I replaced my crew cab with the metcalf recently and so far it has been the perfect bag. It cinches small for day use but expands enough for multiday trips. It has just the right amount of pockets (one w/o the lid) and the opening are super versatile. The only thing I would add is the lift kit. I'm 5'8 but with the lift kit heavy loads do feel better.
The go-to hunting backpack for big game.
From day trips to week long adventures, the Metcalf hunting backpack does it all. The Metcalf incorporates a top loading shroud with a full length side access zipper entry. Ten compression straps ensure your load is never going to loosen or shift, regardless of the weight. Fully expanded, with the Alpine Lid the bag reaches 4200 cubic inches, fully compressed you won’t even know it’s there.
- Classic top loading design for easy packing
- NICE Frame for comfort and stability under the heaviest loads
- Overload shelf for meat or extra gear carriage
- Exterior detail pocket for headlamps, maps, keys, batteries
- Detachable Alpine Lid: two Pockets, two Accessory straps for day pack carry
- Customizable NICE Frame Height:
- <5'9" - NICE Frame(4lbs 4oz)
- 5'9" to 6'4" - NICE Frame w/ NICE Lift Kit(L) 4lbs 10oz
- >6'4" NICE Frame w/ NICE Lift Kit(XL) 4lbs 10oz
- Complete Package Includes:
- Metcalf Bag
- NICE Frame (includes yoke and waistbelt)
- Alpine Lid
- Lift Kit (MD & LG Yokes Only)
- Volume: 4200 cu-in
- Weight: 7 lbs 1 oz
- Frame System: NICE Frame
- Country Of Manufacture: USA
- Intended Use: Backpack Hunts, Bivy Hunts, Day Hunts
I have had the Metcalf now for three years, and I can confidently say it is my "go to" pack for backcountry hunts in the 3-5 day range.
The size is just right to load up the essentials, and when pared with the Alpine Lid, gives you quick access and extra space for items like a headlamp, food, gloves, calls, camera, etc. To keep the internal organization in check, I load gear in ultralight stuff sacks, which keeps it from turning into a massive gear dump inside. The side zipper is key for access, and something I use throughout the day to get to things like raingear or a puffy jacket.
After I set up camp and ditch the extra gear and lid, the Metcalf cinches down to a streamlined setup, perfect for day hunting out of camp with minimal equipment. If an animal is down, I slip quarters in between the pack and frame, and head out. I have had gear and an entirely boned out deer in this pack, and while heavy as hell, the load carried securely and comfortably. And the durability is second to none.
Lastly, lashing a bow or rifle to this pack is simple and secure. I prefer to hike in with my hands free, or using trekking poles, but I want to be able to get to my weapon quickly -- unclip two buckles, and you are good to go. I use the Longbow for day hunts and the Metcalf for everything else; it is my two pack quiver for the entire season.
After countless hours of scouring blogs and reviews on Mystery Ranch packs, I finally decided on the Metcalf. I could not be happier with this pack, the design is simple and rugged tough. My interest in Mystery Ranch packs came solely on the NICE frame system. I had no history on the company or its products until researching different frame systems. Having served in the armed forces, I recognized the NICE frame to be a well designed counterpart to the old ALICE frame. My application for this pack is for extended hammock camping/multiple day hiking/minimalist excursions and international travel. All though the Metcalf is designed as a hunting pack (I am not a hunter) I have found that it works great for my intended use. It recently went with me to Ecuador as I toured several cities and micro climates in the Andes! Wearing the pack is a dream, once you adjust it to fit you properly you will revel in comfort! I had it packed out at 55-60 pounds at elevations to exceed 14,000 ft and this thing carried amazingly well!! The frame is extremely tough yet flexible, which will lend much more range of motion on the trail and carry your load effectively. I bought the Metcalf 2, a revised version with some trim downs on the features to reduce weight. It comes with a slightly smaller Lid that does not have the shoulder straps like the older version. I bought the day pack lid separately as I wanted the extra volume and it carries separate from the main pack. I found this was a valuable feature! I got around South America by bus and airplane and I had no problems stowing it. It fits in an overhead bin all cinched down, I just removed the lid as my carry on bag. The side zipper is such a nice feature, it allows you to properly pack and organize your load and access things quickly. All Zippers are rugged and tough! The load lifters function well and are practical. The yolk system is very comfortable and well built. I am 5'8" and a medium works well for me, only a few adjustments were needed. I have yet to use the load expansion feature (for pelican case/game quarters/etc.) but its nice to know that its there. All the buckles and fasteners are very tough also. Originally, I wanted the Wolf Alpha with no compromise, but Mystery Ranch was sold out and taking orders on production. I am very happy with my purchase of the Metcalf. Buying from Mystery Ranch was a challenge for me because of how little info and reviews on their products there was available at that time, but I have seen vast improvement. This review section will help tremendously. Overall I would recommend purchasing from Mystery Ranch. Their products are expensive but top of the line, you WILL get many years of service from them! Hopefully this review will be helpful to someone considering purchasing a Metcalf or Mystery Ranch product. It took me about 6 month to make the decision! I will post some pictures on the website and Facebook page periodically for updates!
Thanks for the innovation Mystery Ranch!