Weekend Hike - Mystery Ranch Metcalf Introduction

Mystery Ranch released a new pack recently, the NICE Metcalf.  It is a pack bag designed to be used with the NICE frame.  In order to test it out along with some other gear in preparation for upcoming fall hunts, I took my son Ryan on a short backpacking trip into the mountains of central Arizona.  

It was Ryan's first trip, so I wanted to keep it short and fun for him.  I picked an area I used to deer hunt, but I hadn't been to in over 20 years.  After his Saturday morning baseball game was over, we loaded up and headed for the hills.

I carried gear for both of us, and Ryan carried his own water, snacks, and a sweatshirt for himself.  A few extras were brought along for comfort and enjoyment.  

Front view of my MR metcalf pack

Side view of my MR Metcalf pack

Not too long after hitting the trail, we arrived at our camping spot.  Ryan was excited to see so much water and cooled his feet off while I set up our tent and got things organized.  

The first trail miles of my MR NICE Metcalf pack felt very good, as I expected them to.  The extended frame on the Metcalf bag enabled the load lifters to be utilized.  This aided in adjusting the pressure of the shoulder straps to be on the front part of my shoulders instead of the tops of them.  It also allowed for easier transfer of weight from my shoulders to hips, and vice versa.  I was carrying about 50 lbs, and the load was very manageable.  

Ryan did a great job on his first backpacking trip!  He really seemed to enjoy himself.  I had fun exposing him to backpacking and getting in some tent time.  

As I said before, the MR NICE Metcalf handled my load with ease.  I felt as though I had plenty of room in the pack.  The multiple compression straps allowed the load to be snugged down, and offered multiple lashing opportunities.  Even though I felt pretty loaded down for a quick overnight trip, I still had room to extend the pack up should we have been staying for multiple days and brought more food.  I think this pack should easily handle a 5-6 day backpack/hunting trip.  

The only thing I question about the Metcalf is the inside organizational pocket.  I personally think it would be better utilized on the outside of the pack.  With the pack fully loaded down, it was difficult to access.  I might utilize this pocket more when the pack is used as a daypack.
Inside pocket zipped closed

Inside pocket unzipped

I'm looking forward to more trips with my Metcalf.  If I draw the tag I am hoping to, I should be using it in CO this fall.  Until then, I'll have to do a couple of more 'testing' trips.  


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