you have stated in other threads-and I strongly agree this IS a "good thing"; then, it seems that buying from "local" sources is also beneficial in this respect and should be of equal concern to we who care about the Earth.

Life is not, IMHO, all about money and my priority is to do anything I can to support sustainable manufacturing jobs in Canada, my country and thus do my bit to end the selloff of our irreplaceable raw resources to other nations....Tarsands bitumen being a case in point. Anyway, that is how I see it.

Dewey, I agree with you many of the points you've brought out in your post. Watching and listening to you I would agree that you are a discriminating buyer in your choices of the gear you use. You are one of the true outdoors man on the site here who‘s life depends upon the choices of gear that you make. I am also a discriminating buyer. With that beings said I do not by gear based on deciding to buy or not to buy just because it is made in one country or another. Lets use a single point as an example. ID, Integral Designs. ID unfortunately was just bought out by a RAB who is based in England. They have moved the ID division to the United States (Boulder Colorado I believe). They have moved production of all there tents over to China with the exception of some of their military gear which I believe is still being made in Canada. So, back in the day when ID tents were made in Canada. Where did the material that they used for the tents come from, where did the thread and other products made to make the tents come from, where were the sewing machines they used to make the tents come from. Where were the trucks and fork lifts made to move the products come from, Where were the pallets that the products were loaded onto come from and where was the plastic wrap used to hold the gear onto the pallets made, I could go on but I think you get my point here. The discrimination I'm talking about is what I regularly see here on the site . “I won't buy it(pick your item) if it's made in China". I don't think there is anyone who is more of a discriminating buyer of gear than me. But what that means is that my discriminating comes form buying the best possible product that is available to me. My discriminating comes fron the fact that I won't and don't by crap.   I don't care where it's made. As I live in the USA I wish products were of the finest in the world as they were in years past but that day is long gone. Dewey, I ask you this question and I ask it out of interest and respect. With the current manufactures of tents “designed and made in Canada and the United States” what tent would you buy if you had to live in a tent and have your live depend upon the structural integrity of that tent keeping you alive in a alpine situation for weeks on end. I can only think of one myself. Stephenson/Warmlite. The only other tent manufacture that makes backpacking tents of any substance (that I’m aware of) is Big Agnes and I have not found a tent of their's that I would depended upon keeping my save in the howling winds of a monstrous alpine storm. I wish I could say good things about what we make here in North America but I'm at a loss at the moment unless you are having specialty items made at ridiculously high prices which most of use can’t afford. There are some small cottage manufactures that make light weight 2-3(light weight 3) season tents, tarps and tent/tarps here in America, but the only tent I would trust at the moment are the Stephenson/Warmlite 2R and 3R. It could be that someday we will be able to compete in the gear industry again, but today is not the day. For the first time in 20 years I'm considering buying a new tent(s) from a company/manufacture/distributer tent. Links below. I have done much investigation regarding this and it will not be a North American product. What will it be?  It will be a Force Ten tent made by Vango. Links below.

Regarding the Tarsands Bituman oil sands/shale situation.   I would have to agree with you. In the name of money your countries government in it’s infinite stupidly is selling it's soul to the devil whether they sell the oil the US or to Russia they are making a monumental mistake.

http://www.forcetentents.com/tents-sentinel-500.html

http://www.forcetentents.com/tents-spindrift-300.html

10:03 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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391 forum posts

The Dana Design packs I've seen made in Sri Lanka and Mexico have been very nice packs that would easily compete with most other companies.  They couldn't compete with the USA Danas moreso because of the design changes than lesser construction.  The blame is often misdirected away from the people who make the decisions and point the direction.  I've been particularly impressed with the Mexico era Danas because of their unique, smart designs.  The fabric choices of the Sri Lanka packs is also interesting.  The downgrades in these eras of packs weren't necessarily in the manufacturing, but in the materials.  I don't think you can blame that on the factory.  Those are the decisions of K2 and Marmot.  For example, they didn't use #10 zippers for some of the compartments on the Sri Lanka packs.  The #8 or #9s they used were probably sufficient, but they could no longer be considered "bombproof".  They waterproofing on the thick, crinkly ripstop fabric was also known to peel.  I'm betting that material came from China, so you can't blame the Sri Lankans for that, either.  The Mexican packs have less robust shoulder straps, and again, I'd blame that on K2, or Marmot, for cutting corners in the design, not on the factory in Mexico.  One of the reasons Dana Gleason was glad to rid himself of the association was because he felt their design changes compromised his original ideas and made them lesser packs.  Maybe that is why he used overseas manufacturing for some of his Mystery Ranch packs.  If the design is good, and if you oversee the factories, it's just a "made in" tag of a different color.

But I surely want to help my local economies and keep the low carbon footprint (that Dewey so appropriately included in this conversation).  What's the best way to do that?  To design and manufacture clearly superior products.  That's how the market system works at a healthy level.  You want jobs to stay local?  Be sure the local companies are dedicated to the highest quality possible.  Prioritizing QUALITY is a great way to make and keep jobs.  Seems obvious, I know.

Yvon Chouinard talks a lot about carbon footprints and the shortlife of the ruse known as "the global economy".  It's a shortsighted, unsustainable thing.  When you read him, you can almost seem him throwing a tantrum, jumping up and down, and screaming, "Keep it local.  Keep it local.  Keep it local, stupids."

10:28 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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1,236 forum posts

Zeno Marx said:

The Dana Design packs I've seen made in Sri Lanka and Mexico have been very nice packs that would easily compete with most other companies.  They couldn't compete with the USA Danas moreso because of the design changes than lesser construction.  The blame is often misdirected away from the people who make the decisions and point the direction.  I've been particularly impressed with the Mexico era Danas because of their unique, smart designs.  The fabric choices of the Sri Lanka packs is also interesting.  The downgrades in these eras of packs weren't necessarily in the manufacturing, but in the materials.  I don't think you can blame that on the factory.  Those are the decisions of K2 and Marmot.  For example, they didn't use #10 zippers for some of the compartments on the Sri Lanka packs.  The #8 or #9s they used were probably sufficient, but they could no longer be considered "bombproof".  They waterproofing on the thick, crinkly ripstop fabric was also known to peel.  I'm betting that material came from China, so you can't blame the Sri Lankans for that, either.  The Mexican packs have less robust shoulder straps, and again, I'd blame that on K2, or Marmot, for cutting corners in the design, not on the factory in Mexico.  One of the reasons Dana Gleason was glad to rid himself of the association was because he felt their design changes compromised his original ideas and made them lesser packs.  Maybe that is why he used overseas manufacturing for some of his Mystery Ranch packs.  If the design is good, and if you oversee the factories, it's just a "made in" tag of a different color.

But I surely want to help my local economies and keep the low carbon footprint (that Dewey so appropriately included in this conversation).  What's the best way to do that?  To design and manufacture clearly superior products.  That's how the market system works at a healthy level.  You want jobs to stay local?  Be sure the local companies are dedicated to the highest quality possible.  Prioritizing QUALITY is a great way to make and keep jobs.  Seems obvious, I know.

Yvon Chouinard talks a lot about carbon footprints and the shortlife of the ruse known as "the global economy".  It's a shortsighted, unsustainable thing.  When you read him, you can almost seem him throwing a tantrum, jumping up and down, and screaming, "Keep it local.  Keep it local.  Keep it local, stupids."

 

Exactly, The problem is that the only products made to a higher standard in North America are usually out of the reach of the average American/Canadian. Look at the prices of Mystery Ranch, McHale packs, Stepehnson/Warmlite products. In North America we now have specialty products with price tags that most can't afford or med/lower end products that are great for little jaunts into the out back but not products that I would want to depend upon to save my life in a time of need. Don't get me  wrong, I love my country.  What I do not like what has happened to the ability of my country to produce quality products. There are some exceptions of course but for the most part I look overseas for the new products I'm interested in or revert to vintage items that were made in America and are far superior to what is being made here/now. The only advantage that newer American products have over older ones is that they weigh less and I'm not convinced that that is a better thing. Only time will tell.

6:40 p.m. on December 6, 2011 (EST)
21 reviewer rep
25 forum posts

Dana Glacier v. Dana Terraplane Reprise

Ordered a Mystery Ranch G5000; it arrived at about the same time that I found a Terraplane in very good condition. 

Observations:

The MR pack was as well made as is claimed.  It was very well-constructed, and the weight was right at 7' 7".  I loaded it with 50' and carried it twice on different days to get a feel for the overall carry. While it did not make the weight feel like less, the pack did exactly what it promised.  There was no sag, and the hip belt was very comfortable.  At 50' I had the feeling that I was only beginning to tap into the load capability of the pack.  I will say that the fitting of the pack was easy; I watched the online videos and the frame adjustment worked just as advertised.  While carrying it, and by the way these were walks at an altitude of between 9300' and about 10,300', the pack carried very well.  Initially, I thought the pack a bit uncomfortable, but as I walked over my route (~ 5 miles) the pack got progressively more comfortable.  The best feature was the belt; it did not have to be cinched so tight as to constrict my abdomen, but rather it merely needed to be snug.  I also found the  G500 to be comparable in size (5800 CI) to the Terraplane by my estimation.  The bifurcated lid was a great feature.

Very nice pack and no back pain.

I loaded the DD with the exact same load as the MR, and I carried it over the same route I had used with the MR, albeit on different days to ensure fatigue did not color my  evaluation.  The DD weighed in at 6'8", and when loaded it was very comfortable as well.  At 50' the pack did not sag, but there was a decided difference between it and the MR.  The best way to describe it was that I could sense that I was reaching the upper end of the load capacity, at least for me.  What I did like was that the DD had adjustment features that do not appear on the MR. I particularly liked being able to use the diagonals on the pack to bring the pack closer into my back.  On the MR I missed this extra degree of fit.

Accordingly, I decided to go with the DD because of the ability to get a closer overall fit.  As I commented in an earlier post, I prefer packs that mold closely to my back due to a previous injury.  If I thought my loads were to go higher than 60' I would have gone with the MR because of its clear advantage in carrying the heavier load.  I am very happy with my choice, and as I hoped, a medium fit me perfectly.  In the end I balanced the cost of the DD v. the MR and what the feel was.  Given the few hundred dollar difference between the two, and the probable loads that I would carry I made the decision to go with the Terraplane.  I must say though, that the MR pack is simply superb.  If I thought that I would be using the pack for the bulk of my hikes I would have gone with it.  But since I foresee using a pack this size for primarily group hikes and winter hiking the DD ultimately made more sense although there is a part of me that pines for the MR pack.

I never tested a Glacier because my research showed mixed reviews, but I am happy with my choice.  I did test the Altra 75 by Arcteryx because of the reviews on it, and because it was lighter.  In the end, I could not discern a difference in the overall weight of the 3 packs while carrying them.  I used the same load for all three, but while carrying them the weight difference of the packs was not the issue nor could I really feel that difference.  What I could feel was the load carrying ability.  The Altra felt good generally, but for me it did not have the fit of the MR or the DD despite having someone help me with fit.  To be honest, I am right between sizes, and I could not get the stays bent to give me the fit of the MR or the DD which both felt better than the Altra.  Consequently, when I carried the Altra I felt as if the load was torquing my back which is the same reason I do not like Gregory packs.

1:09 a.m. on December 7, 2011 (EST)
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391 forum posts

Thanks for getting back to us.

1:26 a.m. on December 7, 2011 (EST)
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I also thank your for getting back to us.  Thanks also for explaining the testing of the packs and your decisions on why you went with the pack you went with.  We need more of these types of reviews whenever possible.

5:59 p.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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I've been thinking about this a bit.  Does your Dana happen to have a bright yellow haul loop?  If so, feel free to message me for an explanation of why I'm asking.

August 31, 2014
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