More on the Mystery Ranch Metcalf

Mystery Ranch's newest addition to the NICE frame pack bag line is a pack that I will be able to utilize for multiple uses, from day hunts, to multiple day hunts up to 6-7 days.  The Metcalf bag is to be used in conjunction with the NICE pack frame.  (I own 2 other MR pack bags that I hope to post full reviews for soon, the Crew Cab and Longbow.) This is the lightest pack bag for the NICE frame.

From the Mystery Ranch website:

Named after the 254,000 acre Lee Metcalf Wilderness just south of our home in Bozeman Montana, this is the lightest weight pack available for the NICE Frame. From day trips to week long adventures, the Metcalf does it all. The Metcalf incorporates both a Top Loading shroud design coupled with a full-length side access zipper entry. Eight compression straps on the main bag ensure your load isn’t going to shift... regardless of load weight. Fully loaded with the included NICE Lid the bag reaches 4500 cu-in capacity. Full compressed, you won’t even know it’s there. It’s the perfect combination of heavy duty load-hauler and lightweight hunting pack. As always, we utilized 500D cordura and our time tested sewing stan- dards to withstand the abuse of hauling boned out meat, or full bone-in elk quarters, season after season. For the ounce-counting backpack hunter, the Metcalf easily handles your food, camp, and equipment for a week long wilderness mission.

The Metcalf's volume is 3600-4500 cu in.  (The Daypack Lid counts as 900 cu in towards the 4500 cu in volume.)  It weighs 5lbs 12oz - 6lbs 15oz (2.64kg - 3.14kg) w/NICE Frame.  

The Metcalf has multiple compression straps, and also has an internal water bladder pocket as well as an internal zippered organizational pocket.  The Metcalf also has the ability to separate from the frame to allow meat to be hauled right up against your body sandwiched between the frame and the pack bag.  
Rear view of pack with tripod and sleeping pad on sides of pack

View of pack without Day Pack Lid with top compression straps

Skirt Extended up for additional volume

Side view showing side zipper with skirt extended up

Side zipper opened
 The side zipper allows quick access to the main body of the pack, and works better than I thought it would. It can be tough to close if the pack is stuffed, but for most loads, it allows quick access to the pack bag.
Internal pocket zipped.  Multi-directional zippers allow for access from the side zipper or the top

Internal pocket open
 One thing I would change about this pack is to move the internal pocket to the outside of the pack.  I like the idea of the pocket, but on the overnight trip I've used this pack on so far, it wasn't convenient to access the pocket when the pack was full.
Internal water bladder pocket (has loop for hanging bladder)
While I've only used this pack one time so far, I can see myself making this my go to pack for multi-day trips and also long day trips where I'm assisting my wife or have one of my kids with me and need additional capacity for mine and their extra clothing and gear.  The Metcalf compresses down very small and doesn't seem like a big pack when it isn't fully loaded.  I'll be looking forward to using this pack this fall.  


  1. Hi there, Where did you get the pockets for the belt?

  2. The belt pockets are the old style MR belt pockets. They've since changed the design and the hip belts only have the traditional padded non-pocket style, and the you can add pockets to the hip belt, MR or other brands. The old style MR belt pockets were built into the padded portion and could be interchanged with the non-pocket padded section. Hope that make sense.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts