NICE Metcalf

Published 2013-01-31


Based in Bozeman, Montana, Mystery Ranch has had a decade’s long heritage in hunting. Our Internal Frames from the old Dana Design Terraplanes in the 80’s and 90’s to the NICE Frame systems we have today, share a robust framing that controls the outlandish loads required to pack in a camp or pack out a trophy. Carrying unreasonable loads in unreasonable terrain and circumstances is second nature to us, around the world and in the backcountry of Montana. The progression of MR hunting packs, based off our military influences, moderated and edited by Mark Seacat and our in-house crew of hunters, has ultimately landed us here with the lightest weight NICE Frame pack we’ve ever made. Introducing the NICE Metcalf.


Kyle Christenson on designing the Metcalf:

At Mystery Ranch design is a communal ongoing process. We strive to wow our customers by integrating their ingenuity and feedback directly into our products. Our direct sales approach gives us immediate access to those who use the product creating a tight feedback loop for development. The NICE Metcalf in no exception, as it has been developed by hunters that not only use our gear, but use it hard! The NICE Frame was selected as platform for a mid-sized hunting pack but only if we could incorporate two major requirements. Light weight and increased frame height on the NICE Frame have resonated amongst the hunting community for some time how, so each was to be addressed as critical criteria. To accomplish a lightweight NICE Frame out first comparative analyses was to the NICE Longbow, our lightest NICE bag to date. Through critical examination of access and internal pockets, we concluded that a significant amount of weight could be reallocated to framing if we removed several layers of fabric and zipper from the pocket structure. A top loading pack with a full length access zipper maintains the needed functionality, and saves the necessary weight to address framing. With a new look at materials and construction, pure carbon stays were introduced for an integrated frame extension. This combination of new materials and simplified features have come together to create our best hunting product yet.


Mark Seacat on developing the Metcalf:

We’ve been working on the development side of the Metcalf pack for a couple years. In order for a hunting prototype pack to make it to “Product” status at Mystery Ranch, there has to be EXTENSIVE field testing. We built six prototype bags, for six of our best development guys. Steven Drake, Adam Foss, Kiviok Hight, Kurt Rued, Mark Seacat,and Bobby Warner all put Metcalfs to use exclusively this year. These guys had incredible seasons. From the Mackenzie Mountains in the NWT, the high country in Colorado, and eleven different mountain ranges here in Montana, these packs were put to the test. Dall Sheep, Mountain Goats, Mule Deer, Antelope, Yukon Moose, Mountain Caribou, and Elk were all packed out by these guys using the Metcalf… The resounding feedback… “The Metcalf is the best Mystery Ranch pack I’ve ever used.”


Luke Buckingham on the extension:

To tame the unruliest loads, it helps to have a little more frame. So we added a frame extension to the Metcalf which gives you 3” of additional height beyond the top of the NICE Frame. Two carbon fiber bars integrate with the existing structure of the NICE Frame to provide a little extra lift off the shoulder pads and to allow the bulk of the load to rest on your hips.


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 cubic inch 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 standards 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.

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