User Review: Mystery Ranch G6000
Design: top loading internal
Size: 6000 cubic inches
Number of Pockets: 4
Max. Load Carried: 65-70 pounds
Height of Owner: 5 foot 10
Price Paid: $525
These are first impressions, as I have only taken this on a few hikes. I will give it a year or two then update.
So far, I have taken a few hikes with a pack weight of fifty pounds. My frame of reference for large backpacks is an old external frame pack and a North Face internal frame expedition pack made in the late 1980s. I shopped and tried on the Gregory Denali, Osprey Crescent 110, Granite Gear Cirrus 7000, and Arc'teryx Bora 95, though I have not hiked with any of these packs. I also debated McHale packs but just could not justify the expense of a truly custom-made pack. All the others were a big improvement over my old internal frame pack, and all fine choices.
The suspension on this backpack is tremendous, very comfortable. Well-designed hip belt, a frame that can handle a lot of weight and put it on your hips easily, and a shoulder harness that is adjustable for torso length and is very comfortable on the shoulders.
The bag has a number of nice features. The top is divided into 2 compartments, so my small stuff isn't quite as jumbled around. The two large front pockets are classic Dana Design, very large and very convenient. The sleeping bag compartment (separated by a barrier with fastex clips that can be undone to create one large bag) has a very wide mouth for large sleeping bags and a very beefy zipper. There are external load compression straps and an internal compression strap too. There is also a heavy zippered opening on the front of the pack, in addition to the top load opening. Finally, it has two bottle pockets that actually fit a one liter bottle within reach while walking, with a grommet in the bottom for drainage.
Build quality appears to be excellent, though not for the ultralight crowd. Fabrics, stitching, and hardware are all heavy duty and heavy - the pack weighs close to eight pounds empty. Hard to say how it will wear over time, but it's made in Montana in small quantities.
Small things I would change: the Dana packs had a very useful daisy chain of webbing on the back; the zipper access prevents that. I would have liked to see the loops somewhere else on the pack. Also, the top can be converted into a rudimentary day pack - that's fine, but I don't have much use for it, and the shoulder straps are completely unpadded. Better to dispense with that feature in my opinion.
Features to watch over time: I have never owned a pack with carbon/synthetic stays rather than aluminum. 7075 aluminum is the gold standard for expedition packs; This one has handled 50 pounds without a hitch and could easily take more. I will be watching how the stays hold up and bear the load over the long term, putting my trust in the company and the design.
Update: February 22, 2008
This is a brief update to my previous review, after taking the pack winter camping in New Hampshire. The suspension held up well under 65-70 pounds, no pack bruises, chafing, or adjustability issues in mixed snow/ice and occasionally steep terrain. Consider the G7000 for long expeditions. Also, extra straps/lash cords I bought came in very handy. Plenty of lash points, but I needed the extra straps.
Finally, I actually used the top sack that converts to a daypack and thought it was convenient - shoulder straps aren't padded, but it was a nice feature to have. Totally unscathed despite the proximity to crampons, snowshoes, and an ice axe. worth the expense.
Where to Buy
The Mystery Ranch G6000 is not available from the stores we monitor.
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Or you may want to check for a dealer list or direct sales on the Mystery Ranch website.
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